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Labour leader attacks report

Commission proposes a ‘wasted decade’, says Leonard

Richard Leonard at Penicuik

Richard Leonard: ‘commission’s proposals will lead to more austerity’ (photo by Terry Murden)


 

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard today accused the SNP’s blueprint producers of promoting an austerity agenda that will lead to a ‘wasted decade’.

Mr Leonard said those behind the report, which was published 10 days ago, operated as a “Cuts Commission” rather than a Growth Commission.

He said the Commission claims to offer a “clear-sighted analysis of the prospectus for independence” but is “a prospectus based on a hard decade of public spending contraction, and even deeper cuts than those implemented by George Osborne in order to drive down the public sector deficit.

“It was billed as the Growth Commission, but in reality it is a cuts commission with a vision of Scotland that people do not want,” he told an audience in Glasgow.

“A vision of another wasted decade, with people living, surviving, many struggling under the dogma of a deficit reduction plan.”

He said it is based on a prospectus for independence “built not on sovereignty regained but more accurately on sovereignty lost.

“Sovereignty lost over interest rate policy, mortgage rate policy, exchange rate policy, inflation policy money supply policy and corporation tax policy.

“And it is based on an economic model which relies heavily on foreign direct investment, on large multinational corporations and labour market ‘flexicurity’. “

Supporters of the report said Mr Leonard is mis-reading or misrepresenting its proposals.

Tommy Sheppard for the SNP accused the Labour party of engaging in “playground antics”. He said: “This report says Scotland should aim to get its deficit into manageable proportions through economic growth and stimulus.

“It suggests more money will be made available for public services  over and above the rate of inflation for each of the years the report covers.

“To describe it as an austerity agenda is simply ridiculous.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat Tavish Scott said: “Richard Leonard is right to say that that an independent Scotland would have less money to spend on public services but he’s silent on his own party’s collaboration with the Tories over Brexit.

“A hard Brexit will cost every Scot thousands of pounds a year and billions in lost tax revenue. If Richard Leonard is serious abour preserving public services he should listen to the overwhelming majority of Labour party members and push for a referendum on the final deal and an exit from Brexit.”

 



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