NHS funding boost and school meal expansion among key pledges in SNP manifesto

Nicola Sturgeon (PA Wire)
13:20pm, Thu 15 Apr 2021
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The SNP has launched its manifesto ahead of the Scottish Parliament election on May 6.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key promises being made by Nicola Sturgeon’s party:

Health and social care

The SNP has pledged to increase NHS frontline spending by at least 20% during the next Parliament, a rise of more than £2.5 billion over five years.

The manifesto also vows to invest £10 billion over the next 10 years “to replace and refurbish health facilities”, with the majority to be opened by the end of the decade.

An NHS National Pharmaceutical Agency will be created “with a mission to secure safe and high-quality medicines at the most cost effective price possible”, and that will also involve expanding Scotland’s medicine production.

The SNP also promises to establish a National Care Service and increase investment in the sector by 25%.

NHS dentistry charges would be abolished and free prescriptions maintained.

Non-residential social care charges would also be scrapped.

Social security and benefits

The SNP would increase the £10 Scottish Child Payment to £20 per eligible youngster per week.

Bonds of up to £50,000 would be offered to young people and families to stay on, or move to, Scottish islands threatened by depopulation.

Education

Free school lunches will be expanded to all primary school pupils and free breakfasts will be introduced.

Every school pupil will receive a device to get on the internet.

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021 (PA Wire)

The party has vowed to recruit at least 3,500 additional teachers and classroom assistants.

It will invest £1 billion to close the school attainment gap between the richest and poorest children.

A “national digital academy”, similar to the Open University, will be established for Scots to study for Highers online at any age.

Taxation

Income tax rates and bands will be frozen and band threshold increases will be by a maximum of inflation.

Council tax will be removed for those under 22.

Independence

Independence supporters (PA Archive)

The manifesto states the SNP wants to hold another Scottish independence referendum “once the Covid crisis has passed but in good time to decide that we want to equip our Parliament with the powers it needs to drive our long-term economic recovery from Covid”.

Transport

The party vows to extend free bus travel to all under-22s.

By 2026, the SNP wants 10% of the transport capital budget to be spent on active travel schemes to encourage walking, cycling and wheeling.

They will also offer free bikes to school children who cannot afford one.

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