Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a series of pledges on jobs, wages and the economy at the UK launch, while Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy dismissed suggestions that the carriers, employing hundreds at the Clyde shipyards, could be abandoned under a defence review.
He said: “We are giving a guarantee they will be built and completed by 2018.
“It is necessary to have the carriers. They are there because it is about the role of the UK in the world. It is crucial that the UK can project influence and power in a time of danger. We are absolutely committed to the carriers.”
Mr Murphy and Mr Gray launched the Scottish manifesto at Motherwell College on the old Ravenscraig site, at the same time as the UK version was issued by the Prime Minister south of the border.
Speaking at a hospital in Birmingham, Gordon Brown said Labour faced the “fight of their lives” to stay in office.
Labour issued a number of promises on income and work and changes to the benefits system.
Labour said it would make work pay and would force those able to work or take away their right to benefits. Young people unemployed for six months will be offered a job or training place, and have benefits cut after 10 months if they refuse.
All people unemployed for more than two years will be guaranteed a job placement, which if turned down will result in a benefits cut.
A toddler tax credit of £4 a week for all parents, and a pledge to increase the minimum wage by inflation at least was also revealed.
Gordon Brown insisted Labour was “ready and equipped to answer the call of the future”. He said: “The road to recovery we have been travelling is also the road to a better and fairer Britain for all.”
Mr Gray said the election was about rejecting a return to the Tory values which he used the launch site in Lanarkshire as an example of damage done to Scotland in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, young people have been “let down” by the Government and should be given greater opportunities, the Liberal Democrats will say today.
Scottish leader Tavish Scott wants to create free work experience places and extra skills training.
He will join skaters and LibDem MP Jo Swinson at a Kirkintilloch park, built after a campaign by young people in the community.
Cameron’s open invitation
The Conservatives launch their election manifesto today with a pledge to give people more power over their lives and communities.
Party leader David Cameron sets out the vision that he hopes will take him into Downing Street after the vote on May 6.
The document will set out powers for people to take over the running of failing schools, and enable community buy-outs of closure-threatened post offices and pubs.
Mr Cameron will state that every aspect of public spending will need to be reviewed to produce value for money as the country faces budget cuts, whoever wins power.
He will also confirm his party’s plan not to go ahead with Labour’s proposed rise in National Insurance.
Mr Cameron wants to woo voters disillusioned by MPs following the expenses scandal, telling them people bring change not politicians.
He said: “Real change comes not from government alone. Real change comes when the people are inspired and mobilised, when millions of us are fired up to play a part in the nation’s future.”
Mr Cameron, joined by senior Conservatives launched the manifesto in London this morning, with regional launches taking place later around the UK.
The other party leaders hit the campaign trail across the UK with Gordon Brown in the East Midlands focusing on marginal seats.
LibDem leader, Nick Clegg, is to set out plans to crack down on bankers’ bonuses by stating “there will be no reward for failure”.
Salmond warns of risk to cherished services
First Minister Alex Salmond said today that a vote for the SNP offered an alternative to the “decade of despair” offered by a Labour or Tory UK Government.
At the official launch of the SNP’s election campaign in Edinburgh, Mr Salmond said “cherished services” were at risk if Labour or the Tories were elected on May 6.
He said: “Neither the Tories nor Labour want their plans scrutinised, but an analysis of their budget demonstrates that they are both planning a decade of despair in public services.”
Mr Salmond said Labour’s plans suggested £30 billion of cuts for Scotland over the next 15 years and that the Tories were planning an additional “Cameron cut” north of the border.
He said: “The London parties represent a real threat to the quality of public service in Scotland -- a threat to education and health and justice.
Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg pledged a “radical overhaul” of the tax system which would put £700 in the pockets of millions of taxpayers.
Mr Clegg set out “the biggest tax switch in generations”, proposing to cut income tax bills for those on low and middle incomes.