Austerity measures have slashed household savings, warns Labour

Working people in Scotland are being failed by the economy after a near decade of austerity under the UK Government, Scottish Labour has claimed.

Analysis by the party suggests household savings in the country have fallen by around 60% since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

It shows households had an average of £3,840.41 in the bank in 2010 – but £1,517.31 by 2017.

James Kelly
James Kelly has condemned the Tory UK Government’s economic policies (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament/PA)

Labour said the figures are an indication of a broken economy under the Tories.

The party’s finance spokesman James Kelly said: “The Tories came to power promising a long-term economic plan – but the impact of a disastrous near decade of austerity has been to shrink savings for families in Scotland.

“The Tories used to try and compare our complex economy to a household budget to justify their crusade to shrink the state – but instead all they managed to do was to shrink household budgets themselves.

“This is as a result of a cost of living crisis fuelled by stagnant wages and personal debt. All the while the incomes of the super wealthy have soared because of tax cuts at the top.

“Labour will make our economy work for the many, not just a privileged few, by investing in our people communities and public services.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government’s significant powers now include tax-raising and deciding how to allocate funding between public services.

“At Budget, we reiterated our commitment to the people of Scotland by increasing the Scottish Government’s budget by £950 million.

“By increasing the National Living Wage from April 2019 the UK Government gave 128,000 workers a pay rise, and the increase in personal allowance has helped millions across the UK keep more of what they earn.”

SNP MSP Tom Arthur said: “Unnecessary Tory cuts have held back our economy, damaged public services, and hammered the incomes of millions of Scots by squeezing family budgets.

“Whilst Labour and the Tories work hand-in-hand to slash household budgets and force more austerity on the UK, the SNP are helping people with the cost of living – whether that’s through free prescriptions for everyone, increased carers’ allowance, Best Start grants for parents on low incomes and a range of other measures to give a helping hand.

“We’ve also made income tax fairer – meaning more people are paying less than they would if they lived south of the border, and helped ensure that average council tax bills are £400 a year lower in Scotland.”

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