South Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has condemned the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement – which drove home the fact that Brexit and continuing austerity will hit Dumfriesshire’s poorest families hardest.
Philip Hammond revealed the staggering level of borrowing needed to fill the Brexit blackhole in government finances and failed to halt the Tories’ austerity onslaught – policies that have proven so damaging to families and communities throughout the South of Scotland.
The Chancellor announced a rise in insurance premiums which will mean rising costs for hard pressed families. The Autumn Statement came alongside forecasts predicting consumers will be squeezed by the rising cost of exports due to a weak pound caused by Brexit – which will hit family budgets in supermarkets and shops across Dumfriesshire.
The retailer, Mothercare, and former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King have both warned this week of expected price rises of around 5% in children’s clothes and groceries due to Brexit.
Ms McAlpine, who convenes the Scottish Parliament’s European committee, said:
“The Chancellor has just proved that this UK government simply does not care for working families – with the full impact of Brexit yet to come.
“We are already seeing the impact of leaving the EU hitting consumers, with figures showing that the rising cost of imports due to a fall in the value of Sterling will cause prices of products to rise in our supermarkets and shops – as industry leaders have warned in recent weeks. Insurance premiums are also on the rise – yet another UK government policy that will hit the poorest hardest.
“The Chancellor has completely failed to protect those on low incomes – continuing with the failed austerity onslaught that has been deeply damaging to families and communities across the South of Scotland. Think-tanks and charities have rightly condemned this, with lower earnings, benefit cuts and higher costs providing a bleak outlook for people – and this is before the full impact of Brexit is felt.
“We already know that Brexit could cost up to 80,000 jobs in Scotland and take £11.2 billion from our economy every year – and the Chancellor has not done enough to help prevent this happening, or to fill the forecasted £220 billion Brexit black hole.
“Piecemeal offerings from Philip Hammond have been more than offset by the deeply damaging impact of this Tory government’s policies – and people across Dumfriesshire will be feeling the effects of the Tories’ regressive policies for a long time to come.”