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Austerity agenda hits Scotland hard

Westminster cuts public services spending by £1,800 per person over the decade

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has condemned the austerity agenda outlined in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and the “devastating impact” it will have on people right across the country.

Analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) shows that Westminster funding for day-to-day public services – such as justice, social care, education and public sector pay - is forecast to fall by £94 billion in real-terms between 2009-10 and 2019-20, the equivalent of around £1,800 per head.

This will take UK spending on public services as a share of our economy to the lowest level in over 80 years.

The OBR also highlighted that despite the cuts of the past few years, around 60 per cent of the total planned cuts are still to come over the course of the next UK Parliament.

Compared to planned levels of spending in 2014-15 on public services, the Scottish Government estimates Scotland’s share of the cumulative real-terms cuts to come over the next five years the Scottish Government estimated to be around £15 billion. This excludes the cuts planned for welfare services across the UK.

Those on the lowest incomes will be amongst the most affected by the Chancellor’s decisions. Analysis from the Treasury published as part of the Autumn Statement shows that those with household income in the lowest 20 per cent are bearing a greater than average burden of the ongoing austerity programme.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Once again the Chancellor has chosen cuts over services – a decision which will continue to deepen the devastating impact that is being felt in communities across Scotland. The cuts to services brought in by the Chancellor between 2009-10 and 2019-20 will be worth around £1,800 per person.

“It is wholly unacceptable that the UK Government, rather than improving services for the public they serve, is driving forward a damaging and destructive austerity agenda slashing government spending as a proportion of national income to levels last experienced in the 1930s.

“The Chancellor had the opportunity with this statement to protect the public services that people rely on but yet again that opportunity has been squandered.

“Instead we know that the cumulative impact of the cuts from 2014-15 levels could amount to around £15 billion in Scotland between now and 2019-20. That is money that could have been spent on the essential services that people rely on.

“Protecting our public services was an issue right at the heart of the referendum debate and it is clear that people from all parts of Scotland and right across the political spectrum hold them dear. This Autumn Statement could not be further removed from the issues that matter to people in Scotland and shows that we are continuing to pay the price for Westminster’s austerity agenda.”

Notes To Editors

Office for Budget Responsibility: Economic & Fiscal Outlook December 2014: Page 6 & 7

Real Resource DEL spending between 2009-10 and 2019-20 is forecast to fall by £94 billion, equivalent to almost £1,800 per head.


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