Parties clash over job plans
Parties are set to clash over their respective job creation plans today, with the SNP setting out how additional infrastructure investment could boost employment, as Scottish Labour highlights the benefits of using the UK-wide tax system to generate investment in skills.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney will use a campaign visit to Leith to set out the SNP’s ‘Jobs Manifesto’ as well as a commitment to a minimum wage of £8.70 by 2020, while Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy will warn against full fiscal autonomy, outlining how a £1bn investment in young people would only be possible through the continuation of Barnett.
Swinney is expected to say: “Hard working people have been let down for far too long by Westminster – and with both Labour and the Tories signed up to George Osborne’s plans for a further £30bn of cuts it is clear that things are only going to get worse. That’s exactly why we need to take a new, more progressive approach which puts working people first.
“That’s why we are proposing a modest 0.5 per cent increase in public spending, increased investment in infrastructure projects and support for SMEs to boost the economy and create more jobs. But we are absolutely clear that creating jobs is only the first challenge – and that we need to do everything we can to ensure that work always pays.”
Meanwhile, during a meeting with apprentices in Hamilton, Murphy will say: “The SNP’s plan is to cut Scotland off from taxes raised elsewhere in the UK. That means Labour’s better plan to invest £1 billion in our young people from UK-wide taxes like the Bankers’ Bonus tax would be turned back at the border, whilst a £7.6 billion black hole would be blown in our finances.
“The choice is clear at this election. A better plan for a fairer Scotland with a Labour Government or a lost generation with the Tories. Only Labour is big enough and strong enough across the UK to stop the Tories.”
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson yesterday visited three Mills in Hawick, praising the work being done to invest in developing skills in the workforce.
Davidson said: “Businesses know that to thrive, they have to invest in their workforce. The Scottish Conservatives support expansion of the apprenticeship programme to get more young people into industries like textiles, and are keen to support Scottish manufacturers exporting abroad.”
The Green candidate for Edinburgh East, Peter McColl, yesterday joined a protest in Glasgow, demanding higher wages and union rights for employees in the fast food industry.
He said: “Fast food workers are among the most exploited in this economy. Despite making colossal profits for their corporate employers, fast food workers are expected to suffer unpredictable work at poverty wages while being treated as disposable and denied any say in their working conditions.
“The demands of these workers are the same as the Scottish Greens' priorities for the coming parliament - a £10 minimum wage, the right to union bargaining, and an end to zero-hour contracts.”
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