ANAS Sarwar has been criticised after he suggested the Scottish Parliament had focused too much on social justice and not the economy.

Speaking to the New Statesman, the Scottish Labour group leader, who was described as being “obsessed with growing the economy”, said that growth was “front and centre of everything we’re doing”.

He also accused the SNP-Green government in Edinburgh of acting “against the interests of our economic opportunities rather than for them”.

He appeared to criticise the Scottish Government for focusing too much on social justice and not enough on business.

“It’s been largely a social policy parliament rather than an economic policy parliament,” Sarwar said.

New Statesman reported: “If he wins, he wants to correct that.”

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar called out as Labour back Liz Truss on unlimited bankers' bonuses

Responding, Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman said: “Of course social policy is driving the Scottish Parliament’s agenda, because this current UK Tory Government has made just being alive practically unaffordable for so many.

“We have to help people, we have a duty to. Is Anas Sarwar now telling us to expect more of the same wretched profit-over-people trickle-down economics if Labour win? If so then little wonder voters in their droves are reconsidering what kind of party they are.”

And he criticised the Scottish Government for bringing in a new top rate of tax. Those earning more than £125,140 pay 48% on the highest earnings.

The Scottish Labour MSP said the move to tax the highest earners more was “political performance rather than strategic economic management”.

Asked if he would therefore scrap the highest Scottish tax bands, Sarwar said he was “not saying” that.

The National: Anas Sarwar speaking in Rutherglen earlier this week

In 2017 Sarwar had called for even higher rates, writing to then-first minister Nicola Sturgeon urging her to bring in a 50% tax on earnings over £100,000.

Chapman commented: “How many times can Labour afford to be on the wrong side of history – on climate, on Palestine, taxation. Every day we wake up to another Labour U-turn.

“We know now what Labour does not stand for, but very little about what they would actually do. Every time they make a policy, it seems we need to wait only a few months for it to be dropped again.”

Elsewhere, Sarwar looked ahead to the 2026 Holyrood election, and the significance of having a Labour government in London for the vote.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar pressed if a vote for Labour will be used as 'endorsement of the Union'

The MSP said that his party “want to and need to be going into a 2026 election in the midterm of a popular Labour government, not an unpopular one” in order to be able to challenge the SNP.

He went on: “I then think, in 2026, the Scottish parliament election campaign will be decided on one fundamental question: do you believe Scotland achieves more by working with a UK Labour government to maximise delivery in Scotland, or by fighting with a UK Labour government and that then achieves more for Scotland?

"It’s going to be a cooperation versus conflict decision.”

He also told the political magazine he was inspired by the football manager Jose Mourinho, saying: “When he came into English football and classed himself as ‘the special one’, I completely bought into the mindset.”

Chapman, the Scottish Greens’ economy spokesperson, said: “Labour once claimed to be the party of the people, of the unions, of the national conscience. What happened to them, how did they become so hollowed out and uncaring, how did we end up with careerists over conviction politicians?”

She went on: “There’s nothing special about Anas Sarwar or this Labour Party, in fact quite the opposite, so it's really little wonder even with such a wounded Tory government once again it's Keir Starmer who is still failing to convince Scotland that there is any point voting for them come the General Election. Unlike the Scottish Greens, they crave only power for Westminster.

“We want to bring change that will benefit all, but to deliver even stronger economic policies we need the powers of a normal independent country, something Labour have said they are against time and time again.”