Jeremy Corbyn to accuse SNP of 'passing buck' on austerity and handing down cuts

Jeremy Corbyn will accuse the SNP of standing up for the establishment rather than Scotland by "passing the buck" on austerity and handing down Conservative spending cuts.

The Labour leader will use a visit to Glasgow to attack Holyrood ministers, and put forward his party's case for a new Constitutional Convention to look at how power could be devolved across all the nations and regions of the UK.

He will team up with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, despite failing to back her call for a new Act of Union to save the UK just over a week ago.

Ms Dugdale called for the new act last month when she revealed plans for increased federalisation of the UK, including a ''people's constitutional convention'' to decide on a new political settlement, but Mr Corbyn said later he "wouldn't use the words new Act of Union".

The UK Labour leader is expected to say that both he and Ms Dugdale "agree on the need to set up a People's Constitutional Convention, led by Labour, to see how best we can redistribute reclaimed powers and resources across all our nations and regions".

He will also highlight his determination to "replace the unelected House of Lords with a democratic second chamber" that will give all parts of the country an equal say in the UK parliament.

"I want to replace the House of Lords with a Senate for the Nations and Regions," Mr Corbyn will state.

With the Prime Minister having announced plans to take the UK out of the European single market in the wake of Brexit, he will again warn against creating a "bargain basement Britain".

Such a move, he will argue, will result in "even less money for our underfunded and overstretched NHS, less money for social care, whose budgets have been slashed by billions and  less money to give our councils".

Mr Corbyn will add this is "something Scots know all too well with the proposed SNP budget cut of £327 million to local government".

Turning on the Scottish government he will say: "Just like the Tories, they're devolving austerity and passing the buck."

The Labour leader will continue: "The SNP government simply passes on Tory austerity and is increasingly failing to govern effectively or fairly.

"Trying to talk Left at Westminster when in opposition, whilst acting Right in power at Holyrood, is not standing up for Scotland.

"It is not standing up for Scotland failing to tackle the scandalous level of health inequalities here in this great city of Glasgow and across Scotland.

"It is not standing up for Scotland overseeing a growing attainment gap between children from poorer and wealthier backgrounds.

"It is not standing up for Scotland refusing to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in all of these areas - and many more where the SNP has failed.

"The SNP is not standing up for Scotland. It's standing up for the establishment."

Ms Dugdale will pledge Labour MSPs will oppose the Scottish government spending plans by voting against its draft Budget for 2017/18.

The Scottish Labour leader will claim: "In the past few weeks, the SNP government's priorities have been clear for everyone to see. 

"Our parliament is now more powerful than ever, with all the powers it needs to reverse Tory austerity. 

"But despite this, our services are still facing £327 million of cuts."

She will add: "The SNP's management and under-funding of our public services is a real and growing crisis in our country.

"And that is why Labour will vote against the budget in the Scottish Parliament."

An SNP spokesman said: "Jeremy Corbyn's comments are exactly the sort of carping from the sidelines that Kezia Dugdale warned about when she said that Labour would be unelectable under his leadership.

"Labour in Scotland are stuck in a sorry place between completely irrelevant and totally desperate, and today's reunion is set to be a prickly affair.

"Just last week Jeremy Corbyn fatally undermined Kezia Dugdale's plans on the constitution - and the attempts to paper over the cracks with this contrived photo op will fool no one.

"But it's not just internal Labour division that is driving voters away, it's the fact that nobody knows what purpose they serve.

"While the SNP are standing up for Scotland against a Tory hard Brexit, Labour have capitulated to the Tories at Westminster - opening the door to economic catastrophe."

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