Delivering for Scotland
Since 2007, every home in Scotland has benefited from SNP government policies.
We have transformed education, strengthened our NHS, created a new social security system with new “game-changing” benefits, and delivered over 100,000 affordable homes.
We’ve used our powers to build a fairer country, by making Scotland’s tax system more progressive – and launched the Scottish National Investment Bank to invest in our future.
Internationally, Scotland has been recognised for our global responsibility and progressive values – receiving praise from the UN for our climate action, for example.
And despite over 11 years of Tory austerity, we’ve got on with the job of delivering stronger public services and a fairer country.
Here are some of our top achievements:
1. Baby Box – Giving every baby born in Scotland the best start in life by providing families with a Baby Box, filled with essential items needed in the first six months of a child’s life.
2. Childcare – All eligible children now benefit from at least 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare, saving families around £4,500 per child per year.
3. Free Tuition – Students in England face tuition fees up to £27,750 – Scottish students receive university tuition for free, and always will under the SNP.
4. Period Poverty – Scotland is the first in the world to make sanitary products available to all those who need them, free of charge.
5. Record high health funding – Our latest health and care portfolio spending exceeds £16 billion, with resource funding up by over 60% under the SNP.
6. Free prescriptions – Prescription charges abolished in Scotland – now £9.35 per item south of the border.
7. Free NHS dental care – We have already abolished NHS dental fees for all under-26 year olds, and we will deliver free dental care for everybody by the end of this Parliament.
8. Care For All – Free personal and nursing care extended to everyone who needs it, regardless of age – and we’re now taking steps towards a transformative National Care Service.
9. Free Bus Travel – Over one million Scots now enjoy free bus travel across the country, including over-60s and disabled people – and we’re now expanding it further to all young people under 22.
10. Scottish Child Payment – Our new benefit for families, the only one of its kind in the UK, has been called “game-changing” by anti-poverty campaigners, and will help lift around 30,000 children out of poverty.
A HEALTHIER SCOTLAND
- 25,000 more staff in Scotland’s NHS, that’s over 20 per cent more under the SNP.
- Record high health funding – 2021/22 health portfolio spending will exceed £16 billion, with resource funding up over £6.4 billion under the SNP.
- Free NHS dental care for all young people under 26 – and expanding to everybody by the end of this Parliament.
- Scotland’s core A&E services are the best performing in the UK.
- For over five years, Scotland has had the highest number of GPs per head of population anywhere in the UK.
- We’ve expanded IVF to more families – making access in Scotland the fairest and most generous in the UK.
- Scotland is leading the world on alcohol pricing, being the first country to implement minimum unit pricing.
- We’ve protected free tuition for nursing and midwifery students – and their bursary rose to £10,000 in 2020.
- Parking charges at all NHS-run hospitals scrapped – saving patients and staff over £42 million.
- NHS Scotland staff continue to be significantly better paid than NHS staff in England – a healthcare assistant at the top of Band 3, for example, earns over £2,211 more.
A SMARTER SCOTLAND
- Scotland provides the best package of support for university students anywhere in the UK – with free tuition; low interest rates for student loan repayments; and a minimum income guarantee of £7,750 for the poorest students.
- Since 2015/16, we have invested over £576 million in tackling the poverty related attainment gap. In 2021/22, we are investing a further £215 million – which includes over £147 million of Pupil Equity Funding going direct to 97% of head teachers in Scotland.
- Over 167,000 pupils in primaries 1 to 3 now benefit from free school meals, and we’re expanding it to P4 and P5 – saving families around £400 per child per year.
- We have provided extra resources to local councils to increase education spending in real terms, and help tackle the attainment gap.
- Over 950 schools upgraded under the SNP, providing well-designed, accessible and inclusive learning environments for pupils.
- A record 260,490 students enrolled at our world-class Scottish universities in 2019/20.
- We’ve introduced a national minimum school clothing grant of £100 to help more families afford school uniform costs.
- Our £70 million Young Person’s Guarantee provides vital opportunities of employment, training or education for young people.
- We’re providing our further education students with record levels of support. £138 million in 2020/21 – up 58% in real terms since 2006/07.
- We’re leading the way as the only nation in the UK to offer bursary support targeted specifically for care-experienced students.
A WEALTHIER SCOTLAND
- We have delivered a new progressive income tax system, ensuring the majority of Scottish taxpayers pay less than elsewhere in the UK – while strengthening our public services with extra investment, and protecting those on lower incomes.
- We’ve slashed or abolished business rates for over 117,000 premises – saving small businesses around £2 billion to date.
- In 2015, we became the first government in the UK to become an accredited real Living Wage employer.
