ANAS Sarwar has said SNP warnings that Labour would cut public spending in power are “ludicrous”.

The Scottish Labour leader said the SNP’s claims were a sign of “desperation” as he accused the party of being “out of tune and out of step” with public opinion in Scotland.

His comments come after First Minister John Swinney used a speech on Friday to warn that the Labour leader Keir Starmer will inflict “significant cuts” on public spending in Scotland if his party wins the July 4 General Election.

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The Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank has already warned of “sharp” cuts to come, regardless of whether Labour or the Conservatives win power.

It also comes after the Sunday National laid bare the scale of cuts that Labour are signed up to if they win next month.

If the party wants to get debt down and not raise taxes, then they are committed to £19 billion worth of cuts, according to the Resolution Foundation.

On Monday, Swinney said he was deeply concerned that Labour and the Tories were “debating our economic future in a parallel universe – by refusing to accept the reality of their decisions".

But Sarwar hit back: “This is just the latest in a series of ludicrous claims and attacks from the SNP because it appears now that they are less interested in getting rid of the Tories and more interested in attacking the Labour party.

“And I think they are out of tune and out of step with the Scottish people.

“The Scottish people recognise that this election is our opportunity and one we can’t afford to miss to get rid of this rotten right-wing Tory government and that’s what I’m focused on.

“The SNP can continue the attack on the Labour Party all it likes. I think that’s a symbol of their desperation rather than actually them being in tune with public opinion here in Scotland.”

The SNP candidate for Inverness, Skye and Ross-Shire, Drew Hendry, responded: "Anas Sarwar can spend his time attacking the SNP all he wants, but he is effectively accusing the IFS – the UK's leading, independent economic research institute – of lying. 

"It is the IFS – not the SNP – who have confirmed that both the Labour Party and Tory budget plans will lead to £18bn of cuts to public services.
"He can choose to attack these independent figures as 'ludicrous', but I think most people will trust that the IFS are far better at maths than Anas Sarwar.

"The truth is that Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party are fully signed up to Tory spending cuts and their desperate attempt to hide it from the public is now falling apart.

"On 4th July, vote SNP to oppose Westminster cuts, put Scotland's interest first, and ensure decisions are made in Scotland, for Scotland."