Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today called on the Labour party to match the SNP’s commitment to boosting the NHS budget across the UK – and will confirm that she will back the STUC position to ensure that the health service is protected from the impact of TTIP. Campaigning in Edinburgh today, the First Minister has committed that SNP MPs will seek to ensure that the public, not-for-profit character of the NHS is protected from any impact from the TTIP agreement – and backed the STUC’s position on the subject. The SNP has already made clear that it will use its influence at Westminster after the election to boost the NHS budget across the UK by a total of £24bn - £9.5bn above inflation – meaning a total increase for Scotland’s NHS of £2bn.
Commenting, Nicola Sturgeon said: "Our NHS is our most important public resource – and the SNP will do everything we can to ensure that it properly funded and protected as a public service. That’s why we’ve been clear that we will vote to boost NHS funding by £9.5bn across the UK – delivering a total increase for Scotland’s NHS of £2bn. Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy now need to give the same commitment to properly fund our health service – rather than meekly acquiescing to the Tory austerity agenda and selling our NHS short in the process."
Ms Sturgeon continued: "The SNP’s plans for modest public spending increases would give our NHS staff the support they need and ensure our health service continues to deliver a first-class service for patients – Labour in Scotland now need to back our plans on the health service or explain to people why they are more committed to cuts than to our NHS. But increasing funding isn’t the only way a strong team of SNP MPs will ensure our health service is protected. People in Scotland and across the UK are rightly worried about the potential impact on the health service from TTIP – that’s why today I am backing the STUC pledge to protect our NHS from any effects of TTIP."
"This General Election is Scotland’s opportunity to elect a team of SNP MPs to put an end to the austerity cuts which are putting real pressure on our public services and to ensure our NHS is protected. Protecting our NHS will always be at the heart of the SNP’s plans – it’s now time for Labour to give the same commitment, or they will face the consequences at the ballot box." Nicola Sturgeon added