Anas Sarwar has taken to the stage at the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow to give a speech about the future of the party. 

The Scottish Labour leader envisioned the electoral map turning red and joked about iPad bills and disappearing WhatsApp messages as he spoke to delegates on Friday afternoon (February 16). 

Mr Sarwar also spoke about council cuts, "broken" public services, and called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. 

Anas Sarwar's Scottish Labour conference speech in full 

"Conference, what a year it has been since we last met. And my, has Scottish politics changed. Scottish Labour, back on the pitch, and winning again.
"Conference, we have restored hope to our politics and demonstrated that change is possible.
"And what a moment it was for our party, when last October in a parliamentary by-election, we recorded a swing of more than 20 points to Labour – and we beat the SNP.
"The people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West elected Michael Shanks as their Member of Parliament.
"Thank you Michael, and you’ll be joined by two new Labour MPs after the epic by-election victories last night. 
"And thank you to everyone here who campaigned for Scottish Labour in Michael’s by-election.

"But guess what? The job isn’t over. Far from it. It’s only starting. Because this year we face the most important general election in a generation.
"So whether you deliver our message of change by knocking on doors… on the phones … by delivering leaflets…. or simply by talking to your friends, family and colleagues…everyone in this room can make the difference.
"Because, conference, remember that feeling that night of the Rutherglen by-election? 
Remember that feeling when you heard Labour had won? 

"Remember those goosebumps you felt going up your arms? Now imagine the night of the next general election.
"And the news comes through that Scottish Labour MP after Scottish Labour MP is being elected in seat after seat across Scotland.
"And just imagine that feeling of watching the electoral map turning red. And imagine how you feel when you hear the news that the Tories have lost the election; that Labour has won. 
"And that a Labour prime minister will enter 10 Downing Street. Imagine that feeling.
"That’s what we’re fighting for, and that’s the change our country so desperately needs. 
Because this is the opportunity ahead of us this year.
"Our opportunity to reject the politics of division and despair. Our opportunity to restore integrity, trust, and hope in our politics. Our chance to elect a Labour government.
"And to put Scotland at the heart of that government. And to change our country for the better."


"Friends, it’s wonderful to be back in Glasgow this year. I am proud to be a son of Glasgow and to call it my home. So much of what has shaped my politics is because of this great city.
"It is this great city that accepted my family as one of their own, and that welcomes families wherever they come from.  
"And my family is here with me today including my three boys. Adam and Saify have heard me speak before. But actually it’s my youngest son’s first time.
"So conference, can I ask you welcome, Aliyan Sarwar, age seven, first time delegate to Scottish Labour conference.
"Now, Aliyan normally struggles to listen to me for more than five minutes.
"So I was going to let him bring his iPad today, but I wasn’t sure about the wifi signal and didn’t want to risk the roaming charges.
"Conference, Glasgow, is the city where I am proud to be bringing up my children. This is a city that is brimming with potential, but let’s be honest – it’s being badly mismanaged by the SNP.
"Just yesterday, SNP and Green councillors in the city agreed another round of cuts in their budget, after being short-changed yet again by their party colleagues in Holyrood.
"Over the coming weeks, councillors across Scotland are going to have to make similar, devastating decisions.
"And while Labour will continue to campaign with our trade union partners to win more funding from national government, I think it is important to recognise where the blame lies. 
"Because, unlike other parties, I don’t blame any councillor – actually from any party – who is forced to make cuts in their own communities.
"None of these councillors, whether they are Labour, SNP, or any other party, chose to come into politics to oversee the managed decline of their towns or their cities.
"The blame for this squarely lies with the SNP Government in Edinburgh. Scottish Labour remains committed to a fair funding deal for our local communities.
"It should be the case that when the Scottish Government’s budget goes up, the budget for local communities goes up too.
"That means fair funding for local councils. Fair funding for our communities.
"So that great cities like Glasgow, and communities across Scotland, can create more jobs, attract more investment, and reach their full potential.
"Conference, it’s time to end the centralisation in Holyrood, push power out and into the hands of local communities.  Because that’s what change means. And that’s why change matters.

