Scotland Election 2016

Parties talk health and housing on Holyrood campaign trail

Scotland's politicians campaigned about health care and housing with less than two weeks to go until the Holyrood election.

Party leaders discussed their plans to reform the NHS and social care as well as the push to build more warm, affordable homes.

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP

Image copyright SNP / Twitter

Ncola Sturgeon has pledged to invest £500m above inflation by the end of the next parliament to boost NHS staff and "transform health care".

The SNP leader said her party would ensure Scotland's NHS "has the right people, in the right places, to deliver more health care at home, in the community and in specialist services".

Ms Sturgeon also highlighted support for young people while campaigning with first-time voters in Fife.

Ms Sturgeon said: "For the first time ever, 16 and 17 year olds will be able to vote in a national election - and the SNP are making investment in young people an absolute priority."

Alex Rowley, Labour

Image copyright Scottish Labour

Alex Rowley said only Labour could protect social care in Scotland and tried his hand at bowls during a campaign visit to Dunbeth Bowling Club in Coatbridge.

The party's deputy leader said SNP promises on care were "made to be broken", and said Labour's tax plans could halt cuts to local services.

Labour has also been campaigning on the topic of housing, with Ken Macintosh saying: "So many young people in Scotland are stuck in a cycle from which they can't escape. They end up renting to save for a deposit, but the rent is so high they simply can't put enough money away.

"That's why Labour will offer to help to first time buyers save towards a deposit, with up to £3,000 of extra support for those who save every month."

Ruth Davidson, Conservatives

Ruth Davidson campaigned on rural issues while visiting a buffalo farm near Kirkcaldy.

The Scottish Conservative leader clambered onto a buffalo's back before speaking about her plans to support small businesses.

Ms Davidson also addressed the issue of taxation, saying "uncompetitive taxes" would drive talent out of Scotland and deter investment and jobs.

She said the tax policies of the SNP, Labour and the Lib Dems would "make Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK" and are "irresponsible and completely wrong headed".

Willie Rennie, Lib Dems

Willie Rennie set out plans to treble Scotland's primary care fund, saying doctors and nurses were "overstretched and under-resourced".

Meeting with voters in the street before visiting a GP's surgery in Perth, the Scottish Lib Dem leader said doctors, nurses and patients "can't wait any longer for the SNP to get serious over primary care".

Mr Rennie said: "The Royal College has warned that Scotland is facing a GP recruitment crisis and one third of GPs are set to retire within the next decade. The situation is acute.

"We need to see more GPs being trained or recruited but training places have been left empty. That is why Liberal Democrats will increase the proportion of NHS funding allocated to primary care and treble the allocation to the Primary Care Fund."

Maggie Chapman, Greens

Image copyright Scottish Greens

Green co-convenor Maggie Chapman highlighted the issue of cold homes during a campaign visit in Aberdeen.

Ms Chapman said there was a "housing crisis" in Scotland, and said her party would push for a "radical programme of house building" putting affordable housing "at the top of the agenda".

She said: "People living in cold, damp homes is one of the most serious problems in Scotland. A lack of high-quality jobs that contribute to social well being is another serious problem. We can solve both problems, and we can do it while making huge savings on energy bills.

"Now is the time to create many more jobs in energy efficiency and low carbon industries and that must come with greater investment. Now is the time to end the scandal of cold, damp homes."

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