#SNP23 Conference: What You Need to Know

The SNP’s annual conference in Aberdeen wrapped up earlier this week, after a busy few days.

The conference agreed a motion on the party’s strategy to move Scotland forward on its journey to independence and heard First Minister Humza Yousaf outline the Scottish Government plans to deliver for the people of Scotland.

As the general election creeps ever closer, it’s clear only the SNP have the policies, the vision and the courage to stand by our convictions.

While the Westminster bubble floats further to the right, the SNP will push forward with our plans to make Scotland a wealthier, greener and fairer country.

Missed out on #SNP23? Here’s everything you need to know.

Independence strategy

At SNP Conference delegates agreed our independence strategy.

You can read the full motion here.

Cutting waiting lists

In his address to delegates, First Minister Humza Yousaf pledged an extra £300 million to cut NHS waiting lists.

Patients and staff alike have felt the persisting pressures on the NHS in the wake of the pandemic.

As a former health secretary, the First Minister has an acute understanding of the problem and the need for action.

This is just the latest in a long line of SNP strides to make Scotland’s NHS the best in the UK. You can read more about the SNP’s progress here.

Freezing council taxes

The First Minister also announced a freeze on council tax in his speech to conference.

The stress and strain placed on the finances of people right across Scotland can be laid squarely at the door of Westminster.

Disastrous policies, damaging scandals and rabid infighting should not have been the priorities of the Tories. And with Labour now lurching to the right, it means both Westminster parties are deserting families when they need help most.

The SNP understand the challenges the cost-of-living crisis presents and will move forward with a council tax freeze – to alleviate the pressure on family finances and to give Scots some peace of mind through the winter.

Support for domestic abuse survivors

A new pilot scheme was announced to offer survivors of domestic abuse up to £1,000 to escape their abusive partners.

The Fund to Leave will send £500,000 to Women’s Aid organisations in five council areas; Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and Fife.

The First Minister said:

“Leaving a relationship with an abusive partner is dangerous and difficult, and financial dependence on the abuser is often the biggest barrier.

“The Fund to Leave will help to reduce the financial burden of leaving an abusive partner by helping to pay for the essentials that women and children need, including rent and clothing.

“This is just one of the ways in which we can work towards a Scotland where women and girls live free from violence and abuse in their homes.”

Nearly a quarter of homelessness presentations among women in Scotland are due to abuse, according to figures from the Scottish Government. Tackling both homelessness and violence against women and girls is a key priority for the SNP in government, and this pilot scheme will go a long way to ensuring progress is made.

£500 million for renewable jobs

The SNP is resolutely committed to making strides towards net zero emissions, while Westminster parties hide from their responsibilities and race to the right.

The First Minister pledged £500 million for renewable jobs, helping to grow Scotland’s offshore wind industry.

Both businesses and climate activists have been clear about the need to move faster and the SNP is listening.

Delivering investment in our economy

The havoc unleashed on Scotland’s economy by the Tories’ austerity, Brexit chaos and fantasy economics has left its scars. All the more alarmingly, Labour have now signed up to the Tory orthodoxy on taxing and spending.

The SNP stands by its principles and has the fresh thinking that both of the main parties so gravely lack.

In his speech, Humza Yousaf announced Scotland would enter the international bond market for the first time.

Issuing Scotland’s first ever bond is the SNP’s most ambitious proposal yet and will demonstrate to investors and the international community that Scotland needs business.

It will help Scotland to attract the foreign direct investment we need to invest in infrastructure and public services.

“To fund vital infrastructure like affordable housing projects, we will issue Scotland’s first ever bond,” the First Minister said as he closed the conference in Aberdeen.

“In doing so, we will show the world not only that we are a country to invest in today. We will also demonstrate the credibility to international markets that we will need when we become an independent country.”

Doubling the arts and culture budget

There was also a pledge of £100 million to arts and culture, doubling the current budget.

The First Minister said in his address:

“I can announce today that over the next five years we will more than double our investment in Scotland’s arts and culture.

This means that by the end of the five years, our investment will be £100m higher than it is today.

This is a huge vote of confidence in the future of our culture sector and in the vital work of bodies like Screen Scotland, Creative Scotland and our festivals.

Delegates, if politics is about choices, I choose to ensure that Scotland’s arts and culture are supported to grow at home, and be seen across the world.”