As part of the National Survey, SNP parliamentarians will be hosting a series of public meetings across Aberdeen to openly discuss Europe, Brexit, and independence with people in the city.
These meetings aim to be part of a constructive listening exercise as the SNP aims to engage with at least 2 million people by St Andrew's Day - 30 November.
In early September Nicola Sturgeon launched the first phase in our new independence initiative , the online survey: www.survey2016.scot The information and insight we gather will inform the next stage of our campaign.
Please join us for a discussion on how Scotland is changing, and to let us know your views on the political landscape.
SNP LAUNCH “A MANIFESTO FOR THE NEXT GENERATION”
AN SNP GOVERNMENT WILL “OPEN THE DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY TO ALL OUR YOUNG PEOPLE”
The SNP today published a “manifesto for the next generation” that will reform and transform Scotland, SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today.
Setting out an ambitious vision for the next five years, Nicola Sturgeon said that the SNP would “open the doors of opportunity to all our young people” with a re-elected SNP government focused on doubling free childcare, reforming education, improving attainment and increasing access to university and train-ing.
Launching a manifesto that also sets out plans to transform Scotland’s health service, create a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs, restore dignity to the social security system, and to decentralise public services and empower people across the country, the First Minister said:
“Our promise in this election is not simply to maintain our record - it is to build on it. It is not business as usual. It is transformation.
“Through our support for our youngest children, by investing in and transforming education, by support-ing the innovators and entrepreneurs who will build the economy of the future, an SNP government will back opportunity at every level.”
Key proposals in the manifesto include:
• Additional investment of almost £2 billion in Scotland’s NHS over the next five years, £500 million
more than inflation by the end of the Parliament, with more money going to social, primary and community care;
• Investment to double childcare to 30 hours a week for all 3 & 4 year olds and vulnerable 2 year olds;
• A commitment to lift 100,000 small businesses out of business rates completely, ensuring Scotland remains a competitive place to do business;
• A national drive to increase innovation and productivity;
• A new Scottish Social Security Agency with respect and dignity at its core and investment of more than £200 million in key measures to make social security fairer.
Setting out a range of policies on children and education - that will begin with the provision of a universal baby box to every newborn baby - Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It will be the aim of a re-elected SNP government, under my leadership, to restore Scotland’s education system to pride of place as one of the very best in the world.
“We will develop a new, fair and transparent funding formula for schools, to ensure that resources go where they are needed most.
“We will expand our Attainment Fund and invest an additional £750 million in the next Parliament to close the gap in educational attainment.
“Most of that money will go direct to headteachers so that they - not councils or central government - can decide how best to use it to deliver improvements in their schools.
“We will work to empower teachers and parents - within a framework of strong national policy and in-spection - to drive more of the decisions that shape the lives of their schools.
“We will oversee a revolution in transparency about school performance so that we can measure the attainment gap and set precise targets for closing it.
“And be in no doubt about our aim - we intend to make significant progress in closing the attainment gap within the next parliament and to substantially eliminate it within a decade.
“That is a commitment I want to be judged on.”
Reflecting on her personal experience of university and the SNP’s continued commitment to free educa-tion the First Minister said that a re-elected SNP government would work to break down the barriers that mean young people from poorer backgrounds are less likely to go to university than their more affluent peers:
“The aim that I am setting out in this manifesto is one I am passionate about - we will ensure that a child born today in one of our most deprived communities will by the time they leave school, have the same chance of getting to university as a child of the same ability from one of the most well off parts of our country.
“That is a fundamental part of what I mean by a fair and equal society.
“Let me promise you this. The daily focus of a re-elected SNP government, led by me, will be to transform the lives of our youngest children, close the educational attainment gap and open the doors of oppor-tunity to all of our young people.
“This truly is a manifesto for the next generation.”
Making a series of new commitments to decentralisation and community empowerment that will reform the governance of Scotland the SNP leader added:
“Throughout this document you will see a commitment to decentralising decision making, enhancing democratic engagement, strengthening community organisations and making sure our structures of gov-ernment are fit for purpose.
“We believe that devolution of powers from London should not stop here in Edinburgh - it should contin-ue on down to all of the diverse communities that make up our wonderful country.
“The decisions that affect our lives should always be taken as close to us as possible.
“That's a principle that runs through this manifesto.
“And it's a principle that also applies to decisions about the future of our country as a whole.
“There is not a day goes by that I am not asked if there will be a second independence referendum in the next parliament.
“Well, my answer to that, in one sense, is simple - I would like that.
“I believe with all my heart that independence is the best future for our country.
“But if there is to be a second referendum - whether that is in the next parliament or in a future parlia-ment - we first have to earn the right to propose it.
“Setting the date for a referendum before a majority of the Scottish people have been persuaded that independence - and therefore another referendum - is the best future for our country is the wrong way round.
“So this summer, we will start new work to persuade a majority in Scotland of the case for independence.
“If we don't succeed, we will have no right to propose another referendum.
“But if we do succeed - if in the future there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has be-come the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people - then no politician will have the right to stand in the way.
“The future of our country must always be in the hands of the people of our country.”
SNP MANIFESTO IN SUMMARY
We will make our education system one of the best in the world with equal opportunities for all of our children. We will -
• Expand early education and childcare to 30 hours per week - this will require, by the end of the par-liament, additional investment of £500 million per year by 2021, 600 new childcare centres and 20,000 new childcare staff.
