Labour Issue Spending Pledge

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has called on her opponents to match her pledge to increase public spending.

Ms Dugdale, who will join campaigners in Edinburgh today, has vowed to "break away from Tory austerity'' at Westminster by increasing spending on public services between the Scottish election and the next general election.

She said: "Tax is the defining debate in this election, and now it's time for each of the parties to set out how they would use the new powers to stop the cuts.

"Our plans mean we can make an anti-austerity pledge - a guarantee that spending on services will rise under a Scottish Labour Government. It's now up to other parties to match that.''

With new powers over tax coming to Holyrood, Labour has called for the basic rate of income tax to be raised by 1p, and for the top rate, paid by those earning over £150,000, to be increased to 50p.

Ms Dugdale added: "Nicola Sturgeon refuses to use the new tax powers to stop the cuts and protect public services. The SNP have been reduced to making excuses for not asking the richest 1% to pay a single penny more.''

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will also be in the capital, and is expected to set out her personal commitment on the NHS, while Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will be at the city's Science Festival to outline his plans for digital learning.

Speaking ahead of the visit, he said: "Our plans for a digital revolution would complement the hard work that teachers are doing in classrooms up and down the country and broaden the range of options available to pupils.''

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will be in Aberdeenshire to discuss the party's plans to freeze business rates with local businesses.

Meanwhile, Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie will be joined by England and Wales leader Natalie Bennett for the launch of the party's West of Scotland campaign.

She said: "This year's elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, all with a form of proportional representation, gives voters the opportunity to realistically elect politicians who will commit to Holyrood using its significant powers to take radical action on rent controls, to scrap the unfair council tax, to ban fracking and to resist Tory austerity with ambitious and progressive tax proposals.''

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