Scottish Liberal Democrats launch manifesto with investment in care, agriculture and warm homes

17 Jun 2024
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain have launched their party's general election manifesto by setting out plans to fix the broken care system, invest in Scottish agriculture and ensure everyone has a warm home.

At the heart of the Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto is a £500 million rescue package for care, enabling people to be released from hospital, relieving pressure on the NHS and giving a fair deal to family carers. It will:

  • Create a new Carer's Minimum Wage, boosting the minimum wage for care workers by £2 an hour;
  • Give unpaid carers a fair deal, lifting Carer's Allowance/Carer Support Payment by £1,040 a year and removing the earnings cliff-edge.

The party's plans will also:

  • Establish the world-class mental health services Scotland needs, meaning every school pupil has fast access to a mental health counsellor, new mental health staff working alongside GPs and A&Es, and extra help for businesses, backed by £150m from taxing social media companies;
  • Deliver £170m more for Scottish agriculture;
  • Generate an extra £1 billion in capital funding for Scotland which the party say could be used to build new local health facilities, tackle the housing emergency, end the scandal of crumbling concrete in public buildings, and stop sewage dumping.
  • Make homes warmer and cheaper to heat with a ten-year emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insulation and heat pumps for those on low incomes.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Every vote for the Liberal Democrats at this election is a vote to elect a strong local champion focused on getting you fast access to GPs and dentists, and giving our nation's carers a fair deal.

"We will stop sewage being dumped in our rivers, lift up Scottish education, and deliver warm homes that insulate you from the cost of living crisis.

"Our vision is of a better Britain where we work in partnership, restoring your faith in politics and fixing our broken relationship with Europe.

"Just like they Conservatives, the SNP have got to go. Only the Scottish Liberal Democrats can beat the nationalists in huge swathes of Scotland.

"Hope and change are just around the corner, you only need to vote for them. Back the Liberal Democrats for a fair deal for you, your family, and for Scotland."

On the party's plans to fix care and the NHS, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Talk to anyone in the NHS and they will tell you that a major cause of the crisis in our health service is the crisis in social care. Paid and unpaid carers do so much heavy lifting but they are being taken for granted and are struggling to make ends meet. They've been in the shadows for far too long.

"I am so proud that the Liberal Democrats have put health and care at the heart of our campaign in this general election. It's why we are setting out proposals that would boost the pay of care workers across Scotland and ensure family carers receive an extra £1,040 a year. A vote for the Scottish Liberal Democrats is a vote to fix the care crisis and give family carers a fair deal.

"Our plans will tackle the crisis at the front door and the back door to the NHS. Fixing care will relieve pressure on our hospitals right through to the ambulances stuck for hours outside A&Es. We will transform mental health services, get you fast access to GPs and an NHS dentist, and ensure people are treated closer to home through new investment in local facilities.

"We can get people off waiting lists and into work - getting our economy growing strongly again.

"We can save our NHS, fix the care crisis and give people a fair deal."

On the party's backing for Scottish agriculture, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Our farmers are the best in the business but they have been taken for granted by governments in Edinburgh and London.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats will champion Scottish agriculture with a £170m investment.

"We will also make it easier to trade with our European neighbours, address worker shortages and re-negotiate botched overseas trade deals that undercut our high standards.

"The Liberal Democrats have a long and proud history of putting local communities first, championing the needs of our rural and remote communities and standing up for farmers in every corner of the UK."

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