Our manifesto


Introduction

We live in tougher times. So I want to set out real ideas for Scotland. Ideas that recognise that Scotland needs long term solutions, not short term political fixes. A Government for the whole country, not a minority party. A Scotland that looks outward and upwards and is not insular, throwing insults over Hadrian’s Wall.

That is what this Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto is about. I know the pressures families and businesses across Scotland face. Rising prices in the shops, and uncertainty in the workplace. Those local services we all depend on, the school, health centre and police officer, under pressure.

So we are setting out ways to tackle these challenges. Solutions that will create the conditions for jobs, restore excellence in our schools and keep your vital services local.

Politicians don't create jobs. But they can cut red tape, invest in apprenticeships for young people, colleges and universities, and find new ways to get money to small businesses starved of finance. That's what I want to do.

Politicians don't teach in school classrooms. But they can give teachers space and freedom to innovate, inspire and encourage Scotland's next generation. Politicians can clear away reams of paperwork and give head teachers the room to lead. And they can make sure that the best and brightest teachers are in our classrooms, not leaving the profession or working overseas. I want to do all that and much more.

Politicians can meddle in public services. They can centralise the local services you rely on. They can set up a National Police Force, a single fire service, a quango in charge of the care your granny gets. They can stop any accountability your local councillor has to you. They can and the others will try. But not me. I want your services to be local and right for you. Only the Scottish Liberal Democrats will stop the centralising power grab that the other parties want.

In this tough period my focus for you will be on jobs, education and local services. I want to build a stronger, better Scotland. I offer solutions for Scotland.

Your vote could make that happen. Happen with the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Tavish Scott
Tavish Scott
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

Solutions for Scotland

This Scottish election is unlike any other. Scotland is emerging from the deepest recession in post-war history. Money is tight for families, businesses – and for government too. So in this election you have a right to expect politicians to step up to the plate and provide the leadership, commitment and ideas that we need to rebuild our economy, strengthen our society and shape Scotland’s successful future.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are ready for that challenge. We are providing solutions for Scotland.

This manifesto spells out in detail the solutions that we will bring to every area of government policy. It is a positive, long term plan for a strong Scotland. We set out its costings as well as our ambitious national outcomes for the coming decade.

We will move Scottish Water to a public benefit corporation. This will allow a one-off capital receipt to benefit the Scottish Government which we will turn into an Investing In Scotland’s Future Fund. We propose to allocate this to five strands: an Early Intervention Revolution, Energy Saving, Digital Economy, Science Nation and Finance Scotland. Each strand will provide long term benefit to Scotland and will generate new income for the future.

At the core of our approach are three overriding priorities. Three key areas in which we will take immediate action. Three challenges to which we will provide solutions for Scotland – from day one.

Jobs and economic growth

Creating the conditions for 100,000 new jobs, supported by at least £1.5 billion of investment freed up by reform to Scottish Water.

Getting money to small businesses where the greedy banks have failed and bringing them together with colleges to provide the skills our economy needs.

Cutting energy bills and boosting the green economy with new help to pay for insulation in your home or business and new investment in renewable energy.

Helping Scottish business compete internationally by boosting exports, cutting regulation and making Scotland the most digitally connected economy in Europe.

Excellence in education

Raising standards in schools by giving head teachers more power, so that teachers spend more time teaching your children, not filling in government forms.

Giving every child a fair start in life with an Early Intervention Revolution so that no child is left behind.

Supporting colleges and keeping Scotland’s universities globally competitive by investing in science and research, modernising the sector and improving student support.

Working with other parties to keep higher education free – no fees and no graduate contribution.

Keeping services local

Cutting crime by keeping the police local, helping them tackle local problems and making offenders pay back to your community for the damage they’ve done.

Supporting less well-off pensioners by reforming the unfair council tax so they pay nothing at all.

Helping to protect local jobs and services by cutting high pay and bonuses at the very top, listening to frontline staff and driving out waste.

Improving out-of-hours care across Scotland by putting local GPs back at the heart of the service.