|How can we share the prosperity of Scotland?
One in three of our children and one in four of our pensioners
live in poverty, and as a Government we are determined that
all will share in the benefits that a strong, vibrant economy
That is why the SNP will ensure that government works strategically
across departments to implement anti-poverty measures through
a Scottish National Anti-Poverty Strategy.
We will help people on lower incomes keep more of what they
earn rather than return it to the state, whether their income
is a pension or a wage. Those who cannot work will be properly
supported by a straightforward benefits system.
We will restore local government to the lead role in implementing
measures to tackle poverty and regeneration.
We will devolve budgets and decision making to create a participative
democracy and, with support for community empowerment and
partnership working, make sure local communities is key to
We will pilot childcare initiatives and smaller class sizes
initially in areas where there are high levels of poverty.
The SNP will ensure that people who can work, can access
high-wage, high-skilled employment wherever possible and that
those on lower incomes are not penalised by the benefits systems.
We will work to make sure that people who have in the past
been unable to access employment can join the workforce and
play their part in increasing the prosperity of Scotland.
This means ensuring a fairer approach for those who earn modest
incomes but are currently penalised for doing so.
It means providing affordable quality child care to ensure
working mothers have more employment choices and the introduction
of measures encouraging women who choose to have children
to be able to return to work and secure better paid employment.
The SNP believe that to fundamentally tackle the root cause
of poverty in Scotland, we must tackle the under performance
of the Scottish economy and address the low-income levels
and lack of opportunity which affect too many people living
Building our prosperity
Scotland has all the attributes for economic success —
a top international brand and reputation, a superb environment,
rich natural resources, a good location, and an educated and
skilled population. But we need to bridge the gap between
our mediocre economic performance and our outstanding potential.
That means taking action to tackle the causes of low economic
The Scottish economy has recorded thirty years of low growth,
well below the UK and European Union average. Since Labour
came to power in 1997, the Scottish economy has grown on average
by just 1.4 per cent a year, compared to the UK’s rate
of growth of 2.6 per cent, Finland’s of 4 per cent,
or Ireland’s of 8.6 per cent.
If Scotland had kept pace with these countries there would
be billions of pounds more in the Scottish economy, making
more resources available for investing in our public services
without raising tax.
Higher growth means more jobs. More jobs mean more competition
for staff. And that means higher wages and more spending power
for individuals. It also means that the government collects
more in tax and so has more to spend on public services.
It’s not rocket science. It’s what every other
nation in Europe does.
The key to success
Unless Scotland can start taking key decisions in Scotland,
our economic decline will continue. To reverse that decline
the SNP believes we must address the single core problem facing
the Scottish economy — the limited powers of the Scottish
Governments can’t create wealth, but they can and do
create the conditions, which either help or hinder wealth
creation. And successive UK governments have been more of
a hindrance than a help to Scotland.
As long as we remain part of the centralised UK, we will
continue to see low growth, loss of head offices, low business
birth rates, early takeovers of promising Scottish companies,
low spending on research and development and a ‘brain
drain’ that sees us lose people and ideas to the south
east of England.
This all has a disastrous effect on Scotland’s economic
performance and on the life chances of Scottish people. It
means higher unemployment and more people on benefits, more
part-time work and short contracts, low incomes, low birth
rates, child poverty, poor diet, poor health, and lower life
To turn this around the Scottish government must be able
to use the normal economic powers our competitors take for
granted. And crucially we must focus them on creating the
competitive conditions for an enterprise economy that puts
Scotland first and creates and retains more jobs and prosperity
With the full powers of Independence we can work to deliver
a high-wage, high-skill economy with greater prosperity, better
job opportunities and more self-reliance.
This will lead to more taxpayers with higher incomes and
reduced spending on unemployment, enabling government to focus
on improving public services and delivering social justice.
The SNP want to work for economic success so that economic
success works to create social justice in Scotland.