Scotland Election 2016

Parties hit the road for Holyrood election campaign

Leaders composite
Image caption Scotland's political leaders are campaigning across the country ahead of the Holyrood election on 5 May

Scotland's party leaders have focused on finance and transport during a busy day of Holyrood election campaigning.

The Greens and Conservatives campaigned about transport infrastructure, while SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon continued her tour of the northern isles.

Elsewhere, Labour and the Lib Dems promoted their financial policies on education and council tax ahead of the election on 5 May.

Ruth Davidson, Conservatives

Image caption Ruth Davidson hit the track during a campaign event at at Knockhill

Ruth Davidson got behind the wheel at the Knockhill race track, chasing down a red car - symbolising Labour - in her Tory blue vehicle.

The Scottish Conservative leader said Scotland's roads were in a "terrible state", calling for better infrastructure to keep the country moving.

She pledged £20m a year to fix potholes over the next parliament, from a special roads maintenance fund for local authorities.

Ms Davidson added: "It is one of the top doorstep issues and 80% of Scottish drivers say they've had to swerve to avoid a pothole in recent weeks - it's clear we need action to fix our roads infrastructure."

Patrick Harvie, Greens

Image copyright Scottish Green Party
Image caption Patrick Harvie was joined by Green activists in central Edinburgh

Green party co-convenor Patrick Harvie campaigned at a busy intersection in central Edinburgh while highlighting his party's call for improved bus services.

Mr Harvie ran a campaign called Better Buses during the last session of parliament, and said the Greens were taking the issue seriously.

He said: The SNP has ploughed extra millions into new motorways and dual carriageways while commuters and rural residents without access to a car are left behind.

"We need more electric or hybrid buses to reduce the air pollution harming public health, and we need a renovation programme for bus stations to make them attractive public spaces."

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP

Image caption Nicola Sturgeon visited a jewellery workshop during her tour of Orkney

Nicola Sturgeon continued her tour of Orkney and Shetland by visiting Kirkwall.

The SNP leader said she was committed to devolving more powers to the islands, saying: "We want to work with our island communities to further empower them to make sure that the decisions that shape the lives of people living in Orkney and Shetland are taken here."

Ms Sturgeon also defended the memorandum of understanding she signed with a Chinese consortium which has been criticised over corruption allegations.

She said: "There is no agreement to invest, this is about exploring opportunities and if there are any specific proposals for investment then full due diligence will be done."

Kezia Dugdale, Labour

Image caption Ms Dugdale opened a mock council tax bill while campaigning on the streets of Glasgow

Kezia Dugdale promoted her plans for a new system of council tax while campaigning in Glasgow.

The Scottish Labour leader said the SNP had broken its promises to "scrap the unfair council tax", but said her party would make good on this pledge with a new system based on recalculated property values.

She said: "People deserve bold proposals from the next Scottish government, not broken promises.

"Labour's fair plans will see 80% of households pay less - that means the average household will be better off by £111."

Willie Rennie, Lib Dems

Image caption Willie Rennie visited a charity in Glasgow while promoting the Lib Dems education policies

Willie Rennie visited Step Change, a Glasgow charity which provides people with free financial advice.

The Scottish Lib Dem leader said his party would help families with the cost of early years care and support families through the education system while closing the "attainment" gap in school performance.

Mr Rennie aims to introduce a "targeted pupil premium", worth £1,400 for primary pupils from more deprived backgrounds, paid for by adding 1p to income tax bands.

He said: "We know that putting extra investment into education is crucial to raising attainment across the board and ensuring that people get the skills they need to thrive in the workplace."

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