Rishi Sunak's visit to Edinburgh sees him vow to step up reforms to help first-time buyers get on property ladder
While visiting the capital on Saturday, Sunak said he aims to step up efforts to develop schemes with banks to help aspiring home owners, with one MSP having claimed the could-be Prime Minister is ‘acutely aware’ of the challenges people face during the cost of living crisis.
And he admitted the party had to ‘take a long look in the mirror’ over their track record on the issue.
Mr Briggs said: "I’m impressed by Rishi and his vision to support people who want to buy a home. I think many people have given up on that.
"He has been working with banks to trial products, including with no deposit required.
“The cost of buying a home outstrips support currently available from the Scottish Government. We want to see more constructive policies and reforms. It’s an opportunity to return to what was a key conservative policy area. Over the last twelve years we’ve not done enough on it.”
Sunak said he hopes the party can ‘reconnect’ with younger voters as he laid out his plans for Scotland were he to become Prime Minister.
It comes after the former Chancellor pledged to reconstitute the UK Government’s Union Unit in a bid to see off talk of an independent Scotland.
He warned ignoring the SNP would be “dangerously complacent”, hitting back at leadership rival Liz Truss who said earlier this week she would “ignore” Nicola Sturgeon.
There have been tensions between the UK and Scottish Tories after Douglas Ross lodged a vote of no confidence in Johnson while several Tory MSPs were said to be frustrated
at the options in the leadership contest.
But Mr Briggs said he believes Sunak to be the strongest candidate with the ‘energy and determination to stand up to Nicola Sturgeon’.
He said: "Rishi is acutely aware of the cost of living crisis and what needs to be done to alleviate the impact on people’s lives, particularly on energy bills.
“He has a vision of how to turn the page on the constitutional arguments and get back to the real priorities for voters in Scotland. He won’t let the SNP continue to run down the NHS or fail on education. He’s not here to play politics. He can reset the relationships between both Governments. It’s time to end the Whitehall mentality of “devolve and forget”.
Sunak came under fire this week after stating he was taking money out of deprived urban areas to make sure more prosperous towns ‘get the funding they deserve’.
Defending Sunak, Mr Briggs said he had used ‘every lever’ to help protect jobs and businesses during the pandemic through the furlough scheme and business support grants.
He cited the £16.5 million injection of cash to Edinburgh’s Granton waterfront regeneration project from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund as ‘tangible’ evidence of Sunak’s commitment to Scotland.
Sunak claims he is the best candidate to beat the SNP, citing a YouGov poll which suggested 41 per cent of Scots had a positive opinion of him.
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