Gaza ceasefire

"Conference, let me tell you something else about Glasgow. This city has always stood in solidarity against division, intolerance, and injustice.
"Two years ago, when we last met for our party conference in Glasgow, we showed our support for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
"We demonstrated our solidarity then, and we do so once again today with the people of Ukraine. 
"And this year, tragically, there is also escalating conflict in the Middle East. The loss of innocent life in Israel and in Gaza is an absolute travesty.
"On October 7th, we saw the largest loss of Jewish life in any single day since the Holocaust. It was unimaginable, unforgiveable, and unjustifiable.
"And we were right to show our solidarity with the Jewish people, and with the people of Israel in the face of that terror. 
"And as I have been clear, the collective punishment of 2.2 million innocent citizens of Gaza is not – never can be – a justifiable response to the horror inflicted by Hamas.
"So today I say once again – loudly and clearly – the fighting must stop right now.
"That means an immediate ceasefire with an end to rocket fire going in to, and coming out of, Gaza right now. The immediate release of hostages.
"Immediate access to humanitarian aid – that means essential supplies like water, electricity, medicine and food getting into Gaza.  
"And immediate efforts by world leaders to forge a path to an enduring peace and a two-state solution.
"Conference, I visited the Gaza strip 15 years ago, and I have actually been to the Al-Shifa hospital. And what I saw there has stayed with me every day since.
"Incubator parts were not being allowed in for babies. Kidney dialysis machines had been switched off because there wasn’t enough fuel. Essential medicines were not available.
"Al-Shifa was barely a functioning hospital then – now it is nothing but a camp for thousands of destitute civilians cut off from aid.
"There has been a collective failure of the global community to strive for peace, leading to this humanitarian catastrophe.
"And in the face of such devastation, we must hold firm to the two-state solution.
"Because only when we have a safe, secure state of Israel, side by side with a safe, secure state of Palestine, will we have long-term peace.
"And let’s also be clear – Palestinian statehood is not in the gift of a neighbour; it is the right of the Palestinian people. 
"Conference, we must separate Hamas from the Palestinian people. They have no interest in peace and are a terrorist organisation.
"And we also must separate the Israeli people from Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right government. Because he is not interested in peace either. 
"The people of Palestine and the people of Israel are desperate for peace, but they are being failed by bad faith actors on both sides, and by the international community.
"So that is why, as distant as it may feel, we must keep on the light for peace and freedom. 
"Because, ultimately, only when every life is treated as equal will we see the lasting peace the people of Israel and Palestine so desperately need and deserve.
"Friends, it is also important to recognise that whenever there are heightened tensions in the Middle East, it causes increased tensions here at home.
"We must always have a zero-tolerance approach to Antisemitism and to Islamophobia.
"There is never any excuse for discrimination against Jewish people or Muslim people because of the actions of organisations or governments somewhere else in the world.
"So let the message from this conference be loud and clear. We will always stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community in the face of Antisemitism.
"And we will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against Islamophobia.
"We will stand together with every community against any form of prejudice and hate. That is a founding principle of our party.

The Tories

"Conference, I have devoted so much of my time as a politician to tackling the many divisions we see in society. I have worked on a cross-party basis to address those divisions.
"But frankly it’s made more challenging when some politicians embrace culture wars and seek to divide community from community.
"Right now, the Tories are embroiled in an internal contest and a fight for the future of their party, and they’re pushing further and further to the conspiracy theories and to the far-right crank fest. 
"The Tories are so mired in scandal and division and chaos, that their MPs are too busy trying to find a way to save their own skin rather than focusing on the huge challenges facing our country.
"And while they seek to divide communities from each other, they also seek to divide us between haves and have-nots.
"They have crashed the economy – and put the UK into recession. It is financial mismanagement on a monumental scale.
"And it means the average mortgage is costing families across Scotland £2,000 more a year. Energy bills have soared over the last two years.
"And the tragedy is that while we talk a lot about people choosing between heating and eating, it has now become a harsh reality for too many families.
"Right across our country, we have parents, predominately mums, skipping meals in order to feed their children. 
"And we have the terrible situation where some families go without heating for days on end so that they can feed their kids.
"Families who are in work, and despite working all the hours God sends, they are still struggling to make ends meet, to pay their mortgages, to pay their energy bills, and to afford food prices. 
"And while that is happening, what do the Tories care about? What do they want to talk about? 
"Sending refugees to Rwanda. Encouraging fascist thugs onto the streets. Legitimising hatred towards LGBT communities. Banning tents for the homeless.
"And people ask why change matters. Conference, just imagine five more years of these Tories.
"Imagine five more years of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel, Lee Anderson, Liz Truss, Suella Braverman and Rishi Sunak. What an unbearable nightmare.
"So it falls to us – and only us – the Labour Party – to bring back hope for our country. And the sooner we get rid of this entire shower of Tories, the better.
"That’s why we need change. That’s why change matters.
"But conference, a Labour Government won’t just end this circus. We will end Tory corruption. 

