SNP’S PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT DRIVES PROGRESS IN ROSS, SKYE AND LOCHABER
This year’s SNP Programme for Government will help contribute to a successful and vibrant Highlands and Islands, driving progress in health, social security, the environment and the economy, the SNP’s Ian Blackford has said.
Ross, Skye and Lochaber will benefit from ambitious action in a wide range of areas throughout 2018-19, including:
- Empowering head teachers to lead improvements to their schools with more power over their own budgets; developing ways for parents and pupils to ensure their voices are heard in decision-making; giving £10m to schools and councils to work together across regions; continuing to support teacher recruitment; and investing £33 million over three years to help children in care with education.
- A National Export plan ‘A Trading Nation’, backed by £20m, will boost the value of Scottish exports, help Scottish companies succeed in emerging markets, and provide additional help to those considering overseas trade.
- The National Infrastructure Mission, the most ambitious infrastructure spending plans yet, will invest £1.5 billion more infrastructure each year by 2025-26, including for faster broadband, improved transport and more low-carbon energy.
- £250m will be invested to reform the way we treat mental health in children and adults – delivering 430 new school, college and university counsellors, and fast-track specialist treatment systems for those with serious mental illness.
- A new Scottish Social Security System with dignity and respect at its heart will deliver 11 benefits, including the first Best Start Grant payments for low income families with young children by Christmas, 6 months earlier than planned; a 13% increase in the Carers’ Allowance – an extra £442 per person this year – as well as funeral expense assistance.
- New legislation to introduce a Scottish National Investment Bank.
- A major package of reforms in the justice system – with a new support system for victims, witnesses and families of those affected by crime, including a dedicated case worker for families of murder victims, improved information and support about prisoner release, as well as support for engagement between victims and offenders to help the victim and to prevent reoffending.
- £1bn investment a year including funding for low carbon transport solutions and to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 – creating at least 20 electric towns across Scotland by 2025; adding 1500 new charge points in homes, businesses, and in public; investing £20 million to help people switch to electric vehicles; adding more than 1500 new ultra low emission vehicles to public sector fleets; and investing £1.7 million to add over 100 green buses.
Ian Blackford SNP MP for Ross, Skye and lochaber said:
“The SNP’s plan for Scotland signals a major boost for jobs and the economy in our part of the world, including an additional £7 billion infrastructure investment in schools, hospitals, transport and digital connectivity over the next five years.
“We are continuing the major reforms in our health, education and justice systems over the course of 2018-19 – with a significant £250 million extra funding for mental health services, increased support for teachers, head teachers, parents and pupils, as well as a major package of reforms for the justice system, increasing support for the victims of crime and their families.
“With Scottish exports up 12% – the fastest growth in the UK – a £20m National Exports Plan this year will ensure businesses can thrive in the face of the Tories’ damaging hard Brexit plans.
“Despite Brexit, we will ensure Scotland remains an attractive place to live and work and provide advice and support for those EU citizens already living in Ross, Skye or Lochaber that are dealing with the Tory government’s unfair plans to charge them for the right to live and work here.
“And our global climate change ambition will continue to be matched by realistic action, with £1billion funding in low carbon and public transport over the next year.
“These bold and ambitious plans for the year ahead are just some of the reasons why the SNP is the second biggest party in the whole of the UK.”