Scotland’s four main opposition parties have their say on the SNP’s Growth Commission report.
Labour: The party branded the report a “cuts commission” that recommended a decade of “unprecedented austerity”. Labour said the two competing visions of Scotland were now clear - unprecedented levels of austerity with independence or an investment-led economy with public ownership at its heart with Labour. Richard Leonard commented: “This was branded the growth commission, but it’s really a cuts commission. Proposals to cut Scotland’s deficit by almost two thirds over a decade would result in a level of austerity that not even George Osborne attempted. The people of Scotland cannot afford another wasted decade under the mantra of deficit reduction.”
Conservatives: Ruth Davidson said an independent Scotland continuing to use the pound during a transitional period wasn’t enough for people to gamble their futures on. “More than four years ago, the SNP delivered an independence blueprint which they claimed was the final word,” she said. “Today, they are telling us to ignore the old version and have instead produced an entirely new manual which we’re expected to believe is credible. One thing hasn’t changed: none of it adds up. People in Scotland have had enough of Nicola Sturgeon grand-standing on independence. They want all politicians to focus on the here and now – improving school standards, ensuring fair funding for our NHS and building a Scottish economy that works for us all.”
Greens: Patrick Harvie described the report as a long overdue contribution to the debate on Scotland’s future. But he warned it continued “the flawed approach taken by governments of all hues” in promoting policies which put GDP growth ahead of improving people’s quality of life. “While independence will give us a better chance of running a fairer and greener economy, it shouldn’t stop us taking action right now,” he said. “The phrase ‘sustainable growth’ is meaningless jargon. Governments have obsessed about simplistic measures like GDP growth for far too long.”
Lib Dems: Scottish leader Willie Rennie told the BBC there was “nothing hopeful or optimist about inflicting yet more division and economic risk on our country by separating us from the UK”.