"No more VIP fast lanes or kickbacks for friends. No more dodgy deals for their pals like Michelle Mone.

"Labour will appointment a Covid Corruption Commissioner to return what was stolen from the taxpayer and put it back into our public services.
"So to those who used the pandemic to get rich quick – it’s payback time. We will get our money back.


"Conference – weak and incompetent leadership. Financial mismanagement. No idea how to govern. Pitting voter against voter. Mired in scandal. Breaking public services.
"What a track record of failure in government. But conference, it’s not just the Tories. It’s also the perfect description of the SNP. 
"Because, you see, the SNP and the Tories are now the very best of frenemies. They use each other as an excuse and a cover for their own failings. They both seek to divide us.
"Now I think it’s pretty fair to say that things haven’t been going too well for the SNP since we met a year ago.
"With all the chaos and infighting, just imagine what they’re saying to each other on WhatsApp. Well I guess we’ll never know.
"Conference, it may be funny, but it is actually really serious. If ever there was an example of a party losing its way, it’s the SNP. A party no longer trusted by the people of Scotland. 
"Back in 2021, I think people were willing to give the First Minister at the time the benefit of the doubt. 
"They put their trust in her because they thought she was doing her best to lead us through the Covid crisis. And they believed her when she promised that this parliament would be about Covid recovery.
"But when you see the industrial scale deletion of evidence to the Covid inquiry, the failure to prioritise Covid recovery in Holyrood, the attempts to subvert, not only the inquiry, but break the law when it comes to freedom of information and the public being lied to; when you see the despair being expressed by Covid bereaved families as a result, it shows why we need change in Scotland too.
"A pervasive culture of secrecy and cover-up that has become the hallmark of this SNP government. 
You see it with the Covid inquiry, with the ferries scandal, and more.
"It means journalists and the public get lied to. It means politicians and parliament don’t get told the truth. It means the Covid bereaved don’t get the answers they deserve.
"And in the harshest of circumstances, it means parents not being told the truth about what happened to their children when they died.

QEUH Glasgow

"A campaign that's really close to my heart is the fight to uncover the truth about the infections scandal at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital here in Glasgow.
"I have spent a lot of my time talking directly to the families impacted, in particular to the mother of Milly Main, Kimberly Darroch, one of the bravest people I know.
"Milly was just ten-years-old when she died after contracting an infection in hospital. She was in remission, with her whole life ahead of her, before it was cruelly taken away. 
"I pay tribute to Kimberly – she is determined to get justice for Milly so that no other family has to suffer like they did. 

"And inch by inch, Milly’s family are getting closer to justice. A criminal investigation is now finally underway.
"But just imagine if Milly’s family, and other families across Scotland, didn’t have to fight the system at every turn to get the truth?
"Just imagine that rather than putting barrier after barrier up in front of her, we had a government on the side of victims.
"Because I will never – never – stop fighting for justice for Milly and all those who lost their lives, while their families faced institutional cover-up, denial, and lies.
"That’s why change matters.  The SNP’s distractions, the culture of secrecy – these have real life consequences.
"It means we have a government no longer focused on the people’s priorities. Financial mismanagement during a cost-of-living crisis.
"Incompetence and broken public services. And no idea how to grow our economy and create well-paid secure jobs. People can see the consequences for themselves.
"Whether you’re stuck on an NHS waiting list, struggling to put food on the table, or your children aren’t getting the opportunities they need, or your family member can’t access a social care package, everyone can see what's wrong with our country.
"And we have the ludicrous situation where we have a government that believes if you earn £28,500 in this country, you somehow have the broadest shoulders and you should be expected to pay more and get less in return.
"The SNP is being reckless with your money, and Scots shouldn’t be forced to pay the price for their incompetence. 
"Because people work hard, pay their taxes, and expect government to be responsible with their money. It’s not too much to ask.

