Scotland Election 2016

Holyrood election issues: What are the political parties saying?

Voters in Scotland go to the polls on Thursday 5 May to choose their next MSPs. But where do the parties stand on key issues?


Taxation

Holyrood is set to receive more powers over what it raises and spends. That includes greater control over income tax. Each political party has been saying what it will do with thresholds and rates.

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Health

The Scottish Parliament runs the health service north of the border. That means whoever is in power in Holyrood has ultimate say over what happens to prescription and hospital parking charges, staffing levels and GP services. All parties say they will protect NHS spending.

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Education

Like health, Holyrood has full control over what happens with education in Scotland - from early years to university. The politicians have had plenty to say on childcare, primary and secondary schooling and the future of colleges.

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Jobs and the economy

How well the economy is performing is important to all political parties and each has a strategy on how to to improve its performance and create more jobs.

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Environment and energy

There is a moratorium on fracking in Scotland which was introduced by the SNP administration. Most political parties have a cautious approach to the controversial method of drilling down into the earth to release the gas inside. They have also outlined their policies on renewable energy and climate change.

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Welfare

New devolved benefits - worth about £2.7bn every year - which include the Carer's Allowance and benefits for the disabled such as the Disability Living Allowance, will be heading to Scotland. The country's political parties have been detailing what they would do with welfare if they won the Holyrood election.

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Scottish independence

A referendum on Scottish independence was held in September 2014 and voters decided 55% to 45% to stay a part of the UK. There is no immediate date to hold a second referendum, but Scotland's parties continue to debate the issue.

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Law and order

Frontline policing, the criminal and civil court system and the prison service are all under the control of Scottish Parliament laws.

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Local government

The future funding of local government has been hotly debated in the last few months. A recent report presented to Holyrood said that the council tax system was in need of reform

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Rural affairs

What are Scotland's political parties saying about connecting the country digitally, the future of ferries to and from Scotland many islands, plus farming, fishing and rural transport?

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Transport

Public transport and the upkeep of Scotland's roads and rail infrastructure costs many, many millions a year. To add to that control over air passenger duty heads to Holyrood next year.

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Housing

Politicians have been keen to talk about their plans for new, affordable homes. They are attempting to address the fact that fewer houses are being built in Scotland than there used to be. Builders, property firms and political parties say this is driving up prices, making things hard for both renters and first-time buyers.

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