The reality behind the rhetoric

   

Labour today said the SNP’s first year in government had been a year of broken promises and spending cuts by Alex Salmond’s government.

Labour pointed to £686 million of SNP election promises ditched in the last twelve months a further £933 million cut from funding promises and £ 1.114 billion of cuts to existing programmes – a total of £2.7billion of ditched spending promises and real terms cuts – as proof that the SNP had let down the people of Scotland in the last year by over promising and under delivering.

Labour’s Wendy Alexander said: “The SNP administration has been a big let down. All we’ve seen are some populist policies that make a good headline but under closer examination they are decidedly lightweight.

“When it comes to the big issues it’s been a year of ditched promises, twelve months of under funded pledges and real cuts to existing programmes.

“The SNP may talk up their performance in government but the facts don’t lie.

“Last May the SNP made a lot of promises. It all sounded so plausible but it’s clear a year on that they have failed to keep their word and failed to do what they said they would do twelve months ago.

“Along the way they’ve ditched the promises they solemnly made to dump student debt, to reduce class sizes to 18, to give first time buyers a £2000 grant, to promise two hours PE and school sports and continue to rebuild Scotland’s schools. But they didn’t just ditch promises; they’ve made huge cuts in their commitments to expanding nursery provision, drug rehabilitation, support for carers and fully funded cuts in local taxation.

“Real cuts in spending in public services are starting to be seen across Scotland. All because the SNP over promised last May and because they couldn’t make their sums add up.

“The SNP boast that the last year has shown what the SNP can do for the people of Scotland. They should tell that to the people of Aberdeen facing school closures and £27m in cuts to vital local services; to the teachers in Renfrewshire angry at the budget cuts that will affect primary, secondary and special schools; the communities in Ross-shire that will lose five libraries because of council cuts; and the mothers in Edinburgh who protested against the decision to close half the city’s crèches.

“It’s time the government took its his head out of the sand and admitted responsibility for these cuts and broken promises.

“The SNP said we were scaremongering – they were wrong and we were right. We are only just beginning to see the real anger in Scotland’s communities about the scale of the cuts caused by the SNP government’s policies. Many wanted to give the new administration the benefit of the doubt but now they are beginning to ask why they are not delivering what they promised they would do.

“It’s time Alex Salmond recognised that the people of Scotland expect his government to concentrate on the real issues that matter to them. Instead of the posturing on issues out with his remit like defence and appeals to foreign governments he should reflect on how his government has let down the people of Scotland in the last year.”

Labour’s shadow finance spokesperson Iain Gray said: “A year ago we warned that there was a funding black hole in the SNP’s spending plans. We said the SNP had over promised. Now it’s clear we were right and it’s the people of Scotland who are suffering the consequences.

“The SNP promised to spend far more money than they knew they would have. A year on, to make their budget balance, they have had to ditch promises, cutback on others, and cut existing programmes completely – passing the buck to local government and the voluntary sector instead of shouldering responsibility for their own spending decisions. 

“The SNP also promised to make economic growth their priority.  We said that their budget failed to invest in Scotland’s future prosperity and we were right.  So far they have cancelled the rail link to Edinburgh Airport, refused to support direct air routes to Scotland, rejected calls to invest in Scotland’s digital infrastructure, ended adult modern apprenticeships in sectors like IT, Hospitality and Tourism and pressed ahead with plans to make Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.

“This weekend there will no doubt be much self congratulation at the SNP conference. But when it comes to the three SNP flagship policies last May the SNP haven’t got much to crow about. Their local income tax plans fool no one and are unworkable, their plans for a Scottish Futures Trust to replace PPP are half baked and their pledge to dump student debt has been ditched.”

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