John McDonnell: '˜SNP bringing Tory austerity to Scotland'

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has accused the SNP government at Holyrood of 'passing on' Tory austerity to Scotland.

Mr McDonnell will today pledge to deliver the “biggest transfer in wealth and power” from London to Scotland since the 1940s if Labour win the next General Election.

Ahead of a two-day trip to Scotland, he accused the Scottish Government of “bullying councils” into making cuts, “running down” further education and underfunding the NHS. The SNP said it was an intervention which showed why Labour were “languishing in third place in Scottish politics”.

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Mr McDonnell said: “Scotland has suffered from a near-decade of Tory and SNP austerity.

John McDonnell. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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“The Tories at Westminster have imposed the Bedroom Tax and the Rape Clause on working class Scots, as well presiding over a surge in food bank use caused by over eight years of austerity.

“At the same time, the SNP at Holyrood has simply passed on Tory austerity to communities, by bullying councils into making cuts and running down crucial areas like further education, as well as underfunding Scotland’s NHS.”

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Mr McDonnell is due to meet trade unions, business leaders and youth groups during his trip north of the Border. His visit will conclude with a conference on Labour’s plans to boost the economy.

The SNP’s Growth Commission report, which examined the economic prospects for an independent Scotland, provided a “version of neoliberalism”, Mr McDonnell added, saying this was a “blueprint for at least a decade of austerity”.

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He added: “By contrast, Labour in government at Westminster will halt austerity which our manifesto commitments could mean £70 billion more for Scotland over two terms. As Chancellor, this package will represent the biggest transfer in wealth and power from London to Scotland in postwar Britain.

“The next Labour government will be the most radically reforming one since that of Clement Attlee and Nye Bevan elected in 1945.”

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SNP MSP George Adam: “It’s interventions like this that show exactly why Labour continue to languish in third place in Scottish politics – and can’t even beat one of the most incompetent Tory governments of all time.

“It was Labour who opposed Scotland having the powers over tax and welfare that they now demand the Scottish Government use. And it was Labour who offered the lowest funding settlement for the NHS – even less than the Tories – at the last election.

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“The only way we can guarantee an irreversible shift in power from London to Scotland is through independence.”