Since 2007 every home in Scotland has benefited in some way from SNP government policies. We have transformed education, bolstered our health service, built thousands of affordable homes – we’ve even made Scotland’s tax system more progressive and launched a new social security agency.
Internationally, we have been recognised for our global responsibility, progressiveness and social conscience. In the face of a decade of Westminster cuts, we’ve got on with the job of delivering the best public services anywhere in the UK.
Here are some of our top achievements:
1. Baby Box – A jam-packed box of baby essentials to help new parents at the start of a child’s life.
2. Childcare – 600 hours of early learning and childcare, saving families up to £2,500 per child per year.
3. Free Tuition – Students in England face tuition fees up to £27,750 – Scottish students receive university tuition free.
4. Period Poverty – Scotland is the first in the world to make sanitary products available free to all pupils and students.
5. Prescriptions – Prescription charges abolished in Scotland – now £9 per item south of the border.
6. Cheaper Council Tax – Every Scottish household benefits from cheaper tax bills – on average £500 less than England.
7. Care For All – Free personal and nursing care extended to everyone who needs it, regardless of age.
8. Free Bus Travel – Over one million Scots now enjoy free travel, including over-60s and disabled people.
A HEALTHIER SCOTLAND
• 14,300 more staff in Scotland’s NHS, that’s over 11 per cent more under the SNP (since Sept 2006).
• Record high health funding – up by over 60% under the SNP, with over £15 billion in 2020/21. (Frontline health spending in Scotland is £136 per person higher than in England).
• Patient satisfaction in Scotland is high. 86 per cent of inpatients rated their overall care positively in 2018, with more than a third of people giving their care full marks.
• Scotland’s core A&E services are the best performing in the UK – for almost five years running.
• Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head of population 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.
• Our patient safety record is amongst the best in the world. Over the last five years we have seen a decreasing year on year trend in the rate of both MRSA and C.Diff infection (CDI) in Scotland.
• 94% of the Scottish population are now registered with an NHS dentist – double what it was when we took office in 2007.
• We’ve protected free tuition for nursing and midwifery students and their bursary is rising to £10,000 in this year.
• Parking charges at all NHS-run hospitals scrapped – saving patients and staff over £39 million.
A SMARTER SCOTLAND
• We are investing record amounts in schools to close the poverty related attainment gap – this includes, in 2019/20 alone, over £120m of pupil equity Funding going direct to over 95% of head teachers in Scotland.
• 127,900 pupils in primaries 1 to 3 now benefit from free school meals, saving families around £400 per child per year.
• We have provided extra resources to local councils, allowing spending on education to increase in real terms for the past three years – up by £189 million in 2018/19.
• 928 schools upgraded under the SNP (since 2007), providing well-designed, accessible and inclusive learning environments for pupils.
• A record 253,475 students enrolled at Scottish universities in 2018/19.
• Record numbers of students from the most deprived backgrounds are now winning a place at university.
• We’ve launched the First Minister’s Reading Challenge to encourage all children to read for pleasure.
• We’ve introduced a national minimum school clothing grant of £100 to help more families afford school uniform costs.
• Since 2012, we have invested over £1 billion per year in Scotland’s universities.
• We are leading the way as the only administration in the UK to offer bursary support targeted specifically for care- experienced students.
• We’ve expanded the Education Maintenance Allowance in Scotland – now scrapped south of the border – supporting a higher proportion of school pupils and college students from deprived areas.
• We’re providing our further education students with record levels of support. £122 million in 2019/20 – up 44 per cent in real terms under the SNP.
• We are supporting the college sector to maintain colleges and to deliver new campuses, including investment of up to £90 million for a new Fife college campus as part of the Dunfermline Learning Community Campus.
• We are providing more than £3.6 million to colleges and universities this academic year to strengthen mental health support; the first of our four year programme to provide more than 80 additional counsellors in further and higher education.
• Graduates from Scottish universities are earning more than their counterparts in the rest of the UK.
• Full-time FE college students in Scotland can now benefit from the highest bursary of anywhere in the UK.
• Scotland provides the best package of support for university students 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.
A WEALTHIER SCOTLAND
• We have delivered a new progressive tax system, ensuring 55% of taxpayers pay less than elsewhere in the UK, and supporting additional investment in our public services while safeguarding those on lower incomes.
• Scotland has the most generous business rates relief package in the UK – worth more than £750 million.
• Scotland’s international exports are up 48 per cent under the SNP – valued at £33.8 billion in 2018.
