Since 2007 every home in Scotland has benefited in some way from SNP government policies.
We have transformed education, bolstered our health service, reformed policing, taken employment levels to a record high and built thousands of affordable homes.
Our investment has delivered modern learning environments in our schools, colleges and universities, as well as some of the biggest transport improvements the country has ever seen.
Our aim has always been to build a country where strong public services are underpinned by a successful economy. Yes, we are proud of our record, but we know there is still much more to do.
With your support we can build on the achievements of the past nine years.
Together, we can continue to shape a better future for Scotland for everybody who lives and works here.
607 SCHOOLS PROJECTS DELIVERED
Childcare increased, free school meals extended, record exam results, 607 school building projects completed, and free tuition for students.
RECORD NHS FUNDING
A record £13 billion budget for Scotland’s NHS, more staff than ever, and patients getting some of the fastest and best treatment anywhere in the UK.
SMALL BUSINESS BONUS
Jobs and businesses protected through the recession – with business rates slashed or abolished for almost 100,000 premises.
£400 million to deliver superfast broadband to 95 per cent of properties across Scotland by the end of 2017. And, we’ll reach 100 per cent by 2021.
30,133 AFFORDABLE HOMES BUILT
We’ve exceeded our target for new homes in the last five years, with an investment of £1.7 billion. We’ll build at least 50,000 more in the next Parliament.
STRONGER FOR SCOTLAND
Standing up for Scotland is what we do. We never shy away from an opportunity to make this country even stronger. The SNP government stepped in to save Scottish steel, Prestwick Airport, and the Ferguson shipyard. And when the Tories tried to cut Scotland’s budget by £7 billion, we saw them off.
During the referendum, big promises were made to the people of Scotland by the UK parties.
The promise was made of more powers for Scotland, and that the Barnett Formula – the system used to allocate money to Scotland – would be maintained.
After the referendum, the UK Government set up the Smith Commission to decide which extra powers Scotland should get. People’s expectations around the process were extremely high – and rightly so.
The SNP made the case for substantial new powers to boost our economy, tackle inequality and build a fairer society.
The UK parties cut back on the promises they made before the referendum.
In the end the package they were willing to agree to meant that decisions about more than 70 per cent of Scottish taxes and 85 per cent of UK welfare spending in Scotland will continue to be made in Westminster.
But, limited new powers were proposed – powers we want to use for the good of Scotland.
Alongside these new powers a new system of allocating money to Scotland needed agreed. This is called the ‘fiscal framework’.
The Smith Agreement, signed by all political parties, outlined a core set of principles for the fiscal framework. The most important of these is the principle of ‘no detriment’.
This principle means that Scotland should not suffer financially just because we gain new powers.
The Tory Treasury tried to ignore this.
From day one, they tried to use the process that was supposed to be about delivering new powers to slash Scotland’s budget. And not just on a one-off basis, but forever – year after year after year.
It was a shameless attempt to break the Vow they made to the people of Scotland.
At the start of negotiations, they proposed a £7billion cut.
Then it was £3 billion.
Then it was £2.5 billion.
They were trying to use the referendum to say to Scotland: ‘Heads we win, tails you lose.’
Throughout the many months of negotiations the SNP were clear. We would not sign up to a deal that shortchanges Scotland. We demanded a fair deal and the powers that were promised to Scotland.
Finally, they caved.
The SNP secured a deal that ensures Scotland will not be a penny worse off and the new powers will be delivered.
It is the SNP’s job to stand up for Scotland – and by neutralising a Treasury cash grab on Scotland’s budget, that’s exactly what we did.
Our guarantee to you in this election is that we will always stand up for Scotland.
John Swinney stopped the Treasury cutting the Scottish budget by billions
All of us who live here in Scotland love our country. And we all have a positive and vibrant vision of what Scotland can become.
I have pledged to be First Minister for all of Scotland. Regardless of your politics or your point of view, my job is to serve you.
My vision for Scotland is probably little different from yours. It’s one of a fair, equal and prosperous nation with opportunity for us all to grow and thrive.
Set out in this manifesto are the means by which I believe we can bring that vision several steps closer to becoming real.
