Only a Yes vote in 2014 can put an end to austerity

LAST week The Chancellor of the Exchequer made his annual Autumn Statement in the House of Commons.

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Although there was some good news, the statement did not reflect the real concerns of people here in Glasgow.

The Chancellor claimed: "We're all in it together". Nothing could be further from the truth.

In Glasgow, residents are increasingly faced with rising bills and food prices. This can lead to tough choices, such as whether to eat a healthy meal or heat the home- an incredibly difficult decision.

The real concerns of people in Glasgow aren't political jousting or point-scoring, they are everyday issues such as how they will pay their utility bills and how they will deal with cuts made by Westminster politicians to their benefits.

It's incredible that the Chancellor is claiming that the rich are bearing the burden, when the Treasury's own analysis of the Autumn Statement shows that the net income of the bottom five income groups will fall significantly more than those at the top.

Among the dismal forecasts of shrinking growth and cuts to public spending, there was welcome news: £330million for capital investment, a freeze in the proposed 3p fuel duty rise and an increase in personal allowances for income tax.

The money for capital investment is particularly important, as the more we can build, the more jobs and apprenticeship opportunities we can create.

There has never been a recovery from a recession without a recovery in the construction industry: this sector is very important.

But these measures will have a small impact in relation to the austerity measures which have been imposed on Scotland.

The freeze in fuel duty will not affect the 49% of people in Glasgow who have no access to a car.

The unemployed will not benefit from the rise in the income tax threshold.

They will be hit by a below-inflation rise in benefits, which will not cover the increases in the cost of living.

In the statement, the Chancellor admitted that austerity will go on to 2018. Labour have said they will not reverse the Coalition's cuts if they get into power.

The only way we can fight against the certainty of more austerity is by taking our own economic future into our hands, and voting 'Yes' in 2014.

The people of Glasgow deserve more than the Tories' harsh austerity measures and the lacklustre response of Labour.

As the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a speech at Strathclyde University last week: "to vote yes is to vote not just for new powers - but for new powers that we will use for a purpose."

I want to protect our social fabric in Scotland, and protect Scotland from the UK's flawed austerity measures.

This will only be possible with a 'Yes' vote in 2014.

Local government

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