Election 2015 Scotland

Election 2015: Scottish parties campaign ahead of vote

Jim Murphy, Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and Danny Alexander on the campaign trail
Image caption Jim Murphy, Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and Danny Alexander on the campaign trail

Scotland's main political parties have hit the campaign trail, with less than two weeks until the UK election.

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson highlighted rural jobs for young people and the Liberal Democrats' Danny Alexander focused on the economy.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy launched his party's "workplace manifesto" ahead of voting on 7 May.

Meanwhile, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon set out plans to increase the carers allowance.

Campaigning in the south of Scotland, Ms Davidson said rural areas of the country needed a better deal in the face of a "centralising SNP government in Edinburgh".

"We've been the only party to argue that more power should pass to our great rural areas," she said.

"We want to help create dynamic rural towns and villages across rural Scotland which attract young people and give them the chance of a great career and a good life."

Regular work

In Glasgow, Mr Murphy said only his party could guarantee a "fair economy", with policies like raising the minimum wage and extending the living wage into low-paid jobs in the private sector.

"David Cameron admits he couldn't live on a zero-hours contract but his solution is to rebrand them," Mr Murphy said.

"The SNP are no better than the Tories. For all their promise of being bold, they want to consult on zero-hours contracts - Labour will ban them, and give workers the right to a regular contract after 12 weeks of regular work."

Speaking in Aberdeen, Mr Alexander said his party, in coalition government with the Conservatives, had brought stability in the UK economy in the wake of the recession.

He said the UK financial industry had expressed concern that a Labour government would cost the economy more than £10bn a year and the average household at least an extra £800 annually in mortgage payments, as interest rates jumped.

Mr Alexander said: "The markets are showing their concern. I believe they are right to do so.

"An unstable government, unable to take serious decisions, pulled sharply to left or right, with Alex Salmond or Nigel Farage, would cost us all dear. It would jam the breaks on the economic recovery."

'Sustained attack'

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Ms Sturgeon said SNP MPs would argue for extra support for carers across the UK, saying her party's proposal to increase the carers allowance to the same level as job seekers allowance would deliver up to £600 extra for more than 100,000 unpaid carers in Scotland.

Carers allowance is currently £62 per week, while jobseekers allowance is set at £73.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Carers are often reliant solely on the social security system for their income because they have to take time out of work to look after others - the same social security system which is under a relentless and sustained attack by this Tory-led government."

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