Saturday, 15 May 2021

What a disaster! Ross blasts Sturgeon’s string of broken promises after 14 years of SNP

STV Leaders' Debate: Douglas Ross delivers opening statement

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Tories launched a scathing attack on 14 of the SNP’s biggest unfulfilled pledges since coming to power in 2007 branding its record a “disaster”. With postal ballots for the crunch Holyrood election already being cast Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has begun a major drive to woo pro-Union supporters. Writing in today’s Scottish Daily Express he warns Ms Sturgeon, her former mentor Alex Salmond, and Green ally Patrick Harvie are “hell-bent” on forcing another independence referendum.

Urging pro-UK voters to back his party on the regional list he said: “To confront and meet that nationalist threat head-on, we need to unite like never before.

“Jobs, schools, health. They have all come way behind independence in the SNP’s pecking order.

“The SNP’s first, last and only priority is getting another referendum.”

The First Minister will today unveil her party’s manifesto for the May 6 ballot promising to increase frontline NHS spending by at least 20 per cent.

This would see frontline spending rise by more than £2.5 billion by the end of the next parliamentary term.

The SNP chief will also promise a £10 billion investment in NHS facilities, combined with a minimum 25 per cent rise in mental health spending and establishing a National Care Service.

It comes after the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found health spending has risen at a slower rate under the SNP in Scotland than under the Tories in England.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to say: “If the SNP is re-elected we will use our experience to undertake a full-scale post-pandemic remobilisation of the NHS.

”Today I am pledging a transformational increase in frontline health spending.

“Investment in the NHS is already at record levels. But the pandemic has placed exceptional pressures on our NHS – and that requires an exceptional response.”

The SNP is also promising to set up fast-track cancer diagnostic centres in every health board area, with Ms Sturgeon also pledging to increase Scottish Government investment in mental health services by “at least 25 per cent”.

Every GP practice in the country will have access to a dedicated mental wellbeing link worker, she will add, saying this will create a network of 1,000 additional staff.

But the Tories yesterday unveiled a new advert featuring a wrecking ball – with “Indyref 2” written on it – heading towards a wall branded with the message “Rebuilding Scotland”.

It also carried the slogan: “Don’t let the SNP wreck our recovery.”

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Citing Ms Sturgeon’s admission during Tuesday night’s STV leaders debate that she took her “eye off the ball” as Scotland’s drugs toll spiralled the Conservatives published a list of 14 broken promises on key issues including schools, health treatment times and crime.

Mr Ross said: “Now she’s preparing to take her eye off the ball again and demand another divisive independence referendum when we’re still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tories’ Holyrood leader, is standing down as an MSP but playing a key role in the push to persuade Labour and Liberal Democrat voters to back her party.

She said: “Over the last decade, I’ve seen the SNP let down Scotland with one broken promise after another. Their record in government is a disaster.”

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie welcomed Ms Sturgeon’s NHS cash vow but added: “After 14 years of SNP mismanagement we can have no faith in the SNP to deliver it.

“Under the SNP’s watch we have seen flagship hospitals opening years too late, delayed discharge persisting, a drugs death scandal, and their own treatment time guarantee broken over 380,000 times.”

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