LABOUR have made it “abundantly clear” that voting for them at the next General Election is voting to privatise the NHS, the SNP have said.

It comes after Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health secretary, used an article in the Sun to position himself against “middle-class lefties” who oppose his plans to force the NHS to use private sector providers.

Streeting, a key ally of party leader Keir Starmer who has been tipped as a future party leader himself, said the NHS was a “service, not a shrine”.

Streeting’s comments have been widely attacked by parties in Scotland – as well as by the now-independent Diane Abbott MP.

Sharing a story in the Sun about Streeting pledging “major surgery” for the NHS, Abbott wrote: “Wes Streeting has no money to pay NHS doctors and nurses a decent salary. But billions to dish out in private sector contracts.”

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The comment was endorsed by Owen Thompson, the SNP’s chief whip at Westminster.

His colleague, the SNP's health spokesperson Amy Callaghan MP said: "Be in no doubt, for as long as Scotland remains under Westminster control, our NHS is under threat.

"Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party are no longer hiding their desire to privatise the NHS. They have made it abundantly clear: a vote for Labour is a vote for NHS privatisation.

"And instead of offering doctors and nurses a fair wage, Sir Keir Starmer would prioritise handing over billions of pounds to private investors. Their priorities are all wrong.

"In contrast, under the SNP, Scotland's NHS will always remain in public hands.”

Health is devolved, but decisions made by the UK Government have a knock-on impact on funding north of the Border. If Streeting were to bring in more funding for the English NHS, the Scottish Government would receive a portion as “Barnett consequentials”.

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Alba Party’s Westminster leader, Neale Hanvey MP, also hit out at Streeting’s (above) privatisation plans.

“It’s now clear that whether Scots end up with a Labour government or a Tory government after the election, a new and devastating privatisation agenda will be front and centre of NHS reforms,” he said.

Hanvey went on: "Back in 2014 this is exactly what supporters of independence warned about. The Labour Party dismissed concerns over NHS privatisation but in order to appeal to Tory voters in the south east of England the Labour Party have now sold-out with their privatisation agenda for the NHS in England, a project started by Tony Blair with his break-up of the NHS into foundation trusts.

“The reality is that Labour have done as much, if not more damage to the NHS than the Tories can be rightly accused of.

“Alba Party are absolutely clear that keeping Scotland's NHS in public hands is the right thing to do, and privatisation is never the answer to addressing the severe pressures much of our NHS is struggling with.”

And Gillian Mackay MSP, the Scottish Greens health spokesperson, said: "Labour is saying the quiet part out loud. The last thing the NHS in England needs is more private-sector involvement. Far too much of it has already been sold off and privatised by successive Labour and Tory governments.

"Unfortunately, this is entirely consistent with Wes Streeting and the UK Labour leadership's approach. The answer here is not a greater private sector influence, it is investment in frontline staff and services.

"With Scottish Greens in government, we will always stand for a publicly owned NHS based on human need and not corporate profits."