Scotland Election 2016

Parties focus on women, tax and active travel on Holyrood campaign trail

Scotland's politicians are campaigning about women's issues, tax rates and active travel with 12 days to go until the Holyrood election.

The SNP said they would make Scotland a fairer place for female workers.

Labour said their government would be "Scotland's greenest ever", while the Lib Dems pledged to increase the active travel budget by £20m.

The Scottish Conservatives warned about the potential impact of higher income tax rates.

The politicans campaigned as thousands of cyclists took part in mass bike rides in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The Edinburgh event, Pedal on Parliament, was billed as Scotland's largest demonstration for safer streets.

Image caption Nicola Sturgeon was joined by actress Elaine C. Smith to promote gender equality

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP

Nicola Sturgeon launched the SNP's manifesto commitments on women and gender equality at an event in Glasgow.

She said: "We will double free childcare to help parents return to work, and we will increase the numbers of people earning the living wage - helping many women on low pay.

"Women are increasingly visible in public life - but we want to break down barriers even further and ensure that women have equal opportunities and receive equal pay for their work.

"We'll take action to increase women's representation, to support female entrepreneurs and put pressure on any local authorities that are yet to settle outstanding equal pay claims."

Image copyright Chris Hill
Image caption Kezia Dugdale joined the Pedal on Parliament event

Kezia Dugdale, Labour

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said a Labour Scottish government would be Scotland's "greenest government ever".

She said: "With the party's promise to ban fracking and overhaul Scotland's public transport system, we are going much further than the SNP ever will to tackle climate change.

"Under the SNP only 30% of us are commuting to work by public transport, walking and cycling - a figure that hasn't shifted in a decade.

"With our plans to regulate bus services, introduce a single payment on public transport and invest in cycling we will deliver a culture change in the way people travel across Scotland."

Image copyright Getty Images

Ruth Davidson, Conservatives

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson visited Dumfriesshire to discuss the potential impact of higher income tax rates imposed by Holyrood.

She said: "The south of Scotland would be hardest hit - why would firms choose to set up just north of the border when a few miles further south would give their employees a better deal?

"We've already seen this week that higher taxes on home buying has left a multi-million pound black hole in the Scottish economy with revenue plummeting.

"We need to put jobs and a strong economy first - not reckless election tax grabs from politicians determined to out-flank one another."

Image copyright PA

Willie Rennie, Lib Dems

Lib Dem leader Wille Rennie pledged to implement a plan to help meet the 2020 active travel target.

He said: "We need action to increase investment in both cycling and walking, improve dedicated cycling infrastructure and ensure that people are confident that they can ride their bike safely.

"The Liberal Democrat three-point plan would deliver millions of pounds of investment and put cycling and active travel at the very heart of the planning process."

Image copyright PA

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens

The Scottish Greens said they intend to deliver on campaigners' demands by committing 10% of the transport budget to active travel.

The party's co-convenor Patrick Harvie said: "Investing in cycle infrastructure and road maintenance is far better for local businesses and our economy than ploughing extra millions into massive new road projects.

"Research shows it creates far more job hours, so we should be focusing on fixing and improving what we've got rather than adding even further to the cost of maintaining our road network.

"Successive SNP and Labour-led governments have failed to act. We need a bolder Holyrood with more Green voices to get us on track."

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