Championing economic growth

Responding to the release today by the Scottish Government of the latest Scottish Retail Statistics, Linda Fabiani MSP has echoed warnings by Scottish Ministers that the lack of a fiscal stimulus programme risks tipping the Scottish and UK economies back into recession.

The first quarter retail figures published today show that:

* The volume of retail sales in Scotland fell by 0.5 per cent during the three months to March 2010 compared with the previous quarter. The volume of retail sales in GB fell by 0.6 per cent over the same period.

* The value of retail sales in Scotland grew by 0.4 per cent during the three months to March 2010 compared with the previous quarter. The value of retail sales in GB grew by 0.2 per cent over the same period.

Commenting, SNP MSP Ms Fabiani, a member of the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee, said:

"The fact that Scotland's retail sector performed comparatively well during the worst of the wintry weather is welcome and encouraging news. However, it's clear that the recovery remains very fragile  and badly in need of some strong support from government.

"The SNP has consistently argued against the Chancellor's removal of the fiscal stimulus in the UK this year. It flies in the face of the advice of some of the worlds' leading economists and the practice of many countries who emerged more quickly and strongly from recession than the UK.

"Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have all thirled themselves to making massive public sector job and service cuts, but all that will do is create misery for families and communities, take money out of the economy and risk tipping us back into another recession.

"A far better approach would be to follow the lead of virtually every other G20 nation by cementing the recovery through job creation and economic growth. That is what the SNP has advocated since the start of the economic crisis and it is what the Scottish Government has made its key focus and priority, within the powers available to it.

"Whoever forms the next UK government must do what Labour at Westminster refused to do and allow the SNP Government to bring forward further capital spending, so that it can safeguard existing jobs and create new ones, support our industries, public services and communities, and protect us from another recession.

"Even better, they should extend full fiscal autonomy to the Scottish Government as soon as possible, giving Scotland the levers of power to grow our own economy in a way that benefits all of our citizens."

The Scottish Government's announcement is here.