Nicola Sturgeon: Labour and Tory manifestos are stealing SNP policies

Free prescriptions, free tuition fees and free NHS parking spaces will be ‘familiar’ to Scottish voters, says the First Minister

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Labour and the Conservatives have stolen the Scottish National Party’s proposals for the upcoming election in a bid to win votes, Nicola Sturgeon has said.  

Speaking on the campaign trail, Scotland’s First Minister said: “Many of the policies in Labour’s manifesto will seem very familiar in Scotland. Free tuition, and end to the bedroom tax, climate change targets, getting rid of NHS parking charges. They seem familiar policies in Scotland for a very good reason.”

Jeremy Corbyn described the Labour manifesto as a "programme of hope".

But many of Labour's pledges have already been carried out north of the border during the 10 years of SNP government, including proposing to lower the voting age to 16 years old and offering free school meals to primary school students. 

Ms Sturgeon added that the Conservatives, who were long against free prescriptions, made a U-turn at the weekend to propose free prescriptions in Scotland. 

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson explained that the policy was “very popular” and their party had “listened to the voters”.

Prescription fees would remain unchanged in England.

Ms Davidson had previously proposed that people pay £8.40 to pick up their prescriptions. In 2012 she protested against the £130 million “free prescription giveaway” in Scotland.

Ms Davidson maintained this week, however, that the Tories would still examine “low value prescriptions” and claimed the NHS was wasting millions of pounds by prescribing items such as sun cream and shampoo.

Ms Sturgeon said that the Tory U-turn on a policy which was implemented by the SNP in April 2011, was done with “little credibility”, adding that her party was "leading the UK in progressive policies."

A new YouGov poll found that the Tories are on track to win eight seats in Scotland at the election, a rise of seven from the one MP they currently have.

The Tories have 28 per cent support, behind the SNP’s 41 per cent, but the SNP could still lose nine seats in Westminster.

The figures prompted Ms Davidson to claim that Theresa May was “more in touch with people in Scotland than Nicola Sturgeon”.

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The Conservatives have nonetheless refused to budge on the two-child family cap on tax credits, implemented in January.

A hotly debated subject in Holyrood, SNP, Green and Labour Member's of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) called the policy "disgusting" and "shameful".

The new tax credit reforms include what has been branded by critics as the “rape clause”, an eight-page form which requires a woman to prove she has been sexually assaulted or conceived her third child in a coercive relationship to receive about £13 a week in tax credits.

Ms Davidson said the policy was designed to “incentivise” people back into work and to carry out family planning, part of a Tory move to cut £12 billion from welfare.

Although polls are predicting Ms Sturgeon's party will once again do well in Scotland her ability to deliver on her party's main manifesto promise - to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence between 2018 and 2019 - remains uncertain.

Prime Minister Theresa May told Ms Sturgeon before calling the snap election that it was "not the time” for a second referendum. 

Scotland must seek Westminster’s approval to push for a second referendum in four years, she said. 

Labour is also against a second referendum, describing it as "unwarranted and unnecessary" in its manifesto.