"What they don’t expect is delayed ferries that have gone £300 million over budget to have painted-on windows so that ministers can hold a photocall.
"They don’t expect millions to be spent on projects that never materialise. And they don’t expect politicians to rack up £11,000 of roaming charges and charge it to the public purse.
"So we will end this culture of financial mismanagement, and secrecy, and open the books to public scrutiny, to restore people’s trust in our politics.
"We will be responsible with every penny of public money. That’s what change means. That is why change matters. 

'Scotland matters'

"But conference,  you now have the bizarre situation where the leader of the Scottish National Party is claiming that Scots don’t matter in this year’s election.
"Now maybe you missed that – because I accept that it’s hard to keep track of their strategy. So I’ll have a go. Now, please bear with me.
"First it was ‘the general election will be a de facto referendum’. Then they scrapped the de facto referendum.
"Then it was back on the table. Then it was a majority of votes. Then it was about a majority of seats. Then it was the most seats.

"Then they said there is no difference between Labour and the Tories. Then they admitted there’s a world of difference between Labour and the Tories.
"And now they’re back to saying there’s no difference again. Before they said don’t vote Labour because Labour can’t win in England.
"Now they’re saying don’t vote Labour because Labour can’t lose in England, so your vote doesn’t matter. Confused? 
"I was confused even writing this bit. But, let me tell you, you’re not as confused as they are.
"Conference, every Scot matters. Every Scottish family matters. Every Scottish vote matters. Scotland matters.
"And by voting Scottish Labour, Scotland will be at the heart of the next UK Labour government. 
"Now, Scotland has long been suspicious of the Tories. We’ve seen the damage they do to our communities here. 
"But they also have a lasting legacy of damage in communities right across the UK. And that is why we are united across the UK in wanting to get rid of this morally-bankrupt Tory government.
"So, Scotland's got a choice. The SNP wants Scotland to settle for sending a message. Well, I have more ambition for Scotland.
"The Labour Party has more ambition for Scotland. The people of Scotland have more ambition. There should be no limit to our ambition.
"So this year, yes, let’s boot the Tories out of Downing Street, but more than that, let’s put Scotland at the heart of government, be ambitious for Scotland, and change our country for the better.
"Conference, Scotland has always been an outward looking nation. And I want that to be the case again. 
"Over the last three years, I have been clear that I will not turn my back on any voter.  I will not close my eyes or shut my ears. 
"So, I say directly to people: I don't care how you voted in the past. I don't care how you voted in either referendum. 

"I don’t support independence, and I don’t support another referendum. But I understand why people want to run a million miles away from this rotten Tory government.
"So while we may disagree on the final destination for Scotland, I believe we can all agree we need change right now.
"So let’s go on this part of the journey together and deliver that change and get rid of this Tory government. 
"So we can tackle the cost-of-living crisis. So we can get Scotland’s economy back on track, and put money back into your pocket.

"So we can deliver economic growth for every part of our country. So we can clean up our politics and end the corruption. 
"So we can improve workers’ rights in Scotland. So we can cut household bills and deliver energy security.  So we can reform and invest in our NHS. 
"And so we can finally boot out this corrupt, immoral Tory government. That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.


