Strong economy crucial to strong public services - Jo


Scottish Liberal Democrat Business Minister Jo Swinson today said that Labour and SNP economic plans and Tory cuts pose a grave threat to the future funding of the NHS and other public services in Scotland.

Speaking during a visit to a local business, Ardadran Estate, in Cardross, Ms Swinson said that SNP Full Fiscal Autonomy plans backed by Nicola Sturgeon in last night’s TV debate would leave a £40 billion black hole in Scottish finances, as independent research from Fiscal Affairs Scotland also revealed that funding for the NHS in Scotland has lagged behind investment in England on the SNP’s watch.

She went on to argue that that Labour plans to borrow an additional £70bn risk the economy and the Tories' ideological cuts agenda would put already stretched services under massive strain.

Commenting, Jo said:

“You cannot have strong public services without a strong economy. Scottish Liberal Democrat plans to deliver £8bn in NHS funding in England and an extra £800m for Scotland is only possible because we have taken responsible decisions in government and got the economy back on track.

“Yesterday we heard Nicola Sturgeon pledge that SNP MPs would vote for Full Fiscal Autonomy in the first year of a new Parliament. She needs to explain why she backs a plan that would leave a £40 billion black hole in Scottish finances. How on earth would that help us fund our NHS properly?

“When businesses are growing, when more people are in work, we can invest in our NHS and other key services.

“The other parties cannot match our commitment to fund the NHS in Scotland because they cannot pay for it. Labour and the SNP would risk the economy and jobs with their massive borrowing and the Tories will cut, cut and cut again.

“Whether they are borrowing too much or cutting too much, the other parties' economic plans pose a grave threat to the health of our NHS and other key services. We know that the SNP have already fallen behind England and the rest of the UK on investment in our NHS and services are under massive strain. Scotland deserves better than that. 

“You don’t have to choose between a strong economy or strong public services. You can have both, but only with the Liberal Democrats.”

Further information:

1) The latest Fiscal Affairs Bulletin from Fiscal Affairs Scotland showed that health spending in Scotland between 09/10 and 13/14 increased by 7% in cash terms. Over the same period, health spending across the UK as a whole increased by 11%.

2)  In his speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Aberdeen in March, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie confirmed Scottish Liberal Democrats would provide NHS services in Scotland with an additional £800m annual investment by 2020.

This extra funding would be paid for from the Barnett consequentials from Lib Dem plans for an additional £8bn in NHS funding in other parts of the UK. Details of how this would be funded can be found at http://www.libdems.org.uk/nhs-funding-increase-8bn


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