Scotland politics

At-a-glance: Scottish Conservative manifesto

The Scottish Conservatives set out their vision for Scotland ahead of the general election on 8 June. Here are the key points from the manifesto, which sets out five "giant challenges" facing the country.

It points to;

  • The need for a strong economy
  • Brexit and a changing world
  • Enduring social divisions
  • An ageing society
  • Fast-changing technology

Have a look at the manifesto in full.


Taxation

The document says the Tories are the party of "fair taxation" and are committed to:

  • Council tax bills staying "as low as possible"
  • Business rates reform towards a "simpler" system with councils keeping all their business rates income
  • Greater control over land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) for councils
  • An extension of the 5% band of LBTT to properties valued £500,000
  • By 2020 the personal income tax allowance will be increased to £12,500
  • The manifesto also commits the Scottish Tories to press the Scottish Government to raise the threshold for the higher rate to £50,000-a-year

The power over some areas of taxation, including council, land and building tax, is in the hands of MSPs at Holyrood and not MPs at Westminster.


Education

  • A rethink of the controversial Curriculum for Excellence
  • Permission to set up a broader range of "government-funded but autonomous" schools, where there is demand
  • Extended childcare provision targeting a higher proportion of disadvantaged one and two-year-olds
  • Basic literacy and numeracy and "fact-based learning" at the heart of the curriculum
  • Access to school buildings in the evenings and at a weekends for leisure trusts and community groups

The power over education is in the hands of MSPs at Holyrood and not MPs at Westminster.


Health

  • A commitment to raise NHS annual budgets by 2%, the rate of inflation or Barnett consequentials - whichever is the highest.
  • 24 hour mental health support in GPs surgeries and A&E departments.
  • Better funding for health and social care partnership
  • Referral Centres to be set up for the 20,000 or so cases a year of drunk people clogging up A&E departments.

The power over health is in the hands of MSPs at Holyrood and not MPs at Westminster. However, some budgetary decisions made by the UK government can have a knock-on effect in Scotland. This is often referred to as the Barnett consequentials.


Welfare

  • The Scottish Conservatives want to protect universal Winter Fuel Payments for all pensioners in Scotland with no means-testing, unlike the policy south of the border.

More welfare powers have been handed to the Scottish government at Holyrood, including winter fuel payments.


Housing and planning

  • 100,000 new homes built across the country during the next four years.
  • 30,000 empty properties across Scotland brought back into use and a "help-to-rebuild" scheme.
  • Reforms to the planning system improving consultations but limiting appeals to central government.
  • Councils to offer fast-track decision making, in exchange for a "fee supplement".
  • Brownfield land registers and a presumption this land is available for housing developments.
  • Power for councils to offer council tax discounts to first-time buyers to encourage home ownership.
  • Investment of £1bn in energy efficiency schemes, with the target of there being no hard to heat homes by 2030.

The power over housing and planning is in the hands of MSPs at Holyrood and not MPs at Westminster.


Fishing industry

  • Pledge to support Scotland's fishermen after leaving the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy

Energy

  • Support for the shale gas industry in Scotland as part of a "diverse energy mix" which will include more offshore wind projects, but fewer onshore large-scale wind projects

Law and order

  • The Scottish Tories insist re-offending rates need to be tackled.
  • Measures to tackle the cycle of re-offending would include classes and workshops for inmates before the are released from prison.
  • There are also plans to make Police Scotland more locally accountable.

Power over justice and policing issues are in the hands of MSPs at Holyrood.


Transport and infrastructure

  • The Conservatives argue that physical and digital infrastructure are vital to local growth, aiming to expand broadband access and improve the currently "mixed" state of the country's roads.
  • The manifesto calls for a central road maintenance fund to help speed up pothole repair
  • It also wants a capital infrastructure fund for local growth partnerships
  • Power over bus franchising made available to local authorities
  • Expansion of the Community Broadband Scotland scheme
  • And at least one cycles-only route in each of Scotland's cities

Power over transport is in the hands of MSPs at Holyrood.


Scotland's Economy

  • The Scottish Conservatives argue that a strong economy is needed to guarantee the country's security, prosperity and public services.
  • The manifesto says: "We need to make the most of our existing strengths, invest in infrastructure and people, and ensure that the whole of our economy across the whole of our country can grow."
  • Under the Scottish Tories, long haul rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD) north of the border would be abolished and short haul rates would be frozen to encourage more flights to and from Scotland and the US, China and other global destinations to boost trade and international links.

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