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This week hundreds gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to protest against the SNP's cuts to local budgets.John Swinney's budget for 2016/17 will see local authority funding cut by hundreds of millions of pounds in one year alone.Labour leaders of councils across Scotland have made it clear - the SNP's budget cuts could have "potentially devastating consequences" for local budges for schools and nurseries.Kezia has set out a bold plan to amend the SNP’s Budget so Scotland can avoid cuts to schools and vital local public services.This measure would raise half a billion pounds, more than enough to avoid the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of spending cuts proposed in the SNP’s Draft Budget – cuts that would have devastating consequences for schools and others vital public services.Find out more:

Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Saturday, February 6, 2016

Nicola Sturgeon has sold out the people who need her most by imposing hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts to schools and local public services, Kezia said today in #FMQs.Here's what happened today:Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Kezia said the SNP’s vote against her plan to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop cuts means they have been found out.Earlier this week Kezia set out a plan to set the Scottish rate of income tax 1p higher than that set by George Osborne.This would mean the hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts proposed by the SNP Government’s budget for 2016/17 could be avoided.To ensure low income taxpayers receive a boost, a £100 payment would be introduced for those earning less than £20,000. This would be administered by local authorities. Council leaders across Scotland have confirmed this is possible.Experts and trade unions have also said using the income tax power is a progressive measure as the richest would pay the most. Even SNP Minister John Swinney has previously described it as progressive.Yesterday, the SNP and the Tories stood ‘shoulder to shoulder’ to vote against Labour’s plan to stop the cuts.Here's what Kezia has said:“Nicola Sturgeon has built her career on telling us that more powers mean fewer cuts, yet she refuses to use the powers when it really matters. She has staked her reputation on improving education, yet she cuts school budgets rather than using the powers of the Scottish Parliament.“Nicola Sturgeon has sold herself as the radical alternative to Tory austerity, but yesterday she sold out the people who need her most.“At the stroke of a pen the First Minister could stop the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of cuts and thousands of job losses, but faced with the choice between using the powers of this Parliament and hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts she chose austerity.“After this week people across Scotland are left asking why Nicola Sturgeon won’t just use her power to do the right thing.”Read more:

Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Thursday, February 4, 2016

WATCH: Today, Kez has set out our bold plan to stop SNP cuts to local budgets and invest in the future. Find out more here:

Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Today Nicola Sturgeon could have guaranteed NHS staff and patients that vital local services would be protected, but she didn't. The SNP say they will protect our NHS but the reality is they are threatening local services with the axe.Find out more:

Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Thursday, January 28, 2016

This week marks 100 campaigning days till the Scottish Parliamentary Elections.The choice facing voters in May is now clearer than ever - investment in the future with Labour or more cuts to schools and childcare with the SNP and the Tories. Only Scottish Labour has a plan to properly fund our schools and nurseries, so we can close the gap between the richest and the rest. The SNP budget will impose cuts of half a billion pounds next year alone, and the Tories want to cut even deeper with their tax plans.We need to invest in our young people, not pull the rug out from under them. Our plan for a Fair Start Fund would target extra resources for our primary schools and nurseries, giving teachers real power to make a difference. If we want to create a better future for our country then somebody has to pay for it, and we are determined that it won’t be Scotland's children. Under our plan the richest few earning more than £150,000 would pay more in tax so we can invest in our schools and nurseries. That's the fair thing to do.Find out more here:

Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Monday, January 25, 2016

Nicola Sturgeon’s own poverty advisor has rightly said that affordable, flexible childcare is key to helping people out of poverty. The SNP’s solution to the problems with childcare in Scotland is to slash the budgets for childcare and local services. Only in the world of the SNP will that deliver a childcare revolution.Cuts to local services will hurt the poorest most. Those children who are already at a disadvantage risk getting left even further behind.Nicola Sturgeon wants to be judged on her record – on childcare she has failed to deliver on promises, cut budgets and let parents down. It’s clear that instead of delivering what families need the SNP’s childcare plan is just a great big con.Read more:

Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our plan to help first time buyers in Scotland

The ambition of home ownership isn’t being realised for too many young families in Scotland. The price of austerity has been that aspiration has stalled for a whole generation.Under the SNP, the number of people in Scotland aged 34 and younger who have bought their own home with a mortgage has fallen by 15%. Just 28% of those aged 16-34 in Scotland now own their home with a mortgage – the lowest level since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999.In a speech in Edinburgh today, Kez set out our an ambitious plan to help first time buyers in Scotland.Our plan would effectively double the help first time buyers currently receive towards saving for a deposit. A person who currently saves through a first-time buyer ISA up to the value of £3,000 would be entitled to an additional £3,000 from a Scottish Labour Government to help toward the cost of a deposit to buy a property. Under this plan, the average couple each saving £100 a month would be able to save for a £15,000 deposit within three years. Find out more here:

Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Tuesday, January 5, 2016