Scotland’s people know the SNP Government is delivering in challenging financial circumstances. The most recent, March, Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, found 73% of respondents trust the SNP Government, while only 23% trust the UK Government. Across the 28 member European Union Scotland has the most trusted government.
When the UK Tory Government tried to cut Scotland’s budget by £7,000 million in exchange for new powers promised pre-referendum, we refused and they eventually caved in. When steel and shipbuilding faced closure, we stepped in. The SNP always works to make Scotland stronger.
In 2011 the opposition talked much about crime. Not now it’s at a 41 year low and knife crime in North Ayrshire has fallen 85% under the SNP, thanks to our hard-working police officers. We abolished automatic early release for violent offenders, brought in by the Tories and continued under Labour.
Hospital mortality has declined 34.2% at Crosshouse; educational standards, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development confirm, have improved and Scotland has free prescriptions, eye tests, dental check-ups and free personal and nursing care, unlike in England. We extended the free bus pass to injured veterans.
Looking forward, our Cancer Strategy will invest £100 million to improve prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and aftercare. The integration of health and social care, allocated a £250 million budget this year, will dramatically improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
Investment in skills, boosting productivity, innovation, improving infrastructure by building the Dalry Bypass, Woodlands View Hospital, new schools and new homes, whilst regenerating our towns, boosting exports and promoting better wages will secure prosperity and employment.
Our most transformative infrastructure project is the expansion of early learning and childcare. Having increased it from 412.5 to 600 hours a year, we will almost double that to 1,140, ensuring youngsters the very best start in life.
As the campaign closes, a disappointment was the unwillingness of opposition candidates to engage. I was the only candidate at every hustings meeting. The Tory and Lib Dem candidates didn’t appear at any!
Interestingly, this has also been a campaign where Labour offered no criticism of the Tories or cuts imposed on Scotland’s budget, attacking the SNP instead. Who can forget Labour and Tory MPs in January last year voting together to impose a further £30,000 million of public spending cuts; cuts we vigorously oppose. Fighting for Scotland is what we do. Find out more at: www.snp.org/manifesto