SNP Manifesto 2019 – Stronger for Scotland

November 28, 2019 Charles Cummins

The Scottish National Party published their 2019 Election Manifesto on Wednesday.

The manifesto includes pledges to: fight for a second independence referendum in Scotland, support a second EU referendum with Remain on the ballot paper, call on the UK government to match Scottish per capita NHS spending, demand an end to austerity, call for the UK Government to follow the SNP’s ‘Fair Work First’ policy platform, demand the devolution of a number of further powers, demand the UK matches Scotland’s ambition on tackling climate change, and scrap Trident.

A full summary can be found below:


Scotland’s Future

  • Hold a further referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK in 2020, and seek a transfer of power from Westminster to Holyrood before the end of 2019, in order to call an election.
  • Work with other parties across Scotland and the UK to stop Brexit, through a second Brexit referendum, with remain on the ballot paper.
  • Support the revocation of Article 50 where the alternative is a no deal Brexit.

Ending Austerity and Investing in Public Services

 Taxes

  • Demand the devolution of further tax powers to Scotland.
  • Back a reduction in employers National Insurance contributions and call for the devolution of National Insurance to Scotland.
  • Oppose any increase in VAT.
  • Back improvements to tax collection and tougher action on tax avoidance, including a review of the closure of HMRC offices, immediate action to uncover the beneficial ownership of Scottish Limited Partnerships, measures to improve the transparency of tax paid by international companies, multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from the digitalisation of the economy, further action by the UK government to tackle international tax avoidance, the full implementation of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering directive and a fit for purpose online retailer tax, a review of the tax rules around intermediaries, and a comprehensive inquiry into the digitisation of tax.

Energy Bills

  • Press for the introduction of an Ofgem database of people who have not switched suppliers alongside a national free switching service.
  • Support legislation which would put a duty on energy suppliers to use clear language in explaining tariffs and costs, introduce a cap on credit that can be built up, provide a minimum of quarterly bills so arrears cannot be built up, contact all customers who have been on the same tariff for two years unless it is the cheapest tariff, and ensure that, in the event an energy supplier fails, the full credit built up by a consumer is paid back.

Healthcare

  • Calls on the UK Government to match the higher amount spent on the NHS per capita in Scotland, in the rest of the UK, and allow an SNP Government in Scotland to increase frontline investment to the NHS to £17bn in 2024/25.
  • Demand the UK Government publish a National Health Service Protection Act, guaranteeing that trade deals do not undermine the founding principles of the NHS nor open it to profit-driven exploitation. The Act would ensure future trade deals require the explicit consent of the devolved parliaments and assemblies of the UK.
  • Press the UK Government to accept responsibility for the contaminated blood scandal.
  • Push for the UK Government to treat problem gambling as a public health matter.

Law and Order

  • Continue to demand the UK Government refunds £175m in VAT to Scotland’s emergency services.
  • Campaign to ensure existing tools such as the European Arrest Warrant, Europol, Passenger Name Records and the Schengen Information System are available to law officers in Scotland in the event Brexit takes place.

Education

  • Expand childcare into the school holidays for primary pupils from the poorest backgrounds, if the SNP Government is returned after the next Holyrood election.

An Open Modern Economy

‘Fair Work First’ approach

  • Call on the UK Government to adopt the SNP’s ‘Fair Work First’ approach: championing the Real Living Wage, opposing zero hours contracts and ensuring that companies that want grants from government sign up to fair work principles.
  • Demand that powers over employment are devolved to Scotland, press for the statutory living wage to rise to at least the level of the real living wage, and for an end to age discrimination.
  • Demand tougher action to close the gender pay gap, including introducing fines for businesses that fail to meet an agreed Equal Pay Standard.
  • Call for action on the Taylor Review findings and rights for those working in the gig economy.

Support for businesses

  • Press for a fit-for-purpose support service for small and medium sized businesses.
  • Back a rise in the National Insurance Employment Allowance from £3,000 per business per year to £6,000 per business per year.
  • Urge the UK Government to deliver Growth Deals for areas of Scotland yet to receive them, and support the call from the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Outer Hebrides for a much more ambitious Islands Growth Deal.
  • Push for an increase in the capital borrowing limits that restrict the SNP Government’s ability to invest in infrastructure.
  • Press the UK Government to invest in digital connectivity including superfast broadband and 5G technology, press for the reclassification of the internet as an essential service, and work with broadband and mobile service providers to make more affordable tariffs and packages more widely available.
  • Call on the UK government to examine a reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector. 

Broadcasting and the creative industries

  • Support tax incentives for creative industries, including for film and television, and for more work to increase equality, inclusion and diversity across the sector.
  • Press for responsibility for broadcasting in Scotland to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and for greater authority and funding to be moved from the BBC network to BBC Scotland.
  • Press the UK Government to ensure over 75s continue to receive a free TV licence.
  • Argue for streamlined visa schemes for artists and performers, in the event of Brexit.

