12 April 2017
A new campaign briefing from Scottish Labour has revealed the SNP’s biggest broken promises.
Ten years on from the SNP launching its 2007 manifesto, the SNP has failed to scrap the council tax, abolish student debt – or even make education its top priority.
Commenting on the briefing, Alex Rowley, Scottish Labour deputy leader and local government campaign manager, said:
“A decade of the SNP in government has simply meant a decade of division for Scotland.
“The SNP promised to scrap the council tax – a promise it has broken. Promises on student debt, education and the NHS have all fallen by the wayside by a government focused on independence.
“Nicola Sturgeon herself said the 2014 referendum was a once in a lifetime opportunity – now she is set to divide Scotland again by forcing a debate on Scots who do not want to be divided again.
“Only Labour is offering a radical alternative for our country. Labour councillors are now the last line of defence between their communities and cuts to public services.”
Labour’s campaign briefing is available here: http://bit.ly/2oBRzvn
SNP Social Security Drive Ditched After a Week
10 April 2017
The SNP’s campaign to increase awareness of benefits entitlement was ditched after a week and a hotline for social security advice has been shut down, Scottish Labour can reveal.
Half a million people in Scotland are not claiming the social security payments they are entitled to – with over £
2 billion going unclaimed.
Labour pressure last year resulted in the Scottish Parliament voting for a legal duty on the country's new social security agency to ensure everyone receives what they are entitled to.
The SNP promised a campaign to raise awareness, but Labour can today reveal:
• Spending on the campaign amounted to less than £6,000
• Only 427 people phoned the hotline advertised
• The hotline is now shut down - with callers receiving the message: "The benefits information line is now permanently closed”
• The SNP cannot say how many people got more money as a result.
Labour social security spokesperson Mark Griffin MSP said:
“Ensuring everyone gets the payments they are entitled to could have an absolutely transformative effect on our country. That’s why Labour wants a legal duty on the new social security agency to drive up awareness and make sure people get what they deserve.
“The SNP promised a serious campaign on this – but it looks like a glorified PR stunt rather than a real drive to get more people claiming what they are entitled to. People aren’t even being left hanging by the SNP – it has disconnected the phone line.
“The Vow delivered huge new powers for the Scottish Parliament, and opportunity to radically reshape our country to be a fairer nation, but we really need to move beyond warm words from the SNP to real action.”
SNP has shown “Contempt” for Councils - Rowley
11 April 2017
Only Labour can stand up for local communities, Alex Rowley said today.
The Scottish Labour deputy leader and local government campaign manager pointed to the SNP’s record on centralisation such as Police Scotland, colleges and enterprise boards.
The Nationalists have also refused to rule out stripping powers form local communities over schools.
Mr Rowley said that a decade of SNP government in Edinburgh has left Scotland divided, and SNP councillors elected in May will be focused on campaigning for a second independence referendum rather than standing up for local issues.
Scottish Labour deputy leader and campaign manager Alex Rowley said:
“The SNP has shown contempt for councils. It has centralised power and slashed budgets. A fairer, more democratic Scotland shouldn't do that.
“SNP ministers sitting in Edinburgh think they know better about how to serve local communities than those local communities themselves.
“It has run through their record in government – from colleges to enterprise boards, the SNP government in Edinburgh thinks it knows better than local people. More SNP councillors won’t give local communities a voice, it will just mean more control centralised in Edinburgh.
“Rather than running local services that people rely on, SNP councillors will be focused on rerunning a referendum argument that Scotland doesn't want.
“Labour councillors are now the only thing standing between local communities and cuts to valued services.”
Comment on Nicola Sturgeon interview
8 April 2017
Responding to Nicola Sturgeon’s comments that she will continue to agitate for a second independence referendum after Easter, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:
“People across Scotland will be rolling their eyes at a First Minister who only has one answer to every question – another divisive independence referendum that Scotland doesn’t want.
“Our schools don’t have enough teachers, our hospitals don’t have enough nurses and our economy doesn’t have enough jobs – but the only thing Nicola Sturgeon is focused on is dividing Scotland yet again. Her behaviour is bordering on gross negligence.
“Scotland is divided enough, we don’t need and don’t want another referendum on independence
"Holding another referendum on leaving the UK is the wrong thing to do for Scotland’s economy, especially when there is so much economic uncertainty from the Tories’ reckless plans for a hard Brexit.
“The Labour Party I lead will never support independence and the unprecedented levels of austerity it would mean for our public services. We believe that together we’re stronger.”
Labour’s plan to boost child benefit would help over half a million Scottish families
7 April 2017
Scottish Labour’s plan to boost child benefit would over half a million Scottish families.
New figures show that 565,000 families in Scotland are in receipt of child benefit.
Labour wants to see an increase of child benefit by an extra £240 per year by 2021 using the new welfare powers of the Scottish Parliament.
Labour will urge the SNP to include the plan in the Child Poverty Bill that is currently making its way through Holyrood. If that is rejected then Labour will seek other parliamentary mechanisms to bring the policy into effect.
Child benefit for the first child is currently £1,076 per year. Under Labour's plan, by 2021 this would increase to £1,316 per year.
Labour Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin said
“The Scottish Parliament now has the power to radically shape our social security system, to lift children out of poverty and put money back into the pockets of Scottish families.
“Labour’s plans would help over half a million Scottish families. That with lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty and boost our economy with more people just getting by having more spending power.
“We need to move beyond warm words to actually using the powers of Holyrood to make a real difference.
“The SNP is too focused on dividing Scotland with another independence referendum, rather than using the powers to make Scotland a country that works for all of us.”