Election 24

Starmer says ‘there is no Labour without Scotland’

Sir Keir Starmer in Glasgow: taking Scotland in a different direction

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has sent a message to the nationalists that Scotland is a vital part of his plan for a new Britain.

At a campaign launch in Glasgow he pledged to take Scotland in a different direction “with one voice”, a clear signal that he will not countenance the SNP’s demands for independence.

“The Labour Party is humbly asking for the opportunity to change the country. To serve the entire country,” he said.

“To be clear, there is no national renewal without a strong Scotland. There is no Labour without Scotland. There is no changed Britain without Scotland.”

He added: “A Labour government will take Scotland in a different direction and give people hope for the future.

“When I say let’s get Britain’s future back, we say it with one voice. Scotland is at the beating heart of that mission.”

Sir Keir promised to stop families paying over the odds for energy by setting up Great British Energy, a publicly-owned energy company funded by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to invest in homegrown clean energy to boost energy independence and “cut bills for good”.

His comments came as Ofgem sets a lower price cap today of £1,568 per year for a typical household on a default tariff from the start of July.

Sir Keir will say that this still leaves the average family paying £400 a year more than a few years ago.

Speaking about Labour’s first step to set up Great British Energy, he said: “With Labour, Scotland will lead the clean energy revolution. We will set up Great British energy to give Scotland the future it deserves. Cut your bills for good, boost our energy security, and it’ll be headquartered – here in Scotland.”

Early investments will include wind and solar projects in communities, as well as making Britain a world-leader in technologies such as floating offshore wind.

GB Energy is one part of Labour’s plans to reindustrialise Britain with the biggest investment in clean energy in British history.

Accompanying Sir Keir, the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, said: “Scotland is crying out for change, and it falls to Labour to deliver the change we need.”

The Conservatives will argue that energy bills have been high across the world as a result of geo-political tensions such as the invasion of Ukraine and that the UK government has helped households with regular payouts that have reduced bills.

John Swinney: bringing about a better country

John Swinney, the SNP leader, put independence at the heart of his campaign, telling a campaign launch audience in Edinburgh that “when decisions are taken in Scotland for Scotland, we can bring about a better country.”

He said the SNP’s record in government shows that “when decisions are taken in Scotland for Scotland, we can bring about a better country”, pointing to free prescriptions and the growth in renewables.

Mr Swinney claimed that in the two weeks since he became leader he had already re-unified the party.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak flew into Inverness as part of a whirlwind tour of the UK and accused the SNP of being “out of touch” with Scots.

He said the SNP’s “obsession” with independence was a risk “to the integrity of our union”.

The Tory leader said the economy had turned a corner, now widely regarded as his reason for calling a general election in July.

He blamed for SNP’s higher income taxes for causing the squeeze on incomes for Scottish families.

Comment: Be ready to be short-changed by Labour

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