SNP CALLS FOR AN END TO AUSTERITY AGENDA

The SNP’s Treasury spokesperson has called for the Chancellor to change his austerity agenda which is costing jobs and growth.

The move follows warnings from respected former Bank of England officials Howard Davies and Marian Bell that the Chancellor will have to slow his deficit reduction plan. Mr Howard said “The markets recognise that if the economy turns out weaker than expected and you try to compensate for that by tightening even further, then that way madness lies”

Speaking during the Queen’s speech debate on Business and the Economy, the SNP’s Westminster Treasury Spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

“George Osborne needs to change course from his ideologically driven austerity agenda which is costing jobs and growth. The UK Government’s cuts are cutting consumption and choking back any chance of economic growth.

“We are now faced with a double-dip recession, yet there is nothing in this Queen’s speech to compensate for the shrinking demand in the economy the Treasury is creating; nothing to help lending for small to medium enterprises; nothing to tackle high fuel costs and nothing to create jobs and boost capital investment.

“The Scottish Government has consistently made the case for capital investment in ‘shovel-ready’ projects to stimulate growth, yet despite the UK slipping into recession as a result of a fall in construction output, the UK government has ignored these calls.

“As respected economists Howard Davies and Marian Bell warn, we need to adapt the timescale to cut the debt when the growth in the economy is not being achieved.

“This flexible approach is precisely what the SNP called for back in 2010, and if the Chancellor won’t listen to the SNP, perhaps he will take heed of the former Bank of England officials and change tack.

“The Chancellor needs to end his short-sighted austerity approach and take action to boost jobs and growth across the country.”

NOTES Comments from Bank of England officials Howard Davis and Marian Bell, speaking on Sky News, Sunday 13/5/2010:
Marian Bell: “What matters for the markets is that a medium term consolidation plan is in place. I think the speed is perhaps less important.”
Howard Davies: “If the growth rate turns out to be lower than the government expected, then I think that they should accept that, and accept that that means that the deficit is going to be reduced in a longer time period”
“The markets recognize that if the economy turns out weaker than expected and you try to compensate for that by tightening even further, then that way madness lies”