Ian Blackford demands Boris Johnson 'rule out return to Tory austerity cuts' ahead of UK Budget

Ian Blackford has demanded the Prime Minister “rule out a return to Tory austerity cuts” ahead of the UK Budget.

The SNP’s Westminster leader has called for Boris Johnson to rule out further cuts, accusing the Prime Minister of offering a lack of support over planned cuts to Universal Credit.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Blackford said: “Next week's Budget gives the opportunity to tackle the financial costs of this pandemic the UK has suffered as well as the worst recession in 300 years.

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“We now need a government that understands the scale of this crisis yet at the very moment that the country needs maximum investment to recover, the Tories are threatening austerity cuts that will leave lasting scars on all our communities.

Ian Blackford has demanded the Prime Minister “rule out a return to Tory austerity cuts” ahead of the budget.

“Families have already seen that income slashed under this government and now the Tories want to impose a public sector pay freeze and cuts to Universal Credit.

“So will the Prime Minister rule out a return to Tory austerity cuts and commit to a major fiscal stimulus of at least 5 per cent of GDP or will he threaten the recovery?”.

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Mr Johnson insisted the Treasury had made “massive investment” throughout the whole of the UK. He accused Nicola Sturgeon’s administration of not using the funding properly.

He said: “I wish they would would spend that money better because it's very sad to see some of the failures in education policy in Scotland, the failures in their criminal justice policy and fighting crime and I think what the people of the whole UK would like to see and I believe the people of Scotland is less talk about a referendum.”

Mr Blackford asked the Prime Minister to follow the example of the United States and "boost it like Biden”, pointing to the proposed $1.9 trillion [£1.3 trillion] stimulus package.

He said: “Next week’s Budget gives the opportunity to tackle the financial cost of the pandemic.

"Or will he return to type and impose yet another decade of Tory austerity?".

Mr Johnson pointed to the £640 billion investment in UK infrastructure alone. He claimed the public were sick of hearing about Mr Blackford’s “agenda”, adding: "All they want to do is break up Britain with another referendum and that is the last thing this country needs."

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