Whiteford hits out at Budget Statement

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has hit out at George Osborne’s Budget Statement this month.

The SNP MP has suggested that an independent Scotland could put in place “building blocks for real economic recovery”, but has welcomed a successful campaign to see bingo duty reduced.

Commenting on George Osborne’s Budget delivered to the House of Commons yesterday, Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said: “Chancellor George Osborne’s attempts to use the Budget Statement as a vindication for four years of austerity crumbled today when the numbers he published proved he has failed on every single one of the tests which he set for himself.

“That debt would begin to fall as a share of GDP by 2014/15, that the current account should be in balance by 2015/16 and that public sector net borrowing would fall to £20 billion in the same year.

“Unfortunately for the Chancellor, he was forced to report that debt will not begin to fall as a share of GDP until 2017/18 the current account will not be in the black until 2017/18 and the Public Sector Net borrowing will not be £20 billion in 2015/16 – it will be much a higher £68 billion.

“The budget sees no let up in the UK Government’s austerity programme. The Tory / Liberal coalition are still trying to balance the books on the back of the poor.

“There is no real help for ordinary families who won’t have £15,000 to save in an ISA and no understanding from this Government about how difficult things really are.

“And while the Tory Backbenchers may have waved their order papers today – they will pay the price for yet more Tory austerity at the ballot box.

“This is the last budget before September’s Scottish Independence Referendum and with a Yes vote future Scottish budgets will put in place the building blocks for real economic recovery.”

In last week’s Budget Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer also reduced the duty on bingo clubs from 20% to 10%, meaning that almost 400 bingo clubs across the United Kingdom can now fulfil a commitment to invest in new premises, modernisation, and jobs.

The Boost Bingo campaign, run by the Bingo Association, had gathered more than 300,000 petition signatures calling for the Government to reduce the duty, supported by Dr Whiteford.

Commenting on the successful campaign, she said: “I was delighted to support the Boost Bingo campaign in Banff and Buchan. Bingo brings adults of all ages together to socialise in a lively and fun environment, and I am fully behind this campaign.

“I am pleased it has achieved a result for my constituents.”

Miles Baron, chief executive of the Bingo Association, said: “This is brilliant news! Bingo operators and bingo players are delighted that the Government has recognised the importance of bingo clubs in hundreds of communities across Britain.

“I’m sure the constituents of Banff and Buchan who enjoy a visit to their local bingo club will be delighted to hear the game they love has received the boost they campaigned so hard for.

“Bingo operators identified a programme of investment that would be freed up by the tax reduction.

“Now that’s happened, I look forward to seeing the investment and modernisation that will take the industry forward,” he added, thanking Dr Whiteford and the Government for listening to players’ concerns.