100 Campaigning Days Until Holyrood Election

25 January 2016, 09:28

Scotland's political parties are stepping up their campaigns as the countdown to the Holyrood election approaches a milestone.

Today marks 100 days of campaigning until voters go to the polls and activists have been out in force over the weekend.

Polls suggest an increased SNP majority in May and the party says it must ''earn the right'' to a third term in government.

Deputy leader John Swinney said: ''We are literally building for the future. We have exceeded our five year target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes and set out our commitment to go even further with 50,000 more affordable homes over the next parliament.

''We've bolstered the NHS budget to record levels, with record numbers of staff. We have reformed our police service with crime rates showing a 41 year low.

''We have boosted Scotland's economy by getting people into work. Figures published this week show employment in Scotland at a record high, outperforming the rest of the UK, with youth unemployment at its lowest level since 2006.

''Our most transformational investment in the next parliament will be in education. We'll almost double current provision of government funded early learning and childcare and right through to college and university level we are determined to deliver further achievement for Scotland.

''We will spend the next 100 days leading an ambitious, national debate about how to keep Scotland moving forward through progressive policies.''

Scottish Labour are to ''step up'' campaigning this week with events including a visit from UK deputy leader Tom Watson.

Leader Kezia Dugdale is also to address the UK shadow cabinet on Tuesday.

She said: ''Scottish Labour has already set out bold plans to invest in education and to help young people buy their first home. In the coming weeks and months we will set out more radical ideas to transform the life chances of every young person in this country.

''We don't have to just manage Tory austerity, but politicians in Scotland must be willing to take difficult decisions. The SNP Government's budget will keep cutting the funding for social care, schools and childcare, but it doesn't have to be this way. Nicola Sturgeon doesn't have to impose half a billion pounds worth of cuts that will hold back our young people from getting on in life.''

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson led a weekend of street campaigning with her party.

She said: ''With 100 days to go, it is clear that Scotland needs a government that's 100% focused on running the country.

''In the first few weeks of the election campaign, two things have become clear.

''Firstly, the SNP has been asleep at the wheel on education. We have exposed how graduates are leaving Scotland to teach elsewhere because the SNP has failed to adopt new programmes to encourage them into classrooms here. And we have shown this week how the number of school inspections has fallen off a cliff.

''The SNP is only now is getting round to focusing on improving schools because it has spent most of its time trying to split the country - what a waste of eight and a half years of government.''