• We are leading the way on fair pay. Over 1,700 organisations are now accredited.
• Scotland is the top destination in the UK, outside of London, for foreign direct investment.
• Living Wage employers – over one quarter of the total across the UK.
• We’ve met our target to reduce youth unemployment by 40 per cent in 2017 – four years early.
• Business research and development spend in Scotland increased by 13.9 per cent in 2017 to reach a record £1.25 billion, compared to a UK increase of just 2.9 per cent.
• To help protect jobs and businesses through the recession, we’ve slashed or abolished business rates for over 111,000 premises – saving small businesses around £1.7 billion to date.
• Scotland’s productivity is outperforming the UK as a whole. Since 2007 productivity in Scotland has grown 10.3 per cent, compared to growth of 2.9 per cent in the UK.
• We are delivering more Apprenticeships than ever before with a record number of starts in 2018/19 and over a quarter of a million Modern and Graduate Apprentices across this administration, aiming towards 30,000 starts by 2020/21.
• We’ve made relentless efforts to protect manufacturing jobs, notably saving Scotland’s remaining steel works from closure.
• The number of private sector businesses in Scotland is at the highest level since records began.
• By the end of 2021, we will have allocated over £1 billion since 2009 through our energy efficiency programmes to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat.
• We are establishing a Scottish National Investment Bank. The £150 million Building Scotland Fund was announced as a precursor to the Bank and reflects the principles behind it.
A FAIRER SCOTLAND
• In 2018-19, we invested more than £1.4 billion in support targeted at low-income households, including over £100 million to mitigate the worst impacts of UK Government welfare cuts.
• Through our Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan we are meeting the issue head on, including introducing the new Scottish Child Payment worth £10 per week per eligible child.
• We have passed a Child Poverty Act that set targets to end child poverty by 2030, and introduced a £50 million fund to tackle the causes of child poverty.
• Our investment in Carers Allowance and Carers Allowance Supplement is around £320 million this year; our Supplement will provide over 91,000 carers with an extra £452.40 this year compared to carers in the rest of the UK.
• The first benefit of its kind in the UK, the Young Carer Grant launched in October, supporting eligible young carers with a payment of £300. In the first six weeks we received 750 applications and invested £66,900 into young carers.
• More than 84,000 Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments have been made, totalling £21.3 million for low income families at key transitional points in their child’s early years.
• We have delivered more than 89,000 affordable homes since 2007, including more than 61,000 for social rent.
• Scotland’s same-sex marriage legislation is widely considered to be one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world.
• We introduced the first gender-balanced Cabinet in the UK, one of only a handful of gender parity cabinets around the world.
• In 2011, we became the first government in the UK to pay the real Living Wage to our staff, including all NHS workers. We have now extended the real Living Wage to all adult social care workers.
• We have mitigated the Bedroom Tax, protecting over 70,000 Scottish households from the charge.
• Over 357,350 low income households in need have been helped to buy essentials such as nappies, food and cookers through our Scottish Welfare Fund since it was established in 2013.
• We are investing £50 million to support the delivery of our Ending Homelessness Together action plan and transforming services to support people into a settled home.
• 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 in England and Wales.
A SAFER SCOTLAND
• The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey estimates overall crime is down by 42% since 2008-09 and is at the lowest level estimated by the survey.
• Police recorded crime has fallen by 41% under the SNP (between 2006-07 and 2018-19) and is at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974.
• We are protecting the police revenue budget in real terms – since 2016/17 the annual budget for policing has increased by more than £80 million, despite constraints on Scotland’s public services through a decade of UK austerity.
• Police forces in England and Wales have lost more than 20,000 officers over the last decade. In Scotland, officer numbers have increased significantly since the SNP came into power.
• We have invested more than £20 million in violence prevention since 2007.
• The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey shows that violent crime is down by 46 per cent, and property crime by 41 per cent since 2008-09.
• 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 reconviction rate remains at its lowest in 20 years.
• Since 2008, £110 million from the proceeds of crime has been committed to community projects for young people across Scotland through the Cashback for Communities Programme.
• 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 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 have extended the presumption against short sentences to 12 months or less to enable a further shift away from ineffective short custodial sentences and help prevent reoffending.
INVESTING FOR THE FUTURE
• We have doubled the walking and cycling budget to £80 million per year from 2018.
• We delivered the £1.35 billion marvel on the Forth – the Queensferry Crossing – under budget.