- We have maintained funding for Living Wage Scotland to continue promoting the payment of the real Living Wage in businesses across the country.
- In 2019, we published the Fair Work Action Plan to drive forward fair work becoming the norm in workplaces across Scotland.
- Scotland is the top destination in the UK, outside London, for foreign direct investment.
- We met our target to reduce youth unemployment by 40% in 2017 – four years early.
- Business research and development spend in Scotland increased by 6.4% in 2018 to reach a record £1.36 billion, compared to a UK increase of 3.9%.
- We launched a £25 million fund to help businesses enhance their digital capacity.
- We’ve set up the Green Jobs Workforce Academy, helping to re-skill people and create good, green jobs across Scotland.
- Scotland’s productivity is outperforming the UK as a whole. Since 2007, productivity in Scotland has grown 10.3%, compared to growth of 2.9% in the UK.
- We have established the Scottish National Investment Bank to invest in future generations and cutting-edge innovation for the common good.
A FAIRER SCOTLAND
- We have built a new social security system, with dignity and fairness at its heart, currently administering 11 benefits – 7 of which are new and unique to the UK.
- We have delivered over 100,000 affordable homes since 2007, with around 70% of them for social rent.
- Unlike the UK government, we enshrined ambitious child poverty eradication targets into law, and published our first delivery plan outlining concrete actions – backed by a £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
- We are tackling child poverty head-on with the Scottish Child Payment, which helps lift around 30,000 children out of poverty.
- Our investment in Carer’s Allowance and the Carer’s Allowance Supplement was around £358 million in 2020/21 – our Supplement and extra COVID payments provided eligible carers with an extra £690.30 last year, compared to carers south of the border.
- The first benefit of its kind in the UK, the Young Carer Grant, started in October 2019, supporting eligible young carers with a payment of £305.10.
- We’re delivering the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments, putting £46.9 million in the pockets of lower-income families to help with expenses during a child’s early years.
- We’re continuing to fully mitigate the callous Tory Bedroom Tax, protecting over 70,000 Scottish households from facing the charge.
- We introduced the first gender-balanced Cabinet in the UK, one of only a handful of gender parity cabinets around the world.
- We have kept Scottish Water in public hands. Customers pay less for a better service in Scotland – saving £46 on average compared to the privatised services south of the border.
- We’ve delivered free bus travel to over a million Scots across the country, including over-60s and disabled people. We’re now expanding it further to all under-22s, making public transport more accessible than ever.
A SAFER SCOTLAND
- Overall crime is down by 45% since 2008-09 – and police recorded crime is at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974.
- Despite a decade of UK Tory austerity, we have increased the policing budget for 2021/22 by £75 million – putting the police in a sustainable position.
- Scotland has a higher number of police officers than at any time between 1999 and 2007 – over 1,000 more than March 2007. In England and Wales, police numbers have dropped by over 16,000, or 11%, in the same period.
- Automatic early release has been ended, meaning that long-term prisoners who pose an unacceptable risk to public safety will serve their sentence in full. The re-conviction rate is at its lowest level in 21 years.
- Since 2008, we committed £110 million from the proceeds of crime to community projects for young people across Scotland.
- We’ve introduced the world-leading Domestic Abuse Act that makes psychological domestic abuse and controlling behaviour a crime.
- Since 2012, we have invested record funding of £14.5 million to support anti-sectarian education in schools, prisons, workplaces and communities.
- The new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been created.
- We have made the sharing of so-called ‘revenge porn’ a specific criminal offence, carrying a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
- Scotland has the UK’s first national action plan on human rights, showing our ambition to be an example of how to realise human rights and tackle injustice at home and abroad.
- We established the Delivering Equally Safe Fund with additional funding to tackle violence against women and girls.
A SCOTLAND FIT FOR THE FUTURE
- We delivered the £1.35 billion marvel on the Forth – the Queensferry Crossing – under budget.
- We doubled the walking and cycling budget, increased to just over £100 million in 2020/21 – and we have committed to continuing funding at the record level for the next five years.
- We scrapped bridge tolls on the Forth and Tay crossings – saving individual commuters around £3,000 to date.
- Over £9 billion invested in our rail infrastructure since 2007.
- We delivered the Borders Railway, the longest new domestic railway to be built in Britain in over 100 years.
- The first section of our £3 billion project to dual the A9 from Perth to Inverness has been completed.
- The £745 million Aberdeen Bypass opened in February 2019, producing savings in journey times and reductions in HGV traffic through Aberdeen.
- We established a £50 million Town Centre Fund to enable local authorities to regenerate Scotland’s town centres.
- We have published an action plan to decarbonise Scotland’s railway by 2035.
- We’ve invested £16.5 million in the Net Zero Technology Centre to focus on emissions reduction.
