Scottish election: Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto

image captionThe Scottish Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto ahead of the 5 May poll

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto for the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.

Here is a look at all the key pledges:


- Create the conditions for 100,000 new jobs, supported by at least £1.5bn of investment freed up by selling off Scottish Water debt, turning it into a "public benefit company".

- Replace Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland agencies with regional development banks to support 1,000 businesses.

- Keep the small business bonus and look into "rates holidays" for seasonal tourist businesses, while giving councils share of business rate growth.

- Deliver enterprise zones in Scotland, encouraging economic growth through a package of business support measures.

- New "science nation fund" to boost invention and innovation.

- Offer work experience, internships, apprenticeships or substantial volunteering opportunities for young people struggling to find work.

- Reform business regulation.

- Help more Scottish businesses access public sector contracts.

- Create the conditions to help grow Scotland's export value by 50% and double by 2020 the number of Scottish companies who trade overseas by 2020.

- Drive Scotland forward as "world leader" in renewable energy sector.

- Invest £250m to deliver superfast broadband to all parts of Scotland and improve mobile phone coverage.

- Require every public body to ensure all services can be accessed through technology and online.

- Require rail franchise to include provision of free wi-fi on key routes.

- Give the Scottish business community the right annually to draft the text of a parliamentary motion on a subject of its choosing and with actions that it determines.

- Cut the "burden of regulation" by a quarter.

Public services

- Pensioners with an annual income below £10,000 to be exempt from council tax.

- Look at transfer to local government the inspection functions of SEPA.

- Merge boards of Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

- Publish a white paper on localism to outline the fuller steps that can be taken to disperse power away from the centre.

- Introduce progressively a new rule to ensure no local authority receives less than 90% of the average revenue support grant per head.

- Introduce payment-by-results in public services, where appropriate. Success in delivering the desired outcomes will be rewarded, "failure to deliver will not".

- Allow communities to take over public assets and register an interest to acquire private assets of significant value to the community.

- Require local authorities to publish monthly reports detailing all items of expenditure over £500.

- Public bodies to submit their budget for the number of their employees paid more than £80,000 per year and oblige those organisations to cut that pay bill by 10%.


- Allocate £250m to accelerate insulation of homes and buildings in Scotland and take forward new universal home insulation schemes.

- Support a new generation of apprentices to become experts in installing insulation and energy-efficient systems.

- Requirement for for new-build homes and non-domestic buildings to be "zero carbon" by 2016.

- New support to companies developing marine, hydro and biomass renewable energy technology.

- Scotland to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2025.

- Retain Scotland's forests in public ownership.

- Oppose construction of new nuclear power plants in Scotland, while backing development of carbon capture and storage technology.

- Strategy for on-street recycling.


- Make ownership of an electric car a "realistic ambition".

- Deliver strategic transport projects, with clear focus on safety, supporting the economy and improving public transport.

- Develop a fully-costed and timetabled plan to dual the A9 to Inverness.

- Improvements to road safety and quality, including on the A82, A83 and A96.

- Improve commuter transport outside major cities.

- Better rolling stock on long-distance train routes from central belt to Inverness and Aberdeen.

- Maintain a flexible freight facilities grant.

- Fairer fares charter for rail passengers.

- Increase entitlement age for free bus travel from 60 to 65.

- Continue to invest in lifeline ferry links.

- Keep up pressure on airport operators to continue to invest in snow clearing equipment.

- Reintroduce business travel in the air discount scheme for the Highlands and Islands and extend it to cover airport charges.

- Allow councils to charge utility services an hourly rate for highway lane closures that overrun.


- £250m early intervention revolution fund to invest in early years.

- Introduce pupil premium for looked-after children, starting as soon as they come into care and ensure looked-after children at secondary school have access to a mentor.

- Provide supported accommodation for those leaving local authority care at the age of 16.

- Help every child to benefit from a strong start to formal learning in P2 onwards with the P1 year in primary school treated as a more informal start to education.

- Provide opportunity for youngsters to attend college to do a course of their choice from the age of 14.

- Encourage more secondary school style teaching for pupils in P7 to help the transition from P7 to S1.

- Give more power and financial control to headteachers.

- Priority on pupil-teacher ratios and allow headteachers and parents the flexibility to work within the existing legal class size limits.