• Invest £750 million in raising attainment for all – targeting school funding where it is needed, and put-ting more resources in the hands of individual schools including £500m raised directly from local taxa-tion for investment in schools.
• Implement the National Improvement Framework to drive up standards across all schools.
• Empower parents and teachers to be more involved in the decisions about their schools, and provide more resources direct to schools.
• Widen access to our universities, protect college places, appoint a Commissioner for Fair Ac-cess, invest in free education, and reform student support to benefit all students.
We will create opportunities to thrive from our youngest children to our oldest pensioner. We will -
• Support parents and young children with a new Maternity and Early Years grant, the universal baby box, and 500 more health visitors.
• Ensure that our young people benefit from new opportunities with 30,000 apprenticeships, a new Jobs Grant to support them into work, free bus travel for apprentices and young people who have been unemployed, and help for housing for 18-21 year olds.
• Build a social security system based on dignity and respect and invest more than £200 million to make social security fairer.
• Protect disabled people from further cuts, reform the assessment system and support Scotland’s Carers.
• Tackle poverty through a Fairer Scotland Action Plan.
• Give our older people the opportunity for thriving and active lives with concessionary travel, free per-sonal care, free prescriptions and protect low income pensioners from rises in taxation.
We will transform public services for the 21st century – our NHS will be protected, nurtured and re-formed. We will -
• We will increase the health budget in real terms every year and by almost £2 billion in total over the
course of the next Parliament - £500 million more than inflation.
• Reform the NHS to meet the challenge of an ageing population, investing in social and primary care, and allocating an additional £150 million to mental health and £100m to tackling cancer.
• Invest £200 million in five new elective treatment centres and create a new trauma network using sites in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow.
• Ensure there are no barriers to care between health boards, social care partnerships, primary care, communities and local councils.
• Protect funding for the police in real terms and introduce a new criminal offence to tackle all forms of domestic abuse.
We will grow our economy with a focus on creating more, better and higher paid jobs. We will -
• Lead a national drive to boost productivity with support for new ideas and entrepreneurs.
• Extend the Small Business Bonus, so that 100,000 businesses will pay no business rates at all, main-taining a competitive business environment.
• Build the infrastructure that Scotland needs to grow, with almost £20 billion of investment in roads, rail, schools and 50,000 new homes - and 100% broadband coverage across all of Scotland.
• Extend payment of the living wage and develop an employment service that supports people into work.
• Establish an Innovation prize, support education for entrepreneurs, review business support to focus on innovation, internationalisation and scaling up companies.
Orkney voters can quiz First Minister
on policies at Pickaquoy Centre Q&A event
SNP Leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to visit Orkney early next week when she will host a Q&A session as part of her campaign for the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.
Voters young and old will have the chance to question the First Minister at the lunchtime event on Tuesday, April 5. The St Magnus Suite in Kirkwall’s Pickaquoy Centre is the venue for the Q&A, which is due to get under way at 12 noon.
Ms Sturgeon’s visit will also see her campaign across the county with SNP candidate Donna Heddle, supporting her bid to become Orkney’s representative at Holyrood.
Donna Heddle said: “It is fantastic news that Nicola Sturgeon is to spend a day in Orkney during what is rapidly becoming a very exciting election campaign. She is travelling the length and breadth of Scotland over the coming weeks as the SNP aims to secure another term in government.
“The polls look very favourable, but Nicola is clear that she won’t be taking any votes for granted ahead of May 5. The Orkney SNP Hub in Kirkwall, which she will also visit, has seen a steady stream of folk through the door since it opened a fortnight ago, and we have had folk leafleting in the islands and parishes, where the reception has been very positive indeed.”
A visit to Sheila Fleet’s jewellery workshop in Tankerness is also among the diary dates for Tuesday’s visit of the First Minister, who arrives from a flying visit to Shetland, where she is due to open Shetland SNP’s campaign hub in Lerwick on Monday.
For further information, contact:
Donna Heddle – Mobile: 07923565387, Email: email@example.com
ASK THE SNP MEETING 18th FEB
Join Paul Monaghan MP (Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross) and myself (Donna) at an Ask the SNP evening on 18th February at 7.30pm in the Kirkwall Town Hall. We'll be explaining policies and the roles of Holyrood and Westminster - what is devolved and what is not devolved. Come with your questions and find out the facts! All welcome.
Please share widely with Orkney friends.
SNP SPRING CONFERENCE Sat 12 & Sun 13 March at SECC, Glasgow.
You will need to organise your own accommodation of stay with friends.
Let me know if you want to attend & I will orgsnise Delegate Passes; £26.00 each. deadline for booking is thur 18 th Feb. The price rises considerably, thereafter. JM & D H attending. Others welcome to attend with 3500 others.great atmosphere there
6000 SNP Health related Leaflets now available for distribution. I will take some along on Thur.
AGENDA. Welcome, Apologies, Mins of last Meeting, 11 th NOV 15, Matters Arising, Chair Donna's Report, Secretary John's report, Financial Report, Other reports., Campaign News, Briefing on the Budget & Tax position
Important to be able to discuss on doorsteps & answer questions. AOCB & date of next Meeting.
Minutes of last Meeting & Agenda were circulated for the 1 st Feb Meeting.
Hoping for good weather & a good attendance.
Best Wishes John R Mowat Orkney SNP Secretary.