THE Scottish Nationalists came under fire yesterday after abstaining on a Tory tax proposal at Westminster.
As the finance Bill reached its final stages in Parliament, the SNP group of MPs was whipped to not vote against it.
The party justified its position on the basis that the legislation would allow emergency services in Scotland to claim VAT exemptions.
But Labour MP Ian Murray said it was “baffling” that the SNP “did not take the opportunity” to voice opposition to Tory austerity.
“SNP MPs claimed they were going to Westminster to stand up for Scotland, not sit on their hands,” Mr Murray said.
“Their abstention is an endorsement of this Tory Budget. Only Labour now stands opposed to Tory austerity.”
SNP parliamentarian Kirsty Blackman hit back, saying Labour had voted against her party’s “progressive Budget” at Holyrood.
“Ian Murray will be aware that last night’s finance Bill sets rates of, and exemptions from, taxes, and not governmental spend,” she told the Star.
“The tax Bill contained provisions for Scottish police and fire to be able to reclaim VAT, which SNP MPs have been relentlessly campaigning on and secured, and which Ian Murray voted against.”
Ms Blackman said the SNP would “continue to oppose and vote against ruthless Tory cuts [hitting] the most vulnerable people in society.”
She also accused Labour of initiating the “current era of austerity” under Gordon Brown’s premiership, adding: “We have not voted for it and never will.”
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