- Review protections afforded to teaching staff accused of mistreating pupils to prevent their careers being wrecked by false allegations.

- Accept the recommendations of the Donaldson Review of teacher education.

- Keep university education free, with no tuition fees and no graduate contribution.

- £250m match funding to boost science facilities.

- Investigate fair system of payments from EU students.

- Establish flexible Scottish degree, with standard three year degree in many areas.

- Create stronger local colleges with a "radically enhanced role" to promote wider entry into higher education through further education.

- £250m fund to maintain the international competitiveness of university based research and science.


- New national objective on obesity.

- New target for urgent referral for cancer diagnosis, with every patient to see a specialist within two weeks.

- Improve the provision of mental health services, increase access to psychological and emotional support and reduce waiting times for psychological treatments and talking therapies.

- Drive forward smart investment in preventative care and health.

- Retain NHS 24 helpline but improve out-of-hours care across Scotland, with a particular focus on rural and remote areas, and put GPs back at the centre of the service.

- Make Scotland the first country to establish national-scale telehealth services.

- Make better use of pharmacy services in the community to provide quick and easy access to healthcare out of office hours.

- Guarantee access to an NHS dentist for everyone who wants it.

- Drive down rates of healthcare associated infection.

- Protect free personal care for the elderly.

- Drive out waste and inefficiency in the health service without impacting on frontline services.

- Make health boards more financially transparent, end bonus payments to high-earning consultants and take action to reduce "soaring" drugs bill.

- Allow communities to design health services that best meet their local needs.

- Give individuals and carers right to access range of self-directed care options.

- Introduce short break entitlement for those in greatest need.

- Ensure "stringent enforcement" of existing alcohol law.

- Support UK-wide measures to tackle the sale of alcohol at unacceptably low cost.

- Use cash seized from criminals to invest in quality diversionary activities for young people.

- Every person seeking treatment for drug or alcohol dependency to wait no longer than three weeks for access to services

- Encourage more widespread use of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders and alcohol treatment requirements.


- New system of grants worth up to £10,000 to bring Scotland's 70,000 empty homes back into use, provided owners allow a housing association to rent it out for 10 years.

- Give further priority to shared equity schemes.

- Develop community land trusts to secure and develop land within remote or rural communities.

- Pilot "home on the farm" initiative to allow conversions of agricultural buildings for housing.

- Review home information survey packs to evaluate their effectiveness, but retain energy performance certificate.

- Widen tenancies available for immediate rented housing.


- Give local communities a right to hear from their police.

- Consider shared services for emergency services, but oppose single national police or fire services.

- End automatic early release from prison.

- Establish community justice panels as an alternative to court action to divert minor offenders from re-offending.

- Increase efforts to rid prisons of drugs by piloting wing-based, abstinence focused, drug recovery services.

- Set up custody and rehabilitation service from the current structure of the Scottish Prison Service.

- Allow voluntary sector to fund programmes with offenders, starting inside prison and accountable for two years after release.

- Increase mentoring on release from ex-offenders, especially offering young offenders the opportunity to be "met at the gate" on release.

- Targeted intervention strategies to help cut knife crime.

- Provide resources for community payback orders.

- Reduce the amount of time it takes to enact summary justice.

- Ensure victims receive compensation immediately after it is awarded, with the state responsible for recovery from the offender, rather than the victim.

- Widen the victim notification scheme to notify victims when the offender is eligible for release from prison or is unlawfully at large.

Human rights

- Give Scottish ministers defined interest in potentially lethal police equipment such as Tasers.

- Limit the use of biometric ID systems in schools, ban fingerprinting of pupils without parental consent and ensure that any existing data is kept secure and destroyed.

- Strengthen freedom of information legislation.

- Control the way councils use the serious surveillance powers intended for serious offences and require a Scottish Parliament committee to review annually how these powers are being deployed.

- Improve regulation and introduce a code of conduct for public authorities using CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras.

- Extend legal marriage to gay couples and civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.

- Work with the UK government to review the blanket ban on gay men donating blood.


- Establish new a creative industry fund.

- Maintain free access to Scotland's national museums.

- Support 2014 as a second year of homecoming for those people around the world with Scottish ancestry.

- Support Gaelic medium education where there is demand and promote the language in cost effective ways.

- Develop Scotland-wide school Olympics.