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Tory cash grab set to wreck services

by Conrad Landin

CUTS of £1.3 billion to Scottish government departments mean there is “no let-up in sight” for austerity north of the border, experts have warned.

The Scottish division of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said that services other than the Scottish NHS and Police Scotland would have to make cuts of more than 10 per cent over just three years.

Meanwhile the new Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the Chancellor had failed to offer a “long-term industrial strategy” to protect Scotland’s troubled employment landscape.

“Scotland’s economy is stagnating, growing three times slower than the rest of the UK,” Mr Leonard said.

“Behind every downgraded economic forecast delivered by the Tories, there are more families suffering, having to get by on insecure work and pensioners unable to heat their homes. This Budget offers no solutions to help the far too many people who are struggling to make ends meet.”

IPPR Scotland director Russell Gunson added: “The cuts facing Scotland are significant and the Scottish Parliament will need to consider carefully how it responds to limit the damage from cuts on this scale to Scotland.”

Scottish TUC general secretary Grahame Smith called on the SNP government to use the devolved administration’s tax and borrowing powers to ensure “the tax breaks offered to the rich this afternoon are not replicated in Scotland.”

“This is necessary to provide the support and investment that the economy and working people so desperately need,” he added.

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