Sturgeon To Reveal Business Plans

Nicola Sturgeon will outline how the SNP will help Scottish businesses as her party's plans for full fiscal autonomy come under fresh attack on the General Election campaign trail.

The First Minister and Deputy First Minister John Swinney will set out the measures nationalist MPs at Westminster would support in order to boost the economy and create jobs.

Labour leader Jim Murphy will say the SNP's plans for Scotland to have greater financial powers would mean a reduction in public spending of £1,400 per head.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will join Business Minister and East Dunbartonshire candidate Jo Swinson to argue that only their party can take on the SNP in Scotland's 11 Liberal Democrat seats.

The Conservatives will be campaigning in Edinburgh with a message from leader Ruth Davidson that polling shows the party best represents the majority view in Scotland on key policy issues.

Speaking before a visit to a construction site in Glasgow with Mr Swinney, the First Minister said: "The cuts agenda of the Westminster parties is holding our businesses back as it stifles growth and hampers recovery. And the threat to take Scotland out of the EU against our will also looms large.

"The SNP wants to create a stable and balanced economy that is outward looking, confident, innovative, based on the core strengths of our people and supported by investment - and SNP MPs at Westminster will do everything in their power to support our businesses every step of the way.''

Mr Swinney added: "The SNP is the only party offering an alternative to austerity - and our plans for modest investment of 0.5% will enable us to strengthen and grow the Scottish economy as well as investing in our public services.

"The SNP will use our influence at Westminster to maximum effect to ensure that the Scottish economy gets the support it needs to create and support jobs, boost competitiveness and tackle inequality.''

Mr Murphy will deliver his warning on full fiscal autonomy during a visit to FiFab Precision Steel Fabrications in Glenrothes, Fife, where he will meet apprentices and high school students.

He said: "The choice at this election couldn't be clearer - investment in the future of young Scots, and an end to austerity with Scottish Labour, or losing £1,400 per person for our schools and hospitals with Nicola Sturgeon's plans for full fiscal autonomy.

"Here in Glenrothes alone, money from the Barnett formula is worth £127 million for public spending.

''The SNP's plan would put an end to that funding. That isn't just a number, it's a generation of Scottish young people who will see their potential squandered."

Ms Davidson is due to join Conservative activists at a street stall near the capital's Princes Street.

She said: "The SNP and Labour like to claim they represent Scotland. But when it comes to reforming welfare, bringing back powers from the EU, on public spending, immigration and - most importantly - on keeping our UK together, it's the Scottish Conservatives which best represent the majority view.

"The facts bear it out. The Scottish Conservatives stand with Scotland.''

Mr Rennie and Ms Swinson will visit manufacturing company Guala Closures in East Dunbartonshire, where they will say that the Liberal Democrats have a fully costed plan to balance the books by 2018.

Their party's plans would deliver an £800 million boost to Scotland's NHS, they will say.

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