• We’ve connected Glasgow to Edinburgh with continuous motorway for the first time.
• We scrapped bridge tolls on the Forth and Tay crossings – saving individual commuters around £2,350 to date.
• Over £8 billion has been 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. Nearly six million new passengers have used the service to date since the opening in September 2015.
• Our £5 billion investment programme between 2019 and 2024 in Scotland’s railway will deliver improvements which maximise benefits for passengers, freight users and communities. This approach supports current and future demand aligning resources and funds available.
• In spring 2020, we will publish an action plan to decarbonise Scotland’s railway by 2035. The primary focus will be the continuation of a rolling programme of efficient electrification.
• The first section – between Kincraig and Dalraddy – 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, providing savings in journey times of up to half for road users travelling around Aberdeen.
• In 2019/20 we established a £50 million Town Centre Fund to enable local authorities to stimulate a range of investments which encourage town centres to diversify and flourish.
• In the South of Scotland we’re taking forward the construction of the Maybole bypass on the A77, which is progressing well, and making further improvements to the A75.
• We exceeded our target of 95 per cent fibre broadband coverage by the end of 2017, delivering access to 940,000 premises – around 100,000 more than originally anticipated.
• We are the only part of the UK that has guaranteed 100% superfast broadband access and now all of the R100 build in the South area and most of it in the Central area will use full fibre technology (full fibre to the premises).
• The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund which supports locally developed regeneration projects, has since its first year in 2014/15 offered grant support to 138 projects across Scotland at a combined total of over £138m.
• In 2013 we published the Town Centre Action Plan to help stimulate a wide range of activity across sectors to regenerate and revitalise town centres.
• In 2011 we published a regeneration strategy which provides a framework for local action to tackle area inequality, create opportunities and improve outcomes for communities.
A GREENER SCOTLAND
• We have demonstrated global leadership on climate change, and were the first part of the UK to declare a ‘climate emergency’.
• Scotland has a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, one of the toughest statutory targets in the world. We have set an interim target of a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030. This goes far beyond what the Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is needed globally to prevent warming of more than 1.5 degrees.
• Scotland outperforms the UK as a whole in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Only Sweden has achieved greater reductions in western Europe.
• Renewable energy generation in Scotland reached record levels in 2018, providing the equivalent of 75%% of gross electricity consumption.
• In 2018, our low carbon and renewable energy sector directly supported 23,100 jobs and generated £6.4 billion in turnover.
• No fracking or other onshore unconventional oil and gas activity can take place in Scotland.
• The greenhouse gas emissions from managing Scotland’s waste have reduced by 30% since 2011 and Scotland has met European Union targets for biodegradable municipal waste to landfill and recycling of construction and demolition waste.
• We are introducing Low Emissions Zones in our four largest cities by 2020 to improve urban air quality.
• In 2018-19 Scotland exceeded its woodland creation target in the 2018 climate change plan – 10,000 hectares – by creating 11,210 hectares of woodland, roughly 22 million trees. This is 84% of all the new woodland created in the UK that year.
• To-date, almost 20,000 hectares of degraded peatland has been restored since the Peatland Action project started in 2012.
• Carrier bag use was reduced by 80 per cent – the equivalent of 650 million bags – in the first year of the carrier bag charge.
• We’ve helped make our communities safer from flooding with investment in flood defences and new measures in the Flood Risk Management Act. Since 2008, we have made £42 million available each year to help local authorities invest in flood protection measures.
• By 2021, £21 million will have been distributed through the world-leading Climate Justice Fund supporting projects in Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda.
• Scotland’s Natural Capital Accounts estimate that Scotland’s natural capital is valued at over £291 billion, 37 per cent of the UK figure.
• 10% of Scotland is under management of the EU/SG funded Agri-Environment Climate Scheme which promotes land management practices which protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage and environment.
• Our £20 million Empowering Communities Programme is helping communities to tackle poverty and inequalities on their own terms, building community capacity, delivering service and activities and promoting local growth and sustainability across Scotland.
• Scotland’s independence referendum was the biggest democratic exercise in Scotland’s history – with a turnout of 85 per cent of all electors.
• 16 and 17 year olds 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 the 2017 local government elections – continuing the fund for the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021.
• Local communities have been given a voice in the planning and delivery of local services through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
• The Scottish Land Fund has already helped over 170 communities across the country to purchase land.
• The radical and ambitious Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 has transformed how we own, manage and access land in Scotland.
