Scottish Labour launches 'manifesto for change'

Scottish Labour has launched its manifesto for the general election, which it says provides an opportunity to deliver change “for this generation and the next”.

Leader Anas Sarwar says the party will prioritise economic stability and growing the economy.

The manifesto promises to cut NHS waiting times and fund 160,000 additional appointments every year in Scotland.

The party says its proposals will mean a pay rise for more than 200,000 people in Scotland.

The manifesto also includes plans for the energy sector, help for first-time house buyers and steps to raise educational standards.

election banner

As it happened: Scottish Labour launch manifesto

Poll tracker: How do parties compare?

Voting: Who can I vote for in the general election?

General election 2024: All BBC stories and analysis

At the launch in Edinburgh, Mr Sarwar said Labour would ban zero-hour contracts, end fire and rehire practices and deliver a genuine living wage.

The party plans to set up Great British Energy - a publicly-owned clean power company, headquartered in Scotland, which would be paid for by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

It also says it will improve access to apprenticeships, support first-time buyers and create 69,000 Scottish jobs in the clean energy industries.

“This election is the chance to deliver a decade of national renewal, and this manifesto is a blueprint to a brighter future," said Mr Sarwar.

“It’s an opportunity to change Scotland for this generation – and the next. It’s an opportunity we need to make sure we don’t miss.”

Anas Sarwar
[PA Media]

Mr Sarwar said that delivering change in Scotland was "a two-stage process".

"It begins in just 17 days when we can finally get rid of this lying, corrupt, incompetent Tory government - but that is just the start," he said.

"In 2026, we need a change of direction at Holyrood as much as we need one at Westminster today.

"The SNP has failed the people of Scotland - breaking our NHS, ruining our once world-leading education system, and tarnishing our politics by wasting and misusing your money."

Taking questions from journalists after his speech, Mr Sarwar was repeatedly questioned about the two-child benefit cap - which limits the number of children for which families can claim benefits.

Labour has come under pressure from campaigners over its stance after saying it will not be able to scrap the measure due to a lack of funding.

Mr Sarwar said his party had been right to oppose and vote against the two-child limit.

But he added: "The honest reality is after 14 years of Tory economic carnage, we will not be able to do everything we want to do as fast as we want to do."

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, SNP leader John Swinney was in Oban to meet representatives from the seafood industry.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross spent the morning meeting representatives from the fishing industry in Fraserburgh to highlight his party's commitment to safeguarding fishing waters.

Scottish Liberal Democratleader Alex Cole-Hamilton was at Glasgow Science Centre to discuss plans to ensure the whole UK reaches net zero by 2045.

The Scottish Greens will be campaigning at the University of Glasgow, calling for an end to investment in the arms industry.