"This May, we will mark 25 years of our Scottish Parliament.
"Conference, a Labour government will be an opportunity to reset devolution and take it back to its founding principles.
"Because a quarter of a century on from when our party created the Scottish Parliament, our opponents have failed to make devolution work for the people of Scotland.
"Devolution was never meant to be about two governments fighting with each other. Devolution was always meant to be about Scottish solutions to Scottish problems.
"And two governments working together when in our national interest to actually deliver for Scotland.
"Neither was devolution meant to be about centralising power away from communities – it was meant to be about empowering local communities.
"So ask people in the Western Isles, in Inverness, or in Orkney if they think devolution has moved power closer to them?
"For them, and so many other places, Holyrood can feel as distant as Westminster. Every layer of our democracy is broken.
"That’s why we must replace the House of Lords with a democratic institution that represents the nations and regions of the UK.
"We must clean up Westminster and push power out to the nations and regions. But let’s not pretend that we don’t have to clean up Holyrood too – we do.
"We have to end the culture of secrecy and cover-up, stop wasting public money, push power out and empower communities and the people of Scotland.
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.


"It’s not enough for us to just persuade people across the country that Scotland’s two failing governments deserve to lose. We have to persuade people that Labour deserves to win.

"And that's why we have to get out there, and not just tell people what's wrong in this country – even though that list is long.
"People can see that for themselves. We have to listen to them, give them hope, and demonstrate that change is possible.
"That first opportunity for change is the general election. And when you look at the charlatans that we've had as Prime Minister in recent years… Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak….
"We need a Prime Minister of decency and integrity. Someone who fundamentally believes in public service, and politics being a force for good.
"That’s why we need a UK Labour government led by Keir Starmer. I know how hard Keir has worked to rebuild our party since the defeat in 2019.
"That has been an important job. But it’s not our defining mission. Our mission is far bigger than our party.
"Our mission is about what we do for the country after winning back the trust of the British people.
We are rebuilding our party for a purpose, so that we can return to government and rebuild our country.
"I often get asked, why do you do this? Let me tell you. When I was growing up, I genuinely believed that a better future was ahead for our country.
"And now that I am a father, I want a better future for my children. But for the first time in generations, I worry that people today are fearful for the future.
"That there will be fewer opportunities, rather than more. That somehow this is as good as it gets.
And that we have to just accept mediocrity.
"Well, I’m not willing to accept that. I’m not willing to accept managed decline. We have to give back hope to everyone in this country.
"Hope that we can deliver positive change for the next generation. A belief that Scotland’s best days do lie ahead.
"That’s my mission. That’s our mission. That’s the Labour Party’s mission. That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.
"And conference, let me give you a few examples. Across Scotland today there are 410,000 adults in in-work poverty. More than 109,000 people in Scotland are on a zero hours contract.
"So we must finally bring the world of work into the 21st century – strengthening workers’ rights, and strengthening our economy too.
"Instead of allowing a race to the bottom, we will deliver a race to the top. We will end the low wage, low investment, and low productivity cycle that our country has been trapped in for the last decade. 
"That’s why a Labour government will deliver Angela Rayner’s new deal for working people and make work pay.
"A new deal designed in partnership with our trade unions. It will be the centrepiece of Labour’s programme for government. And it will be the most transformative change for working people in a generation.
"Conference, we will make work pay again, not hit working people in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.
"That will increase people’s pay packets, lift people out of poverty, put more money into our economy, and increase tax revenues for schools and hospitals.
"And our new deal will strengthen the protections afforded to all workers.
"That means ending the scandal of end fire and rehire, extending employment rights from day one, delivering a real living wage, and banning exploitative zero-hours contracts once and for all.
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.


"Scotland’s education system used to be world-renowned, but as the international results show, standards have been falling for years. 
"One-in-four children and young people who are on a mental health waiting list are still waiting too long for treatment.
"And, right now, 24% of children in Scotland are living in poverty… 250,000 children. Defeating poverty has – and always will be – a defining mission of the Labour Party. It’s in our DNA.
"The last Labour government lifted a million children out of poverty across the UK – and we can do it again. The next Labour government will make sure there is a proper safety net for those who need it. 
"And Scottish Labour will deliver a dedicated mental health worker in every GP surgery so that young people can access the help they need before it becomes a crisis.
"We are committed to transforming our skills system so that our young people are ready for the jobs of the future. Because no child’s future should be defined by their background. 
"Making work pay, breaking down barriers, and giving every young person the opportunity they deserve – that is how you lift families out of poverty and give young people hope back.
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.

