Scotland politics

Scottish election: Parties on weekend campaign trail

clockwise from top left Alex Salmond and football team, Annabel Goldie, Iain Gray, Michael Moore, Jeremy Purvis and Menzies Campbell
Image caption Scotland's politicians have been out and about across the country

Party leaders are out around Scotland canvassing in the Holyrood election race.

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray is in Edinburgh to talk about improving early years services.

SNP leader Alex Salmond is focusing on community cashback funding for a youth football facility in Renfrewshire.

The Conservatives are stressing their Common Sense message with Annabel Goldie in Falkirk. The Lib Dems are in Peebles campaigning on the NHS.

Child poverty

Scottish Labour's leader pledged to focus on the welfare of young children and their families in a bid to cut child poverty.

Mr Gray, who met young parents in Edinburgh, said: "These are tough times so we must focus on things that really matter, and nothing is more important than looking after young children and their parents.

"In the last four years we have sadly seen the immorality of child poverty on the rise again.

"We know that a positive start for a child can set their course for life."

The party's manifesto has promised a package of support measures up until a child is three years old, including additional support for young mothers.

On the day that Ultravox singer Midge Ure gave his backing to the party, SNP leader Alex Salmond focussed on the SNP's commitment to young Scots and to supporting Scotland's young sports stars.

Cash from criminals

Mr Salmond said: "Grassroots sports are an essential part of our communities and as we head toward great sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup we must support our young sports stars.

"Over the last four years the SNP has invested in community sports using cash from criminals to improve the facilities for our young people.

"A re-elected SNP government will go further for our young sports stars."

Meanwhile in Falkirk, campaigning on the day they had dubbed Common Sense Saturday, Miss Goldie said the Scottish Tories would give residents in Scottish cities the power to elect local provosts.

She said: "It is common sense on local democracy to give local people more of a voice in their community."

Miss Goldie added: "I want to let local democracy flourish. That is why the Scottish Conservatives will give the people of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen a referendum on electing a local provost.

"That is why the Scottish Conservatives want locally-elected Police Commissioners to give local people a voice on local policing.

"That is why the Scottish Conservatives want community councils to be given a budget and a greater local say over community projects."

Liberal Democrat MPs Michael Moore, Sir Menzies Campbell and Don Foster joined local candidate Jeremy Purvis campaigning in Peebles.

They said Labour's plans to re-organise Scotland's health boards could put NHS Borders at risk.

Mr Moore also said that decisions on key issues such as health, policing and tourism should be made as much as possible by local people.

He added: "The dividing line in this election is between those parties that want to centralise control to Edinburgh and Glasgow and the party that trusts local people.

"The Liberal Democrats are the only party who will protect local services from centralisation.

"Electing more Liberal Democrat MSPs on May 5th is the best way to stop the drive to centralise by the other parties."

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