Election 2017

Reality Check: What is the Scottish National Party promising?

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Media captionReality Check: How will SNP pay for £120bn manifesto pledges?

The SNP won't be appearing on the ballot paper for the majority of voters. Scotland has just 59 of the UK's 650 Parliamentary constituencies.

But the SNP, which won all but three of those Scottish seats in 2015, has nonetheless produced a manifesto with a lot to say about the UK.

In terms of spending, the party plans to invest about £120bn in public services across the UK over the next five years.

But how would the SNP fund it all?

The vast majority of that money - £118bn - would come from easing Conservative plans to balance the nation's books. The SNP wants to reduce the overall UK deficit - but not eliminate it - in this Parliament.

A further £10bn would be raised from tax rises. The SNP wants the highest earners in the UK to pay a 50% rate on income over £150,000, up from the current 45%.

The SNP already has the power to change income tax rates in Scotland. So far, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has declined to do that for fear of driving high wage earners south of the border.

Other tax raising measures including removing the marriage tax allowance and reversing the cut in the bank levy.

Impact on public finances

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) - which looks at tax and spend policies - says borrowing under the SNP will be higher than under the plans set out in Labour's manifesto, even though their spending plans are less ambitious.

That's because the SNP is planning to raise less tax than Labour.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon launched the SNP manifesto on Tuesday

In order to fund its spending plans, the SNP says it will target a deficit of 2.3% of GDP in 2020-21 - the long term UK average prior to the 2008 global financial crisis.

The party insists its plans are credible and that its borrowing will fund only investment programmes.

Other plans

With the Tories in its sights, the SNP says it will keep the triple lock on pensions and universal winter fuel payments for pensioners, as well as increase the minimum wage.

Like other parties, it is also promising to increase spending on health, with the NHS Scotland budget increasing by up to an extra £1bn.

The manifesto says overall health spending in Scotland is already about 7% higher per head than in England (and that it would cost more than £11bn over the next five years for England to catch up).

On immigration, the SNP is seeking new powers to set its own migration policy "suited to our specific circumstances and needs".

Brexit

The SNP makes clear that it believes the biggest danger to the health of the Scottish economy is the threat of a hard Brexit.

It says - quoting research from the University of Strathclyde - that leaving the EU single market could cost 80,000 jobs in Scotland over 10 years.

In last year's referendum, Scotland voted to stay in the EU and this manifesto calls for Scotland to be given a place at the Brexit negotiating table, so the party can try to keep it in the single market.

There has been no indication that the Conservatives, if they were returned to power in Westminster, would consent to this.

And what if Brexit proves to be unpopular in Scotland?

The SNP believes that would give fresh fuel to its campaign for the other referendum it cares about - it wants a second referendum on Scottish independence once the terms of a future Brexit deal are known.


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