Vote for the SNP to escape Brexit and reverse austerity, Nicola Sturgeon expected to say at manifesto launch
A vote for the SNP is a “vote to escape Brexit” and “a vote to reverse austerity”, Nicola Sturgeon is expected to say as the SNP launches its manifesto in Glasgow today.
The SNP leader will warn that Brexit is “nowhere near being done” and “there is worse to come” if Boris Johnson is re-elected, with his Brexit deal a “nightmare” for Scottish jobs, environmental standards and workers’ rights.
She is also expected to reveal further details of the SNP’s bargaining strategy in the event of a hung parliament.
As well as requiring a Section 30 order to hold a second independence referendum, a central point will be to significantly increase funding for the NHS across the UK.
The SNP will demand that the next UK government raise per-head health spending south of the border to the same levels as Scotland, which the party says would deliver more than £4bn extra for Scotland through the Barnett formula by the end of the next Westminster Parliament in 2024-25.
Other demands to form a “progressive alliance” at Westminster, which were listed by Sturgeon in a Sky TV interview on Sunday, include an end to austerity; devolution of powers over migration, drug laws and employment law; more action on climate change; an end to the two child cap, the rape clause and Universal Credit; and no more nuclear weapons on the Clyde.
As she launches the party’s manifesto on Wednesday, Sturgeon is expected to say: “At the heart of this election is a fundamental question for the people of Scotland: who should decide Scotland’s future, the people who live here or Boris Johnson? The future of our country is on the line.
“The reality of Westminster control over Scotland is this: a right-wing Tory government Scotland didn’t vote for and a prime minister in Boris Johnson who is dangerous and unfit for office.
“It means Tory cuts to the Scottish budget, the NHS under threat from a Tory-Trump trade deal, a power grab on the Scottish Parliament, children being forced into poverty and a disastrous Brexit deal that will hit jobs, living standards and workers’ rights.
“But there is worse to come – unless Boris Johnson is stopped this will just be the start.
“Brexit is nowhere near being done. The Tories have barely got going – they haven’t even started trade talks.
“Because of Johnson’s hardline position, there is every chance the UK will leave without a trade deal next year. That would be a catastrophe for jobs.
“And even if he somehow avoids that, his dream deal will be a nightmare for Scotland.
“It will take Scotland out of the Single Market – which is eight times the size of the UK alone – and out of the Customs Union, the world’s biggest trading block.
“Environmental standards and workers’ rights will be at risk. And as night follows day, the Tories will sell-out Scotland’s fishing industry.
“The truth is Brexit will dominate Westminster politics for years and years to come.
“A vote for the SNP on December 12 is a vote to escape Brexit.
“It’s a vote to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands. And it is a vote to deprive Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party of a majority.”
She is expected to add that despite Tory cuts, the Scottish Government has increased frontline health funding by 13 per cent in real terms since 2010.
She will say: “The SNP is spending in Scotland £136 per head more on frontline health services than in England.
“This amounts to over £740 million more spending per year on frontline health services in Scotland, compared to the UK.
“Now, given our rural population, there should always be higher per capita spend in Scotland.
“However, if the next UK government raised health spending per head to the current Scottish level, closing that gap, it would not only substantially increase health investment in England, but would mean that by 2024-25, frontline investment to NHS Scotland would be more than £4 billion higher than today.
“A vote for the SNP is therefore a vote to reverse austerity and to protect our NHS.”
Ahead of the manifesto launch, the SNP has already announced a number of policies that its MPs will push for in Westminster, including 12-weeks of non-transferable paternity leave for new fathers; increased maternity pay; more protection against redundancy for pregnant women and those on parental or adoption leave; a cap on interest rates for credit cards and payday loans; and a bill to protect the NHS in potential future trade deals.