Jim Murphy’s ‘radical’ Labour plan to be announced

LABOUR has a different “radical plan” for Scotland which is a “world of difference” from what is offered by the Conservatives, Scottish leader Jim Murphy will tell voters today.

Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy. Picture: John Devlin

Mr Murphy will officially launch the party’s campaign and pledge card in his East Renfrewshire constituency.

He will say Scots are “desperate for change” as he urges people to vote “with hope” rather than “out of anger, as a protest”.

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“It is easy to ride a wave of anti-political feeling,” Mr Murphy will say.

“To tell scunnered voters that they are all the same.

“Imagine how different things would have been if Labour had been the biggest party last time.

“The cynics in this election want us to believe that five years of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling would have been no different from five years of David Cameron and George Osborne.

“We know Scotland cannot afford another five years of Tory Government.

“But anyone can tell you what is wrong. This election can’t just be about that.

“It has to be about how we put it right, who has the best plan, and who is best placed to deliver that change.”

Labour’s 10 election promises include 1,000 extra nurses for Scotland’s NHS, a rise in the minimum wage, an end to zero hour contracts, funding for young people outside education and further powers for the Scottish Parliament over benefits.

Its pledge card also contains vows to guarantee the Barnett Formula, increase bursaries for students and to create a £175 million fund to tackle the causes of poverty and end the need for foodbanks.

“These promises represent a different plan for Scotland,” Mr Murphy will say.

“A world of difference between a Tory future and a Labour future.

“They are a plan for change that Scotland will only see if we vote for Labour.”

His speech comes after UK Labour leader Ed Miliband faced renewed calls form Nicola Sturgeon to join forces to “lock David Cameron out of Downing Street”.

While Labour has argued that a vote for the SNP makes another Tory-led government more likely, the First Minister has said the two parties could work together regardless of which is the largest party after the May 7 vote.

Writing in the Observer newspaper, she said: “We want to work with a progressive government, not destroy one, and if we have a role to play in a future Westminster parliament that is what we will do.

“The SNP’s proposals at this election show we can steer away from the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem cuts consensus and instead invest sensibly while still tackling the deficit - a proposal that has been given independent endorsement by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.”

She added: “I repeat my challenge to Ed Miliband: if together our parties have the parliamentary numbers required after May 7th, and regardless of which is the biggest party, will he and Labour join with us in locking David Cameron out of Downing Street?”