JOHN Swinney will urge people to “vote SNP to put Scotland’s interests first” as he formally launches the party’s General Election campaign.

Addressing activists and candidates at a rally in Glasgow on Sunday, Swinney will say that Westminster decision-making has meant “austerity, Brexit and a cost-of-living crisis being imposed on Scotland”.

Scotland’s First Minister will stress his belief in independence as a way to ensure decisions about Scotland are made in Scotland.

And he will urge people to vote SNP in the July 4 General Election to remove the Tories from government.

Swinney is expected to say: “A combination of Westminster cuts and Brexit has reduced the money available for the NHS, other public services and housing.

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“Brexit alone has wiped billions from the Scottish economy compared with EU membership. And it’s pushed up food and other household costs.

“Given the UK is moving so badly in the wrong direction I would be failing in my duty if I did not set out what I believe is a better future for Scotland.

“The opportunity of higher living standards and a better funded NHS, with decisions about Scotland made in Scotland. That’s why I believe in independence.”

Swinney will say that he believes in bringing people together and a “politics of persuasion or, if that’s not possible, respectful disagreement”.

He will tell those at the rally: “I believe in our wonderful, diverse, inspiring country – that everyone should have a chance to get on in life. It’s why I believe so strongly in eradicating child poverty.

“At this election it is those principles that will guide my approach. So I am asking people to vote SNP to remove the Tories from government.

“I’m asking people to vote SNP to put Scotland’s interests first. I’m asking people to vote for a future made in Scotland, for Scotland.”

Swinney will say that in the few weeks he has been First Minister he has been “crystal clear that I am focusing on people’s top concerns”.

He will speak of his pride in what the SNP has done in government, highlighting free prescriptions, the abolition of university tuition fees, free bus travel for under-22s and the Scottish Child Payment.

He will say: “In our NHS, Scotland has had the best-performing core A and E units in the UK for nine years.

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“On the economy, under the SNP, Scotland has had faster economic growth, per head, than the UK.

“On housing, under the SNP, Scotland has seen 40% more affordable homes per head than in England, and over 70% more than in Wales.”

It comes as Keir Starmer pledges to slash migration if he becomes prime minister - a policy some within the SNP fear could impact NHS staffing and amount to "economic self harm".