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Corbyn urges snap election during visit to Scotland

The Labour leader accused the SNP of passing on Conservative cuts as he visited groups in Glasgow.

Labour: Jeremy Corbyn visited Glasgow.
Labour: Jeremy Corbyn visited Glasgow. SWNS

Jeremy Corbyn has called for a snap general election as he heard from groups helping people in poverty in Glasgow.

The Labour leader met voluntary organisations and charities working to tackle poverty in the south west of the city, including food banks, toy donations appeals and credit unions.

He accused the SNP of passing on Conservative cuts and said people suffering from austerity policies "need a general election now".

The party highlighted statistics from the End Child Poverty coalition indicating a third of children in the area live in poverty.

Life expectancy is in the area is 73.9 years for men and 79.3 for women, lower than the Scottish national averages of 77 and 81.1, which figures published in December show fell for the first time in 35 years.

Mr Corbyn pointed out food bank use in Scotland is at record levels, with statistics showing it increased by 17% in a year, higher than the UK's 13%, and with the highest number of food parcels handed out to people in Glasgow at 31,630.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Labour candidate for Glasgow South West Matt Kerr joined him on the visit.

Mr Corbyn said: "People are suffering under austerity as a direct result of Tory cuts in Westminster passed down by the SNP in Holyrood.

"The people who are bearing the brunt of nine years of austerity cannot wait years for a general election. They need a general election now.

"It is a disgrace that people are living on the streets and forced to rely on foodbanks in one of the richest countries in the world.

"I pay tribute to the volunteers and charities I have met today who are stepping in to support people who are suffering.

"But people should not have to rely on the voluntary sector.

"The SNP Government has not just passed on Tory austerity, it has quadrupled it for local councils.

"And this week's budget will mean another £230m in cuts that will hit local services the people of Scotland rely on.

"There is a clear choice between more austerity or a Labour government that will put an end to austerity and build a country for the many not the few."

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: "At the last general election, it was the Scottish Conservatives, not Labour, that were making huge gains across the country and winning 12 extra seats.

"Voters know that Labour are too weak to stand up to the SNP and that the only party that can take on the Nationalists and win is the Scottish Conservatives."

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsty Blackman said: "No one will believe this empty rhetoric from Labour who were the architects of the deep austerity cuts that Westminster has made to Scotland's budget over the past decade.

"Jeremy Corbyn's reckless support for Brexit will do huge and lasting damage to Scotland - destroying jobs and living standards, harming the economy and public finances, and devastating our frontline public services.

"That's why Labour members and voters are abandoning the party in their droves." 

She said the SNP would continue to "deliver progressive policies" while Labour and the Tories "threaten Scotland's future and put jobs at risk". 

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