First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has attacked the government’s plans for deep spending cuts over the next five years in a speech in Edinburgh.

During her visit to Midlothian FC’s Tynecastle Stadium, the SNP leader said that the cuts were too fast and too deep, and would slow the UK’s already depressed economic recovery.

Sturgeon was joined on stage by Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney, and the pair proposed an “alternative to austerity” and “fairness, equality and sustainable economic growth”.

She said that the near complete SNP landslide in Scotland provided an opportunity for the party to challenge the government’s policies, which she argued will have a negative impact on society.

She said:

“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.”

Sturgeon also reiterated the SNP’s support for the UK’s continued membership of the European Union, saying:

“Since a referendum is now inevitable we will work to protect Scotland’s interests in that referendum. We’ll propose a double majority meaning that exit from the European Union would only be possible if all four nations agreed to that, something that would ensure that Scotland couldn’t be forced out of the European Union against our will.

“And during the run up to the referendum, the Scottish government will of course make a strong and positive case for staying in the EU.”

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