The Scottish and UK Governments have both been “abject failures” at tackling homelessness, child poverty and the climate emergency, Jeremy Corbyn has said as he embarks on a two-day tour of Scottish constituencies.
On his first visit north of the border in the election campaign, the Labour leader will visit five of the seven seats the party is trying to hold on to in Scotland, and will accuse the SNP and the Tories of hiding from their records in government behind constitutional politics.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has pledged to use a £600m per year windfall from a promised expansion of social care in England to create a Scottish Care Service to improve standards and reduce waiting times for those needing support.
Labour has also promised that social care staff would receive a minimum of £10 per hour. The party says the package of investment would help to reduce the backlog of 1,430 hospital beds per day on average in the Scottish NHS taken up by patients without a social care placement to go to.
“Delayed discharges from hospital cost NHS Scotland over half a million bed days last year – up six per cent on the year before,” Mr Leonard said.
“Our NHS is suffering because of the SNP’s failure to tackle the social care crisis over 12 years in government.
“Under our plan, local government will be at the heart of delivering integrated care. This is about ensuring proper time for care visits, and bringing dignity back to carers and care users alike.”
With polls suggesting his party is set to lose most of its MPs in Scotland once again, Mr Corbyn will insist that a vote for Labour is the only way to secure a “once-in-generation chance to transform Scotland and the whole UK”.
“A UK Labour government will provide the massive investment Scotland deserves,” Mr Corbyn said.
“We will build the homes people need and end homelessness, tackle the climate emergency, provide a social care system that gives dignity to our older people and the carers who look after them, end child poverty and end fuel poverty.
“The SNP and the Tories have neither the ideas or the will to transform Scotland for the better, so are hiding from their records in government.
“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform Scotland and the whole UK. When Labour wins, Scotland wins.”
Ahead of Mr Corbyn’s visit, Scottish Conservative MSP for Glasgow Annie Wells claimed that the Labour leader’s failure to rule out a second independence referendum made him an “active risk to the Union”.
“Labour voters across Scotland are deserting Jeremy Corbyn’s party,” Ms Wells said. “Thousands of them voted to ensure Scotland stayed in our Union in 2014.
“Now they see a weak, out of touch Labour leader preparing to give Nicola Sturgeon just what she wants – a re-run as early as next year.
“From his weakness on the Union to the threat he poses to our security, Mr Corbyn simply cannot be trusted.”
The SNP’s David Linden, who is defending his Glasgow East seat with a majority over Labour of just 75 votes, claimed a vote for Mr Corbyn’s party would be wasted across most of Scotland.
“Labour have nothing positive to offer Scotland, and a vote for them in some places would only help the Tories.
“Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to properly oppose Brexit is set to hit them hard in Scotland, where the Remain vote has only strengthened since 2016.
“Only a vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit and to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”