General Election 2017: SNP accused of 'misusing' NHS logo to attack Conservatives

Party has hit back at critics calling Conservatives and Labour 'completely and utterly pathetic'

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Scottish opposition parties have criticised the SNP for its use of an NHS logo as part of its general election campaign. 

The SNP, which currently holds 56 of 59 Scottish seats in Westminster, posted an image on social media which showed an NHS logo adapted to read NHSNP with the slogan “Who cares most about our NHS?”

On Twitter the party wrote: “Vote SNP on 8 June to send the Tories a strong message – hands off Scotland’s NHS”.

The party’s main rival north of the border, the Scottish Conservatives, has accused it of “wrongly appropriated the NHS for its own political ends”, while Scottish Labour said it was part of a “scare campaign”.

The health service has been a major political battleground across the UK and was a major issue in the Scottish independence and EU referendum campaigns.

The SNP claimed privatisation with the NHS in England threatens funding for NHS Scotland.

But the Treasury uses the Barnett formula to calculate the amount of money it allocates to each devolved government to spend on devolved issues such as healthcare, education and social care. 

Therefore all policy and funding decisions regarding the NHS in Scotland is decided by the Scottish parliament – which the SNP has controlled for 10 years. 

This is why prescriptions and hospital parking is free in Scotland but not the rest of the UK.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "The NHS is already independent in Scotland - the SNP Government sets the budget, decides its priorities and oversees its delivery.

"The SNP should stop misusing the NHS logo, given how much damage the nationalists have done to our health service over the last decade."

But the SNP hit back at its critics, calling the criticism “completely and utterly pathetic”. 

A spokesman said: "They can't find anything to say on the substance of today's SNP manifesto so they're after us on style.

"The fact is that the Tories are trashing the health service in England - presiding over a humanitarian crisis - while Labour can't match our ambition on funding for our NHS.

"We're investing record levels in healthcare and standing up for our hardworking nurses, doctors and other NHS staff.

"People will take this nonsense for what it is - a mere distraction from the serious issues in this election on which the Tories and Labour have no ideas and no clue."

The Scottish Conservatives suggested that the SNP might be in breach of strict election rules that forbid the use of the logos of public bodies in campaigning, but the Scottish Government said the image was not an official logo so these rules did not apply. 

The SNP is fighting hard to retain control of the seats it gained in 2015. 

The party swept the board at the last election gaining 50 seats following the collapse of the Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrat votes. 

But a resurgent Scottish Conservatives, run by popular leader Ruth Davidson, is snapping at its heels with some polls suggesting they could win as many as 11 seats in Scotland.   

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