Blackford blast torn apart after Scotland given dire economic forecast

Burley tells Blackford ‘you can’t criticise the Chancellor’

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Sky News’ Kay Burley took a pointed dig at the SNP’s Ian Blackford for criticising Chancellor Jeremy Hunt over his budget plans, as Scotland’s economy is predicted to trail the UK’s in the next 50 years. According to the Scottish Fiscal Commission, Scotland’s GDP will grow more slowly than the rest of the union by 0.5 percent in the next five decades. Kay Burley cut short Mr Blackford’s attack on Jeremy Hunt by bringing up the forecast.

The Sky News presenter laid out the conclusions of the report, saying: “I’m just looking at the Scottish Fiscal Commission and they’re suggesting the Scottish economy is slower than the rest of the UK and is likely to be for the next 50 years.”

Mr Blackford defended: “Well, that comes back to the argument that what we need to change because most of the economic…”

But Ms Burley cut him off, saying: “You can’t criticise this Chancellor for slow growth if you’re struggling.”

Mr Blackford retorted: “Oh, I can. Because most of the economic levers are in the hands of Westminster. They’re not in the hands of the Scottish Parliament.”

The SNP Westminster leader went on to say his green energy plan could boost Scotland’s economy and unleash its energy potential. The SNP has come under fire for using a false figure to describe Scotland’s potential to scale up offshore wind, raising the number from 4-6 percent to 25 percent of Europe’s share of offshore wind.

Mr Blackford continued: “Now, I just published a plan a few weeks ago on green energy. Something that will deliver 385,000 jobs by 2050, deliver a 43 billion investment on an annual basis into the Scottish economy.

“But we need the economic levers to be able to deliver that. That’s why in the end people in Scotland need to have a say over their own future through an independence referendum.”

Sky News’ Kay Burley: “Ah, there we go! I knew this was coming up!”

Mr Blackford fired back: “But Kay, because this is the point. We cannot take the political choices that would allow us to grow the economy. And I’m actually deeply sad.”

Kay Burley said: “So you acknowledge that the economy is too slow.”

Mr Blackford criticised Westminster for failing to distribute economic opportunities and jobs across the nations, leaving Scotland behind and facing a brain drain since 1850.

He said: “I actually would even go back to the 1850s and about use population share of Scotland and the UK’s decline on a relative basis every decade since 1850.”

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He continued: “That’s because of lack of economic opportunity. That’s a consequence of what’s happened within the union. That’s why I want to change it.”

Ms Burley summed up his demands, saying: “So, you want more money from Westminster but you also want to have independence.”

Mr Blackford clarified his point, saying: “I want Westminster because it has the borrowing powers to recognise that we have to support public services. Of course, I’d be delighted if the Scottish Parliament had the borrowing purse so we could take those decisions.

In a plea to Westminster, he said he was “desperate” to have a debate with unionists to discuss the future of Scotland in the union and hear arguments from both the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ sides to bring the independence issue to a close after years of tug of war between the SNP and Westminster. 

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