It is a plan for reform and transformation, providing an ambitious prospectus to fulfill Scotland’s massive potential.
For Scotland’s children it means a better start in life and more opportunities for the rest of their lives. And for parents it means more jobs, better-paid jobs and greater security in which to bring up your families.
For our health and care services, it means fresh ideas and greater investment, giving the vulnerable in our society an improved quality of life, whatever their age or situation.
Our NHS is precious to all our hearts and we will protect, nurture and grow it for as long as the SNP is in government.
For our economy, it means supporting small businesses, helping all businesses to innovate and grow, and making sure everyone gets a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
For the country as a whole, it means using new powers over tax and social security to expand our economy and lift more people out of poverty.
And it means always trusting the people of Scotland to make the big decisions about the future of our country.
Yes, I am immensely proud of what’s been achieved in Scotland over the past nine years. Our country has come a Iong way, but I am ambitious to do so much more.
The journey to a fairer, more equal and prosperous Scotland is far from over. So, together, let’s get going and take the next steps forward.
THE NEXT STEPS
We will increase the NHS revenue budget by £500 million more than inflation by the end of this parliament – which means that it will increase by almost £2 billion in total.
We will reform the NHS to meet the challenge of an ageing population by investing an additional £1.3 billion in our health and social care partnerships, reforming primary care and increasing the numbers of GPs and nurses working in our communities.
We will invest £200 million to expand the Golden Jubilee Hospital and establish five new elective treatment centres in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Livingston and Edinburgh.
We will put in place a new ten year plan to transform mental health and invest an additional £150 million to improve mental health services. We will invest £100 million to improve the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
By 2021, we will almost double the number of hours of free early years education and childcare to 30 hours a week for vulnerable 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 year olds.
We will provide free meals to all 2, 3 and 4 year olds who benefit from increased nursery provision.
We will implement our new National Improvement Framework for schools to drive up standards for all and close the attainment gap between young people from the most and those from the least affluent backgrounds.
We will give more power and resources direct to schools, to put teachers, parents and communities in the driving seat of school improvement.
We will increase investment in the Scottish Attainment Fund by £750 million over the course of the next parliament, with more money allocated direct to headteachers.
We will always protect free education. There will be no tuition fees with an SNP government.
We will implement the recommendations of the Widening Access Commission to ensure that, by 2030, at least 20 per cent of university entrants come from our 20 per cent most deprived communities. We will set clear targets to measure progress along the way.
We will increase the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 a year by 2020.
We will maintain full-time equivalent college places and protect Educational Maintenance Allowances for nearly 60,000 school and college students. We will also retain student bursaries, including for student nurses, and review student funding to make it fairer.
We will introduce a new Jobs Grants for young people aged 16 to 24.
We will invest in our transport infrastructure and reduce Air Passenger Duty by 50 per cent during the course of the next Parliament.
We will deliver 100 per cent superfast broadband coverage for Scotland by the end of the next Parliament.
We will lead a national drive to improve productivity, giving support for business, innovation, infrastructure, skills and fair work.
We will expand the Small Business Bonus, increase the number of small businesses that pay no rates and carry out a wider review of business rates to ensure that we maintain Scotland’s competitive business rates environment.
We will extend payment of the Living Wage – ensuring that all social care workers receive the Living Wage by October 2016 and doubling the number of accredited employers from 500 to 1,000 by autumn 2017.
We will invest over £3 billion over the next parliament to deliver at least 50,000 new affordable houses, of which at least 35,000 will be houses for social rent.
We will introduce a Warm Homes Bill to help tackle fuel poverty.
We will continue to invest in our Help to Buy and Shared Equity schemes, helping first time buyers onto the housing ladder.
We will increase the Carer’s Allowance so that it matches Jobseekers Allowance and maintain the Winter Fuel Payment for pensioners.
We will establish a new Scottish Social Security Agency to administer devolved benefits – and ensure that it has the principles of fairness, dignity and respect at its heart.
We will maintain the level of disability benefits and make the process of assessment fairer.
We will abolish the Bedroom Tax as soon as we have the power to do so.
We will use our new powers to establish a Maternity and Early Years Allowance to help tackle child poverty.
