Labour pledges £100bn investment in Scotland over decade

Jeremy Corbyn launched the UK party's general election manifesto in Birmingham.

Jeremy Corbyn: Launching Labour election manifesto in Birmingham. <strong>Christopher Furlong / Getty Images</strong>
Jeremy Corbyn: Launching Labour election manifesto in Birmingham. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn has promised a £100bn investment in Scotland over the next ten years if Labour wins the general election, as he launched his party’s manifesto.

Revealing the document at a launch in Birmingham on Thursday, the Labour leader vowed an “investment blitz” that would target every part of the UK.

He further pledged a windfall tax on oil and gas companies which he said would raise £11bn to fund Labour’s plan for a “green industrial revolution”.

The Labour manifesto also sets out the party’s position a second Scottish independence referendum, pledging that in its “early years” a Corbyn-led government “will not agree to a Section 30 order request if it comes from the Scottish Government”.

A Section 30 order would temporarily devolve the power to hold a referendum from the UK to the Scottish government, as was done for the 2014 independence vote.

Corbyn’s investment pledge is an increase on the £70bn for Scotland previously announced by shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

It comes after the Liberal Democrats launched their UK manifesto on Wednesday, vowing to “oppose independence” as well as another referendum on the question.

Jo Swinson’s party pledged a £50bn “Remain bonus” over the next five years if a Lib Dem government cancels Brexit, which it would invest in public services.

The Scottish Government is partly-funded by the Barnett formula, which means spending rises in England also increase funding for the devolved administrations.

Labour is also promising £6bn in Scotland to insulate homes to make them energy-efficient which the party says “will help tackle the climate emergency at the same time as lowering bills, ending fuel poverty and creating 35,000 jobs”.

The party announced a one-off £11bn tax on the North Sea oil and gas industry to pay for its plans for a greener economy – but the Conservatives warned this could put 100,000 jobs at risk in Scotland.

Addressing supporters in Birmingham, Corbyn said: “Our investment blitz will upgrade our national infrastructure in every region of England and in every nation of the United Kingdom and it will rebuild our schools, our hospitals, care homes and the housing so desperately needed.

“This will be an investment on a scale you’ve never known before in every town, every city and every region…

“Putting an extra £100bn into Scotland to boost the Scottish economy and to secure the future of industry, and properly fund our public services.

“Labour will transform our economy so no one is held back and no community is neglected – and that transformation will be a green transformation.

“We can no longer deny the climate emergency. We can see it all around us.”

But Colin Clark of the Scottish Tories said: “This election could prove critical for the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry.

“Labour’s windfall tax would threaten more than 100,000 jobs in Scotland – many of which are based in and around Aberdeen.

“All SNP candidates in the north-east must now make clear that any deal they are plotting with Corbyn must exclude a plan to sell out Scotland’s oil and gas industry.”

He added: “Aside from Labour’s tax grab, the SNP and Lib Dems have also talked about divesting from fossil fuels and halting new exploration.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives can be trusted to stand up for this vital industry on which so many jobs depend.”

Ahead of Labour’s manifesto launch, the SNP challenged Corbyn’s party to commit to staying in the EU, protecting freedom of movement and scrapping Trident nuclear weapons.

The manifesto sets out Labour’s stance on Brexit, which is to negotiate a new deal with the EU within three months, then put it to a referendum vote within six months, with the other option to remain.

It also committed the party to the renewal of the Trident.

The SNP’s Ian Blackford said: “On the face of it, Labour’s manifesto reads like a copy-and-paste of the SNP’s record in government – borrowing and imitating policies that the SNP has already delivered and offering little new to people in Scotland.

“Much of what they claim is radical is already long-standing government policy in Scotland.

“Yet, scratch the surface and just like the Tories Labour is also proposing devastating and muddled plans that could see Scotland dragged out of the EU against our will, impose new nuclear weapons on the Clyde, inflict catastrophic harm to Scottish jobs, living standards, public services and the economy – and fails to recognise that the decision on when Scotland should have the right to choose our future is for the people of Scotland.”

Launching the Lib Dem manifesto on Wednesday, Swinson called it a “bold plan to build a brighter future for our country”.

She added: “Labour and the Conservatives can’t offer the country a brighter future because they both want Brexit. We know that will be bad for our economy, bad for our NHS and bad for our environment.

“Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and invest in our mental health services, give free childcare to working parents, put 20,000 more teachers into classrooms and take ambitious action to tackle the climate emergency.

“Our politics has been dominated by the two, tired old parties for too long.”

The Scottish Lib Dems said the Labour manifesto showed the party was “stale, backward looking and totally adrift on the big constitutional questions of our era”.

MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton added: “It’s clear that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are the party for anyone who wants Scotland in the UK and the UK in the EU.”

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