Scottish Conservative manifesto to focus on rebuilding Scotland

The Scottish Conservatives will launch their manifesto today (Monday) with a plan to rebuild Scotland and focus on recovery, not another independence referendum.

Launching the party’s manifesto in Glasgow, Douglas Ross will say it is a plan to “secure and accelerate our recovery from coronavirus.”

The manifesto will set out plans for 15 major bills over the course of the next Scottish Parliament term. It includes the following policies –

On jobs: a £500 Retrain to Rebuild grant to kick-start a skills revolution, Job Security Councils to help people reskill and change careers, and Rapid Retraining Courses tailored at delivering more employment opportunities.

On the economy: an Enterprise Bill within the first 100 days of the new Parliament to establish an economic development agency in every region, creating a Scottish Exporting Institute, and a ‘Scotland First’ approach to public procurement.

On infrastructure: rolling out full fibre broadband all over Scotland by 2027, reversing the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, and a Uniting Scotland plan to improve roads all over Scotland.

On local services: a Communities Bill to introduce a ‘Barnett formula for councils’ and properly fund local services, £550 million of Community Investment Deals to drive local growth, and a change to planning laws to give local areas the final say over major developments.

On protecting the most vulnerable: the biggest social housebuilding drive since devolution, free school breakfast and lunches, eradicating rough sleeping by 2026 with a Housing First programme, and a new top-up benefit for veterans households in receipt of Universal Credit.

On health: a £2 billion funding boost for Scotland’s NHS by the end of the Parliament, a £600 million task force to tackle treatment backlogs, and funding for residential rehabilitation to tackle the drug deaths crisis.

On climate change: a Nature Bill, a Circular Economy Bill including a Centre of Excellence, an electric vehicle action plan, £2.5 billion to improve energy efficiency in homes, and a target to plant 18,000 hectares of trees annually.

On education: 3000 more teachers to restore local schools, a national tutoring programme to tackle the attainment gap, and a dedicated STEM teacher in every primary school.

On crime and justice: a Local Policing Act to put more bobbies on the beat, abolishing the not proven verdict, and a Victims Law to end soft-touch justice.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will say: “This is a Scottish Conservative manifesto that, at its heart, secures and accelerates our recovery from coronavirus.

“A manifesto that uses the strong foundations of the United Kingdom to rebuild Scotland.

“It celebrates that we are Better Together, as the furlough scheme has proven by protecting a million Scottish jobs and the vaccine scheme is showing by putting life-changing jags in the arms of more than 2.6 million Scots.

“Our fully-costed manifesto would rebuild Scotland by restoring local services and bringing power back to communities from the SNP Government.

“We have a detailed blueprint to kick-start and rebuild Scotland’s economy, with an aim to end unemployment, create the jobs of the future, and back businesses to innovate and expand.

“We have bold and ambitious proposals to kick-start a skills revolution, start closing the attainment gap between pupils from richer and poorer areas, and tackle climate change with a Nature Bill, Circular Economy Bill and a relentless drive to create more green jobs.

“We would start to right the wrongs of the last 14 years by repealing the Hate Crime Bill, putting an end to the SNP’s soft-touch justice system, restoring local schools with 3000 more teachers, properly funding local councils and most importantly of all, getting all of the focus onto the issues that really matter.

“But we cannot rebuild Scotland if we are crippled by the threat of an independence referendum.

“Nicola Sturgeon has promised that she will hold that referendum during the first half of the next Parliament.

“That is the height of recklessness. It would derail Scotland’s recovery and send our economy spiralling into chaos, just when we need stability most.

“If pro-UK voters come together and unite to use their party list votes for the Scottish Conservatives, we will stop an SNP majority, stop them taking their eye off the ball any longer, and deliver a Scottish Parliament 100% focussed on Covid recovery and rebuilding Scotland.”

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