Nicola Sturgeon says SNP will demand further NHS cash boost in hung Parliament
Nicola Sturgeon will demand a further cash boost for the NHS if her party holds the balance of power after the election.
Speaking at the launch of the SNP's manifesto in Glasgow, the Scottish First Minister will call for a future UK government to match Scotland's per-head levels of health service spending south of the border in the event of a hung parliament.
The SNP leader will say this election will see the future of Scotland "on the line" - and warn voters that "there is worse to come" if the Boris Johnson's Brexit plans are not thwarted.
Ms Sturgeon will tell supporters: “The reality of Westminster control over Scotland is this: a right-wing Tory government Scotland didn’t vote for and a Prime Minister in Boris Johnson who is dangerous and unfit for office.
“It means Tory cuts to the Scottish budget, the NHS under threat from a Tory-Trump trade deal, a power grab on the Scottish Parliament, children being forced into poverty and a disastrous Brexit deal that will hit jobs, living standards and workers’ rights.
“But there is worse to come - unless Boris Johnson is stopped this will just be the start.
“Brexit is nowhere near being done. The Tories have barely got going - they haven’t even started trade talks."
Mr Johnson on Tuesday redoubled his opposition to granting the SNP a second referendum on Scottish independence, pointing to Ms Sturgeon's previous claim that the 2014 vote would be a "once in a generation event".
"I think she should stick to that line," he quipped at the Scottish Conservatives' own manifesto launch. "It was a good one."
Ms Sturgeon has ruled out supporting a minority Conservative government in a hung parliament, but has made clear that the SNP would be willing to back Labour in exchange for it granting a second vote on independence.
Fleshing out her negotiating plan in Glasgow on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon will demand a significant increase in NHS spending across the UK.
The SNP will call for the next UK Government to lift per-head health spending outside Scotland to levels seen north of the Border, where the SNP claims spending on the NHS is £136 per-head higher.
That would mean a £35bn increase in NHS spending in England by 2023/24 compared to current levels - more than either Labour or the Conservatives are currently promising.
The Scottish Government would then pump a further £4bn in to the NHS in Scotland by the end of the next Parliament, the SNP said.
Ms Sturgeon will say: "The SNP is spending in Scotland £136, per head, more on frontline health services than in England.
"This amounts to over £740 million more spending per year on frontline health services in Scotland, compared to the UK.
“Now, given our rural population, there should always be higher per capita spend in Scotland.
“However, if the next UK government raised health spending per head to the current Scottish level, closing that gap, it would not only substantially increase health investment in England, but would mean that by 2024-25, frontline investment to NHS Scotland would be more than £4 billion higher than today."