The Scottish Liberal Democrats have promised to spend £500 million to “rescue“ social care if they form the government after the election. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton said the half-billion pound pledge was key to his party’s offer to voters at the Westminster vote, despite health being reserved. 

Some of the money would be used to help create a new Carer's Minimum Wage, boosting the base pay for workers in the sector by £2 to £14 an hour.

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He and depute leader Wendy Chamberlain were at Craigie’s Farm on the outskirts of South Queensferry to launch the Lib Dem manifesto on Monday morning.

Other key promises included new mental health services in Scotland, including “fast access to a mental health counsellor” for schoolchildren. 

They would also double statutory maternity and shared parental pay to £350 a week and introduce an extra month of leave for fathers and partners, paid at 90% of earnings.

The manifesto states that with the "extra resources that come from the Liberal Democrats’ plans," they would "encourage" the Scottish Government to "lift up Scottish education" by strengthening Pupil Equity Funding, and do more to tackle teacher shortages. 

Other promises included £170m more for Scottish agriculture and an extra £1 billion in capital funding to “build new local health facilities, tackle the housing emergency, end the scandal of crumbling concrete in public buildings, and stop sewage dumping.”

(Image: PA)

The party said they would also look to “reform the UK and strengthen our family of nations around the principles of federalism.”

This would include the creation of a new United Kingdom Council of Ministers to “bring together the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with regional leaders across England.”

It would also change the Scotland Act to stop the UK Parliament being able “to unilaterally change the powers of the devolved parliaments or pass laws in their areas of responsibility.”

The Lib Dems have also promised a “new dispute resolution process” for the UK Government and the devolved administrations to allow them to resolve differences “maturely.”

There was also a commitment to split up the role of the Lord Advocate, and plans to establish a joint council to oversee the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and other levelling up spending.

Speaking to journalists at the launch, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “There’s going to be strong liberal voices returned in significant numbers – and they are going to be – we’re going to have a big leap forward at this election and are going to make that difference.

“This election has shown there is an intrinsic link between what happens in Westminster and what happens in Scotland and a lot of the policies that we’re generating cash from, whether that’s by trebling the digital services tax on social media giants who create so much harm experienced by our young people right now.

"We want to see that earmarked for mental health services in Scotland.”

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Meanwhile, Ms Chamberlain said the Conservatives were entering into a period of “irrelevance” meaning the Liberal Democrats would need to step up and hold a potential Labour government to account.

She said: “Where is the opposition, the holding to account going to come from? It’s going to come from the Liberal Democrats on issues such as the two-child limit which Labour has said they are not willing to remove.

“It is fully costed in our manifesto and this will be the opportunity for us to make those kind of arguments.

“I can assure you we will be taking those opportunities when they come.”

But she also said it would be “straightforward” for the Lib Dems to “outflank” Labour in social and liberal policies.