Nicola Sturgeon is making a further appeal for Scots to back her SNP in Thursday’s “knife edge” Holyrood election.
As campaigning entered the final stages before the May 6 ballot, Ms Sturgeon said voters are faced with a “clear choice” between the “serious programme” being offered by the SNP and “negativity and scaremongering” from her political rivals.
While it is certain the SNP will remain the largest party in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon is seeking an overall majority of MSPs as part of her efforts to hold a second independence referendum.
Speaking as she campaigns in the south of Scotland, the SNP leader will say: “This election boils down to a clear choice between experienced leadership and a serious programme for government from the SNP, or opposition parties which have retreated into negativity and scaremongering and have a can’t-do attitude towards Scotland.”
She will add: “Polls suggest the result is on a knife-edge. In such a tight vote, every vote counts and I’m urging people to give both votes to the SNP.
“Every vote for the SNP is a vote for our plan for record investment to protect and remobilise our NHS.
“It’s a vote for our plans to abolish NHS dentistry charges – the last area of NHS services that can lead to a charge for care – and to protect free prescriptions as the cost for medicine continues to skyrocket south of the border.
“It’s a vote for a raft of measures to help families manage in uncertain times – like doubling the Scottish child payment and providing free school meals for all primary schoolchildren.
“And it’s a vote to ensure that, once the immediate Covid crisis has passed, and only then, that the people of Scotland have the right to choose the kind of recovery they want, investment and optimism for Scotland, or austerity from the Tories.”
She will say: “We have had a challenging year, and we are not out of the woods, but I am optimistic about Scotland’s future.
“I know that if we all continue working together as we have done over the last year, we can control Covid, get on with the job of opening our society back up, and build a lasting economic recovery that benefits everyone.
“Every vote counts on Thursday – and by voting SNP on the constituency vote and on the regional vote, people across the country can help me to get back to work to keep Scotland safe.”