JEREMY Hunt’s autumn statement will impose “a new wave of devastating austerity cuts”, compounding the Tories’ economic mismanagement, the SNP have said.

The Chancellor today set out £30billion on spending cuts - most deferred after the next general election - and around £25bn in short-term tax rises.

He said it would deliver stability and growth and maintain public services. 

It followed Liz Truss’s mini-budget costing the country around £30bn in September, after it alarmed the financial markets and pushed up government borrowing costs.

SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss, the MP for Glasgow Central, said: "The Tories trashed the UK economy - and now they are making people pay the price for their failure with a new wave of painful austerity cuts.

"Independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts and Brexit decline. 

“The Chancellor should have made fairer choices - properly taxing non-doms, banks, share buybacks, and expanding the windfall tax to companies making excess profits - but instead the Tories have chosen to impose devastating cuts to family budgets and public services.

“"The Tories and Labour Party are both in denial about the long-term damage they are causing with Brexit, which is reducing economic growth, lowering real wages, increasing costs, and harming public services. Neither party can be trusted to fix the economy, when they both continue to impose the biggest factor damaging it.”

Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves accused Mr Hunt of having “picked the pockets” of an entire country through a rafte of stealth taxes”, freezing income tax and other thresholds so that millions more people paid higher rates as their wages grew over time.

He was trying to “take the British people for fools,” she told the Commons in her response to the budget.

“In the last hour, the Conservatives have picked the pockets of purses and wallets of the entire country as the Chancellor has deployed a raft of stealth taxes taking billions of pounds from ordinary working people. A Conservative double whammy, that sees frozen tax thresholds and double-digit inflation erode the real value of people’s wages. Just one of those freezes, in the personal allowance, will cost an average earner more than £600.”

She called the statement an “invoice for the economic carnage” created by the Government following the mini-budget, which Mr Hunt reversed with weeks of it being delivered by his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng. 

Ms Reeves said the Government has forced the UK economy into a “doom loop where low growth leads to higher taxes, lower investments and squeezed wages, with the running down of public services”.

She acknowledged the impact of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine but said Britain’s problems started before then.

Harking back to a famously unconvincing plot twist in the US soap Dallas, she said Mr Hunt was using the “Bobby Ewing strategy”, pretending the mini-budget was a “bad dream”.

She said: “The Chancellor and Prime Minister are trying to convince us that Britain faces problems that are nothing to do with them, that the mini-budget – which imposed a Tory mortgage premium, put pensions in peril and trashed our reputation around the world – was all just a bad dream.

“It’s their Bobby Ewing strategy. Downing Street as Dallas. Old cast members return as if nothing has happened, with tangled plotlines to keep the audience.

“But the truth is it has lost all credibility and everyone knows it is long past time that this series was cancelled.

“And the problem for the British people is this: this is not a dream, this is the every day nightmare of Tory Britain.

“The Conservatives would have us believe that they are not responsible for the last 12 years of failure. In doing so they take the British people for fools.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said every single tax rises and spending cut in the budget was down to “the incompetence of the Conservative party”. 

He said: “While Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have trashed our economy and handed ammunition to the nationalists, Douglas Ross has been clapping like a seal on the side-lines. 

“This Conservative chaos will hammer ordinary people and the services they rely on. They should hang their heads in shame. 

“People in Britain need new hope. Scottish Liberal Democrats are ready to play our part in sweeping the Conservatives away and offering new hope for Britain.” 

However Tory MSP Liz Smith said: “The Chancellor has delivered what he promised – an honest, fully-costed and compassionate package to meet the tough economic challenges the country faces in the wake of the global cost-of-living crisis.

“Getting a grip on inflation is his key challenge and I believe these tough but fair measures will do that, by providing stability for the economy and a future growth plan.

 “Despite the huge pressures on the nation’s finances, Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have protected the most vulnerable by uprating benefits in line with inflation, maintaining the pensions triple lock, increasing the national living wage by £1,600 for a full-time worker and providing further targeted support to the poorest households.” 

Scottish Green finance spokesperson Ross Greer said: “In a single speech Jeremy Hunt has evoked the ghost of Christmas past.

“There is nothing compassionate about this Tory government or its economic vision. Hunt has succeeded only in returning the UK to the Victorian era when families were allowed to go hungry, homelessness was rife and poverty caused death and devastation.

“This Westminster Budget is once again about the haves and the have nots, as another Tory government and its Scrooge new Chancellor shamelessly look to protect their rich mates and fill their own coffers to make up for their mishandling of the economy.

“The UK remains a tax haven for the super-wealthy and corporations when they should be the ones bearing the brunt of these Tory misadventures. Instead we are seeing stealth and outright cuts to benefits, wages and essential public services. 

“Just today the OBR showed the UK is already in recession and that the economy is on course to shrink by 1.4% next year. By 2024 they tell us unemployment will rise to 4.9% because of this shambles at Westminster. 

“This will have a terrible impact on Scotland and our public finances, no matter what the Tories try to claim. Tory triggered inflation has already wiped £1.7bn off the Scottish Budget this year alone. 

“Our funding needs to be inflation-proofed at absolute minimum and then increased in real terms so that we can properly support the most vulnerable through this Tory crisis.

"Hunt’s budget has confirmed once again though that only with the powers of independence will we be able to get ourselves out of this nightmare of Westminster’s making. Until then, we will do everything we can to help those who need it but we’ll be doing it with one hand tied behind our back by a Tory government Scotland did not vote for.


“There is nothing credible in what the Chancellor had to say. This crisis is the result of 12 years of economic failure under the Tories. A failure that Jeremy Hunt played a central role in as part of the Cabinet that inflicted cuts and austerity.

“The situation could not be more urgent. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation tells us seven million households have missed out on essentials like food, heating, toiletries and showers because they couldn’t afford it. 

“We have watched the retail and hospitality sectors, which should be booming at this time of year, being left with empty tables and forced to start their sales early to try and encourage people through the door. 

“Weather forecasters tell us the first snow of winter is likely to arrive this weekend. How will people be able to afford to heat and eat after this? Jeremey Hunt has ensured Christmas is cancelled for millions. 

“Hunt’s limits on borrowing confirm that this is a budget built on yet more Tory austerity. You cannot cut your way to a fairer and more prosperous economy for everyone, but for the second time in a decade that’s what the Tories intend to do.

Alba party MP Kenny MacAskill said: “The poor are paying the price for the follies of Tory elites. The offerings announced today remain inadequate to address the harm already done with much worse to come. 

“The failure to fully compensate families facing soaring energy prices is a shameful betrayal of fuel poor Scots. When Scotland has abundant energy resources and is already self-sufficient in renewables for electricity it is clear that it doesn’t have to be this way.

“The Chancellor has fallen well short on energy support for families facing soaring energy hikes by increasing the price cap for an average household to £3,000 but he also failed to announce the zero rate for VAT on domestic fuel pledged by the Prime Minister during the Tory leadership election.

“People will breathe a sigh of relief that their benefits will rise in line with inflation and that the triple lock will be maintained for pensioners, as called for by Alba, but the UK state pension remains at the bottom of the European league table.

“Scotland is a world leader in affordable, green energy with a talented and educated workforce but we are being held back within Bankrupt Britain. We need to escape the sinking ship of the stagnant UK economy and steer a better and fairer course.

“Enough is Enough. It’s time for Independence.”