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Labour pledges 120,000 new council homes in Scotland

But Nicola Sturgeon is set to say only a vote for the SNP can 'stop the Tories' in Scotland.

Council homes: Latest battleground in general election campaign.
Council homes: Latest battleground in general election campaign.

A Labour government would spend £10bn building 120,000 new council and socially-rented homes over a decade, Richard Leonard will pledge.

The Scottish Labour leader will formally launch his party’s campaign north of the border for the Westminster election with the commitment.

He will claim the housebuilding proposals can help end homelessness in Scotland “once and for all”.

Housing is devolved, meaning Holyrood and the Scottish Government run housebuilding north of the border, not UK ministers.

Speaking ahead of Labour’s Scottish campaign launch in Glasgow, Leonard said: “A UK Labour government would invest £70bn into Scotland’s public services and economy.

“And today I can announce that at the very heart of that, £10bn will be invested from Labour’s new National Transformation Fund to build 120,000 council and social homes in Scotland over the next 10 years.

“Labour will tackle Scotland’s housing crisis, we will provide a home for everyone – and we will end homelessness once and for all in Scotland.”

The housebuilding programme would generate almost 50,000 jobs, he added, as he insisted Labour is the only alternative to having Boris Johnson back in Downing Street.

The Scottish Labour leader will add: “To anyone who says this policy is not deliverable, I say this: you are letting the SNP off the hook.

“Today I am challenging Nicola Sturgeon to commit to delivering this programme if a UK Labour government is elected on December 12.”

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says the country’s electoral maths show that only her party can “stop the Tories” in Scotland and “deprive them of a majority”.

She is sending an open letter to Remain voters, urging them to back the SNP to help evict Johnson and his Conservative party from government.

Sturgeon, who will hit the campaign trail in Ochil and South Perthshire, will say: “We must come together in this election and make Scotland’s voice heard – and the best way to do that is to vote SNP.

“In every seat in Scotland held by the Tories, it is the SNP who is in second place – so only the SNP can stop the Tories and deprive them of a majority.

“So my message to you is this: don’t sit back and let the Tories decide your future for you – stand up and be counted.

“Vote SNP on December 12 to escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”

Johnson is launching the Conservatives’ election campaign at a rally in the West Midlands where he will urge voters to reject Corbyn’s Labour party.

He is expected to attack the Labour leader as wanting to preside in 2020 over “two miserable referendums, one on the EU and another on Scotland”.

The Prime Minister will say: “There is only one way to get Brexit done, and I am afraid the answer is to ask the people to change this blockading parliament.

“I don’t want an election. No prime minister wants an early election, especially not in December.

“But as things stand we simply have no choice – because it is only by getting Brexit done in the next few weeks that we can focus on all the priorities of the British people.”

He will add: “Meanwhile the alternative is clear – Jeremy Corbyn and his two favourite advisers, Dither and Delay, turning 2020 into the year of two miserable referendums, one on the EU, and another on Scotland.

“And remember that a vote for any other minor party is effectively a vote for Corbyn, and his catastrophic political and economic programme.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will set out how the party would use money from the £50bn boost it claims the UK economy would receive if the country stays in the European Union to invest in mental health services.

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