The SNP 2016 manifesto explained

Today Nicola Sturgeon launched the SNP manifesto for the 2016 election.

It’s a manifesto brimming with ideas to move our country forward.

Here’s just some of what our manifesto will deliver for Scotland.

Tackling attainment in our education system

  • We’ll invest an additional £750 million over the next Parliament to close the gap in educational attainment in our schools, with more money going directly to headteachers.
  • We will develop a new, fair and transparent funding formula for schools – to ensure that resources go to where they are needed the most.
  • We will work to empower teachers and parents – within a framework of strong national policy and inspection – to drive more of the decisions that shape the lives of their schools.

Transforming early-years support

  • We will almost double free childcare to 30 hours and create 600 new childcare centres, with 20,000 more qualified staff by 2021.
  • We also support parents with a ‘baby box’ for every newborn child in Scotland, offering essential items for a child’s first week; provide new financial support for low-income families to meet essential early years costs, and recruit 500 health visitors by 2018 so every child benefits from a health development check at 30 months.

Making sure our NHS is fit for the future

  • We will transform our NHS with nearly £2 billion of extra investment, deliver more healthcare closer to home, take new action to tackle cancer, and improve mental health services.

Supporting businesses and delivering more and better paid jobs

  • We will lead a national drive to improve productivity, giving support for business, innovation, infrastructure, skills and fair work.
  • We will extend the Small Business Bonus, so 100,000 of our small businesses will be removed from business rates completely.
  • We will extend payment of the Living Wage – ensuring that all social care workers receive the Living Wage by October 2016 and double the number of accredited employers from 500 to 1,000 by autumn 2017.

Creating more opportunities for Scotland’s young people

  • We will increase the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 a year by 2020 – 5,000 of which will be in highly skilled careers.
  • We will use our new powers to introduce a Jobs Grant to help unemployed young people back into work. We’ll also provide all those eligible for the Jobs Grant with free bus travel for three months to help them take up offers of work.

Scotland’s future

  • We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.
  • We will undertake new work, starting this summer, with the aim of persuading a clear majority of people in Scotland that independence is the best future for our country.

A Scottish approach to social security – with fairness and dignity at its heart

  • We will create a Scottish Social Security Agency, with fairness and dignity at its core.
  • We will increase Carer’s Allowance so that it matches Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • We will scrap the Bedroom Tax.
  • We will keep disability benefits universal and reform assessment procedures to ensure they work for service users, and stop the revolving door of assessments and related stress and anxiety for those with long-term illnesses, disabilities or conditions.
  • We will restore housing benefit for 18-21 year olds – giving back to our young people what the Tories have taken away.

Building warm, affordable homes

  • We will build at least 50,000 new homes across Scotland, and introduce a Warm Homes Bill to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency.

Shining a light on who owns Scotland’s land

  • We will end the practice revealed in the Panama Papers of anonymous ownership of major tracts of Scotland’s land by introducing a mandatory, public register of controlling interests in landowners or tenants.

Leading on tackling climate change

  • We will introduce a new Climate Change Act, with an ambitious new target of reducing emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2020.
  • We will ensure that, by 2020, at least half of all new renewable projects have an element of shared ownership and we will look to establish a government owned energy company to support local and community energy.

Connecting rural Scotland

  • We will deliver superfast broadband to 100 per cent of premises across Scotland, to bring our most remote communities closer to the markets they need.