Austere words

It is to be expected that Danny Alexander is in election mode and comes up with HM ­Treasury figures that suit him (The Scotsman, 9 March) It is, though, virtually meaningless to set one broad set of figures against another without being told the assumptions and data sets underlying each of them.

The case against austerity has, in any event, been made tacitly by the Chancellor himself in abandoning his original deficit ­reduction plans. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, deficit reduction has been substantially slowed since 2012. Some growth in the economy has only resumed since then.

Nevertheless, since 2010, the UK has experienced the slowest recovery since the 19th century and we have seen none of the promised rebalancing of the economy away from finance towards manufacturing and exports. Per capita GDP is still lower than before the financial crisis and real incomes have yet to recover.

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The time to be hawkish on deficit reduction is once recovery is well­ established. It is not the right response to the effects of the Great Recession. It should be obvious that more austerity, stretching out over the next UK parliamentary term, is not the answer.

(Cllr) Alasdair Rankin (SNP)

City of Edinburgh Council

High St

Edinburgh