Budget

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 6 June 2013.

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Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

4. To ask the First Minister what impact the United Kingdom Government’s proposed spending reductions for 2015-16 will have on the Scottish Government’s budget. (S4F-01442)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

We will not know the full impact of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s third budget cuts until 26 June. However, we know that he set a target of a further retrenchment—further austerity—of £11.5 billion from the resource budget in 2015-16. The Scottish Government will continue to press the UK Government to take a different approach and instead outline a clear package of proposals to invest in jobs and growth. I hope that even the Conservative, Liberal and Labour members in this chamber can see the eminent common sense in that switch of policy, as opposed to the continuation of the austerity squeeze from Westminster.

Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

Yesterday, Ernst & Young published its annual foreign and direct investment survey, which shows that Scotland has a “sparkling investment performance” and that

“there is no sign of investors being deterred from coming to Scotland”— by the independence referendum—

“if anything, the reverse appears to be true.”

The First Minister will know that the Institute for Fiscal Studies informed the Finance Committee that by 2018, if we remain in the UK, the standard of living will be lower than it was in 2001. Does he agree that the gains made for Scotland by his Government are now at the mercy of Westminster’s austerity agenda? Shadow chancellor Ed Balls admitted on Monday that it would lead to even deeper cuts should Labour return to power, and Ed Miliband has confirmed today that he would end universal benefits. Does the First Minister agree that the only way to secure prosperity and social justice for Scotland is with independence through a resounding yes vote next year?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I thought that it was a fair calculation that today the words “inward investment” would not be mentioned by either the Conservatives or Labour, or Labour or the Conservatives—whichever way round it is these days.

Johann Lamont and Ruth Davidson have previously said that investors are being scared away from Scotland because of the independence referendum. However, the person who has said that most often is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. A year past November, he said that he knew of investors who were being scared away from Scotland. Now we have the best performance in 15 years—a “sparkling” performance according to Ernst & Young. Perhaps we could get a collective apology from bitter together about its unfounded scaremongering, exposed before the Scottish people.