Scottish Labour has launched its election campaign, pledging to fund the construction of 120,000 new council and social houses over the next 10 years.
Leader Richard Leonard opened his party’s campaign on Wednesday in Glasgow with a £10bn housing pledge, part of a new policy designed to end homelessness “once and for all”.
He told activists that a UK Labour government would invest £70bn in Scotland’s public services, with £10bn going toward the building of the new council and social homes.
Leonard said: “Labour will tackle Scotland’s housing crisis, we will provide a home for everyone – and we will end homelessness once and for all in Scotland.
“And in so doing, we will generate almost 50,000 jobs, here in Scotland – giving our young people the work and the skills they need to prosper.”
The build-up to the general election on 12th December has now formally begun.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has written an open letter to Scots who voted Remain urging them to back her party.
The first minister said the election was “a chance to escape from Brexit”, but the Conservatives accused her of trying to “weaponise” Remain votes in a bid to secure a second independence referendum.
The Scottish Parliament continues to sit during the election period, but MSPs and party leaders are also on the campaign trail for the Westminster election.
Housing, planning, and local government are all devolved to Holyrood, so decisions about how to spend money on housebuilding are taken by the Scottish government.
This means the UK government can allocate funds to Holyrood via its block grant but cannot dictate how Scottish ministers spend the money.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Labour candidate Martin McCluskey said the party aimed to be in government at Holyrood in the future and that it would challenge the current administration to spend the funds in the same way.
He said: “We can say this is our priority, this is where we’d place this money, just in the same way that when the [funds] come for the NHS and education we will announce how we would use that if we were in government and how we hope the Scottish government of the moment would use it.
“We have a housing crisis in Scotland, we have people who are without homes who are homeless, and that’s why we’re announcing this policy today.”
Labour later issued quotes from Leonard saying “anyone who says this policy is not deliverable” was “letting the SNP off the hook”.
UK leader Jeremy Corbyn has already pledged to cut UK carbon emissions by 10% through Labour’s Warm Homes for All policy, though this also cuts across devolved areas.