£98 billion fiscal stimulus needed to protect jobs and incomes

The SNP has called for the UK government to introduce a five-point plan to kickstart an investment-led recovery at the Budget next week – warning the Chancellor not to “pull the rug out” from underneath the economy when it needs maximum investment.

With nine days until the UK Budget, Ian Blackford MP has written to Rishi Sunak to urge him to ditch plans for a return to Tory austerity cuts and instead deliver a major fiscal stimulus of at least £98billion, the equivalent of five per cent of GDP, to prevent a prolonged downturn and mass unemployment.

The SNP Westminster Leader said it was increasingly clear that “Scotland faces a choice of two futures” with the long-term damage of Brexit and Tory cuts at Westminster or the opportunity to protect Scotland’s place in Europe and build a strong, fair and green recovery as an independent country.

Ahead of the Budget, the SNP is calling for the Chancellor to introduce five key measures:

  1. A £98billion fiscal stimulus to kick-start an investment-led recovery – with investment focused on creating jobs, boosting incomes and a green recovery.
  2. Extend the furlough scheme and plug the gaps in support – including a package for the three million people who have been completely excluded for a year.
  3. Tackle child poverty and boost household incomes – by matching the Scottish Child Payment across the UK, ditching the Tory public sector pay freeze, making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extending it to legacy benefits.
  4. Long-term investment for the NHS – matching the Scottish Government’s £500 ‘Thank you’ payment, delivering a pay rise for health and care staff, and increasing NHS funding to the higher level per head in Scotland – delivering an extra £35billion for NHS England and £4billion for NHS Scotland in Barnett consequentials.
  5. A multi-billion Brexit compensation package for Scotland – mitigating the damage done by Boris Johnson’s deal and following the EU’s €1.05billion for Ireland.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

“The Chancellor must not pull the rug out from underneath the economy by threatening a return to Tory austerity cuts – when we need maximum investment to kickstart the recovery.

“The Tories must ditch their damaging plans for a public sector pay freeze and cuts to Universal Credit, and instead deliver a major fiscal stimulus of at least £98billion to protect jobs, boost household incomes and secure an investment-led recovery.

“The UK economy has suffered a record slump, redundancies are at a record high, child poverty is rising, and there are 800,000 fewer people in work than a year ago. We cannot afford a repeat of the Thatcher years – when the Tories left people on the scrap by failing to act.

“It is clear that Scotland faces a choice of two futures – the long-term damage of Brexit and Tory austerity cuts under the broken Westminster system, or the opportunity to protect our place in Europe and build a strong, fair and green recovery as an independent country.

“The issue at the heart of the Scottish election in May will be this: who has the right to decide what sort of country we should be after the pandemic – the people of Scotland or Boris Johnson? Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”

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