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Tories must ‘call time’ on a decade of failed austerity cuts, says SNP

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The SNP has said Chancellor Philip Hammond must use the forthcoming UK budget to “call time” on a decade of failed austerity cuts – as the UK marks ten years since the financial crisis.

Kirsty Blackman MP, SNP Economy spokesperson, said millions of families had suffered “years of pain” and are still being made to pay a “heavy price” as a result of “self-defeating” Tory and Labour cuts.

Speaking at a rally outside the Bank of England on Saturday, with civil society groups including Positive Money, Christian Aid, Unite, and War on Want, the SNP MP for Aberdeen North warned UK government austerity cuts had caused “self-inflicted” harm to the economy – and left the whole country poorer and worse off.

The SNP is calling on the UK government to admit failure and “consign austerity to the dustbin”, replacing Tory plans for further cuts with a programme of investment to boost economic growth – and ditching plans for a hard Brexit, which would cause further economic devastation.

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Commenting, Kirsty Blackman MP said: “A decade on from the financial crash it is clearer than ever – austerity has failed, and failed dismally.

“The UK government must use the budget to finally call time on a decade of cuts, which have left the whole country poorer and worse off.

“It is utterly unacceptable that, ten years since the financial crisis, millions of families are still being made to pay a heavy price as a result of self-defeating Tory and Labour cuts.

“It is time for the UK government to admit failure and consign austerity to the dustbin. These right-wing ideological cuts have caused self-inflicted harm to the economy – holding back growth, slashing real wages, damaging public services, and causing years of unnecessary pain to families.

“As we face another impending crisis, the Tories must ditch their plans for a hard Brexit to help avoid a new economic crash and prevent further devastation to jobs and prosperity.

“The Chancellor has a responsibility to the whole of the UK to ensure that we replace the Tories’ self-defeating austerity cuts with a programme of investment that boosts growth, and to listen to his own warnings on Brexit – by ruling out plans to leave the EU single market and customs union.

“Families have already suffered from years of Tory failure, with real wages now around £800 lower than they were before the crash. It would be beyond reckless for the UK government to now drag us off the Brexit cliff edge – causing further decades of harm to the economy, jobs and prosperity.

“The UK government’s own analysis shows Tory and Labour plans for a hard Brexit could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cut Scottish GDP by up to 9% – costing Scotland £12.7billion a year, the equivalent of £2,300 for every person in the country.

“Only by ending Tory austerity, and preventing an extreme Brexit, can we start to build an economy that works in the interests of the majority – and that is what the SNP will continue to press for.”

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