SNP conference: Scotland’s recession ‘made in London’ claims John Swinney
INDEPENDENCE will end the “economic mismanagement” of successive Westminster Governments which has plunged Scotland into recession, finance Secretary John Swinney told the SNP conference today.
• John Swinney addresses delegates at SNP conference in Perth
• Finance Secretary attacks Labour leader over benefits stance
• SNP delegates to vote on Nato position later
The current double dip recession has “Made in London” stamped all over it, he told delegates on the second day of the conference in Perth.
He also lashed out at Labour’ leader Johann Lamont’s recent claim that the SNP has presided over a “something for nothing” culture in Scotland with the system of free universal benefits, insisting the Nationalist administration has made “hard choices” during its five year rule at Holyrood.
“The alternative to Scotland flourishing as an independent country - in charge of our own resources and decision making – is there for all to see in Westminster’s record,” Mr Swinney said in a keynote speech today
“The economic difficulties we face are a product of the failed economic management of the last Labour Government and the current Conservative led Coalition.
“We know that between Labour and the Tories, the double dip recession has “Made in London” stamped all over it. What we want for Scotland is the opportunity to create a recovery, “Made in Scotland” with the powers of an independent country to bring it about.
“There is a clear choice coming in 2014. The alternative to Scotland flourishing as an independent country - in charge of our own resources and decision making – is to see the achievements of the Scottish Parliament since 1999 being rolled back.”
He called on Chancellor George Osborne to end his “obsession with austerity” and change direction in the Autumn Budget statement.
“If he won’t – it’s time he left it to us, to Scotland – to shape a better economic future,” Mr Swinney said.
“Independence will give us the powers we need to tailor policies to the priorities of the Scottish people, to extend competitive advantages and address challenges in the Scottish economy.
“It will allow us to build a more dynamic economy. It will allow expenditure and tax policy to work together in harmony. It will enable us to use welfare to protect the most vulnerable.
“And it will allow us to end the economic mismanagement of successive London governments.
The Labour leader recently launched a review of Scotland’s system of universal free benefits like prescription charges and free personal care, as well as the council tax freeze, amid concerns it is starving public services of scarce resources.
But Mr Swinney insisted that the public sector pay freeze, efficiency savings and creation of a single police force, as well as college reforms and mergers show the SNP has been ready to make hard choices.
“It’s important to acknowledge the pain of those choices,” he said.
“These and the other hard choices we made, allowed us not just to deliver a balanced budget but to deliver the social contract we value and the services Scotland needs. Unlike Westminster, we have not borrowed a single penny.
“Try telling the public sector worker whose pay has been frozen because of London’s cuts that Scotland hasn’t had to face hard choices.
“Look them in the eye and tell them they are part of her `something for nothing’ culture, and then, Johann Lamont, hang your head in shame for the insult you have paid to the workers of Scotland.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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