SNP attempts to outflank Labour only threatens devastating return to see saw economics


Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, is to warn that the SNP policy to borrow billions of pounds extra to fund day to day services risks the reintroduction of violent see saw economics that had devastating impacts in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Speaking to an audience in St. Andrews this evening Willie Rennie will urge voters to reject the nationalists' policy that will "lumber future generations with a mountain of debt."

Mr Rennie will say:

"The recovery and growth in the UK economy are linked to the decision of the Liberal Democrats to put the national interest first and to form a stable government capable of tackling the crisis we inherited.

“But that progress is at risk from all the other parties.

“Labour still show that they have not learned the lessons of their mistakes. They let the banks run wild, allowed consumer debt to spiral to one and a half trillion pounds and let national borrowing become so high it placed the economy at massive risk when the banking crisis hit. Their plans are still to borrow more than we can afford, putting us all at risk again. You cannot trust Labour with the economy.

“The Conservatives are set upon a lurch to the right that will give us permanent austerity – slashing jobs in the NHS, schools and essential public services. They want to shrink the state to reach an ideological destination shared with the Tea Party in the USA.

“But now we face an additional risk with the SNP. We heard from Nicola Sturgeon last week.

“Whilst the NHS was further plunged into crisis she chose to give a lecture in London about borrowing even more.

“At that lecture she criticised Labour's reckless borrowing plans for being austere.  Austere! The SNP want to go even further than Labour. They want to borrow more posing an even greater threat to our recovering economy.

“Just imagine for one second how ridiculous this would become. Labour, borrowing more to outflank the SNP. The SNP, borrowing even more to outflank Labour.

“You want a 1000 extra nurses? The other party will give you 1000 more. We can just throw it on the credit card. And once borrowing rates go up as our credit rating goes down, we'll resort to the Wonga equivalent of money markets.

“All the while the Conservatives will pledge to cut even further, posing an ever greater risk to public services in a bid to bounce the see saw back to their side of the spectrum.

“Just imagine the outbidding war it would spur. It would be like some kind of the Thick of It satire if it weren’t so serious.

“Nicola Sturgeon rejects sensible proposals to reduce the deficit and bring down the nation's debt. Her proposals would use debt to fund day to day services.

“It’s little wonder her Deputy Leader refused to say if this would be funded through cuts to spending or increased taxes. Once you look at the detail it is not an attractive proposal.

“Just as well she is legally required to balance Scotland's budget every year. Imagine the state of our finances if she was allowed to let rip the way she wants for the UK Government.

“The SNP want to lumber future generations with a mountain of debt. That's not progressive.

“Thanks to the Liberal Democrats employment is at the highest level in the whole of our history, unemployment is falling, wages are rising faster than inflation and we have joined the fastest growing economies in the G7.

“The national interest demanded a government that could tackle the crisis and we delivered.

“Liberal Democrats saw the national interest and responded. Putting national interest before party interest and staying the course when others repeatedly predicted we did not have the staying power.

“We took responsibility for Britain’s future at one of the most difficult times in our nation’s economic history.

“The recovery wasn’t automatic. Look around Europe to see that.

“We took the necessary steps to balance the books to give confidence to the markets that Britain was a good place to do business.  And we provided the conditions for business to generate the jobs and taxes to pay for the public services we all value.  We reshaped that economy to make it sustainable, environmental and innovative.

“Anchoring the economy in the centre ground is how we do it.

“This economic centre ground argument is not new for Liberals and Liberal Democrats.

“David Steel wrote in his book A House Divided on the 1978 Lib-Lab pact: “Each swing of the political pendulum threatens to take the country on yet more violently diverse directions to left and right…The political see-saw crashes up and down ever more violently to our discomfort.”

“With the Tories at one end and with the SNP and Labour at the other.

“The Liberal centre ground prevents the see saw crashing up and down. It provides the stability needed to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.

“Anchoring the economy in the centre ground, we can set out in front an inspiring future for a fairer society where there is opportunity for everyone.”


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