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Nicola Sturgeon attacks UK spending cuts


First minister Nicola Sturgeon has attacked the ‘scale and speed’ of spending cuts that the UK government are planning to make.

Speaking at the Tynecastle Stadium, the home of Heart of Midlothian FC, Ms Sturgeon said the SNP will oppose deep spending cuts whilst continuing their support for membership in the European Union.

The first minister said: "The result of the general election provides an opportunity and a challenge for the Scottish government. There is clearly an opportunity to ensure that Scotland's priorities are better understood.

"But there is also a significant challenge in working with a majority government at Westminster - many of whose policies we disagree with.

"We will continue to oppose spending reductions of the scale and speed that the UK government has suggested. These would slow economic recovery and make deficit reduction more difficult - something shown by the impact of the cuts imposed after 2010."

She also said that during the run up to the referendum, the SNP would make a “strong and positive case” for the UK staying in the European Union.

Scottish Business Pledge

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney also joined in at the speech, where he unveiled the new Scottish Business Pledge. He said that the pledge will aim to achieve “fairness, equality and sustainable economic growth”.

It was announced that if a company wants to sign up to the Scottish Business Pledge, they must agree to pay the living wage to all employees aged 18 or over, as well as implementing a minimum of two out of nine pledges. Companies would then have to agree to achieve the rest of the pledges over a gradual period of time.

The first company to sign up to the pledge is Heart of Midlothian FC, which has already committed to paying the living wage to all of their employees aged 18 and over.

Their chief executive Ann Budge stated: "By introducing the living wage across our business, by investing in youth education and staff education, by engaging fully with the community and by working closely with the Foundation of Hearts to introduce fan ownership, we are the perfect match for this initiative."

Despite recent pledges to create a fairer economy, Scottish unemployment increased by 19,000 in the first quarter of the year. However, the Bank of Scotland did say that this economic slowdown is being “gradually reversed”.

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