• Kenneth Gibson MSP

Sturgeon Challenges Parties to Back Key Social Benefits



SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has called on other parties to back key social benefits that the SNP will continue to protect over the next five years. Since coming to office the SNP has abolished tuition fees for university; increased childcare provision by 45%, expanded free school meals to all primary children in P1-P3; extended the free bus pass to veterans; scrapped prescription charges; and fully funded free personal and nursing care. In contrast, the Tories support the re-introduction of charges for prescriptions and back-door tuition fees for universities. Over the past five years Labour has held a number of positions and offered no commitment in this campaign to protect key social policies. Commenting, Nicola said: “Over the past nine years the SNP government has protected and extended a number of key social benefits using tax revenue responsibly to pay for policies that protect people’s incomes and mitigate the impact of Tory austerity. “We scrapped university tuition fees, saving students £9,000 a year compared to students in England and helping young people reach their full potential. “For older people we have maintained the free concessionary bus and extended it to injured veterans, reducing the social isolation and enhancing the mobility and independence of 1.2 million of our citizens. “We returned our NHS to its founding values by restoring free prescriptions, greatly assisting people with chronic conditions and we ensured our most vulnerable pensioners continue to get the personal and nursing care they need without any financial burden. "A re-elected SNP government will not just protect the gains of devolution, we will use our new powers to go further, ensuring taxpayers across Scotland receive the benefit of their investment in Scotland's future. “If re-elected we will double free early years and childcare provision; and extend free meals to children in our nurseries. “Support for universal benefits from other parties has been inconsistent, half-hearted or non-existent. Only by casting both votes SNP can Scotland guarantee a government steadfast in its support for these social gains, a government that will move beyond mitigating austerity and deliver a bold vision for Scotland.”