THE Spring Budget is a “vicious Tory attack on the most vulnerable” and fails to tackle the cost of living crisis, Scottish politicians have said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt set out the Government’s fiscal plans and boasted that the UK will avoid going into recession.

However, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) pointed out that while this is correct, at the same time people will face a drop in living standards not seen since the 1950s.

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Elsewhere, the Chancellor announced funding for two Scottish projects, one in Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’s constituency.

However, while Hunt touted the Budget as a “plan for growth” and big business celebrated, smaller firms and those on benefits and low incomes were left “short-changed”, opposition politicians claimed. 

The Scottish Greens accused Hunt of launching an “attack on the most vulnerable in society” and criticised the decision to focus on supporting business.

Ross Greer, the party’s finance spokesperson, said: “His tax reliefs for corporations and pension reforms, designed to benefit those on massive incomes, will cost billions of pounds, money which could otherwise be spent lifting children out of poverty or giving public sector workers a decent pay rise.

The National: Greer said the Budget was an 'attack on the most vulnerable'Greer said the Budget was an 'attack on the most vulnerable'

“Instead of also giving some help to the most vulnerable, these giveaways for the rich sit alongside yet another round of increased sanctions for those who rely on DWP benefits.

“Hunt claims that he is tackling poverty, but wages are falling way below the dizzying levels of inflation and millions of families are living in poverty. No wonder so many workers are on strike across the UK today.

“The Chancellor talked about his four Es, but he clearly forgot about the environment.

“This is yet another climate-wrecking budget.”

Amongst the raft of announcements, Hunt said the Tories would abolish the £1 million lifetime allowance limit on pensions, and increased the annual tax-free allowance for pension pots from £40,000 to £60,000.

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Greer added: “No-one is being spared the pain here except super-rich Tory supporters who are being rewarded with new tax breaks on their pensions, so they can retire in comfort.

“Hunt could have done more to support people with their energy bills, he could have unleashed the Treasury surplus to alleviate the cost of living crisis, he could have followed Scotland’s lead on progressive taxation.”

While Hunt froze the Energy Price Guarantee for a further three months, many opponents said this did not go far enough. He also scrapped the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme with immediate effect.

Stewart Hosie, the SNP’s Westminster economy spokesperson, said the fiscal plans “failed to make a dent” in the cost of living crisis and said it would leave Scots hundreds of pounds worse off.

The National: Hosie said the Budget will not tackle the cost-of-living crisisHosie said the Budget will not tackle the cost-of-living crisis

He added: "The Chancellor should have chosen to help families by cutting energy bills, raising public sector pay with inflation and introducing a Real Living Wage.

"Instead, he has chosen to make people poorer – withdrawing vital support and imposing real-terms cuts to incomes.

"With the pro-cuts, pro-Brexit Labour Party failing to provide any meaningful opposition, it's clear Scotland will continue to pay a high price under Westminster control – and independence is the only way for Scotland to build a strong, fair and prosperous future."

Christine Jardine, the LibDems' Scottish affairs spokesperson, agreed that there had been little support for households in the Budget and said it showed the Tories were “out of touch”.

She added: “They had a chance to show they care about the cost of living crisis that’s hitting millions of Britain’s families and pensioners but they failed miserably.

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“This was an opportunity to cut energy bills and give households a real helping hand. They could have borrowed Liberal Democrat plans to cut bills and insulate homes but instead, we got more tinkering round the edges.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tories claimed the spring Budget was "great news" for hard-pressed families. 

Liz Smith MSP, shadow finance and economy secretary, said: "All in all, this is a welcome package for Scots. SNP ministers must pass on the Barnett Consequentials the Budget has generated so that Scots enjoy the full benefits of it.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack claimed that the Budget “continues cost of living support” while at the same time delivering “sustainable, long-term growth”.

The National: Jack on the other hand claimed the Budget did help tackle the cost of living crisisJack on the other hand claimed the Budget did help tackle the cost of living crisis

He said: “Maintaining the Energy Price Guarantee until June will save the average family £160 a year and gives certainty over their bills until summer. We’ve also made changes to Universal Credit to help people get back to work.

“Other UK Government direct investment in Scotland includes £8.6m for Edinburgh's world-class festivals, more than £1m for five new vital community ownership projects, and investment in Scotland's innovative high-tech sector.

“The Chancellor has also confirmed there will be investment zones in all parts of the UK, building on Scotland’s two new freeports."

Hunt said the planned 12 zones would be “12 potential Canary Wharfs” and will be given numerous tax exemptions and privileges.