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Local government elections

Labour in pledge to protect public services

Edinburgh City CouncilScottish Labour will today launch its vision for local government, pledging to invest in under-threat public services.

Deputy leader Alex Rowley, who has been appointed by Kezia Dugdale as local government campaign manager, will accuse First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of becoming ‘the nation’s Minister for Cuts’.

He will say councils are in ‘crisis’, claiming the SNP government budget unveiled before Christmas will cut £327 million from local services.

Scottish Labour is the first party to launch its plan for local government ahead of this May’s council elections.

The document to be published today is the party’s national framework. Individual Labour groups in towns and cities across Scotland will produce local manifestos in the coming months.

Mr Rowley will be joined at today’s event in Edinburgh by council leaders from across the country.

Speaking ahead of the launch he said: “Scottish Labour believes that council services are at the heart of people’s lives and we will always protect them.

“The First Minister promised voters she would be a champion of the poor and the working class. Instead, she has become the nation’s Minister for Cuts.”

> Commenting on the news that Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out another independence referendum in 2017, Mr Rowley said: “While it is welcome that Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out another independence referendum in 2017, this doesn’t come close to ending the uncertainty. The First Minister should rule out forcing another independence referendum on the people of Scotland altogether, not just for the next twelve months.

“Labour will not support another independence referendum. More than two million people in Scotland voted to remain in the UK, and that result should be respected. 

“People in Scotland want the SNP government to address the crisis in our NHS and close the appalling gap between the richest and the rest in our classrooms, not obsess about independence.”

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