Kezia Dugdale: Sturgeon can talk about opposing austerity all she likes but she has cut schools and elderly care

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This is the full statement published by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale after Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, launched the SNP manifesto in Perth with a demand for another independence referendum after Britain has completed the process of leaving the EU.

Nicola Sturgeon has once again confirmed that her number one priority in this election is her plan for another unwanted and divisive independence referendum.

It is clearer than ever that the majority of Scots who don’t want another divisive independence referendum need to send Nicola Sturgeon a message that she should focus on the day job. While Nicola Sturgeon campaigns for independence, standards in our schools have fallen and NHS services face closure.

Nicola Sturgeon can talk about opposing austerity all she likes, but the reality is that the SNP has cut £1.5bn from local services like schools and care of the elderly.

She can talk about a 50p top rate of income tax all she likes, but the reality is that the SNP voted against this in the Scottish Parliament.

She can talk about protecting the NHS all she likes, but health services have been cut, patients have been failed and staff are underpaid.

In most places across Scotland the way to send Nicola Sturgeon a message that we don’t want another divisive referendum is to vote Labour. A vote for any other party in places like Edinburgh South and East Lothian risks letting the SNP in through the back door.

On June 8 voters can elect a Labour MP who will spend every day fighting for local services, or they can elect an SNP MP who will spend every day campaigning for another divisive independence referendum.

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