Labour Wants Scotland Role - Brown

Labour is ready to reclaim its "historic role as Scotland's party of fairness and social justice'', according to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

In a letter to voters, Mr Brown said the Tories are committed to billions of pounds of austerity and the SNP's plan for full fiscal autonomy would leave a £7.6 billion hole in Scotland's economy.

But Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the SNP is the only party pledging investment in jobs and services, in contrast to the "Tory-Labour austerity alliance''.

Mr Brown said: "Labour is proving itself ready to reclaim its historic role as Scotland's party of fairness and social justice - committed to tackling youth unemployment, widening educational opportunity and ending the need for food banks.''

He added: "If they win the election, the Tories are committed to billions of pounds more austerity - which means less money for Scotland and our NHS.

"The SNP's own spending plans for the UK confirm that next year they would not spend a single penny more than the Tories.

"And the nationalists would scrap the Barnett formula, meaning that our NHS and other public services could only be funded by taxes raised in Scotland. That would mean additional cuts of #7.6 billion to the services we all rely on.

"The Labour Party created the NHS. We built the NHS. And we have always ensured that it has been fully funded.''

Mr Swinney said: "Westminster's cuts have been holding back our economy and hurting people in our communities for too long - pushing 100,000 more children in Scotland into poverty and seeing the numbers of people forced to rely on food banks shooting through the roof.

"Ending austerity is without doubt the key issue of this General Election campaign - and both Labour and the Tories are on the wrong side of people in Scotland and many people across the UK. Austerity has failed on every measure - and it's time for a new, more progressive approach

"The contrast between the Tory-Labour austerity alliance and the SNP's plans for investment could not be clearer - and is one of the reasons that more and more people in Scotland are putting their faith in the SNP as we approach the General Election.''

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