Scotland deserves better than the “political control freakery” of the SNP, Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will claim as she attempts to oust Labour from its role as the main opposition party in Holyrood.
In the contest for the May 5 election, the Tories have been calling on voters to install them as the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament.
With Labour determined to fight off the challenge, Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale will focus her attention on how new welfare powers coming to the Edinburgh parliament could be used to create a “social security system with dignity at its heart”.
Meanwhile Ms Davidson will tell Conservatives that the SNP in power puts a “sticking plaster over the many fundamental issues we need to tackle”.
While polls suggest Nicola Sturgeon’s party is heading for a second majority term, Ms Davidson will insist there needs to be a change in attitude.
“We need the SNP to put its own political ambitions to one side, and focus on making Scotland work better,” she will say.
“We are going to provide the strong opposition that, up till now, the SNP hasn’t had to cope with. We are going to finally hold this SNP government’s feet to the fire.”
Ms Davidson will insist: “Scotland deserves better than this political control freakery, it deserves better than a government which still puts its cause of independence first, it deserves better than the endless fake grievance and the spin over substance.”
Ms Sturgeon will set out how a re-elected SNP administration would work with unions as she addresses the Scottish Trades Union Congress annual congress in Dundee.
Meanwhile Ms Dugdale will promise Labour would create a fairer social security system if voted into office.
The party plans to abolish the so-called bedroom tax, raise the carers’ allowance to the same level as jobseekers’ allowance and double the Sure Start maternity grant paid to some new mothers to just over £1,000.#
The Labour leader said: “We can build a fairer Scotland with the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament if we are bold enough to actually use them.
“Labour will create a social security system with dignity at its heart and will give vulnerable Scots the option of cash or payments in kind. The SNP voted against this in the last parliament. That was the wrong decision for Scots who need support and compassion from their government.
“We can break from Tory austerity in social security and in public services. Hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts will hold our young people back from reaching their potential and grabbing opportunities that the next decade will bring.
“Under a Labour Scottish Government people will get the support they need when they fall on hard times and the resources they need to develop the skills for the jobs of the future.”
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will highlight his party’s plans to help smaller food firms win more government contracts.
He will argue: “Our small businesses sell some of the best food and drink in the world but at present, the way that the government chooses to buy produce locks them out of public contracts that would help them grow. We need to end the big business comes first mentality that has characterised the SNP government.
“Buying local food and drink is good for environment, cutting down on food miles. It is good for jobs and good for our economy. We need to make it easier for Scotland’s small businesses to compete on a level playing field with big firms.”
Meanwhile Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie will set out how a larger group of MSPs from his party could create a “bolder Holyrood” as he campaigns in the Glasgow Kelvin constituency.
With the Greens hoping for their best every Holyrood result Mr Harvie will be questioned by voters at an event in Glasgow.
Speaking ahead of it, he said: “During this campaign we’ve already spoken directly with far more voters than ever before, on the doorsteps and in communities right across Scotland.
“But with interest running especially high in Green priorities for Glasgow Kelvin and opinion polls suggesting we could be on track for a record result, we’re keen to offer voters every chance to hear from us and to tell us what they think. F
“From social media to traditional public meetings, we want to make sure this election campaign reaches every voter.”