Starmer pledges to transform medical research ahead of Edinburgh visit
Sir Keir Starmer has said transforming medical research will be key to boosting Scotland’s economy ahead of a visit north of the border.
The Labour leader will visit the medical research hub in Edinburgh’s BioQuarter on Thursday.
He said his party’s industrial strategy would make Scotland a “world leader” in medical technology.
The visit takes place during the SNP’s leadership contest, where three candidates are vying to replace Nicola Sturgeon – Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan.
Labour says R&D spending in Scotland has lagged behind the rest of the UK and other OECD countries in recent years.
Sir Keir said: “Years of mismanagement and neglect under the SNP and the Tories has left Scotland with a flagging economy and an NHS at breaking point.
“But it is also home to some of the most innovative businesses and exciting research anywhere in the world.
“Ending the sticking plaster politics which has created weak economic growth and struggling public services means investing decisively in the technology of tomorrow.
“It means taking advantage of the genius in every corner of Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“Here in Scotland, that means taking on those two defining challenges by transforming medical research.
“Scotland has the chance to be a world leader in innovative healthcare and medical technology, but it has two governments squandering its potential.”
He continued: “Labour’s industrial strategy will boost investment in research and development right across the UK, and unlock the opportunities of the future.
“This will build a stronger economy that supports an NHS providing world-class care, ensuring patients in Scotland benefit from being on the cutting edge of medical technology.
“That is the change that Scotland needs and that a Labour government I lead will deliver.”
Craig Hoy, chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, said Mr Starmer “offers warm words but he can’t hide from the fact that Labour would take the same failed approach to the NHS as the SNP”.
“Last month Labour announced plans for a huge centralisation of healthcare in Scotland, which would strip local services especially from rural areas,” said the MSP for South Scotland.
“It’s clear from the SNP leadership debates that all three candidates view Keir Starmer as a potential ally who will grant them the independence referendum they crave.”
SNP MSP Emma Harper said Sir Keir was “happy to throw Scotland under Boris Johnson’s Brexit bus” and “as such he has zero credibility in talking about the challenges facing healthcare” north of the border.
“Under him and Anas Sarwar, Labour is a pro-Brexit party that would do nothing to reverse the appalling damage the Tories are inflicting on Scotland and our NHS, having dragged us out of the EU,” she said.
“Instead Labour stand side by side with the Tories in refusing to support freedom of movement and an immigration system that works for Scotland.
“It is clearer by the day that the only way for Scotland to flourish is by becoming an independent country and rejoining the European Union.”