The SNP is scrambling to rebuild the bridges it has burned

Last week marked 25 years since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened. This historic moment was the result of a long and hard-fought campaign for a better system of government for Scotland.

The anniversary of Labour's delivery of devolution is an opportunity to celebrate what the Scottish Parliament has achieved – from free personal care and a smoking ban to the Scottish Child Payment.

But more importantly, it is a chance to look to the future.

Because – as our economy continues to stagnate and almost 1 in 6 Scots are left languishing on an NHS waiting list – I think we can all agree that this is not as good as it gets.

This Parliament was founded with co-operation at its heart, but this arrogant and out of touch SNP government has taken a wrecking ball to this principle.

Now, after the collapse of the Bute House Agreement, the SNP is scrambling to rebuild the bridges it has burned.

In a Scottish Labour debate last week, the SNP was forced to accept that Scotland is in the grips of a housing emergency – though as always, they attempted to blame anyone but themselves.

The same day, MSPs also backed Scottish Labour’s motion calling for the SNP to prevent looming teacher cuts.

The SNP’s woeful record on these two issues tells the story of their time in government.

Rents are rising at record rates, homelessness is at a record high, almost 10,000 children are stuck in temporary accommodation, and affordable housebuilding is at a 10 year low – but as this crisis spiralled, the SNP slashed the affordable housing budget by £196 million.

Even after declaring a housing emergency, the SNP is refusing to reverse this disastrous cut, leaving thousands of families to deal with the misery of insecure and unaffordable housing.

Scotland’s once world-class education system has been hollowed out by the SNP.

Nicola Sturgeon famously pledged that closing the attainment gap was her defining mission – but many years and several SNP leaders later, that promise is in tatters.

Every institution in Scotland has been left weaker after 17 years of SNP government, including the Scottish Parliament itself.

Right at the heart of this destructive SNP government has been John Swinney.

John Swinney was the Finance Secretary who cut Councils to the bone, fuelling the housing crisis and starving schools of funding.

He was the Education Secretary who failed to close the attainment gap and marked down thousands of working class kids based on their background.

He was the Deputy First Minister who withheld evidence from a Parliamentary Committee and fostered the culture of secrecy at the heart of the SNP.

Scotland is crying out for change and the SNP cannot deliver it – only Scottish Labour has a plan to renew and strengthen devolution.

We will put a stop to the petty squabbles the SNP and the Tories relish and make devolution work again.

We’ll push powers into communities, put economic growth at the heart of government, and reform Holyrood.

We’ll focus on what matters to you and your family and deliver a better future for Scotland.

John Swinney isn't the man to fix our NHS

There are currently more than 820,000 Scots stuck on an NHS waiting list - almost 1 in 6 people.

Of course, no-one needs statistics to see the pressure our NHS is under. We all know a friend, a family member or a colleague struggling to get the care they desperately need.

Under the SNP, many Scots are being forced to choose between waiting months or even years for NHS treatment or paying for private healthcare. The number of Scots paying out of pocket for treatment has almost doubled in recent years, rising four times faster than in England.

People are selling homes, spending savings and borrowing money to get treatment while others have no choice but to wait often anxious and in pain.

The very fabric of NHS is unravelling and its founding promise – free healthcare at the point of need – is being broken.

Worse still, there is a £1.4 billion budget blackhole in health and social care threatening to wreak yet more havoc with services.

Like so many of the pressures facing Scotland right now, this crisis can be traced back to the brutal cuts John Swinney inflicted on services as Finance Secretary.

The man who created this mess won’t be the one to fix it – Scotland needs change.

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