Scotland Election 2016

Childcare and economy focus in Holyrood campaigns

leaders collage

Scotland's politicians have outlined pledges on childcare and the economy as campaigning continues ahead of May's Holyrood election.

The political importance of folk music and "social prescribing" for doctors were also raised on the day Scottish Labour launched their election manifesto.

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP

Image copyright Nicola Sturgeon / Twitter

Nicola Sturgeon highlighted her proposals for childcare while campaigning in Edinburgh.

Visiting a sweet shop in Portobello, the SNP leader said she was targeting a "transformation" of childcare.

She said: "We've put investment in children and families at the heart of our manifesto for government - our childcare proposals will help parents back into work, save families money and help give children the best start in life."

Ms Sturgeon also said it was unacceptable for anywhere in Scotland to be off-limits to women, after it emerged the Royal Troon golf course, which is hosting the Open Championship in July, is considering scrapping its men-only membership rule.

Ruth Davidson, Conservatives

Ruth Davidson called for fresh focus on growing Scotland's economy while campaigning in Edinburgh, warning the country is on a "knife-edge".

In between pulling pints while campaigning at a pub in Stockbridge, the Scottish Conservative leader voiced fears that Scotland could be tipped back into recession.

She said: "My opponents in this campaign are only focusing on how much extra they can take out of workers' pay packets. They have given us no answers at all on how we grow the economy and increase the revenue base available for schools and hospitals."

Ms Davidson also said she would boycott the Open at Troon if the course continued its men-only membership policy.

Willie Rennie, Lib Dems

Willie Rennie called for GPs to be given the power to prescribe gym memberships and other physical activities to boost fitness and sport in Scotland.

Scaling a climbing wall while campaigning in Fife, the Scottish Lib Dem leader said he wanted to "give doctors the tools they need to help people who are struggling to exercise or try new things".

He said: "Social prescribing not only allows doctors to prescribe things like gym memberships and other activities that get people moving. It can also see health spending used to improve heat insulation in the homes of people at risk of respiratory illness.

"Liberal Democrats will also ensure that the full proceeds of the new sugar tax are used to boost participation in sport and physical activity."

Maggie Chapman, Scottish Greens

Image copyright Scottish Greens / twitter

Maggie Chapman highlighted the political importance of the tradition of folk music at an event in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Greens co-convenor visited the launch of TradFest, a traditional music festival.

Ms Chapman said the folk scene had played an important role in keeping Green values like equality, social justice and fairness alive.

The Greens also advocate a tourist tax, with money raised being invested in culture.

Scottish Labour launch manifesto

Kezia Dugdale launched Scottish Labour's manifesto for May's Holyrood elections, promising a "return to the party's roots".

The manifesto leads with anti-austerity pledges to stop cuts and increase public spending on services, paid for with increases in income tax and a replacement of the council tax.

The party's key priorities are education, the NHS and protecting public services.

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