The SNP has “no big ideas” for the next Holyrood parliament and are making policy promises that will only be due a decade from now, Anas Sarwar has said.
“We have to wait 25 years for progress under this government?” asked Sarwar as Nicola Sturgeon launched her party manifesto.
The Scottish Labour leader said: “Nicola Sturgeon is making bold promises and commitments around big numbers and targets for the next ten years. Will people have to wait 25 years for progress under the SNP?”
He added: “We can do things in the here and now. There are no big ideas at the manifesto. The big ideas have come from us, in terms of the largest job creation scheme in the history of the Scottish Parliament, the largest economic stimulus package to get people out in the high streets and restart our tourism industry. No big ideas around that from the SNP.”
Sarwar accused Sturgeon of a “sticking plaster” approach to welfare powers and ignoring what he called “the litany of failures around our NHS over the last 14 years” by talking about a “big numbers and targets for the future.”
The Labour leader said: “We have big things that we can do now in this country to make Scotland a better, stronger place.
He added: “For far too long we have had Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP more worried about picking fights and finding areas where they can’t take action and not taking action with the powers they have. Let’s have a can-do Parliament, a can-do government and can -do opposition after this election.”
Sarwar sidestepped questioning on whether he would ever support a Scottish referendum, after ruling out support in the next parliament.
He said: “I don’t support independence, I don’t support a referendum but let’s focus on what unites us pull our country together, and focus on that national recovery”
Sarwar added: “I’ve said repeatedly, let’s go back to the old arguments. covid has changed the world. covid has changed Scotland, but it seems for the Tories and the SNP don’t think our politics has to changed as a result. They’re both wrong.”
“Let’s focus not on those old arguments, let’s focus on our national recovery and let people choose their priorities for the next four or five years. After the next election, they get to choose new priorities as they wish.”