30 Jun 2014

Amid increasing warnings that public services south of the border are on the brink of collapse, the SNP has warned that further years of austerity is all that is on offer from the anti-independence parties.

Former Tory Health Minister Stephen Dorrell warned that the NHS in England could collapse within five years due to a lack of resources if it does not receive a substantial funding increase. Yet despite these warnings, senior Tories are advising that the ring-fencing around the NHS budget in England should be removed after 2015.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association which represents local authorities in England warned that a funding gap of £5.8 billion over the next two years is threatening severe cuts to frontline services.

With cuts in public services south of the border having a knock-on effect on Scotland’s devolved budget, further years of austerity would only increase the pressure on Scotland’s public finances.

Commenting, SNP MSP John Mason said:

“Despite the warnings being sounded loudly and clearly south of the border, the Westminster parties are still trying to outbid each other on how deeply they can inflict cuts to vital public services.

“The current funding system ensures that those Westminster cuts are passed on to people in Scotland despite being utterly at odds with the priorities of people in Scotland.

“George Osborne has already made clear that he is signed up to a further £25 billion of cuts and it was recently revealed that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of public sector jobs are in the firing line.

“That is the dismal prospect being offered to Scotland by the anti-independence parties – more savage cuts and job losses in order to satisfy Westminster’s damaging obsession with austerity.

“Scotland is a wealthy country – generating more tax per head than the UK as a whole in every single one of the last 33 years, and we are in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. We can more than afford to be independent, and these damaging Westminster decisions show why we should and must vote Yes.

“The determination at Westminster to undermine the public sector simply underlines why we need the chance to make our own choices in Scotland – and make decisions that reflect the policies of people living here.

“With a Yes vote in September we can make our own choices on tax and spending, and will gain the tools we need to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country.”