Energy bills

"And today, a third of Scottish households are living in fuel poverty. Energy bills are almost 60% higher than two years ago.
"Labour will deliver cheaper, clean energy and improve the efficiency of our homes, saving households hundreds of pounds off their annual fuel bills.
"The energy giants recorded profits of £33 billion last year. That’s why Labour will introduce a windfall tax to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
"And yet, just yesterday, the same day that energy giant announces a ten-fold increase in their profits, the SNP now oppose Labour’s plans for a windfall tax.
"The SNP now believe if you earn £28,500 you should pay more tax. But if you’re an energy giant earning billions in profit, you should pay less tax.
"They can no longer pretend they’re on the side of working people in Scotland.
"Now, let me be clear, oil and gas will play a role in the energy mix for decades to come – we will not turn off the taps – but we will also accelerate the transition to net zero.
"We will upgrade the UK energy grid, invest in Scotland’s ports, capitalise on new technologies, and use Labour’s ‘British Jobs Bonus’ to create quality supply chain jobs right here in Scotland.
"We will make our country the winner in the race for the next generation of clean energy jobs and cheaper energy bills – not sell off our seabed on the cheap.
"We will support new technology, attract global investment, and deliver 50,000 high-skilled, well-paid jobs.
"All backed by a publicly-owned, energy generation company, GB Energy, which will be headquartered right here in Scotland. 
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.
"And let me give you an example from this week. On Monday, I visited the Port of Dundee.
"It was incredible to see the work underway to assemble offshore wind turbines that will help us reach net zero, and bring down energy bills.
"But the tragedy is this – nearly every single component on those turbines was imported from abroad. Just imagine if those supply chain jobs were here in Scotland. Good, high-skilled, high-paid jobs.
"Scottish wind farms with turbines built in Scotland, not Indonesia; Bridges built with British steel, not Chinese steel; and ferries built in the great shipyards on the Clyde, not Turkey and Poland.
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.


"And it’s not just in the energy sector that economic opportunities are being squandered. 

"Between 2022 and 2023, the number of businesses in Scotland fell by 20,000. That’s livelihoods lost, and futures ruined.
"The current government has no idea how to grow our economy while other nations and regions power ahead. 
"So over the course of this year, in the build-up to the 2026 election, we are starting to set out what change will look like with a Labour government in the Scottish Parliament.
"As we mark the 25th anniversary of devolution, it is also time to reflect on what our Scottish Parliament has achieved – and where it has fallen short.
"Holyrood has overseen sweeping social change, from the smoking ban to same-sex marriage to free personal care, but we have been very much a social policy parliament, rather than an economic policy parliament.
"That has let down Scottish employers and Scottish workers. This week, I published the first report as we build a business case for Scotland.
"We recognise that business has to be successful for them to create the jobs our people need – and for us to build the strong economy our country needs.
"Labour will always be the best vehicle for delivering social change, but social change is only possible with a strong growing economy.
"That’s why we are an unashamedly pro-growth, pro-business, pro-worker party.
"In contrast, this Scottish Government has resorted to using income tax as a substitute for economic growth.
"This is choking off opportunity and hurting families and companies in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and a cost-of-doing business crisis. It is failing businesses in Scotland. 
"Spurred on by the anti-growth Greens, the SNP has come an anti-business, anti-aspiration party. That’s why we need a new business case for Scotland.
"Now I don’t pretend that Scottish Labour has all the answers, which is why we have been listening to business leaders and experts across the country.
"Since being elected leader, I have met with over 1,000 employers in Scotland to hear their concerns and their aspirations – from start-ups, to employee-owned SMEs, to co-operatives, to our largest corporations.
"I am determined to break down barriers to business, and increase the appeal and appetite for business to invest and grow in Scotland.
"Because too often, our politics has focused on what we cannot do – rather than what we can do. So it is time to use all the economic levers the Scottish Government already has…
"Our people and skills – maximising the potential of Scotland’s workforce, with a skills system redesigned to that it aligned to industry needs.
"Embracing technology to transform the economy and public services, embedding it at the heart of the public sector to make it more efficient.
"Delivering regional development and addressing poor transport infrastructure.
"And building start-up hubs based on the unique expertise in energy in Aberdeen, life sciences and gaming in Dundee, fintech and data in Edinburgh, and advanced manufacturing in Glasgow.
"We will declutter the enterprise agency landscape, so that business knows where to turn for support. And streamline and improve regulation so that Scotland is open to business.
"Because from the mishandled Deposit Return Scheme to the never-ending delays in upgrading the A9, there is an environment of uncertainty and risk at the worst possible time.
"That’s why we will work in partnership with business to deliver our economic plan and strive for the UK to have the highest sustained growth in the G7.
"And we will make sure that growth works for every part of the UK.
"And conference, we will fix the mess the Tories have made of Brexit, reset the relationship with our European neighbours, and tear down the unnecessary barriers to trade.
"Because the Tories have crashed the economy and the SNP doesn’t understand the economy – but it is Labour that will put the economy at the heart of our politics.
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.

