We have now launched our manifesto for the General Election on 12 December.
In Scottish Government, our ambition is for Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up. Meanwhile Westminster cuts have caused families to suffer, SNP MPs will stand up against Tory austerity, put forward ambitious, progressive proposals and be strong voices for families.
Here’s our plan.
Demanding an end to austerity
Nine years of brutal Tory austerity, with public services slashed, welfare squeezed and wages stagnating, has left more families struggling to make ends meet. We will not stand by whilst Scotland is denied its fair share of public spending.
SNP MPs will demand an end to austerity and instead press the UK Government to invest in public services and the economy, starting with a reversal of the cut Scotland has seen to its real-terms budget.
Standing up for working families
SNP MPs have been at the forefront of arguing for and securing protections for workers and families – from campaigning to extend parental leave, to demanding the end of exploitative zero-hour contracts, we have consistently stood on the side of working families.
In the new Parliament, we will work towards increasing shared parental leave from 52 to 64 weeks, with the additional 12 weeks to be the minimum taken by the father.
What’s more, we back increasing maternity pay to make it fairer for those on lowest incomes – up from existing six weeks at 90% pay, to twelve weeks at 100% pay, with the remaining 40 weeks at 90% pay.
We will also urge the UK Government to match our commitment to supporting low income families by introducing payments at key times in a young child’s life – just as the SNP Scottish Government have done with nursery and school payments of £250, as well as matching the new Scottish Child Payment.
Helping with household finances
The SNP has already introduced the most progressive income tax rates in the UK. Overall, the average income tax bill in Scotland is less than in the rest of the UK, with those on low incomes paying less whilst those at the top are paying a little bit more.
We will not support an unfunded Tory race to the bottom, but instead will fight for a society where opportunities are created for all and the benefits of increased prosperity are shared fairly. That’s why SNP MPs will back plans to help the majority – with a freeze on National Insurance contributions and a freeze on VAT helping with the cost of living.
What’s more, SNP MPs will support reform of VAT including the continuation of VAT-exemption on essential items like children’s clothes, and will push the UK government to remove VAT from sanitary products.
Protecting our NHS
We all rely on our NHS – that is why we are committed to making sure it is fit for the future.
The SNP Scottish Government has delivered record levels of funding for the NHS in Scotland, while frontline health spending in Scotland is £136 per person (6.3%) higher than in England.
SNP MPs will call on the UK government to close the health spending gap between England and Scotland. This would not only substantially increase health investment in England, but will also allow us to increase the frontline investment to NHS Scotland to more than £17 billion by 2024/25 through the Barnett formula.
And with a dangerous prospect of a Tory-Trump trade deal that would open up the NHS to US multinationals, we will propose a new National Health Service Protection Act – explicitly protecting the NHS from being subject to future trade deals and ensuring it cannot be open to profit-driven exploitation.
Fighting for respect and dignity in the welfare system
While handing tax cuts to the wealthiest, the Tories have cut support for the most vulnerable, entrenching poverty, across the UK. Continued welfare cuts and the shambolic roll-out of the Universal Credit system has led to rising poverty, rent arrears and an increase in the need for food banks.
SNP MPs will work to end the deliberate targeting of the poorest and most vulnerable, by demanding an end to the punitive benefit sanctions regime, the abolition of the bedroom tax and fighting to raise benefits by at least inflation levels.
We will also resolutely stand against the cruel two-child benefit cap and the rape clause, as well as demand the halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit. A vote for the SNP will strengthen Scotland’s hand against further Tory cuts.
Tackling child poverty
It is shameful that so many of our children grow up in poverty. SNP MPs will always hold the UK government to account on the impact of their policies which under the Tories and the Lib Dems over the past decade have increased child poverty.
We will urge the UK government to follow the lead of the SNP Scottish Government by introducing new benefits and grants that will reduce child poverty, re-establishing UK-wide child poverty targets scrapped under the Tories, and establishing a Poverty and Inequality Commission to provide expert policy advice.