UK cuts undermining inward investment

Commenting on reports that National Australia Bank (NAB) – which owns Clydesdale Bank – is reviewing its operations in the UK after abandoning hopes of a near-term economic recovery in the UK as a result of the Tory-Lib Dem Government’s austerity programme, SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP warned that the uncertainty being caused by the UK Government’s economic failures was causing uncertainty for business.

NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne said: "It is clear that the UK economy is likely to experience a much longer period of subdued growth with the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the Euro-zone and the continuing austerity program by the UK government.

"UK GDP declined by 0.2% in the December quarter. These difficult conditions have adversely affected the performance of UK Banking.Given our view that recovery is now a longer term prospect, NAB has commenced a strategic review, and will work with UK management to appropriately reposition its business mix and structure for the changed economic environment and improve returns.”

Commenting, Mr Hosie said:

“NAB’s decision underlines the damaging uncertainty that the UK Government’s austerity programme is causing for business and investment.

“After the Chancellor’s baseless scaremongering over the independence referendum, the reality is that it is UK economic policy that is undermining inward investment and recovery. It is vital that Scottish jobs are not threatened because of Westminster’s economic incompetence, and Clydesdale Bank workers need urgent assurances that their positions are safe.

“This is further evidence that the damage to Scotland’s economy is coming from the disastrous policies of the Tory/Lib Dem Westminster government. This simply underlines the urgent need for the UK Government to change course and inject demand into the economy to fuel growth, similar to the ‘Plan MacB’ approach followed by the Scottish Government.

“But, more than anything else, this makes the case for financial responsibility and independence for Scotland. Scotland’s leading business person and entrepreneur, Jim McColl, has said that many people in business are convinced that a productive and prosperous future for Scotland depends on securing real economic powers for the parliament through constitutional change.

“It is clear that Scotland needs the same financial and economic powers as other nations have, so that we can grow our economy and revenues as the only alternative to a decade or more of Westminster-dictated cuts. We have used the powers we have wisely – we now need the same powers as other countries have in order to secure a more prosperous future.”