Ms Sturgeon’s electioneering claims might carry more weight if the SNP had not shot itself so badly in the foot with its protestations about house-building.
Recent figures have shown that, under the SNP’s leadership, house-building in Scotland has fallen to around 15,000 a year – the lowest rate since 1947. Meanwhile, 150,000 families are on waiting lists for decent housing.
It is a record as poor as that of the Conservative Party in England.
Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of putting “politics first and the possibilities of power second” after she used her speech in the Scottish Parliament’s New Year debate to launch the SNP’s election campaign and talk about her ambition to build a majority for independence.
In her first address to MSPs since the Christmas break, the First Minister made a direct pitch to voters, focusing on her party’s record in government before promising to deliver an “ambitious, upbeat, visionary and detailed” election manifesto which [she claimed] would win the SNP a historic third term at Holyrood.
Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, responded by accusing Ms Sturgeon of electioneering and of having no vision for the future beyond independence. “Nearly a decade into government, it’s time she stops campaigning and start truly governing,” she added.
In a separate speech, Ms Dugdale made her first major manifesto pledge, promising that first time house buyers would each receive £3,000 to put towards their deposits under a Labour government.
The SNP immediately poured scorn on the policy, claiming that it was “counter-productive” as it would push up house prices in Scotland without providing any new homes. “Our focus has been on boosting housing supply in both the private sector and the social sector,” said the party’s MSP Clare Adamson.
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