Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget made it abundantly clear that the Tories know the game’s up and will drag the UK’s economy and public services down with them.

The toxic legacy of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak is that, for the first time, per capita incomes at the end of a UK Parliament will be lower than at the beginning. Despite criticising this budget, Labour MPs abstained (again!) on the vote against this budget – instead they went home when the vote was taking place.

Despite a feeble attempt at bribing voters, pre-election, with unaffordable tax cuts, the response was muted. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “The overriding impression is that the Chancellor’s ‘long-term plan’ to address our economic stagnation has been left for another day.”

Citizens Advice Scotland added: “There was a complete absence of the kind of support those on lower incomes need.”

Even Scotland’s Tory leader Douglas Ross, said he was “deeply disappointed that the one-year extension of the windfall tax on the oil and gas industry is a step in the wrong direction". 

The Tory Government has trashed the UK economy, thanks to long-running austerity, Brexit, and tens of billions squandered on vanity projects like HS2 and multi-billion-pound aircraft carriers that rarely sail and have no planes. And we are now in recession.

UK debt has tripled in a decade to more than £38,330 for every man, woman and child while income inequality is greater than in any European country. Living standards are no higher than in 2003.

Public services face further cuts of £20,000 million a year by 2028 and the NHS its biggest decrease since the 1970s. Scotland’s capital budget, essential for building homes, schools, hospitals, roads and harbours, is being cut by £484 million this year alone. 

National Insurance reductions benefit top earners most, with £3,800 million for the top 20 per cent of earners compared to only £300 million for the 20 per cent on the lowest incomes. Over 127,000 people will fall into poverty, as those earning less than £15,000 a year lose an average of over £400.

A windfall tax can be positive, but only if directed toward priority areas of investment and reducing household energy bills.

Profits lost to the windfall tax limit the ability of companies to invest in green energy and a just transition. Up to 100,000 Scottish jobs are at risk, while the UK Government spends the windfall on building new nuclear power stations in England.

In contrast to Tory Government failings, the SNP Government is delivering decisively in devolved areas to support people through the cost-of-living crisis and uphold its commitment to protecting Scotland from Westminster.

The SNP Government’s council tax freeze, the tenth in 17 years, means North Ayrshire households are already an average of £613 a year better off than if they lived in England, while 52 per cent of income taxpayers also pay less.

The Scottish Child Payment is rising to £26.70 next month, helping the parents of 327,650 Scottish children, while 1,140 hours of free childcare and free personal and nursing care are also only available in Scotland.

Labour will follow Tory policies if elected. So, it’s important the Scottish people oppose Westminster’s financial irresponsibility and disregard for them. An independent Scotland will impact positively on people’s lives.