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SNP’s Blackford calls on PM to ‘rule out a return to Tory austerity cuts’

Boris Johnson said he was ‘proud of the massive investments that the UK Treasury has made throughout the whole of the UK – £13 billion and more’.

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SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (House of Commons/PA)

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (House of Commons/PA)

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (House of Commons/PA)

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has called on the Prime Minister to “rule out a return to Tory austerity cuts”.

Mr Blackford urged Boris Johnson to “commit to a major fiscal stimulus of at least 5% of GDP”, and questioned whether he would instead “threaten the recovery and leave millions of people worse off”.

Mr Johnson hit back that he was “proud of the massive investments that the UK Treasury has made throughout the whole of the UK – £13 billion and more going to Scotland”.

The PM added: “All they (SNP) want to do is break up Britain with another referendum and I think that is the last thing this country needs at the moment.”

Speaking in PMQs, Mr Blackford said: “Next week’s Budget gives the opportunity to tackle the financial costs of this pandemic. The UK has suffered its worst recession in 300 years. We now need a Government that understands the scale of this crisis.

“Yet at the very moment that the recovery needs maximum investment to recover, the Tories are threatening austerity cuts that will leaving lasting scars on all our communities.

“Families have already seen their incomes slashed under this Government and now the Tories want to impose a public sector pay freeze and cuts to Universal Credit.

“So will the PM rule out a return to Tory austerity cuts and commit to a major fiscal stimulus of at least 5% of GDP, or will he threaten the recovery and leave millions of people worse off?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I’m proud of the massive investments that the UK Treasury has made throughout the whole of the UK – £13 billion and more going to Scotland, huge sums going throughout the country, and I must say I wish that the SNP Government would spend that money better, because it’s very sad to see some of the failures in education policy in Scotland.

“The failures in their criminal justice policy and fighting crime, and I think what the people of the whole UK would like to see, and I believe the people of Scotland, is less talk about a referendum which is his agenda, and more talk about the real issues facing our country.”

Mr Blackford challenged Mr Johnson to “boost the economy like Biden” asking: “Or is the Tory plan to return to type and impose yet another decade of Tory austerity?”

He said: “The Prime Minister’s boasting, but the cold hard reality is that the UK has suffered the worst slump of any major economy and 120,000 people have lost their lives – that’s under your guidance, Prime Minister.

“Coronavirus has exposed the deep inequalities under this broken Westminster system. After a decade of Tory cuts, millions of families are in poverty and UK unemployment is soaring.

“In contrast in the US, President Biden understands what is needed, he has proposed a 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus package to restart and renew the American economy.

“Prime Minister, will your Government follow the example of the US and boost the economy like Biden or is the Tory plan to return to type and impose yet another decade of Tory austerity?”

Mr Johnson said: “This Government is investing £640 billion in infrastructure alone throughout the UK, a massive programme to get our country rebuilt and restarted again and I think that is what people would like to focus on rather than his agenda – he talks about our broken politics, our broken country.

“All they want to do is break up Britain with another referendum and I think that is the last thing this country needs at the moment.”

PA


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