Scotland’s public services are 'unsustainable', says Douglas Ross

The Scottish Conservative leader is to describe Scotland’s public services as “unsustainable” as he unveils his...

Douglas Ross to unveil Scottish Conservatives economic strategy in Edinburgh Getty Images

The Scottish Conservative leader is to describe Scotland’s public services as “unsustainable” as he unveils his party’s economic strategy.

Speaking in Edinburgh on Tuesday, Douglas Ross will unveil plans to create a “joint economic board” comprising ministers from the Scottish and UK governments to drive productivity.

He will also take aim at the Scottish Government’s economic record.

“I am sick and tired of the SNP whining that they do not have the financial levers at their disposal to make a difference,” he is expected to say.

“Humza Yousaf has a £60bn budget at his disposal and total control over our devolved public services.

“Scotland deserves a government that is focused on the real priorities of the Scottish people. If we do not act now, then we risk leaving a poorer Scotland to the next generation.

“As a father to two young boys, that makes me worried for their future. But as a politician it would be a dereliction of duty if I did not act.

“I say ditch the nationalist independence campaign and lead a national government for all of Scotland. Abandon the constitutional fights with the UK Government and work with the rest of our country.

“We need to focus on the big challenges we all face – not on the narrow political interests of a few.

“The Scotland we live in today is unsustainable – despite the efforts of hardworking staff, our essential services are on their knees, reeling from one winter crisis after another.

“None of us can afford for things to go on as they are, we need solutions to the big challenges that Scotland is facing, so we cannot have yet another Programme for Government in the Sturgeon mould.

“Tinkering around the edges for its own sake and focusing on divisive niche issues will not improve the lives of working families. Instead, we need to see real action.”

Yousaf is expected to lay out his first Programme for Government – the Scottish Government’s annual presentation of policy – when Holyrood returns next week.

Ross will say that raising taxes is a “short-term play” which “chokes off future growth and revenue”.

“As Scotland’s only party of the centre-right, we have a different solution that we will argue for,” he will add.

“That is why the Scottish Conservatives are today publishing our plan to grasp the thistle and grow Scotland’s economy – because economic growth should be put firmly at the centre of our national political agenda.

“With a growing economy, we can better fund our essential public services and deliver real improvements. With a growing economy, we can keep household bills low by reducing tax. And with a growing economy, we can create good, well-paid jobs and better opportunities for the next generation.

“The prize of a wealthier, more prosperous Scotland is there; we just need to do the long-term planning and hard work to seize it.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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