Willie Rennie: SNP will put the recovery at risk

Willie Rennie will warn of more economic chaos should Labour form the government. Picture: Greg Macvean

Willie Rennie will warn of more economic chaos should Labour form the government. Picture: Greg Macvean

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SCOTS face the prospect of another economic meltdown if they back the SNP in overwhelming numbers in the May election, Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will warn today.

It comes as the latest poll suggests that the Nationalists are poised to make sweeping gains in May with support for Nicola Sturgeon’s party rising to 47 per cent, ahead of Labour on 21.

The Lib Dems are flatlining on just 4 per cent.

Mr Rennie will set out his party’s general election platform in a speech to the Spring Conference in Aberdeen today and claim that the only traditional liberal centre ground can prevent a return to the “see-saw” economics of the past.

And he will warn that the SNP want to “borrow even more“ than the Labour Party in a keynote address.

He will add: “Like Labour, the SNP argued for lighter regulation for the banks – just before they went bust.

“Like Labour, the SNP said that the UK government’s economic plan would fail – just before the economy started to grow again.

“And now, just like Labour, they think the answer to high levels of debt is even more debt.

“The SNP were wrong on the banks, wrong on the economy, wrong on jobs – and just like Labour they have the audacity to say that’s all in the past and they are definitely right this time.

“Their plan will put the economy at risk all over again. The same mistakes and we should not let them do it.”

The Tories’ “ideological drive” for more cuts and Labour’s desire to “borrow billions”, despite soaring public sector debt will also be raised by Mr Rennie.

“That is the threat Britain faces,” he will add. “It’s a serious threat. The return to the seesaw economic that has damaged our country in the past.

“David Cameron and George Osborne at one end and Ed Miliband and Ed Balls at the other.

“One end cutting recklessly the other borrowing recklessly.And all four damaging the steady, fair economic recovery that our party alone can promise.

“It is a combination of fairness and economic progress that Liberal Democrats bring to government. We hold the others back when they go too far.”

The Lib Dems’ popularity has plunged since they entered coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010 and widespread losses are now expected for the party in May’s General Election. But Mr Rennie insisted again yesterday that the party would be prepared for another power-sharing deal.

“I came into politics, and my colleagues came into politics, to try to make a difference to people’s lives and give them an opportunity to get on in the world when otherwise they might be deprived,” he said.

“So I’m not going to stand back from an opportunity to make those kind of changes, that’s what we’ve done in government.”

Dr Amanjit Jhund, Labour’s candidate in the East Dunbartonshire held by employment minister Jo Swinson, said Scots won’t “forgive or forget the Lib Dems working hand in glove with the Tories.”

He added: “After five years of them propping up a Tory government that Scotland rejected, families are over £1,000 a year worse off, VAT has increased and wages aren’t stretching as far as they did in 2010.”

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