Corporate culture

  • Back moves to increase worker representation on company boards and argue for greater representation of women and minority communities on public and private sector boards, supporting UK legislation for gender balance on the boards of private sector companies.
  • Support calls for the alignment of executive pension contributions with those of other workers, to be put on a statutory basis.
  • Support industry calls for firms to include climate change related disclosures in their annual reports, and support moves to introduce an easy to understand system of climate-friendly external auditing of firms.

Consumer protection

  • Support a freeze in further Insurance Premium Tax increases.
  • Push for the cap on interest rates to be lowered further and for a cap on credit card interest rates and unauthorised overdrafts to be introduced.
  • Press for stronger legal protection against ticket touting, for those impacted by miss-selling, for regulations to ensure fair delivery charges in rural communities and for a streamlined complaints and redress process for those miss-sold under the Coalition Government Green Deal.

Online harm 

  • Demand new standards and measures to be put in place so social media, gaming and technology organisations protect their users fully including through a statutory duty of care.
  • Appoint a new independent Online Regulator with the ability to take action such as imposing heavy fines and blocking access to sites, paid for by a levy on technology companies.
  • Introduce age verification for sites that are not suitable for children or have lower age limits.
  • Require the UK Government to provide free resources to protect people and regular awareness campaigns to highlight their availability.

Climate Change – A Moral and Economic Responsibility

Transitioning the Economy 

  • Demand the UK matches Scotland’s climate change targets: reducing emissions 75% by 2035, achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and achieving net-zero in all emissions by 2045.
  • Campaign for the UK to remain aligned with EU environmental regulations in the event of Brexit.
  • Propose a Green Energy Deal that ensures renewable energy-schemes get long-term investment.
  • Deliver a wave and tidal energy industrial strategy.
  • Allow onshore wind and solar power to bid for ‘contracts for difference’ support, and look to ensure that floating offshore wind and tidal stream generation can also benefit. Ensure that supply chains also benefit from this.
  • Plant 30 million trees a year.
  • Oppose new nuclear power plants and prioritise investment in cleaner forms of electricity generation.
  • Oppose fracking in its entirety.
  • Demand the ring-fencing of oil and gas receipts to create a Net-Zero Fund to help fund investment in renewable energy, electric vehicles and carbon capture.
  • Ensure that 12% of this Fund goes to a Net Zero Industrial Strategy to diversify the economies of oil hubs.

Transport 

  • Campaign for the UK to bring forward plans to move to electric vehicles by 2032.
  • Demand full control of Scotland’s railway system and take it into public ownership.
  • Invest £500m in bus infrastructure.
  • Reach net-zero emissions from railways by 2035.
  • Incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles, such as by providing £17m of loan funding, and support a diesel scrappage scheme if trading in ULEVs.
  • Work with the UK Government to reduce rail times between Scotland and England, thereby reducing demand for flights.
  • Reduce VAT on bicycles.
  • Make the Highlands and Islands Airport the world’s first net-zero aviation region.

Decarbonisation and Green Finance 

  • Push for the accelerated deployment of carbon capture utilisation and storage facilities.
  • Support a greener tax deal for heating, energy efficiency improvements in homes, and for a new vehicle and tax incentives regime for transport.
  • Ensure that all new homes use renewable or low carbon heat from 2024.
  • End the Treasury’s 20% tax on making homes warmer and greener.
  • Launch a Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan to support Scottish people to gain the necessary skills to benefit from the decarbonisation agenda.
  • Campaign for funding for the dedicated Committee on Climate Change office in Scotland that the Scottish Government is committed to establishing.
  • Put the transition to net-zero at the heart of the work of the Scottish National Investment Bank.
  • Bring to market a £3bn portfolio of projects such as renewables, waste and construction, that are ready for green finance investment.

A Fairer Scotland

Benefits 

  • Halt Universal Credit, and demand an end to the two-child benefit cap, the Rape Clause, the benefit freeze and the bedroom tax.
  • Introduce a benefit that reduces child poverty, establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission, and re-establish UK-wide child poverty targets.
  • Demand new measures to prevent poverty amongst care leavers, such as ensuring the Living Wage applies to all, and make care leavers exempt from the Shared Accommodation Rate for Housing Benefit.

Pensions 

  • Oppose any rise in the pension age, maintain the Triple Lock on the State Pension, and encourage a campaign to support people get the help they are entitled to, such as pension credit.
  • Continue to support the WASPI campaign, and call on the UK Government to extend auto-enrolment to more low-employed and self-employed workers. 