Scotland's planning system

"And let me tell you about one area where we’ve been listening, which comes up time and time again, and needs reformed – and why that matters.
"Businesses want to invest in Scotland and create jobs, but many of them are put off by how long it takes to get anything built. 
"Our country faces a housing emergency – the lack of homes is causing devastation for families and holding back opportunities for young people who dream of owning their own home.
"At the same time, Scotland’s potential in the clean energy of the future is being held back by how long it takes to get a project off the ground. 
"Scotland’s planning system is too slow, under-resourced, and is preventing development in our cities and rural areas.
"And that means investment and opportunities are going elsewhere – when you can get an answer to a planning application in 13 weeks in Manchester, why would you wait 75 weeks in Glasgow? 
"So Scottish Labour will speed up our planning system. We will build a central team to help fast-track projects across the country which are identified as drivers of economic growth. 
"Decision-making will always – always – stay local, but councils will be able to draw on this new national resource that offers the expertise, skills and the support needed to get their economies motoring. 
"It will end the long waits and clear the backlogs so that our towns and cities can become the hubs of development and industry. 
"It will allow the building of local energy projects and the grid development we need to deliver cheaper clean energy to families across the country.  
"And it will unlock housebuilding across Scotland, and make the dream of home ownership for everyone a reality again. 
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.

'Brand Scotland'

"Scotland has so many key assets and strengths – but the government has failed to capitalise on them.
"The way I think about it, over the last 17 years, the SNP has focused on selling Scotland to the Scots. We don’t need to be told how amazing Scotland is – we know that already.
"Because as is so often the case, the nationalists’ ambition for Scotland and our people stops at the border. I want us to sell Scotland to the UK and to the rest of the world.
"We know that wherever you go in the world, you tell them you are from Scotland, and invariably you get a positive response.
"‘Brand Scotland’ – our amazing food and drink, creative industries, and tourism and hospitality – has an immense soft power. So let’s tap into Brand Scotland, both here and across the globe.
"Let’s capitalise on Scotland’s unique identity and increase exports of our phenomenal produce, and make Scotland an even more attractive place for investment and creating more jobs and opportunity at home.
"This sits hand-in-hand with growing our tourism sector, opening up our airports to more direct international routes, and addressing the problems with visitors’ visas for artists and sportspeople.
"Promoting ‘Brand Scotland’ beyond our own borders requires being more ambitious for our country.
"Labour will bring that ambition, using the Scotland Office and UK embassies to promote Scotland on a global stage. 
"The Scotland Office will be Scotland’s window to the world, working to promote Scottish produce internationally and drive inward investment.
"And conference, let me tell you what a difference it will make for the Scotland Office to be promoting Scotland on the global stage, led by a Secretary of State, our own Ian Murray, who will always put Scotland first. Let’s hear it for Ian.
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters.

