Nicola Sturgeon to visit shipyard on election campaign

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Julie Bell
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Julie Bell
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THE SNP’s support for business will be both promoted and pilloried as party leaders continue to canvass for votes around Scotland.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and finance spokesman John Swinney will on Thursday visit Ferguson’s shipyard, which was recently saved from closure, to promote the SNP’s record of fighting for Scottish jobs and industry.

But at the other side of the country, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will campaign outside Amazon’s warehouse in Fife in protest at its receipt of over £5 million of Scottish Government grants “despite refusing to pay their tax”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The workforce at Ferguson’s faced not just the loss of their jobs but the end of an iconic industry. Now Ferguson’s is thriving - with new investment and increased apprenticeships.

“When we say that the SNP are stronger for Scotland this is exactly what we mean - your Scottish Government taking action to protect jobs, protect public services and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed in life.

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“This is why we’ve stepped in to secure a future for the Scottish steel industry. It’s why we’ve saved Prestwick Airport from closure. And it’s why we refused to back down to the Tories over their price-tag on more powers - saving Scotland from a £7 billion budget cut.”

Mr Rennie will challenge other parties to stop government support going to companies who do not pay their taxes or the living wage to their workers.

He said: “Over the last decade Amazon has received over £5 million of Scottish Government grants despite refusing to pay their tax and refusing to pay their staff the Living Wage. They should not expect to be at the front of the queue for government support.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will not reward massive corporations for their failures as employers and the other party leaders should join us in standing up for fair employment and fair taxation.”

Elsewhere, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will pledge that women pensioners will not be worse off under a future Labour Scottish government during a visit to Daffodil pensioners club in Easterhouse, Glasgow.

She said: “The changes being made by the Tory Government will hit thousands of women across Scotland, who over the course of their life have paid into the system and done the right thing. Through no fault of their own they are going to be worse off because of these changes.

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“Labour has led the opposition to these cuts at Westminster and we’ll carry on fighting to make sure that these women are no worse off, but I’m not going to sit and wait on the Tories to do something when we have the power to act now.

“That’s why we’ll use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to top up the pensions of these women and make sure that none of them are worse off. Labour will deliver real change, not warm words.

“Faced with the choice of using the powers of the Scottish Parliament or carrying on with cuts to women’s pensions, Labour will use the powers. If the SNP are really serious about helping the thousands of women affected they should back our plan.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will visit New Douglas Park in Hamilton, the home of Hamilton Academical FC, to speak to club officials and discuss manifesto pledges to offer financial incentives to clubs to play young Scottish players.

Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie will meet campaigners, families and children who use North Kelvin Meadows and Children’s Wood, in Glasgow, before joining candidate and land reform campaigner Andy Wightman at Cassiltoun Housing Association.

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