Labour and the Tories are now “joined at the hip” in their desire to axe the achievements of devolution, the SNP has said, following Ruth Davidson’s confirmation today that she welcomes  and supports Labour’s policy of slashing universal benefits.

In a series of articles today, Ms Davidson pledges – among other things - to reintroduce tuition fees and prescription charges, and reduce eligibility for concessionary travel, in order to fund tax cuts.

However, telephone canvassing conducted by the SNP this week found overwhelming public support for maintaining all of these policies.

Johann Lamont’s almost identical announcement earlier in the week that she wanted to end what she called the ‘something for nothing culture’ has been met with horror by stakeholders.

Nicola Sturgeon has today said that voters now had a clear choice between the SNP – who remain true to the social democratic principles endorsed overwhelmingly by the electorate – and the anti-independence parties, whose main desire is to pass on Tory cuts to hard pressed households.

Commenting, Ms Sturgeon - the SNP's Depute Leader and Scotland's Deputy First Minister - said:

"The Tory-Labour pact to axe the achievements of devolution will only ensure that many more Scots vote Yes to an independent Scotland.

“The ‘Better Together’ campaign is bringing the anti-independence parties closer by the day. The vast majority of the Scottish public, as well as ordinary Labour members and voters, will be horrified by this Tory-Labour collusion to remove free education, free personal care for the elderly and re-introduce prescription charges.

“The Scottish Tories' warm welcome for Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission contrasts sharply with the surprise and concern voiced by the STUC, NUS Scotland, Age Scotland and others.

“People in Scotland overwhelmingly back these universal benefits – they define the kind of society in which we want to live – but the anti-independence parties just don’t seem to understand that.

“This week has been a watershed in the run up to the referendum – independence is now the only way to protect Scotland’s social democratic principles.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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