RUTH Davidson has been accused of making a “very strong case for how the UK is simply not working for Scotland”.

Speaking at Glasgow University, the Scottish Conservative leader said that the UK had a choice to make between more funding for the NHS and introducing further tax breaks “beyond those already promised”.

She added that her choice would be the NHS.

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But Gillian Martin, the SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East, has said that her words are tantamount to making the case for independence.

Ruth Davidson ironically makes a very strong case for how the UK is simply not working for Scotland – whether it comes to their damaging approach to Brexit, immigration, or austerity, the UK Government are actively harming jobs, public services and living standards in Scotland,” said Martin.

“And while Ms Davidson is absolutely right when she says that the NHS has coped ‘brilliantly’ with the challenges of the last decade, her calls for more funding have no credibility given that just a few months ago she was demanding tax cuts for the rich that would have cost the health service in Scotland £550 million.

During her speech, Davidson argued that with NHS costs rising, and the country facing the challenge of how to deal with an increasingly elderly population, the health service needed "substantial extra funding across the whole of the UK".

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Answering the question of where the cash should come from, she said ministers should not introduce any more tax cuts "beyond those already promised".

"The UK Government has a choice to make,” she said.

"And, if that choice is between extra spending on the NHS or introducing further tax breaks beyond those already promised, I choose the NHS."

She added: "Either way, we should have the honesty to recognise that this is a moment where we as a country have to choose one way or the other.

"My view is that people across the UK would not forgive us if we allowed this moment to pass."

The Tory MSP, who is expecting her first child with fiancée Jen Wilson, said the issue of the NHS was "pretty personal for me".

She told the audience: "At five years old, the NHS first saved my life, then saved my legs, after I was run over by a truck outside my house.

"They put me back together again a few years later when I managed to break my back.

"My sister is an NHS doctor. And, as you may have heard, I'll be requiring the services of my local maternity hospital in the months ahead."

Upping the health budget would not only benefit front line medical services, Davidson argued, adding that such a move "would help tackle the wider crisis of trust" that centrist politicians are facing.

In a wide-ranging speech, she also set out how the Tories could attract the support of more young voters – saying that with this group they are "simply losing the argument".

"The answer is categorically not for Conservatives to don hoodies and caps and try to get down with the kids,” she said.

"The answer is to tackle the actual issues that the younger generation are facing. And top of the list here is housing."

Davidson said she had only managed to get on the property ladder last year, and with more and more professionals in their 30s now forced to rent rather than buy.

"Forgive me for stating the bleeding obvious – but the best way to sort this is to build more homes."

To help with this she suggested a system that would allow landowners to benefit from the increase in land values that occurs when planning permission is granted, suggesting this could be used to "invest back into the community" by providing better quality developments with more communal spaces.

While admitting there was a "lot to work through" to address the UK's housing problems, she said: "Tackle that and we can genuinely say that we are sticking by a key part of our social contract – that the next generation will have more opportunities than the last."

She also used the speech to urge her party to review its pledge to reduce net migration to the UK to under 100,000 a year.

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has argued that in the long term, this could cost Scotland up to £10bn a year.

“I have said this before but I will repeat it tonight: I see neither the sense nor the need to stick to an immigration figure devised nearly a decade ago, which has never been met and does not fit the requirements of the country,” Davidson said.

"Setting an immigration target reduced to the tens of thousands is one thing when unemployment is running over 8%. Refusing to review it when the country nears full employment and sectors are reporting skills shortages is quite another."

Davidson's speech was welcomed by Martin, who drew comparisons between her words and what she and her government have been doing.

“The SNP government is making the right choices for Scotland – backing more immigration of skilled workers, fairer taxation to fund our NHS, more training opportunities for young people and more homes for families," she said.

“While we’re happy to welcome support from across Scottish politics for our ambitious plans to keep driving Scotland forward, the reality is it’s the Tories who are holding Scotland back.

“Try as she might, Ruth Davidson can’t just distance herself from her own party’s toxic policies with a handful of warm words.”