SNP 'Will Be Constructive Force'

16 March 2015, 10:04 | Updated: 16 March 2015, 11:26

The SNP will be a constructive force at Westminster for the whole of the UK after the general election, according to Scotland's First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon will say her party, which could hold the balance of power after May 7, can work to help every part of the country.

Ms Sturgeon will pledge not only to serve Scotland's interests in a speech in London ahead of the Chancellor's budget statement on Wednesday.

She is expected to set out her approach to budget setting, highlighting how tax and spending decisions could be taken differently in relation to areas such as oil and gas, the work allowance and Trident.

The lecture at the London School of Economics follows the First Minister's speech in the capital last month, in which she called for £180 billion of extra spending on public services by 2020.

Ms Sturgeon will say: "We will argue for a moderate approach to deficit reduction - one which doesn't penalise the vulnerable and harm economic growth.

"And we will argue for a different way of doing things. Budgets should take equality impacts seriously and use consultation more effectively.

"If we can be a constructive voice in the months and years ahead, we won't just serve Scotland's interests; we'll help where we can to bring positive change across the UK as well.''

Ms Sturgeon is expected to say the SNP would pursue its priorities with a "positive spirit''.

She will say: "We were constantly told by the UK Government before the referendum that Scotland was an equal and valued member of the United Kingdom.

"So don't be at all surprised if SNP MPs and the SNP Government now start taking them at their word.

"We have clear and constructive views on many aspects of UK policy which affect Scotland deeply - views which we know are often shared by many people elsewhere in the UK.''