‘Reckless’ Osborne under attack

Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement has been attacked by MSPs, with allegations that its austerity measures were “reckless” and had delivered “pain but no gain”.

The claims came from Labour’s finance spokesman Richard Baker, who also said last week’s measures were an “admission of defeat” for Mr Osborne’s strategy.

During the debate at Holyrood, finance secretary John Swinney said there was “too much emphasis on austerity and not enough on growth” in the autumn statement, which included a rise in the pension age from 2026, a forecast that economic growth will be lower, and predictions of higher borrowing and unemployment.

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However, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie defended the coalition government’s policies, which he said had put “public finances back on a stable footing”, and he supported what he described as “tough, but necessary decisions”.