NICOLA Sturgeon has denied Ed Miliband’s “desperate” claim that there are billions of pounds of cuts on the horizon under the SNP’s plan for full fiscal autonomy.
The SNP and Labour leaders are campaigning in Scotland today, with Mr Miliband seeking to distance himself from opposition claims that he would agree to full fiscal autonomy for Scotland in exchange for SNP backing for a Labour government.
“Instead of putting forward a positive case of their own, [Labour] are resorting to the same fears and smears that they resorted to during the referendum”Nicola Sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon revealed this week that she would vote for autonomy within a year if given the chance, although SNP sources say its implementation is likely to take much longer.
In a joint press conference, Mr Miliband, his shadow chancellor Ed Balls and Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said the SNP’s plan “will mean a £7.6 billion hole in Scotland’s finances”.
But Ms Sturgeon claimed that Labour is “wrong” while campaigning on the streets of Stirling.
“This is desperation on the part of the Labour Party,” she said.
“Instead of putting forward a positive case of their own, they are resorting to the same fears and smears that they resorted to during the referendum.
“The truth is the only cuts on the horizon for Scotland are the ones that the Tories are proposing and Labour are backing.”
Almost half of voters north of the border would back the SNP at the General Election, according to a new YouGov poll for The Times.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We take absolutely nothing for granted.
“The polls are hugely encouraging and they show that the case the SNP is putting forward for an end to austerity and support for the NHS and public services is winning support across Scotland.”
The SNP has proposed “a modest increase in public spending” to end austerity and allow Scotland’s health budget to rise by £2 billion by 2020.
“Let us lift austerity and have spending increases in the next parliament that are fiscally responsible but allow us to spend more money on our vital public services like the health service,” she said.
“I am proposing an increase in spending in the health service across the UK that would see by the end of this decade an additional £2 billion being spent on the NHS in Scotland.
“That’s the choice we have at this election - continued austerity being proposed by the Tories and Labour, or an alternative to austerity, which is what the SNP is proposing, and we need a strong Scottish voice in Westminster that can force that alternative to austerity.”
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