Kezia Dugdale Hails Labour's 'Radical Vision For The Country'

16 May 2017, 14:05 | Updated: 16 May 2017, 15:36

Kezia Dugdale

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has hailed the party's UK manifesto as "a radical vision for the country''.

The document, unveiled by Jeremy Corbyn at a launch event in Bradford, contains pledges on raising income tax for higher earners, increasing the minimum wage and a guarantee to keep the state pension triple lock.

Ms Dugdale said that while the SNP "has done nothing to stop austerity'', Labour's proposals would redistribute wealth across the UK.

The SNP dismissed the manifesto as "headline-chasing policy announcements''.

Among a series of UK-wide proposals, including extending high speed rail to the north of England and onto Scotland, and a promise to "safeguard'' the North Sea oil industry, Labour also spelled out its opposition to a second independence referendum in Scotland.

The manifesto includes a pledge to oppose another ballot, and establish a People's Constitutional Convention to consider a more federal UK.

Jeremy Corbyn has previously said it would be wrong for Westminster to block a second referendum if the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of one.

The majority of Holyrood's MSPs have already backed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's call for another vote in the wake of Brexit.

Further pledges include establishing a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20 billion of funds available to local projects and Scotland's small businesses.

A Labour government at Westminster would also urge the Scottish Government to hold an inquiry into the actions of Scottish police during the miners' strike.

Attending the launch, Ms Dugdale said: "This manifesto is a radical vision for a country that works for the many, not just a privileged few.

"A Labour government will redistribute wealth and power across the UK. Under the Tories, working families are set to be on average over £1,400 a year worse off while those at the top have been given tax breaks worth tens of billions of pounds.

"The SNP has done nothing to stop this austerity - it has simply passed it on with £1.5 billion worth of cuts to local services since 2011.

"A Labour vision for our country is one where the rich and the powerful pay their fair share.

"Labour's manifesto gives voters a real choice: a fairer Scotland for the many, not the few; or a Scotland caught between the two extremes of Tory and SNP nationalism.''

SNP depute leader Angus Robertson said many of the pledges were already being delivered in Scotland by the SNP administration.

"Scrapping hospital parking charges, free tuition, publicly-owned water, ending the Bedroom Tax, increasing renewable energy and expanding free childcare will all seem familiar to voters in Scotland - because they are already happening under an SNP government,'' he said.

"And on Scotland, Labour can only mimic the Tories' anti-independence obsession.

"In Scotland we don't need a poor copy of the SNP, we need strong SNP voices standing up to the Tories at Westminster.

"But of course, no amount of headline-chasing policy announcements can paper over the enormous cracks within the weak and divided Labour party.''