Labour warned it's time to deliver for Scotland as they stand on verge of entering Downing Street

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Leader of the Scottish Labour party Anas Sarwar
-Credit: (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Anas Sarwar and Keir Starmer have been warned they must deliver for ­thousands of Scottish voters set to make a historic return to Labour.

Vowing to rebuild the country in a direct appeal to Sunday Mail readers Starmer said: “It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.”

And in an exclusive interview ahead of polls opening on Thursday Sarwar insisted he will eradicate sleaze, revolutionise workers’ rights and get the NHS back on its feet.

Starmer will almost certainly win the keys to Downing Street but union leaders have made clear failure to “be bold” and enact real change will see voters lose faith in less than two years at Scottish Parliament elections.

Labour has promised to:

●Eradicate government sleaze.

●Increase wages for 232,000 low paid employees.

●Cut NHS waiting times.

●Deliver economic stability.

●Implement Cass Review ­findings to protect young people with gender dysphoria.

●Set up nationalised GB Energy headquarters in Scotland.

Sunday Mail front page, June 30, 2024
Sunday Mail front page, June 30, 2024 -Credit:Reach PLC

Sarwar said: “People have had enough of lies, corruption, chaos, division culture wars. Labour will eradicate this sleaze from government on day one if elected.

“We are not going to be able to fix everything overnight, I think people are savvy enough to ­understand that, but what we have to do is get to work straight away and deliver those early signs of progress and change.

“Of course that is important as we head into the election in 2026, but actually for families struggling right now to put food on the table and get through the cost-of-living crisis, it is essential anyway.

“We have only made promises that we know we can keep and we have only made spending commitments when we know where the money is coming from.On the new deal for working people we want to bring forward that legislation within 100 days of a Labour government.

“The single most important part of that is going to be a genuine living wage.

“That means 232,000 Scots will get a pay rise, including 140,000 women who are currently low paid and 40,000 young people.

“That will lift thousands out of poverty and is the sort of change we’ll be working on immediately.”

Unite the Union has urged Labour to drop its pledge to ban new oil and gas developments unless there is a clear plan to replace thousands of jobs with green alternatives.

And addressing concerns over the planned closure of the ­Grangemouth oil refinery, Sarwar added: “A key plank of our green prosperity plan is a fund for a just transition and we want to create a transition hub at Grangemouth.

“A commitment we solemnly make is we’ll work with the unions and workforce to protect jobs.”

Should Starmer become PM it will end 14 years of Tory rule since Gordon Brown left office in 2010.Sarwar added: “If we get this over the line there will be an excitement and energy about a change of ­direction for the country but also be a massive sigh of relief.

“It is easy to forget the extent of the sleaze and scandal because it has been a constant feature for so long – the Liz Truss mini-budget, ­Partygate, the Covid contracts, the Chris Pincher sexual misconduct scandal, all those recall petitions and by-elections because of sleaze, the chaos and lies of Boris Johnson.

“All of this has sought to divide our country and we can turn our back on it. We can also have a PM in Keir Star-mer who really understands Scotland and wants to deliver for Scotland.”

While Labour look sure to win across the UK, many Scottish constituencies are too close to call with the SNP still hoping to fight back from negative opinion polls and retain most of its 43 seats in the Commons.

Sarwar added: “People need to get out to vote if they want change. I really want to emphasise that.

“Don’t think that someone else is going to get rid of the Tories for you, if you want to improve living ­standards for everyone, if you want to get the economy back on track, if you want to see improvements to public services across the country, you need to get out and vote Labour.

“For all the predictions, not a single vote has been counted yet and the last thing we need is to wake up to five more years of Rishi Sunak.”

Despite the party’s consistent massive lead in repeated polls across the UK, Labour has come under fire for failing to set out in greater detail how it will achieve policy ­objectives and whether tax levels will rise to fund public spending.

We spoke to Scotland and the UK’S most powerful trade union leaders and all warned Labour that it would need to make good on its promises or face a backlash from voters.

And in Scotland it could come in less than two years at Holyrood ­elections with Sarwar fighting to be FM. Unite’s Scottish regional secretary Derek Thomson said: “We need to see a Labour government to deliver on the economy and for us that will mean immediate action on ­Grangemouth to protect jobs.

“We cannot allow another part of Scotland to be de-industrialised. This will be the first test of the just ­transition and currently we are failing spectacularly.

“There also needs to be a massive investment in public services. If these things are not delivered there will be a price to pay in 2026 and as a union we will be holding Labour to account.

“They have promised real change and they need to deliver it.”

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer
STUC general secretary Roz Foyer -Credit:Jane Barlow/PA Wire

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer added: “Voters stand on the cusp of booting this corrupt, rotten Tory Government out of power.

“They inflicted brutal austerity on our communities while presiding over a catastrophic denigration of public standards in office.

“The challenge now, for what we presume will be a Labour ­Government, is simple: bring change to our communities. This cannot be a false dawn. Workers in Scotland won’t countenance nor forget the promises made in this election should they go unrealised.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Public services have been driven into the ground and are underfunded to the tune of tens of billions of pounds.

“Scottish workers faced with plans to cut fossil fuels need new jobs to stop their livelihoods being lost.

“We will have to start facing up to the truth. Fixing the UK is going to need more money and there are clear choices to be made.

“Labour need to make government count. We need them to be bold or voters will turn to other parties at the next election.”

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