Why do we need to invest more in education?
Scotland used to have one of the best education systems in the world but we have been slipping down international league tables over the past few years.
Promises on early years education for two year olds have been broken. 152,000 college places have been lost on the SNP’s loss and we have seen little progress in closing the stubborn attainment gap between children from richer and poorer backgrounds.
Now the SNP have forced through £500m in council cuts that will put education services under enormous pressure.
We can’t build a Scotland that is fit for the future unless we invest in education.
How would you pay for your plans.
Our plan to add 1p on income tax across tax bands would raise £475m a year to invest in nursery care, a pupil premium to support kids at school, boost Scotland’s colleges and head off massive SNP cuts to local authority funding.
Half of what our councils do is education. We don’t think it is right to cut money that should be spent educating our children.
Our penny for education is a modest increase for a whopping big investment in the future.
What would we get for this investment?
This would be the biggest single increase in education spending since the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
Children from poorer backgrounds would have a new entitlement to support worth £900 at primary school and £1400 at secondary school through a pupil premium. We know from England that targeted support like this can be a huge help in closing the attainment gap.
More families would be entitled to free care for their two year old. We know that investing in this early years care can have huge benefits for years afterwards. We would repair some of the damage that has been done to college budgets on the SNP’s watch and give councils extra funds to head off the massive £500m cuts that the Scottish Government have forced through.
Will this hit people at the bottom the hardest?
No. In fact, because of changes to the tax-free allowance, nobody earning less than £19,000 would pay more tax next year than they have this year under our plans.
Someone earning £20,000 a year would pay less than £1 a month under our plans and people earning the most would pay a lot more. We think this is the fair way to raise money to invest in education.
When extra tax powers come into force in 2017, we have also announced proposals to give people on low incomes a tax cut by introducing a zero-rate of tax above the personal tax-free allowance.
Our plan for education would mean an extra £475m a year invested in education to give kids the best start in life.