Election 2015 Scotland

Election 2015: Economy dominates start of week three of Scottish campaign

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Media captionThe economy has been dominating the start of the third week of the general election campaign

Scotland's economic future has been dominating general election campaigning north of the border.

The Scottish Lib Dems said they would "balance the books" while the Scottish Tories said they represented the majority view in Scotland.

The SNP outlined its support for businesses and Scottish Labour promised an end to austerity.

The general election takes place on 7 May, when voters will choose who their next MP will be.

UK-wide polls are suggesting a tight contest with no one party securing majority control of the House of Commons.

Scottish poll

But a Scottish poll of 978 adults by TNS which was released on Monday suggested more than half of adults in Scotland who are certain to vote (52%) said they would back the SNP, against 24% supporting Labour.

The 28-point lead for the SNP is nearly double last month's figure, when the parties scored 46% and 30% respectively.

The Conservatives scored 13% (down one percentage point), the Liberal Democrats 6% (up three points) and the Greens 3% (down one point). Support for UKIP in Scotland is "almost negligible", TNS said.

The findings are largely in line with other Scottish polls, which have suggested the SNP is on course to win the vast majority of seats in Scotland.

At the start of the third week of the campaign, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie was on the election trail in Kirkintilloch with candidate Jo Swinson.

Image caption Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson was in Edinburgh where she tried her hand at selling ice cream cones
Image caption Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy met workers at FiFab Precision Steel Fabrications in Glenrothes

He said: "It is only because we have a costed, responsible plan to balance the books by 2018 that we can give an £800m boost to the Scottish NHS.

"It's because our plan to balance the books is one with a heart as well a brain.

"The Conservatives want to cut too much, taking us back to 1960's levels of public spending. The SNP want to borrow even more than Labour, recklessly putting at risk the decent funding of public services."

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson was in Edinburgh, where she said only her party could deliver on the key issues facing the country.

She said: "The SNP and Labour like to claim they represent Scotland. But when it comes to reforming welfare, bringing back powers from the EU, on public spending, immigration and - most importantly - on keeping our UK together, it's the Scottish Conservatives which best represent the majority view.

"The facts bear it out. The Scottish Conservatives stand with Scotland."

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy was at a factory in Glenrothes, where he repeated claims that the SNP's plan for full fiscal autonomy would cost every person in Scotland £1,400.

'Dodge questions'

He said: "The choice at this election couldn't be clearer - investment in the future of young Scots, and an end to austerity with Scottish Labour, or losing £1,400 per person for our schools and hospitals with Nicola Sturgeon's plans for full fiscal autonomy.

"Nicola Sturgeon can dodge questions in television studios, but she can't hide from the facts. Since dropping this Barnett bombshell last week, she has tried to hide from the truth, but she can't run from revelations that the SNP's economic plan would mean austerity max for Scotland.

"Here in Glenrothes alone, money from the Barnett formula is worth £127m for public spending."

Image caption SNP leader and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was in Braehead where she had a go at bricklaying
Image caption Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie visited Guala Closures in East Dunbartonshire with Liberal Democrat Business Minister and local candidate Jo Swinson

In Braehead, near Glasgow, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and the party's John Swinney outlined the SNP's plans to support businesses to grow the Scottish economy.

Ms Sturgeon said ensuring Scotland's businesses were able to thrive was vital in order to strengthen and grow the economy.

She added: "The SNP is committed to working closely with the business sector - and we have used the powers of devolution to support businesses and their employees however we can.

"But the cuts agenda of the Westminster parties is holding our businesses back as it stifles growth and hampers recovery. And the threat to take Scotland out of the EU against our will also looms large.

"The SNP wants to create a stable and balanced economy that is outward looking, confident, innovative, based on the core strengths of our people and supported by investment - and SNP MPs at Westminster will do everything in their power to support our businesses every step of the way."

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