Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has challenged London mayor Boris Johnson as he pledged to use a one-time tax on bank bonuses to end long-term youth unemployment in Scotland.
Speaking in the City of London, the UK capital’s financial district, Murphy said £1bn (€1.35bn) from Labour’s proposed levy would be used to help unemployed 18-19-year-olds in Scotland to create businesses or buy tools and provide a guarantee of work for those at risk of long-term unemployment.
The Scottish Labour leader came under fire in January from Johnson, a Conservative, and Labour mayoral candidate Diane Abbott, when he said a “mansion tax,” predominantly paid by houseowners in London’s wealthiest areas and in south-east England, would be used to fund 1,000 more nurses in Scotland.
Abbott said at the time that Murphy’s pledge was a “crude attempt” to entice Scottish voters.
“This is an unprecedented investment in our young people, only made possible by harnessing the wealth of the whole of the UK, including the wealthiest here in the City behind me,” Murphy said.
While Labour is running neck and neck with prime minister David Cameron’s Conservatives in national opinion polls ahead of the May 7 election, the party risks losing almost all of its seats in Scotland to the pro-independence Scottish National Party.
Labour won 41 of Scotland’s 59 seats in 2010, but constituency polling released this month by Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft suggest the SNP may take more than 50 seats, potentially making it Britain’s third biggest party.
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