SCOTLAND’S values have “never been further removed” from those of the two main parties at Westminster, Stephen Flynn has said.

The SNP group leader hit out at both the Tories and the Conservatives ahead of his party’s “campaign council” in Perth over the weekend.

Flynn pointed to accusations of a “conspiracy of silence” between the two parties about the state of the UK economy, which had been made by the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Paul Johnson had said neither Keir Starmer nor Rishi Sunak were being honest about the “eye-wateringly tough choices” any UK Government will face after the next General Election.

The IFS further claimed the Spring Budget – which was put forward by the Tories but was not formally opposed by Labour – will cut £18 billion from public services in real-terms between 2024-25 and 2028-29.

READ MORE: Labour slammed as party 'backs ALL measures in Tory Budget'

Flynn said: "With the Tories embroiled in a racism scandal, and Keir Starmer’s Labour Party missing in action in the fight against Westminster’s austerity budget, it’s clear that Scotland's values have never been further removed from Westminster.

"The SNP are Scotland's voice – and the events of recent weeks have shown why it's essential Scotland has a strong SNP voice.

"With Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer both planning another decade of austerity, the SNP will be Scotland's voice opposing Westminster cuts and defending our NHS and public services.”

Starmer made headlines earlier in the week after repeatedly refusing to rule out being an austerity prime minister, should he win the next General Election.

The Labour leader has also refused to speak out about the negative impacts of Brexit, instead insisting he will never take the UK into the single market or customs union.

Flynn went on: "With Brexit hammering the UK economy, the SNP will be Scotland's voice demanding help with the cost of living and offering the only route back to prosperity with independence and re-entry to the EU.

"And with Sunak and Starmer both intent on grabbing Scotland's energy wealth and threatening thousands of Scottish jobs, the SNP will be Scotland's voice demanding investment in our green energy future and reducing energy bills.

"The Westminster parties are wedded to Brexit, austerity cuts and opening up the NHS to privatisation – and Tory and Labour MPs have shown they will always do the bidding of their Westminster leaders, no matter the cost to Scotland.

"At the General Election, only a vote for the SNP will be a vote to stand up for Scotland's values, defend Scotland's interests, and advance Scotland's journey to independence."

Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said in response: “As the SNP spend their Saturday talking among themselves about their independence obsession, the Scottish Conservatives will be talking to Scots about their real priorities.

“In swathes of seats across the country, only the Scottish Conservatives can beat Humza Yousaf and the SNP and ensure the focus moves on from their obsession and on to the real challenges facing them such as cutting NHS waiting times and growing our economy.”

READ MORE: Why Keir Starmer's austerity-lite will not deliver growth for UK or Scotland

Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: “Any pretence that the SNP speaks for Scotland has been left in pieces by their decision to side with the oil and gas giants making eye-watering profits rather than Scots struggling with their bills.

“For too long Scotland has been trapped in a spiral of SNP and Tory decline – but change is possible.

“At the next General Election, voters can reject the broken status quo and vote for a fresh start with Scottish Labour.

“The SNP only wants to send a message, but Scottish Labour will put Scotland’s voice at the heart of government and deliver the change our country needs – making work pay, lowering bills, delivering economic growth and renewing our public services.”