Budget 2018- Midlothian politicians give their views

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Local politicians have reacted to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget announcement last week.

Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie (SNP) criticised the UK Government for “failing the people of Midlothian”. He said: “The SNP will not support Tory tax cuts for the richest at the expense of the poor.

“Instead of ploughing on with more harmful austerity, the UK Government should commit to a realistic plan for investment in public services, to grow the economy and to boost jobs, incomes and living standards.

This budget has exposed in stark terms the democratic deficit of the UK, and why we need full powers over Scotland’s finances to grow our economy and build a fairer country.”

Fellow SNP MSP Christine Grahame, Midlothian South, said: “This Tory Budget falls a long way short of delivering for the people of Midlothian. Working people will be £1,600 worse off thanks to their mishandling of Brexit, and the changes in this Budget do nothing to alleviate the untold damage this will do.

“The reality of this Budget is that the Tories have dug themselves a deeper hole, with no clue how to get out of it. People in Midlothian, and across Scotland, are getting a bad deal with the Tories.”

However, Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP, welcomed the budget, he said: “The UK Budget shows clearly that Scottish Conservative MPs are standing up for the interests of Scotland.

“An increase to people’s personal allowance for income tax is very welcome and will make a big difference to people, especially those on lower incomes.

“An additional £550 million for NHS Scotland comes at a crucial time when health boards are under ever increasing pressure, a large proportion has already gone on writing off the debts of health boards.

“Additional funding to tackle the number of potholes on our roads and to support local businesses on the high street is also very welcome as well maintained roads are essential for everyone and the current state of our roads is well below what it should be.

“I also welcome the continued freeze in fuel duty that will save driver in Lothian significant amounts of money in fuel throughout the year.”