The Scottish Budget needs dramatic changes to support the economy and young people.
These are the things the Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see:
1) Investment to transform mental health services
New investment will transform mental health services. It will make the whole NHS more sustainable and will help businesses who lose millions of days from staff absence.
The SNP Government’s mental health strategy expired more than a year ago.
The Lib Dem plan for mental health would double the mental health support for young people and invest in dedicated mental health professionals in A&E departments, GP surgeries and police divisions.
2) Build back up our colleges
Scotland used to rank among the best in the world for education, now we are just average.
Education is the essential investment to have a high-skill and high-wage future for Scotland.
The current SNP budget leaves colleges with £93 million less to spend than they had seven years ago. Audit Scotland has recently reported that the cut has damaged the chances of women and older students.
The Liberal Democrat plan will invest in colleges again.
3) Raise attainment for every child in schools
Evidence from England shows that a Pupil Premium can have a dramatic impact on raising attainment for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is money that is given to their headteacher to pay for extra support in the classroom.
The SNP have rejected a Pupil Premium in Scotland until now. The Liberal Democrat plan to raise attainment needs another £70 million to make sure every children gets the best chance in life.
4) Better transport to the Northern Isles
The economy of the Northern Isles need better transport links.
The Lib Dem plan will cut ferry fares in half to match the increased support that has been given to the western routes. And we will allow businesses to benefit from the Air Discount Scheme again after they were cut out by the SNP.
5) Support the police
The SNP’s disastrous centralisation program in the police has failed.
The savings they promised have not been made. There are reports of officers shopping in charity shops and repairing their gear with duct tape.
The Lib Dem plan will add £20million to police funding to support officers and stop the damage caused by the SNP’s failure.
6) Protect alcohol and drug partnerships
The SNP cut the budgets for alcohol and drugs partnerships. Now services are falling short in many areas.
The Lib Dem plan will get health boards to provide the right investment in these important services.