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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tory plans are 'austerity of choice, not necessity'

Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru MPs have confirmed they will this vote against the Conservative Government's Charter for Budget Responsibility. Plaid's Treasury spokesperson Jonathan Edwards has labelled the Charter as a battering ram to justify the Conservatives' ideological obsession with shrinking the state but warned Labour MPs against abstaining rather than opposing the Charter. Saying that any Labour MP intending to abstain on this Charter "will only further highlight the chaos and disunity within their party, and betray their most vulnerable constituents set to be hit by these reckless and heartless economic plans."

SNP say their 55 MPs have been consistently opposed to these plans and the party also confirm that all SNP MPs will vote against George Osborne’s "unnecessary ideologically driven cuts to public spending that will hit families and communities." There does remain confusion over whether all Labour MPs will oppose Tory austerity. Attacking the Labour leadership, Jonathan Edwards said: "I was baffled that the new Labour Leadership having been elected on an anti-austerity ticket had fallen in line behind the Tories at the first hurdle."

Commenting Stewart Hosie SNP Deputy Leader and Economy spokesperson said: "No-one could have been in any doubt about the intention of this Government when the Charter for Budget Responsibility Summer Update was published. It was to target a surplus by 2019/20 and continue to run a surplus thereafter. It was to prevent investment in infrastructure projects and it was to make ordinary people in the real world pay the price of these ideological choices. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed that the austerity policies which will drive the surplus put a disproportionate burden on the most disadvantaged families.

"Cutting £40 billion more than is necessary to run a balanced current budget – all of it paid for by punishing the poorest and stripping the capital budget by another £5 billion. This is austerity of choice not of necessity. It is right wing Tory ideology and it is wrong." Mr Hosie added.

Also speaking ahead of the debate, Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson Jonathan Edwards "The Charter has been labelled economically illiterate by most serious economists as it forces the Treasury to base fiscal policy on achieving an overall surplus as the over-riding aim. This would mean the Treasury having to legally achieve a surplus each year resulting in ad hoc decisions to increase taxes or reduce spending. An annual surplus has been achieved less than twenty times in the last sixty years."

"Such a reckless approach to fiscal policy increases the risk of economic recession. Instead of a fiscal straight jacket, the Treasury should have as much flexibility as possible to respond to changing global events." Mr Edwards added.