SNP will have most left-wing manifesto of general election, leader John Swinney says

The SNP will have the most left-wing manifesto as Labour has taken a Conservative approach to the economy, the party's leader told Sky News.

John Swinney accused Labour of moving to the right which has left the SNP as the only party to the left of centre.

"The SNP is a moderate left-of-centre political party, it always has been, always will be," he told Sky News.

"The Labour Party's essentially accepted the discipline of the Conservative approach to the economy.

"And that's going to constrain them in all that they can do.

"We already know that there's going to be spending cuts that the Tories have put in place, which the Labour Party is going to accept."

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He said he did not think Labour have "the will or the commitment to make the investment in public services that we desperately require at this moment".

Mr Swinney denied alienating part of the electorate ahead of the SNP's manifesto launch on Wednesday.

"The political agenda for the United Kingdom has moved to the right and the Labour Party's gone there too, and that's deeply disappointing because that affects a number of issues," he said.

"The issues of concern that matter to people in Scotland are not the issues being addressed by the agenda of the Labour Party and certainly not the Conservative Party.

"We've known that for a long time."

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On Monday, Mr Swinney announced the SNP would introduce a "social tariff" for energy bills for elderly people, those on low incomes or disabled people.

Lower energy costs for those groups would be funded by general taxation and power companies, he said.

The Scottish government does not have the power to impose most taxes, with any major changes having to be approved by Westminster.

But Mr Swinney said: "It's something the SNP wants to see happen and we want to put it into this election debate to ensure that people understand these are the values of the Scottish National Party, and we want to put them into practical effect.

"This is a United Kingdom issue. This is what the reserved powers of Westminster should be addressing.

"What my point in this whole election campaign is that so many of the real and legitimate concerns of people in Scotland are not being properly addressed by this Westminster election campaign, other than by the ideas put forward by the Scottish National Party."

Mr Swinney added if the SNP does well in this election he will take that "as the mandate to engage in [independence] negotiations with the UK government".

Both the Conservatives and Labour have said independence talks are off the table, but Mr Swinney insisted whoever is in power in Westminster "can't say no because we live in a democracy".

"We cannot allow Downing Street just to veto the democratic sovereign rule of the people of Scotland," he added.