We will protect the police budget in real terms.
We will create a new criminal offence to help tackle all forms of domestic abuse.
We will not allow fracking or underground coal gasification in Scotland unless it can be proved beyond any doubt that it will not harm our environment, communities or public health.
We will bring forward a new Climate Change Bill to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement and set an ambitious new target for Scotland to reduce emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2020.
We will build on the Land Reform Act to make land ownership more transparent.
We will increase the amount of income exempt from Income Tax to £12,750 by the end of the next parliament, freeze the basic rate of Income Tax to help low and middle income earners, but not implement the tax cut for higher rate earners proposed by the the Tories. Instead, we will freeze the higher rate threshold in 2017/18 and ensure that it will rise by a maximum of inflation until 2021/22. These measures will generate at least £1.2 billion in additional revenue over the next parliament.
We have frozen the Council Tax for a ninth consecutive year, delivering substantial savings for every household. From next year, we will cap any increase made by councils to a maximum of 3 per cent a year. We will reform local taxation by asking those living in the highest banded houses to pay more and reducing tax for low income families with children. We will increase the financial accountability of local authorities. By assigning a share of Income Tax to councils, they will be less reliant on central government funding, and incentivised to grow their local economies.
We will undertake new work, starting this summer, with the aim of persuading a clear majority of people in Scotland that independence is the best future for our country.
A HEALTHIER SCOTLAND
The National Health Service is our most cherished public service. The SNP will never waiver in our belief that it must remain a publicly funded service, free at the point of use. And, we will never stop trying to make Scotland’s NHS healthier.
As more of us live longer, pressure on our NHS – and in particular our hospitals – will grow. We need to make sure that our hospitals are equipped to cope.
Just as importantly, we need to make sure that as much care as possible is delivered outside of hospitals – in homes and communities. Health and social care services have already been integrated – the biggest health reform since the NHS was established.
Now we have plans to expand primary, community and social care services. Over the last few years, NHS funding has been protected, the number of people working in it has increased, and waiting times have been reduced. But we need to do more. Investment is necessary but not sufficient – we need to fundamentally reshape our NHS to make it fit for the future.
We will increase the NHS revenue budget by £500 million more than inflation by the end of this parliament – which means that it will increase by almost £2 billion in total.
We will invest £200 million to expand the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank and establish five new elective treatment centres in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Livingston and Edinburgh.
We will implement our new clinical strategy – to develop specialist services where appropriate and protect local access to care whenever possible.
We will implement a new £100 million cancer plan to improve prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
We will build on the integration of health and social care and invest an additional £1.3 billion from the NHS to integrated partnerships to build up social care capacity.
We will also ensure that social care workers are paid the Living Wage – just as we have already done for NHS staff.
We will transform primary care, delivering a Community Health Service with a new GP contract, increased GP numbers and new, multi-disciplinary community hubs.
We will create an extra 1,000 training places for nurses and midwives.
We will invest an additional £150 million in mental health services and develop a new ten year plan to transform mental health in Scotland.
We will protect free prescriptions and keep the NHS free at the point of need, and in public hands.
We will protect free personal and nursing care.
A SMARTER SCOTLAND
A good education is an investment – not just in our children, but in our society and our economy too. From early years through to adulthood, we want to provide everyone – regardless of their background – with the very best chance of success in life.
We are committed to ensuring that all of Scotland’s children get the best start in life. By investing in high quality childcare and highly trained staff, we can support children during their vital early years and help them reach their full potential.
By 2021, we will almost double the amount of fully funded, high quality and flexible early years education – for all 3 and 4 year olds and our most vulnerable 2 year olds – from 16 hours a week to 30 hours a week.
We will ensure that every child in early education in the most deprived communities has access to an additional teacher or childcare graduate by 2018.
We will replace the Sure Start Maternity Grant with an expanded Maternity and Early Years Allowance. We will increase the payment for the birth of a first child from £500 to £600, restore payments for second and subsequent children – cut by the Coalition Government in 2010 – of £300; and, introduce payments of £250 for low-income families at other stages in children’s lives –when they begin nursery and again when they start school.
