SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has launched her party’s 2015 general election manifesto, pledging an end to austerity and progressive policies for the whole of the UK.
The SNP manifesto includes the following commitments:
- SNP say they are offering an alternative to the ‘Westminster cuts agenda’. A proposal for a modest spending increase of 0.5 per cent a year will enable at least £140 billion extra investment in the economy and public services.
- For the NHS this will mean an additional £9.5 billion spending above inflation across the UK by 2020/21 – £24 billion in total. This will deliver a total increase for NHS Scotland of £2 billion.
- SNP will back plans for an annual UK target of 100,000 affordable homes, and use additional capital investment to deliver a further expansion of house-building in Scotland.
- SNP will back an increase in the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020.
- SNP will back the restoration of the 50p top income tax rate for those earning over £150,000.
- SNP will support an increase in the Employment Allowance from £2,000 per business per year to £6,000, to help smaller firms take on and retain additional staff.
- SNP will oppose the £3 billion cut in disability support that threatens to cut the income of a million disabled people by more than £1,000 a year.
- SNP will vote the retain the triple lock on pensions and protect the winter fuel allowance.
Nicola Sturgeon said ending austerity will be the SNP’s number one priority following the general election.
Ms Sturgeon said: “This is a manifesto to make Scotland stronger at Westminster. The pledge I make to the Scottish people is this. If you vote SNP on 7 May, we will make your voice heard more loudly and clearly than it has ever been heard before at Westminster.
“But I also want to make a pledge today to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“We will seek to make common cause and build alliances with others of like mind across the UK to deliver the progressive change that so many want to see.
“The manifesto we publish today sets out our priorities for progressive change. It is a manifesto, above all else, to end austerity. That will be our number one priority.
“When a policy is failing, it is time to change it.
“That is why we are putting forward a clear alternative to the further spending cuts proposed by the Tories and Labour.
“We want to see modest spending increases – the equivalent of increasing departmental spending by 0.5 per cent above inflation – in each year of the next parliament.
“Under our proposal, the deficit and the national debt would still fall each year. But a slightly slower path to eliminating the deficit completely will still allow at least £140 billion extra to be invested in infrastructure and support for business, in protecting our public services, and in policies that will help to lift people out of poverty.
“We will also back fair proposals to raise extra revenue. It’s right that those with the broadest shoulders pay a little bit more. That’s why we will back the restoration of the 50p tax rate for the highest earners, a mansion tax, and a bankers’ bonus tax.
“We will seek to build an alliance in the House of Commons against the renewal of Trident, and we will vote for the £100 billion that would be saved to be invested instead in education, childcare and the NHS.
“We will vote for an increase in health spending across the UK of £24 billion by 2020/21 – £9.5 billion above inflation. That will deliver a total increase to the budget of NHS Scotland of £2 billion by 2020/21 – and it will ensure that our NHS enters the next decade fully equipped for the challenges it faces.
“I also give a commitment today that SNP MPs – in order to protect Scotland’s budget – will vote against any further privatisation of the NHS in England and we will back any moves to restore it to a fully public service.
“The SNP will always support independence – but this election is not about independence. It is about making Scotland stronger.
“So we will use the influence of SNP votes at Westminster to ensure that the promises made during the referendum are delivered. We will demand that the proposals of the Smith Commission are delivered quickly and in full, and we will oppose any effort to undermine devolution.
“We will seek agreement that the Scottish Parliament should move to full financial responsibility. And as part of a phased transition, we will prioritise early devolution of powers over employment policy, including the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy – the powers we need here in Scotland to create jobs, grow revenues and lift people out of poverty.
“This is a manifesto bursting with ideas and ambition.
“A vote for this SNP manifesto on May 7th will make Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster more strongly than it has ever been before. And a stronger voice for Scotland will mean new, better and more progressive politics at Westminster – for everyone.”
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