Cuts are 'self-defeating' says FM

Sturgeon attacks Osborne’s ‘social and economic damage’

First Minister Surgeon in parlFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon used an address to business leaders tonight to criticise the UK Government’s latest round of budget cuts, labelling them as “self-defeating”.

Ms Sturgeon delivering the keynote speech at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry annual forum in St Andrews, said the cuts will create ‘social and economic damage’ and cannot be justified.

She claimed that Chancellor George Osborne’s budget statement failed to explain a £3.5 billion planned cut in public spending across the UK, when Scotland already faces a real-terms reduction of over £1 billion to the block grant by 2019-20.

She said: “The Chancellor confirmed yesterday that Scotland’s block grant will be reduced by a billion pounds in real terms over the next four years.

“Our capital budget will be lower in cash terms in 2019 than it was in 2010. And of course many people – particularly disabled people receiving personal independence payments – now face the prospect of significant cuts to their income.

“Those cuts are deeply damaging in themselves. But they also show that many of the UK Government’s cuts have been self-defeating.

“The Chancellor’s excuse for these needless and ideological cuts is because he will once again miss his growth and deficit reduction targets for the years ahead – targets he is missing because of those cuts.

“We have consistently demonstrated that the UK’s deficit and debt can be brought down more slowly, and without the social and economic damage that the Chancellor’s plans will cause, through strategic investment in infrastructure, skills and education to further boost the economy and improve productivity.

“Poor productivity undermines tax revenues, public services and our overall quality of life. Therefore it is vital to encourage and strengthen productivity through investment, innovation, internationalisation and inclusive growth – not repress and diminish it by slashing budgets .

“This is the best way to create a thriving economy, a sustainable tax base, and a fairer, more prosperous society. This is the Scottish alternative.”

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