First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has criticised Westminster’s austerity economics, stating that a Labour government would have to abandon “failed” austerity policies to win the support of the SNP after May’s general election.
Is this the First Minister who has committed to another year of the council tax freeze when local governments are having to cut frontline services left, right and centre?
Is this the First Minister who currently presides over a government that has threatened councils to withdraw much-needed funding if they don’t keep teacher numbers to government levels, when there’s a crisis of funding in other key departments?
Is this the First Minister whose implementation of the much trumpeted 600 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds is so flawed that it would mean parents having to pick up children in the middle of the day and take their child to another nursery across town? Ms Sturgeon would of course insist that these issues arise due to the cut in the Scottish Government budget allocation from Westminster, but when will Ms Sturgeon realise that she has the levers to counteract these cuts, such as reversing the aforementioned council tax freeze, and stop blaming Westminster?
Indeed, who could really imagine the SNP propping up a Labour government at Westminster, because frankly, they wouldn’t have anyone left to blame when we see continued Scottish Government failures here in Scotland.
Finally, who can really believe SNP rhetoric on the economy when we look at the recent oil price collapse which would have left a £6 billion hole in an independent Scotland’s budget?
I am glad to see Nicola Sturgeon taking the battle against austerity to London. The victory of Syriza in Greece has shown the total failure of the policies of cutting public services as a way to solve the economic crisis.
We in Scotland should show the way to tackle austerity and join with the Greek government and the growing number of people across Europe who are rejecting cuts to public services and jobs and instead advocating investing in public services and creating jobs that will help grow the economy and state revenue.
This is not rocket science; it is the analysis of Keynes in response to the Depression of the 1930s which for many years was accepted by most governments.
It seems that governments and political parties, including the Labour Party, have forgotten their Keynes and resorted to policies which inflict pain on the poor and the public sector while rewarding the bankers who created the crisis in the first place.
It also makes the choice at the general election very clear between the austerity party of the Tories, the austerity-light policies of Labour and the SNP who could hold the balance of power at Westminster.
The policies Nicola Sturgeon outlined in London would not only be good for Scotland but could help revive the UK economy overall.
Nicola Sturgeon, justifiably, I would think, recently quotes a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which shows that the Tory/Liberal austerity measures have disproportionately damaged many of the poorest people in our country.
The IFS shows that, in particular, working-age families with children have been badly affected by the government’s measures.
Incidentally, in fairness, the IFS also points out that the richest 10 per cent in the population have also lost out.
Sturgeon lumps Labour in with the ConDems as supporting these measures, conveniently ignoring another IFS report earlier this year which outlined the clear differences between the Labour and Tory plans for dealing with the deficit post-general election.
She also, less surprisingly, ignored an IFS report prior to the September referendum, which analysed the budgetary position of an independent Scotland, showing that cuts and/or tax rises would be required as an independent Scotland would have an even bigger deficit than the UK as a whole.
Campbell Park Crescent
Nicola Sturgeon visited Westminster to ask for an end to austerity cuts. Perhaps if her government brought an end to the council tax freeze there would be no need for the downturn in services. Those who have difficulty get help; the others pay their dues. Or does she prefer to keep blaming Westminster for all our woes?