• The land reform agenda is helping to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from land. We have created the Scottish Land Commission to support this.
• Devolution of the Scottish Crown Estate has ensured that land, coastal and marine assets with a total value of around £400 million can now be managed for the future benefit of Scotland and local communities.
• Devolution of the Scottish Crown Estate means that Scotland can for the first time control leasing for seabed activities such as offshore renewables out to 200 nautical miles.
• This has also enabled Scottish Ministers to allocate £7.5 million of funding to benefit coastal communities in 2019/20 from the net revenue of Scottish Crown Estate marine assets out to 12 nautical miles.
• The EU/SG funded LEADER programme has allocated almost £70 million to around 1,000 projects across rural Scotland since 2015. This funding has attracted almost £1 in match funding for every £1 in grant funding. A total of £67.8 million of match funding has been attracted and over 110 jobs supported.
• In 2019, we adopted the Place Principle to encourage better collaboration and community involvement, and improve the impact of combined, energy, resources and investment.
SUPPORTING RURAL AND ISLAND COMMUNITIES
• The Scottish Government has invested over £2 billion in the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services, Northern Isles Ferry Services and ferry infrastructure since 2007 as part of our commitment to our islands and remote communities.
• We have introduced and are implementing Scotland’s first ever National Islands Plan which sets out 13 Strategic Objectives critical to improving the quality of life for island communities.
• Road Equivalent Tariff has been rolled out on ferry routes in the Clyde and Hebrides network, delivering significantly reduced ferry fares and increased passenger numbers.
• The Air Discount Scheme provides residents of Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles, Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Caithness and north-west Sutherland with a 50 per cent discount on the core air fare on eligible services.
• With produce output worth around £2.3 billion a year and around 65,000 people directly employed, we work tirelessly to get the best deal for Scotland’s farmers, crofters and growers.
• Food and drink turnover reached record levels in 2017, worth almost £15 billion, up 36% since 2007.
• In 2018, the value of fish and shellfish landed into Scottish ports was up 1% to £574 million and the number of Scottish fishing vessels increased by 24 to 2,089, with most being vessels under 10 metres.
• Through funding from the EU and the Scottish Government, we are investing over £92 million in our fisheries fleet, in harbours, equipment and facilities.
• Scotland’s first National Marine Plan aims to achieve the sustainable development of our seas.
• We are investing £9 million in the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
• We launched the £30 million Rural and Islands Housing Funds to support the delivery of affordable homes. A total of 9554 affordable homes were delivered in 2018-19 as part of the mainstream Affordable Housing Supply Programme. Of this, 1191 homes were delivered in accessible and remote rural areas including 115 on the islands.
• The Farm Advisory Service has reached over 15,000 people, providing advice to improve farm sustainability, productivity, efficiency and profitability.
• Our Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) scheme has delivered around £500 million each year in support to farmers and land managers and has included schemes not available elsewhere in the UK.
• Since 2007, we have invested over £20 million in Croft House grants, helping more than 970 crofters and their families to achieve the full potential of their crofts and generate economic activity in remote rural and island areas.
SUPPORTING CREATIVITY AND SPORT
• We are investing almost £270 million in Scotland’s culture and heritage.
• Free access has been maintained to our national museums and galleries, which now welcome over five million visitors every year.
• We have provided £25 million investment in Edinburgh’s major festivals since 2008, and have now opened up EXPO funding to Celtic Connections and Glasgow International Festival.
• In recent years Scotland has consolidated its position as the perfect stage for major events having successfully hosted, with Scottish Government support, the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the first combined European Championships and in 2019 the Solheim Cup. Our prominent international profile will continue when we co-host the UEFA European Championship in the summer of 2020.
• We invested £38 million in the construction of the world-class V&A Museum of Design in Dundee which opened in 2018 and are continuing to invest to ensure it reaches its full potential.
• 99 per cent of primary and secondary schools across Scotland are now providing two hours or two periods of physical education a week – up from just 10 per cent in 2005.
• Screen Scotland is providing enhanced support for Scotland’s screen sector. New increased funds to support film and television production were rolled out in 2018 with a larger £2m-a-year Production Growth Fund opened in April and a new £3m-a-year Broadcast Content Fund opened in August alongside existing film funding.
• Sportscotland have invested £168 million to help local authorities, sports governing bodies and other organisations deliver new and upgraded sporting facilities.
• We are committed to supporting MG Alba, which operates BBC Alba and receives £12.8 million a year from the Scottish Government.