Parental Rights 

  • Increase maternity leave to one year, and increase shared parental leave to 64 weeks.
  • Introduce a ‘use it or lose it’ principle, where the paternity leave (12 weeks) cannot be transferred.
  • Give parents an extra statutory week of paid leave for every week their baby is in neonatal care.
  • Push for extended legal protections against redundancy for pregnant women, and those on parental leave or in their first six months of returning from parental leave.

A Sustainable Rural Economy

Scottish Produce 

  • Call on the UK Government to guarantee EU nationals’ right to remain in the UK, and demand the devolution of immigration policy.
  • Fight against damaging tariffs and for affected sectors to be fully compensated.
  • Press for the reciprocal recognition of PGIs, and work to create more PGI products.
  • Encourage reform of the excise duty structures and for a fairer tax on Scottish whisky.
  • Ban the import of trophy animals that are on the CITES list of endangered species.
  • Push for the devolution of agriculture and rural policy.
  • Strengthen and extend the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Fishing 

  • Press for the prioritisation of fresh fish and seafood exports in the event of disruption due to Brexit, and fight for control of Scottish fisheries.
  • Push for fundamental reform of the Common Fisheries Policy if the UK stays in the EU.
  • Press for the rules and regulations that apply to Scottish vessels in Scottish waters to apply equally to all other vessels in Scottish waters.

Defending Democracy and People’s Rights 

Democratic reform

  • Replace the first-past-the-post system with the Single Transferable Vote.
  • Vote to abolish the House of Lords.
  • Extend the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds for Scottish Parliament and local government elections.
  • Extend the franchise to EU citizens.
  • Give the Scottish Parliament the option to take up candidate quotas.

Extending Human Rights

  • Promote new rights such as a right to food for all.
  • Urge the UK Government to adopt the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law, like they have in Scotland.
  • Support an inquiry into how devolved administrations can contribute to upholding the international rules-based system. 

Immigration 

  • Oppose the Conservative Party’s proposal to introduce a minimum salary threshold that prevents anyone earning less than £30,000 entry to the UK.
  • Continue to oppose the Immigration Skills Charge – a charge for employers of up to £5,000 per non-EEA worker.
  • Reduce the cost for applying for citizenship.
  • Agitate for a less restrictive approach to family migration.
  • End indefinite immigration detention and seek alternatives to migrant detention.
  • Obtain devolution for migration and establish a fair immigration system fit for Scottish needs, which includes population growth for the prosperity of its businesses, universities and public services.

Refugees

  • Demand the UK Government establish an independent body to make decisions on asylum applications, which currently resides with the Home Office.
  • Reopen the Dubs Scheme for unaccompanied children.
  • Introduce a new scheme that would ensure that families retain the right to remain together.
  • Create safe and legal routes for people find protection in the UK.
  • Establish the right to work for asylum seekers.
  • Call on the UK Government to follow UNHCR recommendations and commit to taking 10,000 people per year, as per the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement programme.
  • Remove unfair and invasive demands for ‘proof’ from LGBT+ individuals of their sexuality when they are escaping persecution from their home country.

A Safer World

International aid

  • Demand the UK Government maintains 0.7% of GDP to overseas development.
  • Demand the UK Government redoubles efforts to tackle international development challenges arising from climate change.
  • Demand the UK Government establish a dedicated Climate Justice Fund like the Scottish Government has.

Foreign affairs

  • Press for action on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which supports women in playing crucial roles in peacebuilding.
  • Support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Call on the UK Government to withdraw its military base on the Chagos Islands.
  • Urge the UK Government to use all diplomatic channels to protect the Anglo-Sino Agreement for the de-escalation of violence in Hong Kong, de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan, secure justice for the Rohingya peoples and secure protection for Kurdish minorities in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria.
  • Support the right of Kashmiri people to self-determination. 

Defence

  • Urge the UK Government to carry out a new Strategic Defence and Security Review that includes an assessment for the need for a permanent base of conventional patrol vessels in Scotland.
  • Support the retention of all Scottish bases and regiments.
  • Call for the tender for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Solid Support ships be restricted to UK shipyards.
  • Call on UK Government to end the Trident programme.

Service personnel

  • Urge the UK Government to establish a statutory armed forces representative staff body to speak in the interests of UK Armed Forces including terms of pay, negotiate conditions and investigate concerns and issues.
  • Call for Commonwealth personnel in the UK armed forces and their families to have the right to live in the UK indefinitely.
  • Press the UK Government to house homeless ex-servicemen in vacant MOD homes.

Munitions 

  • Agitate for the UK Government to immediately halt all military support to regimes guilty of violations to human rights and international humanitarian law.
  • Reject the use of autonomous weapons.
  • Urge the MOD to take responsibility for the environmental impact of military munitions.