Nicola Sturgeon: Austerity policies can be linked to Brexit vote

Nicola Sturgeon is to call on the UK Government to tackle the 'disenfranchisement and disillusionment' behind the Brexit vote and reverse its austerity policies.

Nicola Sturgeon says the Government must tackle 'disenfranchisement'. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Scotland’s First Minister is one of the keynote speakers at the Institute of Directors’ annual convention in London’s Royal Albert Hall, where she will address an audience of around 2,000 people.

Focusing on the EU referendum result, she will say the UK Government can “no longer ignore the social and economic cost of inequality” as a major driver behind the leave vote.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Ms Sturgeon is expected to say: “I’m very proud of the fact that Scotland voted so strongly to remain in the European Union. But I can’t ignore the fact that even in Scotland, a million people voted to leave.

“They did not think that the European Union benefited them - they did not see advantages from free trade and free movement.

“That feeling was even more prevalent in other parts of the UK. There are many, many causes of the vote to leave the EU. For many people, they will have included entirely reasonable doubts and reservations about the EU. It is, after all, an imperfect organisation.

“But in part, Brexit was a product of a sense of disenfranchisement and disillusionment. It was borne of inequality, of feelings of powerlessness - of austerity budgets which hurt the public services and social safety nets that so many people depend on.

“And so one consequence of the referendum must be a new effort - which needs to be given real substance in the UK Government’s Autumn Statement - to ensure that the benefits of growth, of globalisation, are more fairly distributed.

“The UK Government has suffered one of its most significant policy reversals in generations - it can no longer ignore the social and economic cost of inequality and the impact of its misguided commitment to austerity.”