Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Miliband call to 'progressive' Scots

Ed Miliband Image copyright PA
Image caption Ed Miliband made his comments during a speech in Edinburgh

Labour leader Ed Miliband has urged people in Scotland to change the UK for the better by rejecting independence.

He said a Labour Westminster government after the 2015 election could deliver the biggest progressive change for a generation for the whole UK.

Mr Miliband's comments, during a speech in Edinburgh, came before the 18 September independence referendum.

The SNP said only a "Yes" vote would ensure Scotland got the government it voted for every time.

Mr Miliband also said Labour had committed to extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament, as part of the UK.

"Ahead of September's referendum, my clear message to you today is that, by voting 'No', the people of Scotland won't be voting for things to stay the same," said the Labour leader.

"You won't be voting for the status quo.

"By voting 'No' you can say 'Yes' to the biggest progressive change for a generation."

Mr Miliband said generations of Scots had led the cause of equality for the whole of Britain, adding: "My appeal to the people of Scotland is to be part of my mission to change Britain.

"Scotland has always thought big. And the way to think big in the 21st Century is to think big about changing the United Kingdom.

"Changing our economy to make it more equal. Changing our society to make it more fair. And changing our politics to reform the British state so it works for people in every part of our country."

'Clear danger'

The Labour leader backed a real-terms increase in the minimum wage, a ban on "exploitative zero hours contracts", and a "progressive" tax system with a higher top rate of income tax.

But the SNP said Mr Miliband's "growing unpopularity" meant Scotland could not take the "risk" of another Tory UK government.

Nationalist MSP Sandra White said: "With independence, Scotland will get the government we vote for every time and we can work toward building the fairer Scotland we all want to see.

"A re-elected Tory government is a clear and present danger for Scotland - and the only way to ensure that the Tories never again get to govern Scotland when their support here is rock-bottom is to vote Yes for independence."