THE Prime Minister’s keynote speech in Dudley on plans for the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery has been branded a “damp squib” by the SNP’s Westminster leader.

Speaking this morning, Boris Johnson set out his vision for the way out of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic – touting his proposals as a “new deal” in attempts to echo former US president Franklin D Roosevelt’s post-depression programme.

However ahead of the announcement it was pointed out that compared to the new deal, and to other countries’ current plans, the Tory leader’s £5bn investment programme falls short.

Roosevelt’s new deal ran for several years, during which spending was set at about 5-7% of GDP – Johnson’s £5bn package would account for less than a quarter of 1% of GDP.

The Scottish Government had called for a stimulus package equivalent to 4% of GDP, as Germany has announced.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's £5bn post-Covid economy plan 'falls short'

“The equivalent for the UK would be £80bn,” Finance Secretary Kate Forbes tweeted this morning. “So, not only is £5bn eye-wateringly short of a 'New Deal', it falls short of other countries too.”

Johnson’s speech also came under fire from the LibDems’ Layla Moran, who pointed out it was like a was like a “rehash of manifesto pledges”.

In his speech, the PM pledged to “build build build” and criticised the “chronic failure of the British state” to build enough new homes.

He said he would address “inter-generational injustice” by helping more young people get on the housing ladder like their parents and grandparents did. The Tory leader said this would be done by introducing the “most radical reforms” of the planning system since the end of the Second World War.

Echoing previous manifesto pledges from before the December election, Johnson again pledged to recruit 20,000 more police officers in England and said he would end “the lunacy that stops us deporting violent criminals”. He also vowed to built 40 new hospitals.

Speaking on the need to address inequality in the UK he said now "is the moment to address the problems" that we have "failed to tackle for decades".

Johnson’s plans also include £100 million for 29 road network projects, £900m for “shovel-ready” local projects in England this year and next, £500,000-£1m for area in the towns fund to spend on improvements to parks, high streets and transport. There’s also the £1bn to fund a schools building project announced yesterday, and £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, as well as £60m for temporary prison places.

These changes will apply to England only, but the UK Government says it will bring forward funding to “accelerate” infrastructure projects in the devolved nations too.

Announcing a study of all road, air and sea links across the UK, Johnson said the “Union has more than showed its worth” and promised to dual the A1 – the longest road in the UK linking Edinburgh to London.

The National:

Blackford said the announcement was a “failure of ambition” that “completely ignored Scotland’s needs” and warned the country’s economic recovery is being put at risk.

He said: "The Tories are putting Scotland's recovery at risk. Yet again, Boris Johnson has fallen woefully short on his promises with this failure of ambition that completely ignores Scotland's needs.

"This recycled money falls far short of the huge investment that the UK requires to secure a strong recovery and it pales in comparison to the bold action being taken in other countries.

“The pandemic has caused an unprecedented economic crisis – and that must be met with an unprecedented response, in line with that announced by other nations like Germany.

"The Prime Minister needs to go back to the drawing board and return with another relaunch speech to announce an emergency budget, a meaningful package of at least £80billion in investment, and to devolve the financial powers that the Scottish Parliament needs to secure a strong recovery for Scotland.”

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has requested further borrowing powers be devolved to the Scottish Parliament to allow ministers to address the coronavirus crisis – but this morning she warned her calls had been thrown “into the long grass”.

Blackford went on: "These powers are essential. Without them Scotland will be left tackling this crisis with one hand tied behind its back – threatening our recovery and resulting in budget cuts and prolonged damage to our economy.

"Scotland can make different choices to strengthen our economy and build a fairer society - but only if we have the powers and funds needed for an investment-led recovery. With the normal powers of an independent country, Scotland would be able to make the most of historically low interest rates to boost the economy - just as other countries are doing.

"The Tory Government must match the ambition of Nicola Sturgeon's proposals for at least £80billion UK-wide in investment, a proper jobs guarantee for young people, and the devolution of powers - or Westminster will be failing Scotland again at this critical time."