John Swinney says having SNP campaign bus for six weeks would have been 'waste of money'

John Swinney has said that having an SNP campaign bus for six weeks would have been "a waste of money".

The SNP launched its general election campaign bus on Friday - just six days before voters go to the polls. This contrasts with Scottish Labour, which has been running a battle bus for weeks.

When Nicola Sturgeon was first minister, the party often had buses for longer periods and even used a helicopter in election campaigns.

The First Minister told BBC's The Sunday Show that the decision not to have a bus for longer was not to do with the poor state of the SNP's finances. He also rejected the idea that he was running an "austere campaign" and said the party was "deploying our resources at the right time".

The SNP has been struggling for major donors and former chief executive Peter Murrell has been charged as part of an investigation into the party's finances.

When asked what launching the campaign bus on Friday said about the party's financial situation, Swinney told the BBC: "What it says is that we deploy our resources at the right time to make the maximum effect on the election outcome.

"So I took the decision that we would put significant effort into ensuring we delivered a final push to our election campaign, which is why we have a campaign bus that's going round the country starting on Friday.

"I'm just about to go and join it later on this morning. And we'll continue our travels around key constituencies in the country and I'll be doing that right up until polling day.

"There will be other things that will be deployed in the course of the next few days which will be about motivating people who want to ensure that Scotland's interests are protected in this election come out to vote for the Scottish National Party on Thursday."

When it was put to him that they would have ideally wanted to have a campaign bus for the six weeks of the campaign, Swinney said: "That would have been a waste of money.

"We've got enough money to fund this election campaign, to fund it in the right fashion. To have a campaign bus for six weeks would have been a waste of money.

"I'm the First Minister. I've got a job to do. I've got to run the country. I've been doing that.

"Westminster might have been dissolved but I've been running the country for the past few weeks, taking decisions, making sure I'm held to account in parliament.

"I can't be away on a bus all the time for six weeks.

"So we're doing it for the time that I've got available to make the maximum impact for the election."

Swinney rejected the idea that it was "an austere campaign".

He said: "No, a focussed campaign. A campaign where we use our resources sensibly and wisely to get the maximum effect.

"There's no point spending money six weeks out from an election campaign when you need to spend it in the critical period to motivate people to come out and vote, which is precise.

"There's a lot of firepower coming from the SNP in the course of the next few days deliberately designed to motivate people to vote."

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