The SNP manifesto for the 2011 election is dominated by three central themes: job creation, stronger communities and building a fairer Scotland. It is a manifesto for a Scotland that is more successful, aspirational, confident and creative.
The manifesto contains features that have never appeared before in any Scottish or UK manifesto. These features reflect who we are as a party and are an important part of the SNP’s presentation to the people of Scotland in this election.
The manifesto itself is divided into four sections. The first focuses on the leadership and the overall direction of travel: what we are working to achieve and what motivates us. The second is the central policy detail: our actions and ambition for health, jobs, schools, justice and more. This includes our key commitments to deliver a fair deal for families with Council Tax frozen throughout the next Parliament; our decision to protect NHS spending so we can continue to improve treatment; our commitment to free university education; our determination to protect the 1000 extra police on our streets and our action to support job creation and deliver more training opportunities with 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships.
In our manifesto, Scotland’s creativity, talent, opportunity and potential is given centre stage. And it is within this context that we present our case for independence. Independence, not for its own sake, but because it will allow us to achieve even more for our nation. And within this is a series of powerful policies to encourage young talent in Scotland and to promote our great strengths in culture. It is certainly a manifesto for a more creative Scotland.
And finally, building on this, we highlight the engines of growth in Scotland. The places and industries that will drive forward future success. Some would like to divide Scotland between urban and rural but in this section we make clear that all of Scotland has a role to play in building our nation’s success.
Communities are at the heart of our policy approach and there is a strong fairness agenda. The manifesto is, without doubt, a programme for a fairer Scotland. And it is a manifesto that has been heavily influenced by a wide consultation with the people of Scotland.
SNP Ministers will work to deliver the detail of the policy proposals, but more than that they will take the key themes and translate those into the overall direction for government. Within this manifesto, those priorities are clear. A re-elected SNP government will have jobs and fairness at the top of the agenda. We will be working to support creativity, to encourage opportunity and to ensure Scotland makes the most of our enormous green energy potential. The next four years will see stronger communities, a continuously improving health service and a determination to equip young Scots with the skills they need to learn and to excel.
Scotland is on a journey and the path ahead is a bright one. There is so much opportunity in the years ahead. With Scotland united and working together, with a re-elected SNP government, there is no doubt we can and we will make Scotland the more successful country we all know it can be.
Speaking after the launch of the manifesto, Linda Fabiani said:
“This manifesto sets the SNP apart from the other major parties in this election.
“While Labour, Tories and LibDems are concerned at the impact this election might have on their parties at Westminster, the SNP is fighting only to deliver a better future for Scotland.
“The programme for government outlined in the manifesto sets out our ambition for what Scotland can be.
“It demonstrates clearly that the SNP has the team, the experience and the vision to see Scotland and East Kilbride through the tough times ahead.”