GORDON Brown has accused the SNP of being “willing accomplices of Tory austerity” at the start of Labour’s election campaign in Scotland.
Mr Brown pledged Scottish Labour would spend an additional £800 million in Scotland on the NHS, in an attempt to reclaim the social justice mantle from the SNP.
The former premier said the election was “not only about constitutional change” and that Labour would tackle youth unemployment and poverty.
Mr Brown said Labour is the party of social justice and fairness and that Treasury documents showed the SNP government has accepted Conservative plans for “zero additional spending” to tackle austerity over the next year.
The former Labour leader, who is stepping down as an MP after 32 years in the House of Commons, said the £800m for Scotland’s NHS would be funded by money from a bank bonus tax, mansion tax and reforms to corporation tax.
He said: “This election is not only about constitutional change but about the social changes and the economic changes that are urgently needed to start the day after the election – the desperate need to create more jobs, improve the NHS, tackle the scandal of poverty in our midst and reduce inequality now.
“In the coming year, the Tories and the SNP have exactly the same policy. At a time when the need is urgent and action to end Tory austerity is required – and despite all the SNP promises – they will both, Tories and SNP together, do absolutely nothing more.
“Far from being the fearless defenders of Scotland, these documents reveal the nationalists as the willing accomplices of Tory austerity.”
SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie hit back, saying: “This is a ludicrous claim from Gordon Brown, which no one in Scotland will believe – and the fact Labour are pinning their hopes on someone who has now retired from frontline politics speaks volumes about their desperation.
“The SNP has been totally consistent in opposing Westminster cuts, while Gordon Brown campaigned shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories in the referendum to ensure that Scotland’s budget is determined by Westminster – and Labour MPs have since voted with the Tories for a further £30 billion in cuts.”
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