SCOTLAND is facing another “decade of devastating austerity cuts,” the SNP have warned as the UK Government looks to set a “damaging” Spring Budget.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told broadcasters on Sunday that he hopes to “show a path” in the direction of tax cuts, but ruled out using borrowing to fill any funding gaps.

Opposition politicians, charities and lobbyists have been setting out their asks of the UK Government ahead of the Budget announcement on Wednesday.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary Shona Robison urged Hunt not to cut taxes, while Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville called on the Chancellor to tackle poverty and remove several damaging policies, such as the two-child benefit cap.

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However, all Hunt would hint at during the Sunday broadcast round was that any cuts to taxes would be “sustainable and affordable”. It has been suggested that a further cut to national insurance contributions could be on the table.

“I do want, where it is possible to do so responsibly, to move towards a lower tax economy, and I hope to show a path in that direction,” Hunt told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme.

“This will be a prudent and responsible Budget for long-term growth, tackling inflation, more investment, more jobs and that path to lower taxation as and when we can afford that.”

The Chancellor told Sky News the 2p cut to national insurance in the autumn statement in November was a “turning point” and he hopes to “make some progress on that journey”.

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Hunt’s comments were met with calls by the SNP for further investment in the NHS of £15 billion, and introducing a wealth tax to fund public services and capital investment.

"The UK is fast heading towards another damaging decade of Westminster austerity cuts unless the Tories and Labour Party scrap their economically illiterate fiscal rules - and prioritise investment in public services and economic growth over devastating cuts,” Drew Hendry MP, SNP Economy spokesperson, said.

"Westminster has already slashed Scotland's budget by more than £2 billion this year - and imposed real terms cuts to the NHS across the UK. The Chancellor must ditch his reckless plans for even more cuts before it's too late.”

Hendry called for investment in public services rather than “cutting them to the bone”, adding that the UK is now in a “doom spiral of ever deeper cuts”.

READ MORE: Shona Robison: 'Debate to be had' about SNP MPs role at Westminster

“Instead of cutting off capital investment, the SNP is calling on the Chancellor to go for growth by investing at least £28billion a year in green energy and rejoining the EU single market. That is the only credible path to sustained growth,” he added.

"The next general election will be a clear choice between the pro-growth SNP and the pro-cuts Tories and Labour Party. Unlike Sunak and Starmer, the SNP will stand up for Scotland's values, demand NHS investment, help with the cost of living, and the choice of a better future with independence."

It comes as Deputy First Minister Robison told BBC Scotland the Spring Budget should prioritise investment in public services over tax cuts.

Robison told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show that along with bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the Office for Budget Responsibility, she shares the view that the spring Budget “should prioritise investment in public services, not tax cuts”.

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She said: “All of these organisations have said the same: that tax cuts are unaffordable and, indeed, it is the investment in public services that are needed.

“I agree with that and I really hope that Wednesday will see a change in the direction that Jeremy Hunt takes, particularly on investment on capital so we that we can invest in our infrastructure, things like affordable housing, for example, so those are the key priorities that I and many others are calling on Jeremy Hunt to prioritise.”

Robison also called for the £1.6bn real-terms cut to the Scottish Government’s capital budget over the next five years to be reversed.

Elsewhere, in a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride, Scotland’s Social Justice Secretary called for an Essentials Guarantee to be introduced so those on benefits have enough to meet their basic needs.

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Somerville added that this alone would not be enough, and damaging measures such as the bedroom tax, two-child benefit cap and sanctions would need to be scrapped.

“These policies restrict the amount of support available to some of our most vulnerable people, disproportionately affecting women and children, and build unnecessary hardship into the social security system,” she wrote.

Somerville urged the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead and focus on tackling child poverty.