you think our public services are funded properly?
Our public services are vital and are a benchmark for any developed
country. High quality services will be delivered only if those
employed in the public sector are valued and respected.
We want our people to be healthy but to know that if we do
get ill, care and treatment will be free at the point of delivery.
We want to attack crime by tackling the causes as well as
the symptoms. And we want education and continued learning
to be an important and enjoyable experience for our youngest
generations. If they are our future, shouldn’t we do
all we can to ensure they are healthy, educated, and safe
on our streets?
For too long our public sector has been neglected. The needs
of services, staff, and infrastructure have been at best mismanaged
and at worst ignored by successive Tory, Labour, and now Labour-LibDem
coalition policies. The SNP will restore quality, efficiency,
and responsiveness to our public services by adhering to five
First, we will ensure public services should be just that
— public. Government money intended to provide public
services must do just that and should not be wasted through
inefficiency or be taken out of the system to pay excessive
private profit. Second, the needs of those using public services
must come first. Third, those delivering public services must
be treated with respect. Fourth, public services should be
under the control of the communities who use them. Fifth,
the delivery of public services should be clear and accountable
We will apply this approach across the full range of public
services to ensure our nation has the high quality public
services we deserve.
Public service finances
Funding for our public services is set to rise by nearly £5
billion in the next three years. This is not down to generosity
on anyone’s behalf but to increased taxes that you have
paid. It is vital that this new money is used to maximum effect.
That is why we have set up our New Projects Fund. It will
take money away from the pet projects and bureaucracy of the
Labour-LibDem coalition and spend it on frontline services.
So, for instance, it will be our New Projects Fund that pays
for the reduction in class sizes and the abolition of the
An SNP administration will also focus our spending more.
We believe that the key to reducing waiting times for hospital
treatment is to employ more nurses. The best way to do that
is by offering them a competitive salary. That is why we use
money from the £2 billion increase in the Scottish health
budget and spend it creating a competitive salary for our
Not for Profit Trusts
New Labour has tried to tackle years of under investment in
our infrastructure, our public buildings, schools, and hospitals,
with an expensive privatisation project, the Private Finance
Initiative (PFI) or Public Private Partnership.
Under this scheme, schools and hospitals are no longer owned
by the public sector - they are transferred to a private consortium.
As a consequence, they are run for profit rather than the
public good. By this route, money intended to pay for public
services leaves the system to pay excess private profits.
Furthermore, use of PFI-privatisation to date means that
profit competes with service provision. Consequently, PFI
schools have lost after-hours access to playing fields and
leisure facilities and PFI hospitals have resulted in fewer
We reject this notion of PFI-privatisation. Scotland deserves
better, and we are pursuing policies, which put public service
before profit. We propose the use of Not for Profit Trusts
for the provision of public sector assets. These would allow
the main issues of ownership, control and finance to be addressed.
Under our proposals, the assets would not be owned by a private
consortium, whose first motivation was profit, but by a trust,
whose first priority was public service. This would ensure
that the asset was run for the benefit of the community. It
would also mean that instead of being creamed off to pay excess
profit, public money was channelled back in to the provision
Our proposals mean better services and cheaper delivery of
these services. And they mean that services are run for the
benefit of the communities they serve, rather than the benefit
of financiers and bankers.
A country that looks after its public services looks after
its people. After all, what is more important than the health
and education of our population and a justice system that
is fair and equal? The SNP want high quality public services
that Scotland can be proud of.