Scottish election 2021: Lib Dems target SNP with dossier of 'broken promises'

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Willie Rennie had a karate lesson on The Meadows, Edinburgh while activists went door-to-door to point out SNP failures.

Claims of "broken promises" by the SNP have become a key campaign tool for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Activists in Edinburgh launched the party's "doorstep dossier" in a bid to win over disenchanted SNP voters.

Party leader Willie Rennie said they were highlighting the SNP's "negative track-record" after 14 years in power.

The SNP accused the Lib Dems of hypocrisy, having previously joined a coalition with the Conservatives at Westminster.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are hoping to stop the SNP gaining an overall majority in the Holyrood election on 6 May and want the parliament to put economic recovery first.

Mr Rennie, who took part in a karate lesson photo shoot on The Meadows to launch the initiative, said: "Our Doorstep Dossier is designed to give activists the tools and information they need to win over former SNP voters unimpressed by the years of broken promises."

He added: "This initiative is part of our plan to win new voters from the SNP. The gains we make from them will stop an overall majority and allow the new parliament to put recovery first."

The list includes scrapping the council tax, maximum class sizes of 18, a public power company, super-fast broadband to every property by 2021 and 12-week hospital waiting time guarantees.

An SNP spokesman said: "There is surely no better-qualified person in Scotland to give lectures on broken promises than Willie Rennie, who can explain to voters why his party joined the Tories in government - in an administration he worked for - to unleash a decade of austerity on Scotland, and why the Lib Dems are now effectively a pro-Brexit party."

People like Willie Rennie would "put Scotland's recovery in Boris Johnson's hands", he added.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was in Glasgow to highlight plans to support women as Scotland recovers from Covid.

Her party plans to create a £50m Women's Business Centre to support women looking to start or grow their business, help women returning to work, expand free childcare, and improve services for women's health.

Ms Sturgeon said: "In many ways women have borne the brunt of the pandemic, working in caring professions and often taking responsibility for children or older relatives at home. We must make sure this recovery helps put women on an equal footing - with better jobs, better health care and greater safety."

She said the SNP's Women's Health Plan would "improve services and reduce health inequalities on issues as diverse as breastfeeding support, screening services and the menopause."

Money 'squandered'

The Scottish Conservatives also turned their campaign to focus on the SNP's record.

They claimed more than £4.5bn of taxpayers' money had been wasted by the Scottish government while the SNP had been in power.

Party leader Douglas Ross went to a former BiFab fabrication site in Fife to highlight the money "squandered".

BiFab, which was part-owned by the Scottish government, went into administration in December, having been unable to secure a deal to make turbine platforms. It has since been taken over by InfraStrata.

Mr Ross said: "The reckless way they waste cash is visible all over Scotland - delays to the Sick Kids in Edinburgh, water problems at the QEUH in Glasgow, botched ferry-building at Ferguson Marine in Inverclyde, a bad deal at BiFab in Fife, hold ups to the AWPR in the North East, and a CAP IT system that plagued rural areas."

He added: "If the SNP win a majority, they will waste the next Scottish Parliament focused on getting another referendum, instead of rebuilding Scotland."

SCOTLAND'S ELECTION: THE BASICS

What's happening? On 6 May, people across Scotland will vote to elect 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The party that wins the most seats will form the government. Find out more here.

What powers do they have? MSPs pass laws on aspects of life in Scotland such as health, education and transport - and have some powers over tax and welfare benefits.

The Scottish Greens called on all parties to listen to young climate strikers, who are demanding governments face up to climate science.

Patrick Harvie, party co-leader, paid a visit to Dylan Hamilton, who has spent the past week on a vigil outside Edinburgh's City Chambers as part of the Fridays for Future movement, inspired by Greta Thunberg.

Mr Harvie said: "Teenagers like Dylan are demanding that we face up to the science that tells us we have less than 10 years to turn this around.

"That's why it is alarming that all other parties at this election back major road expansions and fail to commit to stopping new oil and gas exploration. It's time for a green recovery to secure our future."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he wanted world-leading action on climate change.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, was also in the capital to meet staff at Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative.

He warned that without further action to reduce carbon emissions, Scotland's credibility on the world stage could be damaged at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow later this year.

Mr Sarwar said: "I want Glasgow to be synonymous with world-leading action on climate change, but with the Tories in charge in Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood, all we get is talk but no substance.

"We need to urgently close the gap between promises and delivery.

"Scottish Labour has proposed a bold climate recovery plan, that will make our homes warmer, transport cheaper and our children's air cleaner."

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