In this series I have spoken about the record of the SNP in Government, and it’s a strong record indeed. You can view it in its entirety at snp.org/record . But what is also important is to see how the SNP are planning ahead for Scotland and just how they are going to build on their record for the future.
Ever since the referendum in 2014, Scots have become more politically engaged than ever before. For the first time, Scots are looking ahead to the future, the possibilities of what could be, as opposed to looking back and remembering what was. The SNP are the embodiment of that spirit – whereas Labour harks back to the days of Red Clydeside, the Conservatives look back to the glory days of Thatcher or the late 19th century and the Lib Dems try desperately to remember a time when they were of any use whatsoever.
Instead, the SNP looks forward, to a brighter future for Scotland; where the NHS will see £500 million more above inflation to their budget, where university students won’t pay a penny towards their tuition, where job grants are introduced to our young people to help them into work, where we seek to boost productivity of businesses and help small businesses grow, where we make land ownership more transparent, where we work towards ambitious and world leading climate change target and where we work towards convincing the people of Scotland that we can and should be an independent country.
In the past term, the SNP have proven that the are the strongest party to represent Scotland. When the UK Government decided that it would ignore the “no detriment” ideals of the Smith Commission report and decided that Scotland’s budget should be slashed by £7 million, John Swinney sent them packing. Then they came back with a cut of £3 million, we sent them back again. Finally, £2.5 million, and still Mr. Swinney would have none of it.
The SNP stood up for the people of Scotland, with John Swinney saying we would not stand by and watch as Westminster ripped the money from out of the Scottish people’s pockets. As Nicola Sturgeon so well put it at the spring conference; “we gubbed them!”
The SNP are the party with the boldest plans to revitalise the NHS with increases in funding of £500 million above inflation. With reforms to primary care and a £1.3 billion investment in health and social care partnerships, we can meet the changing challenges faced by an ageing population. A new set of five elective treatment centres coupled with a £200 million investment to expand the Golden Jubilee Hospital will increase our capacity to care for the sick and injured. The SNP are also proposing an overhaul of mental health services, coupled with a £150 million investment, to treat mental health care with the same level of care and commitment as physical healthcare.
In eduction, the SNP are planning to implement the National Improvement Framework to close the attainment gaps in schools. New plans will give teachers more of a say over how their schools are run, putting teachers and parents in the centre of their school’s improvement. The Scottish attainment fund is set to increase by £750 million, with more money going directly to headteachers to help them make the right decisions for their school. Crucially, the SNP vow to maintain free university tuition, making sure that all who meet the minimum entry criteria are able to study at university if they so wish – regardless of financial circumstance.
In areas of housing, the SNP are proposing more support in Help to Buy and shared equity schemes to help first time buyers onto the property ladder. £3 billion will be invested to build 50,000 new affordable homes, 70% of which will be for social housing.
A new Scottish Social Security Agency will be established to administer benefits devolved to the Scottish government with the principles of fairness, dignity and respect as its core values. The current level of disability payments will be maintained with the assessment process made fairer. As well as this, the SNP will abolish totally the unfair and unjust Bedroom Tax as soon as it has the power to do so.
They SNP have other bold plans for tackling climate change, domestic abuse, crime, child poverty and so many more of the issues that affect our society today, but to tell you of all of them would take too long. That’s because the SNP are committed to doing everything in their power to make Scotland fairer, stronger, safer, greener, wealthier, healthier and so much more. They are committed to securing more powers for Scotland to improve in areas currently reserved by Westminster, such as much of our social security and fiscal policy.
They have a sterling record to work on and some bold promises which they will, no doubt, follow through on. But they can only follow through on these with a majority government, and a strong one at that.
To get the Scotland we all want and that our people deserve, we need a strong government. We need a government that can hold a strong majority in Holyrood and that can send a strong message to Westminster when they try to tell us we’re too wee and stupid to manage things ourselves. We need a strong government that will stand up for everyone in Scotland, from the bottom to the top.
To get that government, all you have to do is vote for it. On Thursday, for a Stronger Scotland and a Brighter Scotland, make it #BothVotesSNP