Sturgeon Hits Out At 'Scare Tactics'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will accuse political opponents of resorting to scare tactics today as she claims the SNP is the only party putting forward a positive vision in the General Election campaign.

She will be challenged by Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy to support a freeze on energy prices as he campaigns with shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will visit a bingo hall in Edinburgh to highlight her party's pledge to ensure that pensions rise every year.

The First Minister will join Michelle Thomson, SNP candidate for Edinburgh West, in South Queensferry.

It comes as the latest polls maintain the SNP's large lead across Scotland.

A Survation poll for the Daily Record found 51% of Scots plan to vote for SNP candidates on May 7, leading to the party winning 55 of Scotland's 59 seats.

The poll has Scottish Labour support at 26%, the Tories on 14% and the Lib Dems on 5%.

SNP election campaign director Angus Robertson welcomed the poll.

He said: "More anti-Tory MPs than Tory MPs in the House of Commons means that we can lock David Cameron out of Downing Street - so voting SNP delivers a strong voice for Scotland and progressive policies for the whole UK, including an end to cuts.''

Speaking before her visit to South Queensferry, Ms Sturgeon said: "As this General Election campaign has progressed, it has become crystal clear that the only party offering a positive vision for Scotland is the SNP.

"If we are successful next Thursday, SNP MPs will be a strong, positive voice for the people of Scotland - and a progressive voice for the UK as a whole.

"In recent days we have seen the opposition parties resort to the fears and scare tactics that they always seem to fall back on. They are out of ideas - and they are running out of time.''

Mr Murphy will say Labour plans to freeze energy prices would save every Scottish household £120 and result in a total annual saving to families and businesses of #500 million.

He will say: "The stark reality of Scotland 2015 is that some of our poorest families are choosing between heating and eating.

"That's the result of five years of Tories' austerity and eight years of an SNP Government in Edinburgh preoccupied with the constitution.

"For all their bluster about making Labour bolder, the SNP are silent on the energy price freeze. This is yet another radical Labour policy that the SNP cannot and will not match.''

Ms Davidson will meet bingo hall staff and customers as she campaigns with Iain McGill, Tory candidate for North Edinburgh and Leith.

She said: "We have introduced a triple lock so that pensions will rise by inflation or 2.5% - whatever is the highest. This has seen the pension rise by £800 since 2010/11.

"Labour will tax you more, borrow more and spend more - and all pensioners would pay the price.

"The SNP is pulling a con trick on pensioners. It claims it wants to protect pensions and yet its plan for full fiscal autonomy would end the UK state pension overnight.''

Elsewhere Deputy First Minister John Swinney will set out the SNP's support for a cut in employers' National Insurance contributions and a rise in employment allowance from #2,000 to #6,000 over the next four years.

He will say the measures would help smaller firms take on extra staff and support them in paying the living wage.

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