Scotland Election 2016

Holyrood 2016: Scottish Labour manifesto at-a-glance

Kezia Dugdale Image copyright PA
Image caption The manifesto was launched by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale at an event in Edinburgh

Scottish Labour has published its manifesto ahead of the Holyrood election on 5 May. Here are some of the key points from the document, which can be read in full here.

Key points

In her introduction to the manifesto, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale sets out her ambition of creating a Scotland where a young person's life chances are determined by their ambition, potential and work rate rather than where they were born.

She argues that the only way of making that vision a reality is by investing in education and vital public services, and says her party is "focused on using the powers of our Scottish Parliament to invest in the future", rather than "re-running the old battles of the past".

And Ms Dugdale says the election is about which party is willing to use the new devolved powers to "stop the cuts and invest in the future".


Labour points out that it created the NHS, which it describes as the party's proudest achievement, and says it remains committed to keeping it in public hands and free at the point of delivery.

The party also says it would:

  • use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to protect the NHS budget
  • extend the minor ailment service in community pharmacies
  • guarantee an appointment at a GP surgery within 48 hours
  • protect local services and look for opportunities to develop them, and create four new major trauma centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen
  • cut cancer waiting times
  • guarantee that social care packages are put in place within a week for those who need them
  • ensure mental health is given the same priority as physical health
  • double the maternity grant for new mothers to help lift children out of poverty


Along with health, education is one of the key policy areas for Scottish Labour. The manifesto says the party will:

  • protect education spending in real terms
  • establish a Fair Start Fund to give nursery and primary head teachers direct control over more resources
  • give every primary school the opportunity to establish a breakfast club
  • use the proceeds from the "sugar tax" to support investment in after-school sport
  • bridge the gap between "the richest and the rest" in classrooms
  • keep university tuition fees free and reverse cuts to student grants
  • invest in modern apprenticeships with 30,000 new apprenticeships each year

Taxation and the economy

Scottish Labour makes an "anti-austerity" pledge and commits to using the Scottish Parliament's powers to stop cuts to public services.

Among its proposals are:

  • raising the basic and higher rates of income tax by 1p while ensuring nobody earning under £20,000, including pensioners, pays any more than they are now
  • raising the income tax rate for those earning more than £150,000 from 45p to 50p
  • using the money raised by the income tax rises to invest in education
  • scrap the Council Tax and replace it with a new property tax that the party says would leave 80% of households better off
  • create a "dynamic economy" where Scotland is "open for business"

Environment and Transport

The manifesto commits Scottish Labour to an outright ban on fracking across Scotland.

It also pledges to:

  • ensure budgets, regulations and legislative programme are compatible with Scotland's Climate Change Act
  • tackle fuel poverty through a Warm Homes Act
  • introduce a single smartcard ticket for public transport
  • deliver a publically-owned "People's ScotRail"
  • immediately halt the CalMac privatisation

Housing and planning

Scottish Labour says it would end the "housing crisis" in Scotland by:

  • helping first-time buyers save for a deposit
  • tackle rogue landlords and ban "rip-off rent rises"
  • building 60,000 affordable homes, with 45,000 of those for rent by councils, housing associations and co-operatives
  • reform the planning regime, and empowering local communities to take over assets and run them as co-operatives
  • introduce a Scottish Islands Bill to ensure island interests are protected
  • simplify the many provisions in Scots law relevant to refugees

Independence and the constitution

The manifesto says that voting to remain in the United Kingdom in the independence referendum in 2014 was the "right decision for Scotland" and that it is now time for both sides in the debate to "move on".

It rules out another independence referendum within the five-year term of the next parliament, and says the new devolved powers mean Holyrood can now "make different decisions, and act in the best interest of the people of Scotland".

The manifesto also makes clear Scottish Labour's support for the UK remaining a member of the EU, and the party's opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

And it proposes freezing Scottish government ministerial pay, and ensuring any party that has a majority in the parliament does not also hold the majority of committee convenorships and should not nominate a member for the position of presiding officer.


Following a vote at the Scottish Labour conference, the party says it will make a submission to the UK party's National Defence Review opposing the renewal of Trident.

This would be subject to a Defence Diversification Agency guaranteeing the retention of all existing jobs.

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