FM's pledge

Swinney’s growth pledge ‘lacks credibility’ says Labour

John Swinney: dedicated to growth (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

First Minister John Swinney has been accused of lacking credibility for “suddenly discovering” the importance of economic growth.

Labour’s economy spokesman Daniel Johnson said Mr Swinney’s attempts to focus on the needs of business comes after 17 years of the SNP “squandering” Scotland’s potential and “hammering” Scots with tax rises.

In a speech today Mr Swinney will “dedicate every fibre in my being” to achieving economic growth in Scotland.

He will visit a ground-breaking ceremony at Ardersier Port in the Moray Firth, where he will call on business, trade unions, civic society and further education to work more closely with government “in the national interest”.

His visit coincides with the port’s owner Haventus, the energy transition facilities provider, announcing it has secured a £100 million joint credit facility from the Scottish National Investment Bank and UK Infrastructure Bank, each providing half the funding.

Mr Swinney is expected to repeat a pledge made during his leadership launch speech by saying: “My government will support business and economic growth – not for its own sake, but for a clear social purpose.

“It is the outcomes of growth which will deliver public funding we can invest in public services like the NHS and schools and ultimately create a fairer society.”

He will say Scotland is “blessed with extraordinary natural resources” as well as a skilled workforce and world-leading universities which can join together to make Scotland an “even more formidable economic force”.

Mr Swinney will add: “With an economy working to its full potential, public services would get the investment they need to thrive, workers would receive fair pay and no longer be struggling with the cost of living and not a single child in Scotland would be forced to live in poverty.

“That is the goal my government is aiming for as we seek to drive economic growth, and that is what I will dedicate every fibre of my being to achieving as First Minister.”

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes last week said she intended to cut the burden of regulation around business and help create the conditions to boost investment.

The twin pledge to boost growth failed to impress Scottish Labour Economy spokesperson Daniel Johnson who said: “It is simply not credible that John Swinney has suddenly discovered the importance of economic growth after 17 years of this incompetent and economically illiterate SNP government.

Daniel Johnson
Daniel Johnson: SNP has squandered Scotland’s potential

“Under the SNP, Scotland’s economy is flatlining and our vast potential is being squandered. 

“This chaotic and divided party is incapable of delivering for the people of Scotland. 

“From cutting cost-of-living support during the cost-of-living crisis to slashing the housing budget during a homelessness crisis, it is clear that the SNP’s priorities are not those of the people of Scotland.

“While hammering Scots with tax rises as a substitute for economic growth, the SNP is siding with energy giants against Labour’s plans to bring down bills.

“Only Scottish Labour has a plan to deliver economic growth, make work pay, slash NHS waiting lists and bring down bills. The people of Scotland need change, and Scottish Labour is ready to deliver it.”

Comment: Go south, Mr Swinney, and see growth in action

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