Scotland politics

Labour manifesto: Kezia Dugdale says party gives Scottish voters a choice

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn: "This is a manifesto for all generations. We are providing hope and genuine opportunity for everybody"

Labour's manifesto offers a real choice to Scottish voters "caught between the two extremes of Tory and SNP nationalism" the party's Scottish leader has said.

Kezia Dugdale also said the manifesto offered a vision where the "rich and powerful pay their fair share".

But the Conservatives said Labour's "nonsensical manifesto doesn't add up".

And the SNP said it had already introduced many of the policies Labour was proposing.

The Labour manifesto, which was unveiled by Jeremy Corbyn in Bradford, commits the party to opposing a second referendum on Scottish independence, which it describes as "unwanted and unnecessary".

It also says a Labour government would establish a People's Constitutional Convention that will consider the option of a more federal UK.

Among the other measures contained in the manifesto are:

  • Abolishing the child tax credit "rape clause"
  • Supporting the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system
  • Extending the HS2 high-speed rail line from London into Scotland
  • Establishing a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20bn of funds available to local projects and Scotland's small businesses
  • Urging the Scottish government to hold an inquiry into the actions of Scottish police during the miners' strike
  • Offering an immediate guarantee about the status of EU nationals in the UK, refusing to leave the EU with no deal in place

The manifesto - a draft of which was leaked last week - also outlines Labour plans for public ownership of utilities and the Royal Mail, and to introduce a £10 an hour minimum wage.

And the party said it would also lower the threshold for the 45p rate of income tax from £150,000 to £80,000 and introduce a new 50p rate on earnings over £123,000.

However, income tax is devolved to Holyrood - so the changes would only apply in Scotland if the Scottish government chose to introduce them.

Mr Corbyn said the manifesto was a "programme of hope", which he contrasted with a Conservative campaign which he claimed was "built on one word - fear".

And he insisted that Labour's plans were fully costed, telling activists: "We can embark on this ambitious programme without jeopardising our national finances."

Image caption Ms Dugdale said a Labour government would redistribute wealth across the country

The manifesto launch was attended by Ms Dugdale, who said the party was was offering a "radical vision for a country that works for the many, not just a privileged few".

And she said a Labour government would redistribute wealth and power across the UK - arguing that the Tories had made working families worse off while offering tax breaks to the wealthiest.

Ms Dugdale added: "The SNP has done nothing to stop this austerity - it has simply passed it on with £1.5bn worth of cuts to local services since 2011.

"A Labour vision for our country is one where the rich and the powerful pay their fair share.

"Labour's manifesto gives voters a real choice: a fairer Scotland for the many, not the few; or a Scotland caught between the two extremes of Tory and SNP nationalism."

Has Labour's Corbyn got something to smile about?

By BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor

Image copyright EPA

One journalist, from a paper generally seen as supporting Labour, opened by suggesting that the party's policies, as leaked a week back, had proved relatively popular with the focus groups, before whom all politicians bow.

On stage, Jeremy Corbyn beamed, beatifically. This, you could see him thinking, was the stuff to give them. That'll teach my critics.

However, his interlocutor wasn't quite finished. The snag, he said, was that those same members of the public didn't seem to favour Mr Corbyn as leader and PM in waiting.

During an election, politicians are programmed to smile. But it has to be said that, with this addendum, Mr Corbyn's grin faded a mite; only fractionally but perceptibly.

Read more from Brian

Responding to the manifesto launch, SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson said Labour was "pledging today what the SNP are already delivering for the people of Scotland".

He added: "Scrapping hospital parking charges, free tuition, publicly-owned water, ending the Bedroom Tax, increasing renewable energy and expanding free childcare will all seem familiar to voters in Scotland - because they are already happening under an SNP government.

"And on Scotland, Labour can only mimic the Tories' anti-independence obsession. In Scotland we don't need a poor copy of the SNP, we need strong SNP voices standing up to the Tories at Westminster."

Mr Robertson also said Labour "are not going to form the next government", and that it was the SNP that had led the opposition to the Conservatives at Westminster.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives said that the economic sums in the Labour manifesto "simply don't add up", and claimed working families would "pay for Corbyn's chaos with higher taxes".

'He's nothing to say'

The party's treasury minister, David Gauke, said: "It's clear that proposal after proposal in this manifesto will mean more borrowing and debt: from promises on benefits, to promises on prison guards, to promises on nationalising the water network.

"It is simply not worth taking the risk of this shambles being in charge of our economy and our Brexit negotiations in three weeks' time.

"For strong, stable leadership through Brexit and beyond there is only one choice at this election: Theresa May and her Conservative team."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Labour would not provide the "competent opposition" the country needs.

He added: "On the biggest issue of our generation, Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, has nothing to say.

"The Conservatives can't have it all their own way and Labour are incapable of even providing a competent opposition.

"Liberal Democrats are standing up for the mainstream. We will oppose a hard Brexit and offer a competent, fairer voice for the country."