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Scotland’s islanders suffering because of two ‘incompetent’ governments says Sarwar



Na h-Eileanan an Iar is a key target for the party.

They believe their candidate, journalist Torcuil Crichton, has a good chance of winning seat, which has been held by Angus MacNeil since 2005.

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Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Sarwar said “Tory economic turmoil” had led to prices for goods in remote areas often being higher than in other parts of the UK.

He also criticised the Scottish Government for failing to deliver new ferries to run on lifeline routes, and he accused ministers of failing to invest in rural housing and healthcare.

He said: “For too long Scotland’s islands and rural communities have been forced to pay the price for two incompetent and dysfunctional governments.

“Tory economic turmoil has hit these communities hard, pushing already-high energy and food bills through the roof.

“Meanwhile, the SNP has piled on pressure as it presides over a ferry fiasco, a rural housing crisis and the decline of rural healthcare.

“Rural communities and islands have seen public services hollowed out by two governments treating them as an afterthought.”

He said Labour is “fighting to win in every single part of Scotland” in the General Election on July 4, as he vowed the party will “deliver change for every single part of Scotland”.

Mr Sarwar added: “Labour’s plans to back ‘Brand Scotland’ will help to unlock the vast economic potential of rural Scotland and its iconic food, drink and tourism industries.

“Lower bills, higher wages, renewed public services and a stronger economy are on the ballot paper at this election. This is the change that Scotland’s rural and island communities need.”

Mr MacNeill, who has represented the constituency since taking it from Labour in 2005, was ejected from the SNP last August after he refused to retake the whip following a one-week suspension from the party’s Westminster group.

He is standing for re-election as an independent. 

The SNP has selected Susan Thomson, currently a councillor for Uibhist A Deas, Eirisgeigh Agus Beinn Na Faoghla, as their candidate. 

READ MORE: Alex Salmond: SNP plan for independence is ‘not credible’

Mr Sarwar was in London yesterday where he and other senior figures in Labour were finalising the party’s manifesto.

It is expected to be launched next week, possibly on Thursday, though the date is still to be confirmed. 

Some of the key pledges were made public yesterday, including a promise to make recognition of Palestinian statehood a part of any Middle East peace process. 

During a campaign visit before heading to the secretive gathering, Sir Keir Starmer said: “That needs to be part of the process, it’s very important we have a viable Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.”

Asked whether this will be in the manifesto, the Labour leader told the BBC: “It will be.”

Other reported vows include measures to crack down on companies that refuse to comply with its plans for training British workers.

The government would be able to block individual firms from sponsoring work visas if it believed the employer was not doing enough to carry out domestic training in key sectors like care and construction under the reported plans.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens will make the case for a wealth tax today. They want to see a 1% tax rate for those with assets worth £3.4 million, rising to 5% for those with £5.7 million and above.

A 10% rate would be imposed for those with assets of at least £18.2 million.

Ms Slater said: “The last few years have been really tough for millions of families across the UK. People have struggled with sky high bills, soaring costs and stagnating wages.

“Yet, for the super wealthy things have never been better. They have continued to get richer while inequality has got worse and worse.

“There is more than enough money in the UK to ensure that everyone can grow up with warmth and security, but so much of it is being hoarded by a tiny number of extremely wealthy people who don’t need it.”

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