“Last year I was elected as an SNP MP based on two clear messages. Firstly, that Tory austerity wasn’t working and that the economic recovery was imbalanced. Secondly, that we’d always make sure that Scotland’s voice was heard in Westminster. This news from the Treasury shows why both of those campaign themes are more significant than ever.
We now know the true scale of the Brexit black hole.
Whatever figure you chose to refer to – the additional £122bn in borrowing as a direct result of the vote, growth for next year down to 1.4% instead of 2.2%, public sector debt rising to 90.2 per cent of national income by 2017-18, the forecast for the British economy is bleak.
This comes on top of a recovery that has never really felt like a recovery for those who needed it most. In real terms wages have declined by 10% since the financial crisis of 2008.
But the OBR is predicting that earnings will go down significantly until 2019 and inflation will go up: this means a further big squeeze on incomes.
With the prospect of a budget surplus now thrown into the long grass, the decades of fiscal pain inflicted by the Tories, all the cuts and the lack of investment, were a waste of time. The deliberate political choice of austerity has failed.
This statement signals the utter failure of six year of misguided Tory economic policy. I do however welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal and the broader shift towards investment, even if this is too little too late.
Scotland’s voice now needs to be louder than ever in saying that we should not have to accept these outcomes, because we never wanted Brexit in the first place. Given the clear majority in Scotland that wants to continue to maintain the vital links that we have with Europe, these figures underline the compelling case for charting our own economic path in the single market.”