Our public services play a vital role in shaping both our economy and our society. They make a major contribution to the wellbeing of our communities, enable people to participate more fully in society, while promoting prosperity.
At Westminster we will back a responsible plan to end austerity, which would allow the UK government to increase investment in public services – like the NHS – beyond current plans.
We will ensure the NHS revenue budget rises by £500 million more than inflation by the end of the current Scottish parliament term – which means that it will increase by almost £2 billion in total.
Health and social care services have also been integrated – the biggest health reform since the NHS was established. Over the next five years we will invest an additional £1.3 billion in health and social care partnerships to meet the needs of an ageing population.
To improve our schools we will invest £750 million in closing the attainment gap over the next five years, with more resources going direct to headteachers. In 2018-19, we provided £120 million – over and above core education funding – direct to headteachers to help ensure all young people can fulfil their potential.
We have already reformed college education, and we’re providing our further education students with record levels of support. In 2018-19 the Scottish Government provided nearly £2.4 billion for our colleges, universities, enterprise and skills bodies – including a real terms increase for both College and Higher Education budgets.
Our fire services and police have been reformed, delivering greater efficiency as a result. We will protect the police revenue budget in real terms for the entirety of the next parliament.
We welcome the decision of the UK Government to end VAT charges for our police and fire services, and will pass the benefits of this decision straight to Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. We will keep fighting for the rebate of the £140 million charged and allow that money to be invested in Scotland’s emergency services.
We’ve kept Scottish Water in public hands. Customers are now paying less for a better service – charges for the average household bill in Scotland are £42 lower than in England and Wales.