We will recruit an extra 500 health visitors by 2018 and work to ensure that every child benefits from a health development check at 30 months.
We will develop and implement a new Strategy for Families with Disabled Children so they get the right support at the right time and in the right way, from birth to adulthood.
Scotland has a good education system – with great schools and teachers. We have a new curriculum in place, record exam passes and a record number of young people leaving school to go onto positive destinations. But we need to do more.
We will deliver £750 million in additional investment through the extended Scottish Attainment Fund, including £500 million raised from local tax reforms delivered direct to schools.
We will implement the new National Improvement Framework and introduce national standardised assessments in primaries 1, 4 and 7 and s3. These will inform teacher judgment and provide better information to parents about how their children are progressing.
We will oversee a revolution in transparency about school performance. We will publish information – school by school – on how many children are meeting the required levels of Curriculum for Excellence. This will allow us to measure the attainment gap and set precise targets for closing it. Our mission is to make significant progress in closing the gap within the next parliament and to substantially eliminate it within a decade.
We will give headteachers, parents and communities more responsibility for schools in their areas, allowing them to take decisions within a strong national policy and inspection framework, and encourage them to work together in clusters where appropriate.
We will establish a fair and transparent needs-based funding formula for schools and make sure that more money goes direct to headteachers.
We will review school governance to consider how parents, colleges, universities and local employers can better support efforts to raise attainment and ensure that young people progress into positive destinations.
Helping young people to make the transition to adulthood and the world of work is vital. Whether a young person chooses university, college, vocational training or employment, it is important that they get the best opportunities.
We will protect free education. There will be no tuition fees as long as the SNP is in government.
We will set ambitious new targets that will ensure that by 2030, students from the 20 per cent most deprived areas make up 20 per cent of Higher Education entrants.
We will implement the recommendations of the Widening Access Commission and appoint a Commissioner for Fair Access.
We will guarantee a place at university for all care leavers who meet basic entry requirements and support them with a full bursary.
We will maintain at least 116,000 full-time equivalent college places each year, and make it easier for young people to progress from college to university.
We will reform student support funding to make it fair and equitable to students throughout their learner journey from 16 to 24.
We will protect the Educational Maintenance Allowance to help young people stay on at school or college.
We will increase the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 a year by 2020 and provide free bus travel to all young people under 21 undertaking an apprenticeship.
We will introduce a new back to work Jobs Grant for young people aged 16 to 24 returning to work after a period of unemployment. It will be set at £100 for young people without children and £250 for young parents.
A WEALTHIER SCOTLAND
The SNP are committed to creating a wealthier, more successful Scotland. We want Scotland to flourish, with opportunities for all as part of a fairer economy.
The foundations of Scotland’s economy are strong – but there’s much more we want to do. We can deliver more and better paid jobs, share the fruits of success amongst our citizens more equally, and create stronger, more sustainable growth.
At the heart of the economic agenda of a re-elected SNP government will be a focus on transforming our productivity as a country. Innovation is key to achieving this ambition and, coupled with our efforts to boost entrepreneurship, will drive our approach to strengthening the economy.
To complement a thriving economy, we will make sure our public services remain strong. Our decisions on tax will provide additional investment for the public services we all rely on, while protecting family incomes, tackling inequality, and offering a clear alternative to Tory austerity.
We will expand the Small Business Bonus to exempt 100,000 premises from business rates and use the full powers of the parliament to secure the most competitive business rates in the UK.
We will deliver a major investment in infrastructure, delivering broadband to all of Scotland, building 50,000 new affordable homes and continually improving our transport links.
We will double the number of Living Wage accredited employers to 1,000 by Autumn 2017.
We will double the provision of free childcare – helping more parents back into work, and boosting opportunity for business.
We will deliver 30,000 new Modern Apprenticeships a year by 2020.
We will review the roles and relationships of our economic development and skills agencies to ensure that they are providing maximum support for innovation and internationalisation.
We will freeze the Basic Rate of Income Tax for the duration of the next parliament and increase the tax free allowance to £12,750 by 2021/22.
We will not proceed with the Tories’ plans to raise the higher rate of tax threshold to £50,000 – instead the threshold at which people start to pay the 40p upper rate of tax will rise by a maximum of inflation in each year of the next parliament.
