SNP Manifesto 2021: What we’re doing for older people

Photo taken prior to the COVID pandemic

The SNP has a proud record of supporting Scotland’s older people while in government.

From providing record health spending to free personal care, supporting older people to work and tackling loneliness, we’ve worked hard to make Scotland the best place to grow old.

Over the next parliament we will go further. Make it Both Votes SNP to:

Invest in our NHS

We will increase frontline NHS spending by at least 20% to support and renew our NHS as it recovers from Covid-19. This will increase funding of frontline services by over £2.5 billion.

We will ensure community health services receive at least half of our NHS’s frontline spending – and roll out more mobile health services for direct delivery of care, especially in rural areas.

Under the SNP, free eye examinations and free prescriptions will always be protected – saving people almost £22 and £9.35 per item respectively, compared to England.

And we’ll open a further two elective and diagnostic care centres, on top of five centres already open or under development, with a further £100 million investment.

Create a National Care Service for all

We will establish a National Care Service to oversee the delivery of care, improve standards, ensure enhanced pay and conditions for workers, and better support for unpaid carers – backed by a 25% increase in investment in social care.

Social care services, just like health care services, should be provided on a truly universal basis, free at the point of use.

The SNP has already extended free personal and nursing care to everyone who needs it, regardless of age.

And if re-elected, we will go further and abolish charges for non-residential care.

Revitalise our communities

We will help revitalise our high streets hit by the pandemic, with £275 million investment to support community-led regeneration and town centre revitalisation.

And we’ll take forward our ambitions for 20-minute neighbourhoods – creating liveable, accessible places, with thriving local economies, where people can meet all their daily needs within a 20-minute walk.

Help in the colder months

We will replace the current UK winter fuel payment with a Winter Heating Payment for older people – maintaining its current rates and not means-testing it – helping around 1 million households, backed by around £180 million a year.

What’s more, we will replace the Cold Weather Payment, which is unreliable and can pay out infrequently, with a new stable annual £50 Winter Heating Payment to those low-income households currently eligible for Cold Weather Payments.

This will be an investment of £20 million every year and support 400,000 households, giving low-income households guaranteed support with energy bills.

Protect free bus travel and improve infrastructure

The SNP will maintain free bus travel across the country for over-60s, and make bus travel a more attractive and reliable option with over £500 million investment in bus infrastructure.

And we will establish a Community Bus Fund to help support provision of services in local communities and enable Local Authorities to look at delivering different bus services in their area.

Promote culture and creativity

We will protect free access to our National Museums and continue to fund non-national museums and galleries through support for Museums & Galleries Scotland.

Taking Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town, as a model, we will extend the reach of the arts by launching an open competition for further National Towns of Culture – for example Scotland’s National Live Music Town, Folk and Trad Town, or Scotland’s Visual Art Town.

Develop and deliver a plan to tackle loneliness

As our society changes, there is increasing recognition of social isolation and loneliness as major public health issues.

We will develop a new five year plan focused on tackling loneliness head on, backed by £10 million over five years – with £5 million in the first two years to increase the work organisations already do, fund new ones, and help them provide safe places online and in person.