NICOLA Sturgeon has effectively ruled out Indyref2 taking place this year after plans have been left off a list of key actions a re-elected SNP Government will take within the first 100 days of office.

The First Minister has insisted that a second vote for independence will not take place until the Covid crisis has been dealt with.

Ahead of presenting the SNP Government’s referendum bill to Holyrood before the election, Constitution Secretary Mike Russell pledged a re-run of the 2014 referendum would be held “at the conclusion of the pandemic” - but that has been contradicted by the absence of the policy from the immediate priority list.

Ms Sturgeon has drawn up a plan of key actions a re-elected SNP Government would take within 100 days, with no mention of a referendum.

If a vote on independence is to take place by the end of the year, plans would realistically need to be in place by the end of the summer.

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The SNP's immediate priority list includes delivering a pay rise for NHS workers, publishing an NHS recovery plan, opening the first three fast-track cancer diagnostic centres and taking the first steps in removing dental charges and setting up a National Care Service.

The SNP also wants to launch its £10 million ‘Scotland Loves Local’ scheme within the first 100 of office, if returned to power and a £25 million tourism fund – including vouchers for days out and short breaks for carers, people with disabilities and families on low incomes.

The party will bring forward a £20 million summer programme of help for pupils and fund councils to increase teacher numbers by 1,000 and classroom assistants by 500.

Within the first 100 days of a re-elected SNP Government, ministers will introduce free school lunches for Primary 4 children as the first step to delivering free school breakfasts and lunches for all primary school pupils.

The SNP will also deliver around 5,000 more short, industry-focussed courses to help young people train for jobs in key industries and set up new summer student support hardship fund of £20 million for students unable to find work in the months they do not receive student support and begin a review of the future of summer student support.

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Launching the plan on a visit to Aberdeenshire, Ms Sturgeon said: “This 100 day plan demonstrates the SNP is the only party that is serious about government and serious about helping people in Scotland through these difficult times.

“In seven days' time, it is only by voting SNP that people can ensure the experienced leadership required to keep Scotland in safe hands.

“By backing the SNP with both votes, Scotland will be able to make real progress through and out of the pandemic in the first 100 days with a pay rise for NHS workers, new cancer centres opened, support for small businesses to go digital, new training courses to help young people into jobs and immediate action to tackle the climate crisis.”

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She added: “We’ll take urgent action to support children, families and young people - completing the roll-out of 1140 hours of free childcare, expanding free school meals, paying the first instalment of the expanded £1billion Scottish Attainment Fund and introducing the legal changes to extend free bus travel to everyone under 22 years old.

“We will also start work on longer term challenges, establishing a new Council for Economic Transformation, taking the first steps toward establishing a National Care Service and beginning work on a minimum income guarantee.”

But Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar immediately said it is “not credible” to claim all the issues can be responded to within 100 days.

In Stirling, Mr Sarwar launched a new Labour campaign bus urging voters to back the party in the regional list vote.

He said: “I think the fundamental mistake the SNP are making is they want people to believe that the crisis ends the day lockdown ends or when the virus finally disappears, that’s just simply not credible and not true.

“We have taken an economic hit even sharper and deeper than the banking crisis, and that took us 10 years to recover from. I don’t want us to take 10 years to recover from the pandemic.”

Protecting jobs, tackling the NHS backlog and dealing with the climate emergency will take longer than 100 days, he said, adding: “The idea that we complete all of those challenges in 100 days when the party’s been in government for 14 years and Nicola Sturgeon’s been First Minister for seven years is simply not credible and not good enough.”

He said Scottish Labour is the only party showing “momentum”, and he added he is pleased with his personal opinion poll ratings.

“I think it’s pretty obvious which political leader is most enjoying this election campaign, which political leader is showing the most energy in this campaign,” he said.

The Scottish Conservatives have accused the SNP of “deceiving voters” - rubbishing the 100-day plan.

Tory leader Douglas Ross said: "This is the same tired con trick we see every time from Nicola Sturgeon.

“She realises people across Scotland are sick fed up of the SNP taking their eye off the ball and pushing for another referendum, so she pretends they won’t immediately demand one.

“They’re claiming to be pausing independence for three months and expecting us to be grateful but they’re not being honest with voters. Everyone has seen this act before."

He added: “All the evidence from past elections confirms that the SNP are deceiving voters and they’ll ramp up their calls for another referendum the first chance they get.

“If they win a majority, Nicola Sturgeon will claim a mandate for Indyref2 by Monday. They’ll have demanded a Section 30 Order and started work on a new White Paper within weeks. Statement after statement will demand a referendum date before Scotland’s recovery from Covid.

“An Indyref2 bill was the last thing they did in the previous Scottish Parliament term and it will be the first thing they do in the next term, unless pro-UK voters unite and use their peach ballots for the Scottish Conservatives to stop them.

“The only way to be sure of stopping their damaging plan to divide Scotland is by voters lending their party list votes on the peach ballot to the Scottish Conservatives.”