NICOLA Sturgeon will join a mass day of action being held by the SNP Disabled Members Group in the run-up to Scotland’s council elections next month.

Joining members in Shotts and East Kilbride today, the First Minister will highlight a range of Scottish Government actions which she says stand her party “in stark contrast to Tory policies that leave hundreds of thousands of Scots struggling with their daily lives”.

Sturgeon will also add her personal support to the SNP’s efforts to drive up the number of disabled representatives in public life. The party is fielding a record number of disabled candidates – around one in five of the SNP’s candidates has a recognised disability.

Ahead of her visit, the SNP leader said: “We all want to see our council chambers look more like the people they represent – so I am proud that the SNP is standing a more diverse set of candidates than we ever have before.

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“Having more diversity within our elected representatives helps ensure the decisions being made take into account how they impact on people from different backgrounds and circumstances – especially important as we support people through a tough Tory cost-of-living crisis.

The First Minister hit out at “out-of-touch” Tory ministers after Rishi Sunak failed to do enough to tackle the cost-of-living crisis in his Spring Statement. It was later revealed that Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty held non-domiciled tax status while in the UK, meaning she was exempt from paying UK tax on her overseas earnings. She has since agreed to give up her non-dom status.

“We need the right policies and the right people to drive them forward,” continued Sturgeon. “People who understand and care about the impact that rising costs are having on families – not out of touch Tory ministers.

“At the moment, the contrast between the SNP in Holyrood and the Tories at Westminster could not be more stark. I am proud that we are showing leadership by doubling the Scottish Child Payment and up-rating eight Scottish benefits by 6%.”

The First Minister added: “My message to people across Scotland is this – speak up in this election, your voice matters. Don’t leave it to others to speak for you.

“If you are as outraged as I am about the Prime Minister’s contempt for the law, the Tories’ attacks on asylum seekers and their complete indifference to skyrocketing energy bills – let’s come together to reject the failed Tory agenda.

“If you want councillors who have a razor-sharp focus on supporting households through this cost of living crisis – backed up by real actions and not just hollow words – then please vote SNP on May 5.”