Scottish Tories to outline five key priorities in manifesto launch

The Scottish Tories will outline their priorities at their manifesto launch on Monday, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expected to speak.

At the Edinburgh event, the party will lay out its “laser-like focus on the real priorities of the Scottish public”.

But four of the five pledges are completely devolved to Scotland, with the other – on taxation – at least partly devolved.

Rishi Sunak, seated and gesturing
The Prime Minister will speak at the Edinburgh event (Aaron Chown/PA)

Recruiting 1,000 more GPs and police officers, improving rural trunk roads, “backing teachers to teach and increasing subject choices for pupils” and cuts to income tax and national insurance will be at the heart of the party’s manifesto ahead of the July 4 election.

The intermediate income tax rate – which sees Scots pay 21p in the pound on earning between £26,562 and £43,662 – should be reduced by 1p, the party will announce.

“The Scottish Conservative manifesto has a laser-like focus on the real priorities of the Scottish public,” said Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

“It provides solutions to the problems caused by years of SNP incompetence and poor decision-making.

“We are committed to tackling the waiting-times crisis in Scotland’s NHS by recruiting 1,000 extra GPs, the crisis in Scottish policing by recruiting 1,000 extra officers, restoring our schools by backing teachers, upgrading our neglected trunk roads and cutting taxes for hard-working Scots.

“These are the issues that matter to Scots – but which have been ignored by the SNP as they’ve focused relentlessly on independence.

“Every Scottish Conservative MP elected will be committed to delivering on these policies and the priorities of their constituents.”

He added: “Under the SNP, key public services have got worse, while Scotland has become the highest taxed part of the UK. That tax gap is hurting workers, reducing our competitiveness and making it harder for the NHS to recruit and retain key staff.

“This has to change, which is why we’re committed to a 1p cut in the 21p income tax rate, along with further cuts to national insurance.

“This election is a chance to beat the SNP. If voters unite behind the Scottish Conservatives in key seats across the country, we can do that – and end the SNP’s independence obsession for good.”

Mr Sunak will use his speech to attack both the SNP and Labour.

The Prime Minister will urge Scottish voters to “send the nationalists the strongest message possible that the people of Scotland want to move on from their independence obsession” and accuse the SNP of “turning Scotland into the high tax capital of the UK”.

He will also highlight Labour’s plans to phase out oil and gas, saying “our North Sea industry isn’t safe” with Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

“We are committed to new licences, more investment in infrastructure and skills, and energy security for our country. We will deliver a secure future for the North Sea industry and the workers it employs.

“Labour want to stop all new licences in the North Sea from day one of a Labour Government. Keir Starmer and Ed Miliband want to tax the UK’s oil and gas sector and the 100,000 Scottish jobs it supports into oblivion.

“Labour don’t want to ban oil and gas, just British oil and gas. They would rather virtue signal to eco zealots than protect jobs here at home”

SNP candidate for Glasgow North Alison Thewliss commented: “It’s good that Rishi Sunak and Douglas Ross will get time tomorrow to compare notes on which one has run the worst campaign.

“They are both on their last legs as leaders, their party is already finished in this campaign and the real choice for Scotland in this election is who is now best placed to put Scotland’s interests first.

“The SNP are the main challengers in every Tory-held seat and in just 10 days times – by voting SNP on 4th July – we have the chance to get rid of every single Tory MP in Scotland.

“The Tories deserve the democratic drubbing that is coming their way. From forcing Scotland out of the EU with a Brexit we didn’t vote for, to Liz Truss’s disastrous mini budget and the Tory cost of living crisis – people in Scotland have paid the price of Tory chaos and incompetence, which has left households poorer.

“And in the face of relentless Tory cuts, the SNP has done all it can within its limited power to make life better for people in Scotland – lifting 100,000 children out of poverty with the game-changing Scottish child payment, scrapping peak fares on trains, and expanding free, funded childcare for families in Scotland –

“The Tories are finished in Scotland, and while a vote for the SNP can send them packing this election, by sending SNP MPs to Westminster we can continue to put Scotland’s interests first and make the case for independence so that we can get rid of the Tories in Scotland for good.”

Labour’s shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray said: “Tomorrow Rishi Sunak will venture to Scotland and lightweight figure Douglas Ross will come out of hiding to try and convince Scots to forget the last 14 years.

“Voters can see the Scottish Tories’ empty promises for what they are – the desperate last gasp of an irrelevant party.

“The Tories have zero credibility talking about jobs after they gambled with the economy and sent people’s mortgages soaring.

“Oil and gas will be part of Scotland’s energy mix for decades to come, and a Labour government will invest to create 69,000 clean energy jobs and establish a publicly-owned energy company headquartered here in Scotland.

“We have a chance to get the Tories out of office in just 10 days time – let’s make sure we take this opportunity.”