Scottish Conservative leadership candidate Jackson Carlaw has vowed to end council tax payments for apprentices as he bids for leadership of the party.

The Eastwood MSP said he is looking to encourage more young people to take up a vocation in favour of going into higher or further education.

Students can receive up to a 100% discount on council tax, while apprentices only receive a 50% reduction.

Carlaw – who is the front-runner in the contest with South Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne – told a hustings in Edinburgh that his party would do everything it could to "support those who choose this worthy route to a career".

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He said: "Surely it is unacceptable that apprentices don't receive equal treatment when it comes to their council tax?

"Our party values the vital role that apprenticeships play in ensuring that Scotland has the skills it needs and will do everything we can to support those who choose this worthy route to a career.

"Scottish Conservatives believe that effort, hard work and entrepreneurialism are to be encouraged, and this policy is that belief in action."

The current interim leader, who took the reins from Ruth Davidson when she was on maternity leave and then again when she stood down in August, has the support of a majority of Tory MSPs in Holyrood, all of the party's Scottish council leaders, and MPs including former Scottish secretary David Mundell.