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Sturgeon: UK’s NHS cuts will be at postwar levels

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon believes a No vote would lead to 'damaging cuts' to the NHS in Scotland. Picture: Jane Barlow

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon believes a No vote would lead to 'damaging cuts' to the NHS in Scotland. Picture: Jane Barlow

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

NICOLA Sturgeon will warn that George Osborne plans to cut spending on health care to the “lowest level” since just after the Second World War as she said that only a Yes vote would protect the NHS.

The Deputy First Minister said the Chancellor was planning to “inflict further huge cuts” on the NHS as she delivers a speech on independence later tonight.

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Ms Sturgeon suggested that the UK government’s own plans include further cuts to public expenditure, which she said would have a knock-on effect on Westminster’s block grant for Scotland.

The SNP deputy leader will also warn that a No vote would mean “permanent austerity” with UK spending on health care falling to levels not seen since 1948, when the NHS was created by the post-war Labour government.

Ms Sturgeon, who will speak at a public meeting in East Renfrewshire, will say: “The current UK Government has made it clear it wants to inflict further huge cuts in spending which will make people much worse off under Westminster.

“The UK Government’s published plans show that day to day spending on public services as a proportion of national income will fall to the lowest level since at least 1948, when records began.

“Westminster’s austerity agenda will cause permanent damage and will put further huge pressure on public services – hitting everyone who relies on them.

“We value our services like schools and hospitals, and in an independent Scotland we will have the power to protect them.

“Only a Yes vote for independence in September will give Scotland the chance to choose that path, to invest for the future and to avoid Westminster’s agenda of permanent austerity.”

However, Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said the SNP government was responsible for spending on the NHS, which has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament since 1999.

He said: “Listening to the increasingly frantic comments from Nicola Sturgeon, the desperation in the ranks of the SNP is obvious.

“The NHS has been devolved to the Scottish government since 1999 and the coalition government at Westminster has protected the level of funding for it.”

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