SNP slams opposition parties '˜desperate for recession'

Opposition parties 'appear desperate' for Scotland to be in recession so they can attack the government, the SNP has said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) and Scottish Conservative party leader Ruth Davidson. The SNP has accused opposition parties of wanting a recession. Picture: PA
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) and Scottish Conservative party leader Ruth Davidson. The SNP has accused opposition parties of wanting a recession. Picture: PA

Economic experts warned last week that it is ‘’in the balance’’ whether or not Scotland formally goes into recession, with the latest GDP figures due to be published on Wednesday.

The Fraser of Allander Institute forecast the Scottish economy will pick up in 2017 - but also warned performance continues to lag behind the rest of the UK.

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The most recent figures for GDP in Scotland showed a fall of 0.2 per cent over the period of October to December at the same time as the UK economy grew by 0.7 per cent.

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The Scottish Conservatives believe new economic measures should be adopted while Labour said the Scottish Government’s record on job creation is “not good enough”.

The SNP said the comments are “as predictable as they are pathetic”.

The Tories’ shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart said: “Scotland stands on the brink of recession, and the nationalists have no-one to blame but themselves.

“They can’t point to Brexit, because the rest of the UK is powering ahead - this is all on the SNP’s shoulders.

“Even if Scotland does escape technical recession in these GDP figures, it’s been far too close for comfort.

“The large business supplement has to be cut to ensure our firms aren’t at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the UK, and there is much that can be done with APD to encourage more visitors on long-haul flights.

“We also want to see ministers work harder with apprenticeships, and allow local authorities more control to drive growth locally.

“And, of course, the easiest thing of all for the SNP to do to help reduce uncertainty is to take the threat of a second independence referendum off the table.”

Experts at the Fraser of Allander Institute believe the Scottish economy will still grow over the year as a whole - and possibly more quickly than last year - but they also warned ‘’further negative quarters of growth are highly possible’’.

Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie said: “The Nationalists have simply passed on Tory cuts rather than invested in our economy for growth.

“The SNP government should be using the powers of the Scottish Parliament to stimulate our economy and create jobs.

“That means frontloading infrastructure spending with a focus on house-building, using the public procurement budget more strategically, and investing in education so our young people have the skills to compete for the jobs of the future.”

An SNP spokesman said: “Labour and the Tories both appear desperate for Scotland to be in recession, just so they can attack the SNP - their comments are as predictable as they are pathetic.

“The Scottish Government is focused on supporting Scotland’s economy in the face of Tory austerity and the determination of both Labour and Tories to drag Scotland over a hard Brexit cliff edge, which threatens to be catastrophic for jobs, investment and living standards.”