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Corbyn promises £70bn investment in Scotland if Labour wins election

Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

Corbyn promises £70bn investment in Scotland if Labour wins election

The Labour leader also said he was confident the party could win seats “across Scotland” on 12 December

Jeremy Corbyn has promised an additional £70bn of investment to “transform the lives of people in Scotland” if Labour wins the general election.

Speaking at an election campaign event in Edinburgh on Thursday, the Labour leader said the funding would be for improving infrastructure and undoing austerity for Scottish people “that has been passed on to them in their communities”.  

He also said he was confident that Labour could win seats “across Scotland” in the general election on 12 December.

Corbyn was speaking to a gathering of party members in McEwan Hall in Edinburgh on the final stop of a general election campaign tour of Scotland.

Discussing Labour proposals to create a UK national investment bank and a series of “transformational funds” to accompany it, he said the investment bank would be “working in Scotland” alongside the Scottish Government’s national investment bank.

He said: “Our proposals are for a national investment bank, and transformation funds that accompany it: regional transformational funds in England and, of course, working in Scotland with an investment bank for Scotland.

“There will be £70 billion of investment coming in to Scotland under Labour. That investment will be for infrastructure: railways, busses, housing, hospitals, care and of course revenue needs as well.

“It will absolutely help to transform the lives of people in Scotland who have suffered so much from the austerity that has been passed on to them in their communities.”

Labour announced the £70bn “investment fund” in October, with £10bn supposed to be allocated towards the building of 120,000 new council and social houses, but it is unclear how exactly the money would be spent because transport, housing and health are all areas devolved to the Scottish Government.

If Labour were elected as the UK government, it could include the money in the block grant given to Scotland, but it would be up to the Scottish Government to decide how it was used.

On reserved or shared competencies such a broadband, projects in Scotland would be funded directly from a Labour government in Westminster.

Much of the focus on the Labour leader’s three day visit to Scotland has been on the party’s position on allowing an independence referendum, with Corbyn giving conflicting statements on when a Labour government would allow a referendum to be held.

Corbyn said he would not allow one in the early years of a Labour government or the first two years after the election, but then said he wouldn’t allow one in the first five-year term, later reverting to saying it would not happen in the “early years” of a labour government.

The SNP has said that it would not help Labour into power unless it allows a fresh independence referendum, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hoping to hold one in 2020.

The topic was not addressed at the Edinburgh event, although Corbyn did say that “what the election is about will not be decided by journalists based in Edinburgh, London or anywhere else”.

But Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, used his speech to reject the SNP’s approach to the issue.

He said: “This is a general election – it is not a referendum on a referendum.”

Leonard went on to say that his message to any party leaders who are “issuing demands” is that there would be “no pacts, no deals and no coalitions”.

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