Scotland politics

At-a-glance: Scottish Lib Dems manifesto

Scottish Lib Dem manifesto launch

The Scottish Lib Dems set out their vision for Scotland ahead of the general election on 8 June. Here are the key points from the manifesto, which they hailed as "the chance to change the direction of the country".

Key points:

  • The Lib Dems would strongly oppose "another divisive referendum" on independence
  • But the party wants a referendum on the final terms of the Brexit deal
  • Propose adding a penny on income tax in Scotland in order to invest additional money in education and mental health
  • Pledge to keep the triple-lock on the state pension
  • Pledge to scrap the two-child rule for tax credits - including the controversial "rape clause"

Election 2017: Who has power over what in Scotland?


Future of the UK

  • The Lib Dems would strongly oppose "another divisive referendum" on independence
  • Create a better democracy with a fair voting system in local government and Westminster
  • Introduce votes at 16 for all elections and referendums across the UK
  • Introduce the Single Transferable Vote for electing MPs across the UK
  • Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate
  • Introduce trials of weekend voting to help raise turnouts in elections
  • Retain the Barnett Formula as the basis for future spending allocations for Scotland
  • Deliver on promises to Scotland in full, devolve more powers to Wales, and secure the political stability of the Northern Ireland
  • Assembly
  • Develop federalism by beginning to meet the needs of England with Devolution on Demand, letting local areas take control of the services that matter most to them

Brexit

  • The party wants a referendum on the final terms of the Brexit deal, with the alternative option of staying in the EU on the ballot paper
  • Press for the UK to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK
  • The UK must maintain membership of the European Single Market
  • Any deal negotiated for the UK outside the EU must protect the right to work, travel, study and retire across the EU
  • Fight to ensure that the priorities and long-term interests of the nations of the UK are fully taken into account by the UK government during negotiations
  • Vote against any attempts to scrap the Human Rights Act or withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights

Economy and taxation

  • Propose adding a penny on income tax in Scotland in order to invest additional money in education and mental health
  • End the 1% pay cap in the public sector to enable the lifting of the pay for 540,000 public sector workers in Scotland
  • Exempt Police Scotland and the fire service from VAT, which will give them £35m to spend on services. (VAT is a reserved matter)
  • Initiate a major £100bn programme of capital spending across the UK, that will have a share spent in Scotland.
  • This will be done by rejecting the "extreme" Conservative approach of insisting on a surplus of both revenue and capital.

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.


Welfare

  • Pledge to scrap the two-child rule for tax credits - including the controversial "rape clause"
  • Extend free childcare and encourage new fathers to take time off with an additional month's paid paternity leave
  • Uprate working-age benefits at least in line with inflation
  • Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%)
  • Reverse cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds
  • Increase the rates of Job Seeker's Allowance and Universal Credit for those aged 18-24 at the same rate as minimum wages
  • Scrap the 'bedroom tax' across the UK

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


Pensions

  • Maintain the 'triple lock' of increasing the State Pension each year by the highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next parliament

Education

  • Make the case for a "Penny for Education", putting 1p on the income tax rate to generate £500m for education
  • Work to secure the extension of early education and childcare to three and four-year-olds, all two-year-olds and the most vulnerable families with children of an earlier age
  • Support the establishment of a properly funded Pupil Premium
  • Continue to lead the opposition to the introduction of "Thatcherite" national testing in schools
  • Protect universities from the impact of a hard Brexit and ensure that they are open to all
  • Repair colleges, giving everybody lifelong opportunities to learn

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


Health and social care

  • Guaranteeing the rights of all NHS and social care service staff who are EU nationals to stay in the UK after Brexit
  • Using the extra resources from a 1p increase in dividend taxation to help deliver a step change in mental health in Scotland
  • Introducing new preventative health measures across the UK, helping people keep healthy
  • End the public sector pay freeze for NHS workers and social care staff
  • Urge the Scottish government to produce a national workforce strategy, to ensure that we never again experience a shortage in the numbers of GPs,
  • hospital doctors, nurses and other professionals that the NHS needs
  • Protect NHS whistleblowers

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.


Housing and planning

  • £5bn of initial capital for a new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank, using public money to attract private investment for these priorities
  • Help young people in need by reversing cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds
  • Scrap the 'bedroom tax' across the UK, while seeking to achieve the aim of making best use of the housing supply through incentivising local authorities to help tenants 'downsize
  • Improve the quality of service housing by bringing the MoD into line with other landlords
  • New direct spending on house-building to help build 300,000 homes a year across the UK by 2022

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


Immigration

  • Make the positive case for immigration and reducing hate crimes by targeting the people who commit them .
  • Offer safe and legal routes to the UK for refugees, expanding the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to offer sanctuary to 50,000 over the lifetime of the next parliament
  • Reopening the Dubs scheme to take 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from Europe
  • Continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of the economy
  • Reinstate post-study work visas for graduates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects who find suitable employment within six months of graduating.
  • End indefinite immigration detention by introducing a 28-day limit

Foreign and Defence

  • Protect, promote, and defend the open and co-operative rules-based international order, including multilateral organisations like the UN and NATO which are increasingly under threat
  • Spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on aid
  • Control arms exports to countries listed as human rights priority countries and suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia
  • Commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence
  • Maintain a minimum nuclear deterrent. Propose three submarines with nuclear missiles instead of four, and moving to a medium-readiness responsive posture

Transport and environment infrastructure

  • An Air Quality Plan to prevent deaths by reducing air pollution
  • Ensuring British farming remains competitive and doesn't lose out in the event of Britain leaving the EU
  • A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025
  • All private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas to run on ultra-low emission or zero emission fuels within five years
  • Ensure that new rail franchises include a stronger focus on customers
  • Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles

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

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