Election 2015 Scotland

Election 2015: Health and jobs on Scottish campaign agenda

Man in boiler suit welding Image copyright PA
Image caption The minimum wage and apprenticeships were among the issues raised by political parties

Health and jobs are among the issues on the election agenda as parties campaign across Scotland.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy told a rally in Glasgow the NHS should be the top priority, not a second independence referendum.

The Scottish Conservatives focused on apprenticeships, while the SNP pledged to increase the minimum wage.

Elsewhere, the Scottish Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto in Edinburgh.

Mr Murphy addressed a street rally in Glasgow, where he said Labour would invest in the NHS.

He said: "Scotland needs to rebuild our NHS, not re-run the referendum. The SNP promised to rule out a referendum for a generation and they've reneged on that pledge. Labour has pledged to invest in the NHS and we will keep that promise.

"Under the SNP we have seen a crisis in our A&E wards. Supporting our NHS should be our national priority, not a second referendum and the years of debate and division that would mean."

"No deals"

Elsewhere, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, met young apprentices in Peterhead to highlight the Conservative pledge to create 10,000 more apprenticeships by 2020.

Ahead of the event, she spoke to BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme about Tory peer Lord Forsyth's warning that talking up the SNP's possible role at Westminster was undermining the Union.

Ms Davidson said: "I think Lord Forsyth has fallen into a bit of a Nationalist trap here by framing this as a Scotland versus England thing, and it is not.

"Unionists across the whole of the UK are concerned and frightened about the sort of concessions that the SNP being in charge of a weak Labour government could bring and whether those concessions would put the UK - that I fought for, that many people fought for, that we won a referendum on - at risk.

"And there is a clear way to avoid this and that is to elect a majority Conservative government that will do no deals with the SNP."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRuth Davidson: "I think Lord Forsyth has fallen into a bit of a nationalist trap here by framing this as a Scotland versus England thing, and it is not."

Meanwhile, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon addressed the Scottish Trade Union Congress in Ayr, where she pledged to increase the minimum wage to £8.70 per hour by 2020. The SNP claim this would make 250,000 people in Scotland better off by up to £4,000 a year.

Speaking ahead of the event, she said: "Hard working people have been let down by Westminster, with the cost of living rising as the harsh cuts agenda takes its toll.

"We need a new, progressive approach to tackle inequality, boosting pay for our lowest paid workers and helping close the gap between rich and poor."

The Scottish Green party marked John Muir Day - celebrating the birth of the founder of the National Parks movement - by reiterating their election manifesto pledges to tackle poverty and oppose fracking.

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "Returning more Green MPs would send a strong message that the UK is serious about showing leadership on climate change, pursuing sustainable jobs and protecting the environment that our economy relies on.

"All too often we see UK governments ignoring their responsibility to protect our seas, our wildlife and our food chains. And we need stronger voices on fossil fuel decommissioning and divestment."

Voters across the UK go to the polls on 7 May.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites