Only the SNP has a plan, at all levels of government, to tackle the Tory cost of living crisis which is affecting people and families across the country.
We have launched our ambitious manifesto for the Scottish council elections, ensuring that every vote for SNP councillors is a vote to keep delivering progress.
Here’s a summary of what we’ll do.
Helping families through the cost of living crisis
SNP councils will work tirelessly to support those most affected by the cost of living crisis.
We are providing £150 to every household in receipt of Council Tax Reduction – regardless of council tax band – and to all other households in council tax bands A to D.
The SNP Government has also made £10m available though the Fuel Insecurity Fund to support those facing fuel poverty.
While most powers relating to energy markets remain reserved to the UK Government, SNP councils will back the Scottish Government’s calls for the UK Government to take further urgent action to support households.
Tackling fuel poverty
Everyone needs a safe, warm place to call home – however, soaring energy prices are making it increasingly difficult for people to heat their homes.
The UK Government is simply not doing enough to provide lifeline support that could prevent households facing fuel poverty.
While France capped energy bill rises at 4% and many countries reduced VAT on energy bills, in the UK they have increased by 54%, amid a Tory cost of living crisis.
SNP councils will continue to work with the Scottish Government to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings. This will tackle fuel poverty, make it more affordable to heat and power homes, and support our transition to net zero.
Keeping council tax affordable
Scottish council tax payers already get the best deal in the UK – for example, in a Band D property, people in Scotland pay an average £600 less than in England, and around £400 less than in Wales.
We are also committing to protect the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which allows support to be targeted to those most in need.
The SNP will also scrap council tax for everyone under 22. For a young person living alone in a Band B property, that will mean an annual saving of around £750.
Supporting local businesses
At this election, we commit to maintaining the Small Business Bonus – ensuring that 100,000 business properties will pay no business rates.
SNP councils will also continue to support local economies in their recovery from the pandemic – and we will explore a new national digital sales tax to level the playing-field between physical and online retail.
We will also work to support thriving town centres and high streets through the Town Centre First principle, ensuring that the impact on town centres is considered as a part of all investment decisions.
Expanding early learning and childcare
Thanks to the joint work of the SNP government and councils across Scotland, we have delivered a transformational expansion of free early learning and childcare to 1,140 hours each year.
This helps give children the best start in life, and it saves families who take up this entitlement around £4,900 per child each year.
We want to go further still. SNP councils will build a wraparound service, providing care before and after school, all year round.
Those on the lowest incomes will pay nothing – and contributions for others will be fair and affordable.
Closing the poverty-related attainment gap
There are now more teachers in Scottish schools than at any time since 2008, and Scotland has more teachers per pupil than anywhere else in the UK.
SNP councils – working with the SNP government – will recruit at least 3,500 additional teachers and 500 classroom assistants across Scotland.
We will take forward the recommendations of the OECD review of Curriculum for Excellence, and we’ll continue to devolve more powers and financial control to teachers, allowing them to make the best decisions.
Tackling child poverty
The SNP is taking immediate steps to put cash in the pockets of families – tackling the cost of living crisis and helping lift thousands of children out of poverty in Scotland.
We have introduced the “game-changing” Scottish Child Payment, doubled it to £20, and we will increase it to £25 – as well as expand it to under-16s in low-income families – by the end of 2022.
We will extend free school meals to pupils in primaries 6 and 7 – and we’ll also roll out free school breakfasts, all year round, to pupils in primary school and state-funded special schools.
And we will continue to mitigate the UK Government’s Benefit Cap as fully as possible within devolved powers, through Discretionary Housing Payments.
Making education more inclusive
SNP councils are wholly committed to delivering the recommendations on LGBT Inclusive Education across the curriculum, to improve the learning environment for all children and young people.
We will also work with the Scottish Government to deliver high quality anti-racist education in our schools – and to track progress, we will improve the reporting and publication of data on racist incidents in schools.
We will support the continued development of Gaelic Medium Education, improving access to the language and increasing the numbers using Gaelic.
Building the transformative National Care Service
SNP councils and councillors will work closely with the Scottish Government to support the design and establishment of a National Care Service, to improve care and support for people who use community health and social care.
The National Care Service will improve standards, ensure enhanced pay and conditions for workers and provide better support for unpaid carers.
SNP councils will also work with the Scottish Government to abolish charges for non-residential care.
Improving access to fresh, locally-grown food
To ensure we promote and support the availability of sustainable Scottish produce, we will make more land available for community market gardens, orchards and allotments.
SNP councils will also support community food initiatives, including local food markets and renovated retail units, especially in marginalised and deprived communities – helping to bring fresh, affordable food closer to where people live and work.
Delivering thousands of affordable, energy-efficient homes
Since 2007, the SNP Government has delivered over 105,000 affordable homes across Scotland.
SNP councils will work with the Scottish Government to meet our target of 110,000 more affordable homes by 2032 – 70% of which will be for social rent, and 10% in rural, remote and island areas.
We will also work tirelessly to reduce homelessness, end rough sleeping and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe and secure home.
To help do this, SNP councils will invest in a rapid rehousing approach and focus on delivering a person-centred approach to meet needs.
Widening provision of sporting, leisure and cultural opportunities
We believe that everyone should be able to take part in culture and heritage in their local authority area.
That’s why SNP councils will protect our cultural infrastructure by providing free access to our National Galleries and Museums, and continue funding our non-national museums and galleries.
We will also work to increase access to sporting, leisure and cultural opportunities in local communities, especially for children and young people from low-income backgrounds.
Expanding active travel routes
SNP councils will provide more walking and cycling routes in local authority areas and ensure that communities in every part of Scotland benefit from the Scottish Government’s increased budget for active travel.
We will also provide funding to maintain pavements, pathways and routes that cyclists and pedestrians use – ensuring that every town has access to a high-quality walking and cycling network.
And to encourage our youngest citizens to take part in active travel, we will provide free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them.
Empowering local communities with greater control and influence
SNP councils will work with the Scottish Government on a Local Democracy Bill, which will further empower councils and local communities and ensure that decisions are taken as close as possible to those they affect most.
We will also work on a Community Wealth Building Act to help redirect wealth, control and procurement benefits to local economies – requiring local authorities and public bodies to shift towards buying more from local businesses, and ensuring that taxpayers money is reinvested as far as possible in local communities.
Supporting Scotland’s right to choose our own future
A vote for the SNP at this election is a vote in favour of these basic democratic principles:
The people of Scotland have the right to decide our own future and the people best able to decide how Scotland is governed are the people who live here.
Based on those principles, we believe the people of Scotland should have the opportunity in a referendum to decide whether Scotland should be an independent country.
SNP councils and councillors will support the Scottish Government’s clear mandate to hold a referendum on independence in the first half of this parliamentary term.
On Thursday May 5, Vote SNP
On May 5, Vote SNP to elect hard-working local champions, to force action on the Tory cost of living crisis, and to send Boris Johnson a message.
Here’s how you can help us win.
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