LABOUR today promised £140 million of extra health spending for the Lothians as it launched a special manifesto spelling out how its policies would affect the Capital.
The party said the additional funding was needed to tackle waiting times which meant that last year 14,607 people waited more than four hours in Edinburgh’s A&E departments.
The vow comes after the Evening News told on Tuesday how Labour MPs Mark Lazarowicz and Ian Murray faced losing their city seats at the general election. Polls also suggest that Sheila Gilmore will go and that Labour will lose Alistair Darling’s old seat.
In its Edinburgh manifesto, Labour also said that 39,000 workers in the Capital would benefit from its pledge to increase the minimum wage and 5448 could be helped by ending zero-hours contracts.
Unveiling the document, Edinburgh South Labour candidate Mr Murray said: “Today Scottish Labour launches our better plan for our capital city of Edinburgh.
“Scotland succeeds and Edinburgh succeeds when working families succeed. The SNP government may be based in Holyrood, but they have let the people of Edinburgh down by failing to invest in our NHS or create jobs.
“Their plans to cut Scotland off from UK-wide taxes would be a disaster for Edinburgh. It would mean £1 billion of investment in our NHS through a mansion tax would be turned back at the Border. That’s £140m extra for NHS Lothian that would be turned down.”
Mr Murray said the SNP’s proposals for full fiscal autonomy would mean Labour’s plans to guarantee jobs for young people by taxing bankers’ bonuses “wouldn’t make it to Edinburgh from the City of London”. He said: “We want to redistribute wealth within the UK, the SNP want to cut us off from that money.”
The manifesto also backed the bid for Edinburgh to be awarded a City Deal which could see millions of pounds of investment in the city, pledged to keep Lothian Buses in public hands and said the party would “end the need for food banks”. In Edinburgh, 13,882 people, including children, received food from a food bank in 2014-15.
WHAT THE PARTY CLAIMS IT WILL DO FOR EDINBURGH
• Guarantee a job and training for the long-term unemployed, benefiting 885 people in Edinburgh.
• Increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour by October 2019, benefiting up to 39,000 workers in Edinburgh.
• Abolish exploitative zero-hours contracts, helping 5448 in Edinburgh.
• Provide £140m extra investment in Lothian’s health services.