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Tories and SNP do not want to change 'rigged' economy, Jeremy Corbyn says

The Conservatives and the SNP have no interest in changing the "rigged economy", according to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn will launch a two-pronged attack against the parties governing at Westminster and Holyrood when he returns to Scotland on Saturday to speak at Labour's economic conference.

He will be joined by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who said only Labour stands against austerity in Scotland.

The event is being held in Glasgow a fortnight after Scottish Labour's spring conference in Perth.

Mr Corbyn is expected to tell those attending: "We are focused on making our economy stronger and fairer, to give hope to people who are being left behind by an economy that is rigged against them.

"Theresa May's first Budget revealed her government's utter complacency.

"Complacent about the state of our economy ahead of Brexit. Complacent about the crisis across our public services. Penalising the self-employed.

"And entirely out of touch with the reality of life for many millions of people in this country.

"We're clear we need systematic change."

He is expected to add: "This is a rigged economy that neither the Tories nor the SNP want to change.

"This is unjust, unfair and immoral, not least because we know people die as a result of this rigged system."

Mr Corbyn is expected to make more frequent and visible visits to Scotland in the coming weeks as the parties fight for votes in May's local government elections.

Polling puts Scottish Labour on course to come third in a repeat of the 2016 Scottish elections where l eader Kezia Dugdale's plans to raise income tax to fund public services failed to prevent the party slipping behind the SNP and the Tories.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Mr McDonnell said: "Our economic conference is an opportunity to hear from our members and others in Scotland about the priorities for transforming the Scottish economy.

"The Tories' rigged economy in which six million people earn less than the living wage, and four million children are in poverty will continue. And in Scotland, the SNP will not lift a finger to stop this from happening.

"But where the Tories and SNP fail to act, Labour will step up to meet the challenge."

An SNP spokesman said: "While Labour want to pass the burden of austerity on to low income families by raising their tax bill, the SNP have protected household incomes while investing in public services through balanced, progressive tax reforms.

"It's Labour's complete failure to offer meaningful opposition that lets Theresa May feel comfortable ditching her manifesto commitments and pursuing a hard Brexit - we'll take no lessons from Labour on standing up against austerity."

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