Amid increasing warnings that public services south of the border are on the brink of collapse, the Paisley’s MSP is warning that further years of austerity is all that is on offer from the anti-independence parties.
Former Tory Health Minister Stephen Dorrell warned that the NHS in England could collapse within five years due to a lack of resources if it does not receive a substantial funding increase. Yet despite these warnings, senior Tories are advising that the ring-fencing around the NHS budget in England should be removed after 2015.
Meanwhile, the Local Government Association which represents local authorities in England warned that a funding gap of £5.8 billion over the next two years is threatening severe cuts to frontline services.
With cuts in public services south of the border having a knock-on effect on Scotland’s devolved budget, further years of austerity would only increase the pressure on Scotland’s public finances.
Commenting, George said, “Those giving the warnings have been shouting from the roof-tops, but no surprises, their cries have fallen on deaf ears around Westminster. We currently have a situation where no party south of the border is giving any inkling that ‘Project Austerity’ may be reversed, it’s almost a race to the bottom to see who can cut the most.
‘The current funding system ensures that those Westminster cuts are passed on to people in Scotland despite being utterly at odds with the priorities of people in Scotland. George Osborne has already made clear that he is signed up to a further £25 billion of cuts and it was recently revealed that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of public sector jobs are in the firing line.
‘The choice is becoming all too clear, vote No and face years of cuts at the hands of either Tory or Labour, with the Lib Dems happy to support which everyone needs them. Austerity is an obsession for Westminster, however we in Scotland do not share this obsession. We want a government we voted for, looking after the priorities of the people of Scotland.
‘Scotland is a wealthy country – generating more tax per head than the UK as a whole in every single one of the last 33 years, and we are in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. We can more than afford to be independent, and these damaging Westminster decisions show why we should and must vote Yes.
‘With a Yes vote in September we can make our own choices on tax and spending, and will gain the tools we need to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country.”