SNP setting the policy agenda
TheSNP is setting the policy agenda ahead of this year’s Scottish budget and the2011 Holyrood elections as a series of opinion poll questions show the SNP ishearing the views of the people of Scotland and responding to their priorities.
A YouGov poll carried out immediately afterSNP conference shows that Labour are on the wrong side of the argument, withstrong public support for SNP plans to freeze the council tax for two moreyears – five in total - and to abolishprescription charges. Labour has failedto back both policies with Iain Gray specifically calling for council tax toincrease. 59% of people back the SNP’sdecision to extend the council tax freeze.
Inaddition, the SNP’s plans to extend the living wage and our call for morefinancial powers to help grow Scotland’s economy as the only alternative to adismal decade of cuts from Labour, Lib Dem and Tory London governments havebeen backed by a majority of Scottish voters with support for the full powersof independence increasing since the General Election.
TheYouGov poll questioned 1405 adults in Scotland between 18th and 20th October.
• Asked whether they support ending thecouncil tax freeze, only 35% wanted tosee the freeze ended, while 59% support the SNP’s decision to extend it.
• 69% of people support extending theliving wage
• 54% support the abolition ofprescription charges.
• On more powers for the ScottishParliament, 56% backed more economic powers to help Scotland recover fromrecession, whilst support for independence has increased by six points sincethe General Election, as the need for the Scottish Parliament to have thefinancial levers required to create jobs, protect economic recovery and offeran alternative to Westminster cuts is recognised by more and more people acrossthe country.
Respondingto the public support for SNP policies, Deputy First Minister and SNP DeputeLeader Nicola Sturgeon said:
“TheSNP is setting the policy direction for 2011 as we respond clearly to thepriorities of the people of Scotland.
“Oncouncil tax, prescription charges and the powers to grow our economy, it is theSNP that is on the side of the people of Scotland and Labour that areincreasingly out of touch.
“Weknow that UK Government cuts will have a devastating impact for many, but wherewe can make a difference we will, and the council tax freeze provides relieffor hard-pressed families and individuals during tough times.
“TheSNP is the only party with a clear commitment to protect family incomes. By freezing the council tax, delivering theliving wage to NHS and government employees and ensuring the sick do not payfor Britain’s broken economy at a time when the UK Government is pushing taxesup and slashing spending, we are turning the unfair policies of successiveLabour, Lib Dem and Tory Westminster administrations into a fair system for thepeople of Scotland.
“Andwhen it comes to taking responsibility for Scotland’s future, more and morepeople living in Scotland agree that we can achieve much more as a nation if wehave the same powers as other countries. The economic and financial levers of independence would give us theability to create jobs, deliver sustained growth, and chart a different pathfrom a decade of dismal Westminster cuts.
“Itis only right that at such a difficult time the SNP does what we can to protectthe poorest in our society, and I’m delighted that the vast majority of Scots,regardless of political persuasion, agree with us and want to join us in makingScotland better.
“Overthe coming weeks and months the SNP will continue to listen to the prioritiesthe public share with us through ourbepartofbetter.net website, and while theLabour party offer nothing we will set out further details of the policies wewill pursue in government now and at the election.”
Details of the poll are below:
YouGov/ SNP Survey Results
SampleSize: 1405 Scottish Adults
Fieldwork:18th - 20th October 2010
Council tax has been frozen in Scotlandfor the past three years, saving a typical Band D household £5.30 a month. Somecouncils would now like to end the freeze and increase council tax to meet thecost of providing public services in the face of spending cuts. Would yousupport or oppose an end to the freeze on council tax in your local area?
Supportend to council tax freeze: 35%
Opposeend to council tax freeze: 59%
Plans have been announced to introduce a“living wage” in Scotland for public sector workers of a minimum of £7.15.Which of these statements comes closest to your opinion?
Theliving wage should be introduced: 69%
Theliving wage should not be introduced: 19%
Plans have been announced for Scotlandto abolish prescription charges. Which of these statements comes closest toyour opinion?
Prescriptioncharges should be abolished: 54%
Prescriptioncharges should remain in place: 40%
The Scottish Parliament currently hasonly limited economic powers. Which of the following statements comes closestto your opinion?
Moreeconomic powers for the Scottish Parliament would help Scotland recover fromthe recession: 56%
Moreeconomic powers for the Scottish Parliament would make no difference to therecovery from recession: 44%
Note:the headline figure excludes 13 per cent ‘Don’t knows’
The SNP wishes to hold a referendum onScottish independence in due course. Voters would be asked whether they agreeor disagree 'that the Scottish government should negotiate a settlement withthe Government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independentstate. How would you vote if such a referendum were held tomorrow? (May 2010)
Iwould vote YES (i.e. for Scottish independence): 35% (+6)
Iwould vote NO (i.e. against Scottish independence): 50% (-8)
If you had to choose, which of thefollowing do you think would make the better First Minister of Scotland?