FIRST Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to provide “vital support” for families as she launched a manifesto for them.
She highlighted the action SNP MPs will take to protect and boost “hard-pressed family budgets” from further austerity she said is planned by all three of the Westminster parties.
Our proposal for a modest public spending increase will enable increased spending on Scotland’s public services - including increasing NHS spending by a total of £2 billion by 2020Nicola Sturgeon
Measures in the SNP’s manifesto for families include increasing the minimum wage to £8.70 per hour by 2020 and the expansion of the Scottish Government’s Living Wage, as well as strengthening the law on maternity discrimination.
They also pledged to push for the UK Government to invest in affordable housing by making additional investment available and maintain the council tax freeze for the eighth year in a row.
The SNP leader joined Lisa Cameron, the party’s candidate for East Kilbride, to launch the manifesto for families at a soft play area in the South Lanarkshire town.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The last five years of Westminster austerity have taken their toll on already hard-pressed family budgets - with women and the poorest 10% of households consistently hit hardest.
“The Tories are signed up to £30 billion further cuts - and left to their own devices we know that Labour plan to follow their lead.
“But the influence of a strong team of SNP MPs at Westminster can stop these cuts in their tracks.
“Our proposal for a modest public spending increase will enable increased spending on Scotland’s public services - including increasing NHS spending by a total of £2 billion by 2020.”
Scotland’s other political parties are also out on the General Election campaign trail today.
Liberal Democrat chief whip Don Foster and Michael Moore, the party’s candidate for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, were in Galashiels in the Borders.
Mr Moore said that only the Liberal Democrats have a fully costed plan to increase investment in Scotland’s NHS and give doctors and nurses the support they need.
He said: “Because we are willing to give the health service the money it has asked for, Liberal Democrat plans would see us spend £17 billion more than the Tories and £7 billion more than Labour to support doctors and nurses in our NHS. This would mean an extra £800 million per year for the NHS in Scotland.
“Our plans are fully funded but at the end of the second full week of campaigning we are still none the wiser as to how the other parties would pay for their NHS commitments. Time is running out for them to give people the answers they need.
“Only the Liberal Democrats have a fully costed plan to give the health service the money it needs.
“Labour and the Tories have not matched Liberal Democrat NHS spending plans. The SNP’s full fiscal autonomy plan and the £40 billion funding black hole that comes with it mean that they could not deliver the investment that our NHS needs.”
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