Labour outlines progressive vision for the Union

Scotland can be part of a progressive union, Miliband will say today.

Scotland can be part of a progressive union, Miliband will say today

Ed Miliband will today head to Edinburgh in an attempt to encourage left-leaning voters to stick with the Union rather than being enticed by independence.

In an attempt to outline the progressive case for the Union, the Labour Leader will warn that the SNP’s plans for independence would lead to “a race to the bottom” as an independent Scotland seeks to compete with England on lower taxes, lower terms and conditions, and lower wages.

Declaring that Scotland can form part of a progressive Union that tackles low pay and inequality, Miliband will say:

“My priority is tackling low pay and inequality. The SNP priority is a three pence cut in corporation tax. My priority is a 50p tax rate to restore fairness. They won’t match it. My priority is an energy price freeze. They won’t match that either.

“And there’s a reason for it. Two countries divided with a border between England and Scotland means we are more likely to have two countries competing against each other with lower taxes, lower terms and conditions and lower wages.”

Highlighting the important role that Scots such as David Hume, Adam Smith, Keir Hardie, Tom Johnston, Jennie Lee and John Smith have played over the history of the Union, he will launch a rallying call to Scotland to be the change makers within the UK. He will declare:

“Every time the United Kingdom has faced huge challenges, the people of Scotland have been there leading the way. Every time there has been a need for big economic and political change, the people of Scotland have been instrumental in making it happen.

“Every time that there has been a call for change in our country, the voices of the people of Scotland have been heard loudest in response.”

Miliband’s speech will come hot off the heels from a visit to the Scottish capital by shadow chancellor Ed Balls yesterday to drum up support for the Union. Declaring forcefully that Alex Salmond is “just trying to con people”, Balls said of the first minister:

“He won’t tell people what the set-up costs are, and they would go into the hundreds of millions or billions of pounds.

“He won’t tell us what his currency plan is. Scotland will not be able to stay part of our currency union.

“So what is Alex Salmond’s plan?

“He won’t admit that interest rates would go up, even though we have a report today saying interest rates will be higher in Scotland, not just for the government but for people’s mortgages as well.

“If Alex Salmond wants to have an honest debate he can have one, and he can start by debating with Alistair Darling.

“We don’t want a pre-negotiation. We want a No vote in the referendum and we want a No vote because people have looked at the facts on taxes, currency and interest rates and concluded – as I am sure is the case – that Scotland would be much, much worse off, as would the rest of the UK.

“If Alex Salmond was confident in his arguments, he would start answering some of the questions.”

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