Public services

"Conference, that’s why our first priority has to be getting growth back into our economy. It’s what makes it possible to change our public services, which we are so passionate about.
"Because every single institution has been left weaker than it was 17 years ago. A civil service forced to waste time on picking fights.
"Emergency staff not given the equipment or the time they need to do their jobs properly.
"Police officers forced to spend so much time responding to mental health calls that their own mental health is suffering – and they can’t even investigate crimes anymore.
"Teachers forced to bring their own supplies to the classroom, and deal with increasing violence in our schools.
"And nowhere is change more needed than in our health service. Today, there are 830,000 of our fellow Scots on an NHS waiting list. Waiting for appointments, diagnostics, and treatment. 
"That is equivalent to almost one in six Scots. Every single person in this room will know someone waiting for a test or waiting for treatment.
"As a former NHS dentist, I look on with despair at how this government has ruined our health service.
"The NHS – Labour’s greatest ever achievement – has been broken. So it falls to us – once again – to fix it.
"And there is nobody more determined to rebuild our NHS than our deputy leader, my friend, Jackie Baillie. Conference, let’s hear it for Jackie.
"To fix our health service, we will embrace digital innovation in the NHS, ending the archaic use of written prescriptions, delivering faster diagnoses, and making it easier to get a GP appointment.
"We will empower clinicians, ensuring their voices are not silenced by health board bureaucrats.
"We will reduce the number of health boards to three, freeing up funds to invest in the NHS workforce and in hospitals. That means fewer managers, fewer CEOs, and more doctors, and more nurses.
"And we will put fairness back at the heart of everything we do. That is why a UK Labour Government will scrap the non-dom tax loophole, and we will invest the money in more nurses and consultants in our NHS.
"Right now, waiting times in Scotland are at a record high. Closing the non-dom tax loophole will deliver £134 million in Barnett funding for Scotland every year.
"So today I commit a future Scottish Labour government to investing EVERY PENNY of that in our NHS to increase capacity and drive down waiting lists.
"That will deliver the equivalent of 160,000 more NHS appointments every single year. "That is what change means. That is why change matters.
"Conference, what makes our party different from our opponents is that we don’t aspire to power for our own aims. For us, it is about changing the lives of working people. 
"Because part of the privilege of politics is that every day I get to meet people who are passionate about the future. In workplaces, schools, and in our communities.
"And if you ask people what matters most to them, you can’t help but be struck by the passion and talent in every part of our country. 
"Yet people’s frustration and anger has grown – they feel like nothing works. That the promise has been broken that if they work hard things will get better for them – and their families. 
"In almost every community, you meet someone who has seen a loved one pay a fortune to go private, because they can’t bear to see a relative wait in pain on an NHS waiting list. 
"A parent worried about their children’s future. A mother skipping meals as her bills skyrocket. People buying less and less at the supermarket as food prices outstrip their wages.
"They demand change. Our challenge is to give people hope. To prove to them that this isn’t as good as it gets. 
"That a Labour government can deliver not just the change Scotland needs… but support people’s aspirations and dreams.
"Conference, our opponents don’t want change. They are the parties of the status quo. Scottish Labour is now the only party of change.
"So to those who ask what does change mean? Why does change matter? And why vote Scottish Labour?
"I say this: Yes, the coming election is an opportunity to get rid of this rotten Tory government. And to tell the SNP that we’ve had enough of you failing Scotland and its people.
"But it’s more than that – it’s an opportunity to change our country. So if you want to grow our economy and create more jobs, vote Scottish Labour.
"If you want to deliver a new deal for working people and make work pay, vote Scottish Labour. If you want a commitment to tackle child poverty, vote Scottish Labour.
"If you want to scrap the non-dom tax loophole and invest in our NHS to reduce waiting times, vote Scottish Labour.
"If you want GB Energy headquartered right here in Scotland, and cheaper energy bills, vote Scottish Labour.
"If you want to end the housing emergency and bring back the dream of home ownership, vote Scottish Labour.
"And if you want to restore trust, aspiration, and bring hope back into our politics, if you want to kick the Tories out of Downing Street, and if you want Scotland’s voice at the heart of the next government, vote Scottish Labour.
"That’s what change means. That’s why change matters. Let’s go make that change happen. Thank you."