Labour Can Provide Change: Miliband

A Labour government next year will provide the change Scotland needs rather than "erecting a new border'' with independence, Ed Miliband is set to argue.

With two weeks to go until the vote on Scotland's future, the Labour leader will travel north of the border in a bid to persuade people to back the union.

It comes amid nationalist claims that growing numbers of Labour supporters are to vote Yes on September 18, with First Minister Alex Salmond saying last week that ''hundreds of thousands'' could do so.

The SNP has been trying to woo Labour supporters with the message that independence could revive the party  - which has been out of power at Holyrood since 2007 - north of the border.

But today, as he campaigns in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Mr Miliband will say: "Electing a Labour government is the way to change Scotland. It is the way to build a just Scotland.''

The Labour leader will insist his party can improve social justice across the UK, contrasting that with Mr Salmond's plan to cut corporation tax if there is a Yes vote.

"The choice in this referendum campaign is not about change with Yes or more of the same with No,'' he will say.

"It is what kind of change you want.

"The change we need to build a fairer country with Labour, or the change of erecting a new border which is the only ambition of nationalists.''

With a UK general election taking place next year, Mr Miliband will insist his party is on the verge of returning to power at Westminster.

Mr Miliband, who will be joined by Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, will say: "I want to be very clear about the change I offer you in just eight months as prime minister.

"It is a changed Labour Party that is ready to change Britain. This is my contract with the people of Scotland.''

Mr Miliband has already outlined plans to freeze energy bills, increase the minimum wage, reintroduce the 50p rate of income tax for top earners and tax bankers' bonuses, as well as devolving key powers of tax and social security to Holyrood, if he becomes the next prime minister.

"This is my plan for social justice,'' he will say.

"What is the SNP plan? A 3p cut in corporation tax. Low taxes for the richest with no return to the 50p rate.

"No energy price freeze. And an end to the social justice of the United Kingdom.''

He will add: "A Labour government is within our grasp. With that election in just eight months time the change Scotland needs is on its way.''

Bob Thomson, Labour for Independence member and former chairman of Scottish Labour Party, said: "Ed Miliband's message is completely incoherent - he is the one working hand-in-glove with the Tories to hold back democratic progress in Scotland.

"He talks of the choice for social justice but he voted with the Tories and Liberal Democrats for a cap on welfare spending and has said, if elected, he will continue austerity cuts which will remove £6 billion from public expenditure in Scotland.''

He added: "I believe it is perfectly achievable that a majority of Labour voters will vote Yes on the 18th.

"Mr Miliband doesn't speak for Labour voters in Scotland on the referendum - he speaks on behalf of a No campaign, which wants to deny the people of Scotland the opportunity of a lifetime to build a fairer society.''

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