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General election manifesto: Scottish Labour promises ‘constitutional reform’ and investment in public services


General election manifesto: Scottish Labour promises ‘constitutional reform’ and investment in public services

The Scottish manifesto focuses on how a UK Labour Government could enable ‘transformational change that the SNP simply cannot deliver’

Scottish Labour has released a general election manifesto promising to “overhaul” the block grant funding model for the Scottish Parliament, extend Scottish Government borrowing powers and devolve employment law if Labour wins the general election.

The party also confirmed its position on independence and Brexit, saying it would not agree to an independence referendum “in the early years” of a Labour Government and declaring that Scottish Labour “want the UK to stay in the European Union”.

The manifesto was launched today at an event in the Gorbals area of Glasgow.

The manifesto says Labour would use the opportunity of the 2021 review of the Scottish Fiscal Framework to propose an “overhaul” of the block grant so that taxing arrangements set by Westminster wouldn’t negatively affect the Scottish Budget.

The manifesto says: “Scottish Labour would propose an overhaul of the Block Grant Adjustment mechanism and a review of the wider Fiscal Framework so that a floor is provided and so that the adjustment on social security is not downwards - but upwards - according to Scotland’s needs.”

As well as this, the party says it would extend borrowing powers to allow the Scottish Government to borrow and issue bonds for capital and resource spending without restriction.

It also said that the devolution of employment law would ensure that “workers’ rights never fall below the UK minimum”.

The UK Labour party released its general election manifesto yesterday, promising to increase the health budget, raise the minimum wage, scrap the universal credit benefit system and nationalise certain industries.

Specific spending pledges on areas such as health, education and local government would not apply to Scotland, however, because they are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

But Scotland would be set for an extra £100bn if Labour wins, including £50bn of Barnett consequentials resulting from the extra public spending in the rest of the UK, with the Scottish Government responsible for deciding how the money was spent.

Writing in the manifesto introduction, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said his party was “committed to devolving real power from Westminster to Holyrood and then onto communities and workplaces”.

The manifesto describes how the Scottish Labour party could work with a UK Labour Government to use a pledged investment of £100bn over the next ten years to provide free school meals and rebuild public services, if the Scottish party went on to win the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

On Brexit, the Scottish Labour manifesto goes further than the UK party’s by saying “we want the UK to stay in the European Union”.

The party has confirmed it would campaign to remain in the EU if a second referendum was to go ahead.

Speaking to Labour supporters at the manifesto launch, Leonard said: “We have just twenty days to elect a radical, transformative, Labour Government to implement this radical, transformative Labour manifesto that would change Scotland not just for the next five years but for the next generation.”

“Let us go out and win it because when Labour wins Scotland wins.”

Read the most recent article written by Ailean Beaton - New chair of Audit Scotland appointed

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