The Conservative Party conference opens on Sunday.
01 October 2022
The Prime Minister has no mandate to impose greater austerity in Scotland, the SNP’s Westminster leader has said.
Ian Blackford said that “the worst of this Truss government is yet to come” as the Conservatives begin their conference on Sunday.
His comments come after a key ally of the Prime Minister, Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke, signalled ministers are looking to shrink the overall size of the state alongside falling tax rates.
Mr Clarke told The Times: “My big concern in politics is that western Europe is just living in a fool’s paradise whereby we can be ever less productive relative to our peers, and yet still enjoy a very large welfare state and persist in thinking that the two are somehow compatible over the medium to long term. They’re not.”
He added: “I think it is important that we look at a state which is extremely large, and look at how we can make sure that it is in full alignment with a lower tax economy.”
The Conservative Party Conference opens in Birmingham on Sunday, the first with Ms Truss as Prime Minister.
Mr Blackford said: “It’s been a disastrous first few weeks of her premiership but if the rhetoric from the Tories is to be believed, the worst of this Truss government is yet to come.
“People are already terrified to open their bills as energy prices soar and inflation rockets. As the Tories gather in Birmingham today, the public will be petrified to know what comes next from this heartless UK government.
“This conference also marks a significant challenge for the Scottish Tories. It will be telling to see who actually has the brass neck to show up and support this disastrous UK government after a turbulent few weeks in office.
“Liz Truss has no mandate to impose greater austerity in Scotland. And an ideologically-driven race to squeeze the poorest even harder will only turn more people in Scotland to back a fairer, greener, more equal future as an independent country.”
A Treasury spokesman said: “Our priority is to grow the economy and raise living standards for everyone.
“We have stepped in with an unprecedented intervention on energy bills to hold costs down for households and businesses this winter, while our Growth Plan will ignite that growth across the UK.
“The Chancellor will set out the Government’s Medium Term Fiscal Plan alongside an OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecast on November 23, which will build on the commitment to get debt falling as a share of GDP in the medium term.”