Our Income Tax plans mean that we will have at least £1.2 billion extra to invest in our NHS and public services over the lifetime of the next parliament.
A FAIRER SCOTLAND
Giving everyone the support they need to get on, while protecting the most vulnerable in society and tackling poverty, is crucial to delivering a fairer society.
While the UK Government strips basic support for those who most need it, we will use new social security powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to transform the service people receive.
Delivering the high-quality homes people deserve is also central to our ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country. We have a strong track record on housing in government, but we want to go even further.
We will introduce a Scottish Social Security Bill in the first year of the next parliament and establish a new Social Security Agency.
We will abolish the Bedroom Tax as soon as we have the power to do so.
We will support young families on low incomes at the key stages of their children’s lives with an expanded Maternity and Early Years Allowance to help tackle child poverty.
We will protect the Scottish Welfare Fund.
We will not means test or cut disability benefits and we will raise the allowance paid to carers to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance.
We will increase the child allowance within the council tax reduction scheme by 25 per cent, helping nearly 140,000 children across Scotland.
We will introduce changes to how Universal Credit is paid to ensure that vulnerable people are better supported.
We will invest £3 billion to build at least 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years. 35,000 of these homes will be in the social rented sector.
We will help people on to the housing ladder with first-time buyers schemes and shared equity programmes.
We will tackle fuel poverty by improving energy efficiency, starting with an investment of £103 million in 2016-17 to deliver improvements for 14,000 more homes.
MOVING SCOTLAND FORWARD
To be in the driving seat of our own destiny and to shape our own future is a natural desire. It is what we all hope for ourselves and it is what the SNP believes is right for Scotland.
We will achieve independence only when a majority of our fellow citizens are persuaded that it offers the best future for our country. Our success will depend on the strength of our arguments and the clarity of our vision.
We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.
We will undertake new work, starting this summer, to persuade a clear majority of the Scottish people that independence is the best future for our country.
We will implement the new powers being devolved in the Scotland Act 2016 and make the case for even greater powers over tax, welfare and the economy to be devolved to Scotland.
We will ensure the UK Government delivers in full on the commitments they made for a more powerful parliament and protection of the Barnett formula for as long as Scotland’s funding is determined by Westminster.
We will work with civic society to establish a set of social and economic rights across devolved areas for all of Scotland’s citizens, and embed Scotland’s National Action Plan on Human Rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals in our National Performance Framework.
We will campaign for Scotland and the UK to remain in the European Union.
We will continue to oppose UK Government plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and refuse to consent to its abolition.
We will defend the rights and freedoms of Trade Unions.
We will continue our opposition to the unelected House of Lords and argue for its abolition.
We will oppose plans to waste at least £167 billion on a new Trident nuclear weapons system.
A SUSTAINABLE SCOTLAND
We will always support our rural communities, while making Scotland clean and green.
We are committed to creating sustainable rural communities, where people can live, work and prosper. We will encourage communities to be involved in the land they live in, and support community ownership. By continuing to set ourselves ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions we will protect our environment for future generations.
We will deliver superfast broadband to 100 per cent of premises across Scotland, to bring our most remote communities closer to the markets they need.
We will invest £25 million in rural housing, supporting more people to live and work in our rural economies.
We will introduce a new Climate Change Act, with an ambitious new target of reducing emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2020.
We will ensure that by 2020, at least half of newly consented renewable energy projects will have an element of shared ownership.
We will fight for a better deal for Scotland in the next CAP negotiations which start in 2017 and for Scotland to chair the EU fisheries council when the UK holds the EU Presidency in the second half of 2017.
We will empower our island communities through an Islands Bill.
We will maintain the Road Equivalent Tariff on all current island ferry routes and are committed to reducing ferry fares on services to Orkney and Shetland.
As part of our Land Reform programme, we will end anonymous ownership of large tracts of Scotland’s land by introducing a mandatory, public register of controlling interests in landowners or tenants.
We will deliver £1.3 billion of funding via the Scottish Rural Development Programme to support the rural economy, rural communities, address the impact of climate change and protect the natural environment.