I am deeply concerned about the implications of the recent UK budget announcement, particularly regarding the continued assault on public services by the Westminster government. It’s clear another decade of austerity cuts loom on the horizon, threatening the very fabric of our communities.

There are also three disgraceful exclusions from the Budget. Firstly, there’s the issue of the infected blood scandal and the need for compensation. Secondly, the Post Office scandal and the necessity for compensation for those affected. Lastly, the concerns of 1950s-born WASPI women who rightly demand urgent attention.

My colleague and SNP Economy spokesperson, Drew Hendry MP, aptly summarized the situation when he declared, “The Tories trashed the economy, and now they’re taking the axe to public services.” This sentiment underscores the urgency for Scotland to break free from Tory rule and seize the opportunity for a better future through independence. We cannot afford to let Westminster’s harmful policies dictate our fate any longer.

Scotland is already grappling with slashed budgets courtesy of Westminster, and the prospect of further cuts to essential public services is alarming. What’s worse is the lack of viable alternatives from Labour, who seem to endorse Brexit and mirror the Tories’ harmful fiscal policies. The future of our public services hangs in the balance, and it’s imperative that we take decisive action to protect them.

The repercussions of these cuts extend far beyond mere numbers on a balance sheet. They reverberate across the economy, particularly in vital sectors like green energy, where insufficient investment stifles growth and endangers thousands of Scottish jobs. Meanwhile, the Tory government’s tax breaks disproportionately benefit the wealthy, exacerbating the financial strain on working families grappling with soaring living costs.

In contrast to the short-sighted agendas of Sunak and Starmer, the SNP remains steadfast in defending Scotland’s interests and advocating for its people. By casting their votes for the SNP, Scots can bid farewell to Westminster’s detrimental governance and pave the way towards a brighter future through independence.

Prior to the budget announcement, the SNP issued a stark warning to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, cautioning against further erosion of public services amid concerns that Tory plans would deepen real-terms cuts to Scotland’s budget. My colleague Stephen Flynn MP outlined the SNP’s priorities ahead of the budget, emphasising the stark dichotomy between SNP calls for investment in public services and the Tory and Labour Party’s plans for prolonged austerity.

The forthcoming general election will be a clear choice between the pro-growth SNP and the pro-cuts Tories and Labour Party. It’s time to stand up for Scotland’s values, defend our NHS, and demand the investment needed to protect Scotland’s interests. Unlike Sunak and Starmer, the SNP will always put Scotland first.