A GREENER SCOTLAND
- We were the first country in the UK to declare a climate emergency and have since passed legislation for the world’s most ambitious emissions reduction targets.
- We have already halved our greenhouse gases emissions since 1990 – statistically, we’re second only to Sweden in Western Europe for emissions reductions.
- We are world renowned for having underpinned our net zero targets with a legislative commitment to a Just Transition – ensuring no one is left behind.
- We’ve appointed a Minister for Just Transition.
- We have established the £62 million Energy Transition Fund.
- We have been active on the world stage, leading the Edinburgh Process on biodiversity and publishing the Edinburgh Declaration calling for increased action to tackle biodiversity loss.
- Since 2012, we have funded the restoration of over 25,000 hectares of degraded Scottish peatland.
- No fracking or other onshore unconventional oil and gas activity can take place in Scotland.
- We’ve passed legislation to establish an ambitious Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland – reducing waste and tackling greenhouse gas emissions.
- In 2019-20, we planted 11,050 hectares of new woodland – exceeding our annual 10,000 hectares target in the Climate Change Plan.
- Around 80% of all new woodland creation across the UK is in Scotland – in 2019/2020 alone, we’ve planted over 22 million new trees.
- We have established the world first Climate Justice Fund, providing funding for community climate projects in Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda.
- We’ve announced pilot projects to offer free bicycles for school-age children who cannot afford one.
- We’ve extended the voting franchise. 16 and 17 year olds, and all foreign nationals with leave to remain, including all those granted refugee status, now have the right to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections.
- We launched a £200,000 Access to Politics Fund to help disabled people stand for elected office.
- Local communities have been given a voice in the planning and delivery of local services through the Community Empowerment Act – backed up by an annual £20 million of funding.
- The Scottish Land Fund has already helped over 230 communities across the country to purchase land – and will continue doing so with a £10 million budget for 2021-22.
- We’ve delivered the radical and ambitious Land Reform (Scotland) Act to transform how we own, manage and access land in Scotland.
- We have created the Scottish Land Commission, and our driving our land reform agenda, to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from land.
- We started work on a minimum income guarantee and exploring a 4-day week.
SUPPORTING OUR RURAL AND ISLAND COMMUNITIES
- Over £2.2 billion investment in the Clyde, Hebrides and Northern Isles ferry services and infrastructure since 2007, as part of our commitment to our islands and remote communities.
- We’ve introduced and are implementing Scotland’s first ever National Islands Plan – which sets out 13 strategic objectives to improve the quality of life for island communities.
- We launched our Islands Green Recovery Programme in 2020, to fund locally-led green projects to help our island communities to thrive, to contribute to our work on repopulation and to create jobs.
- We’re delivering significantly reduced ferry fares and increased passenger numbers on the Clyde and Hebrides ferries.
- The Air Discount Scheme provides residents of Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles, Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Caithness and north-west Sutherland with a 50% discount on air fares on eligible services.
- Scotland’s first National Marine Plan aims to achieve the sustainable development of our seas.
- We have committed a total of £9 million to the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to support jobs and strengthen the tourism sector.
- We’re delivering affordable homes, around between 2016 and 2021, in the rural and island areas – backed up by our £30 million Rural and Islands Housing Fund.
- We’ve launched a consultation to address depopulation on Scotland’s islands.
- We’ve consistently supported Scotland’s farmers, crofters and growers, with around 65,000 people directly employed in these industries.
INVESTING IN CULTURE, CREATIVITY AND SPORT
- We’re investing more than £280 million in Scotland’s culture and heritage.
- We’ve maintained free entry to our national museums and galleries – which before the pandemic, welcomed over five million visitors every year.
- Over £27 million investment in Edinburgh’s major festivals since 2008 – with more funding opened up to Celtic Connections and the Glasgow International Festival.
- We’ve consolidated Scotland’s position as the perfect stage for major events – having hosted the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup, and the re-scheduled UEFA Euros in 2021.
- We invested £38 million in the construction of the world-class V&A Museum of Design in Dundee, which opened in 2018 and forms a major part of Dundee’s regeneration.
- We’ve expanded provision of two hours of PE a week in primary and secondary schools across Scotland – from 10% in 2005, to around 99% now.
- We’ve opened the £3 million-a-year Broadcast Content Fund, alongside existing film funding.
- Sport Scotland have invested over £192 million since April 2007 to help sports clubs, community groups, local authorities, sport’s governing bodies and other organisations deliver new and upgraded sporting facilities across the country.
- We are committed to supporting MG Alba, which operates BBC Alba and receives £12.8 million a year from the Scottish Government.
- We’ve abolished fees for music and arts tuition in schools.