NICOLA Sturgeon has dismissed Boris Johnson’s keynote speech on the economic recovery as a rehash of old spending plans that left her "extremely underwhelmed".

The First Minister said the £5billion investment in roads and other building projects announced by Mr Johnson was “simply shuffling around money already in the system”.

She said it did not come close to the scale of the economic challenge facing the country as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

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Speaking in the West Midlands, the Prime Minister said the UK could “build, build, build” its way out of the looming recession with infrastructure schemes and planning reforms. 

He said: “We must work fast, because we’ve already seen the vertiginous drop in GDP, and we know that people are worried about their jobs and their businesses.

“And we’re waiting as if between the flash of lightning and the thunderclap, with our hearts in our mouths, for the full economic reverberations to appear.”

He said there would be no return to the austerity seen in the wake of the 2008/09 crash, saying the Government woas “not going to cheese-pare our way out of trouble”.

He compared the scheme to President Roosevelt’s New Deal in the US in the 1930s to help move on from the Great Depression. 

However Ms Sturgeon and others said £5bn fell far short of that ambitious programme.

At the daily briefing, the First Minister said:  “I hope what the Prime Minister has announced today if the start of a conversation about fiscal stimulus and not the end of that conversation.

“I, to put it mildly, am extremely underwhelmed by what has been announced this morning.

“We can often judge the scale of fiscal announcements from the UK Government by what we expect then to see in [Barnett funding formula] consequentials to devolved administrations.

“I hope I’m wrong [about this] but our expectation is there will be no additional consequentials from the Prime Minister’s announcement this morning for Scotland or the other devolved administrations.

“We may see a reprofiling of consequentials we are already expecting, but we are certainly not expecting any, certainly not any significant, additional consequentials, and that tells its own story. What that says is that this is not new money. 

“This is simply shuffling around money that was already in the system. I don’t think that is commensurate with the scale of the challenge which we face.”

The Scottish Government this week called for the UK Government to match German levels of investment in the recovery and spend £80bn to get the economy back on track.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The Prime Minister has taken to comparing himself, or allowing himself to be compared, with Franklin D Roosevelt and this has been described as a New Deal.

“The New Deal under FDR was worth around 40 per cent of US GDP at the time.

“What Germany has announced right now in terms of its stimulus is worth 4% of German GDP.

“What the Prime Minister announced this morning, and it’s not even money, would be less than half a per cent of UK GDP. It’s simply not on the scale that is required.

“So I hope we can have a discussion based on the proposals the Scotish Government published yesterday that would be much more up to the scale of the challenge we face.

“The Scottish Government will also take very seriously our responsibility to maximise our own resources and levers to help with the challenge that lies ahead.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady added: “We face the biggest economic crisis in a generation. Without big fast action, millions face the misery of unemployment. 

“Today’s announcements from the prime minister fall far short of what is needed.”

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Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone added: “We are all desperate for hope. We need reassuring that our country has the leadership it needs to help our economy recover. 

“The Prime Minister's speech gave no such reassurance.

"Instead of committing to a salary review for key workers, Mr Johnson suggested we clap for "our wealth creators, our capitalists, our financiers". 

"I want a Prime Minister that understands the struggle most people are going through right now. I want a Prime Minister that can give a detailed plan, not just a Trump-esque campaign speech.

"We need detailed action plans, not rhetoric. Today's speech entailed no details, no actual plan, just word vomit. We all deserve so much better that."