In the run up to the general election, The Student analyses the main parties’ manifestos, allowing you to make an informed choice on the issues that matter most when polling opens on June 8.
Stronger for Scotland, the Scottish National Party’s General Election 2017 Manifesto, focuses on Scotland’s position in the UK and the European Union and an end to austerity measures.
For students, there are a number of standout policies. Firstly, the manifesto renews the SNP’s commitment to free university education in Scotland.
Secondly, the party pledges to push for the full reinstatement of Post-Study Work Visas, allowing non-UK graduates to continue living in the country after completing their studies.
Further, the manifesto hopes to minimise the implications of Brexit on university life, promising to support the continuation of ERASMUS+ and other exchange programmes after the UK leaves the European Union. This will also protect the current study abroad opportunities for students currently undertaking their degree.
The SNP also acknowledges the importance of European funding to Scottish universities and promises to work with universities and other institutions to ensure the UK government replaces any funding lost due to Brexit.
Moving away from education, the manifesto also promises an end to austerity measures in Scotland. Specifically, the party commits to voting against any further cuts to social security benefits and cuts to the incomes of those living with disabilities.
The SNP also outline their intention to press the UK government to raise the National Minimum Wage to a Living Wage, and to ban zero-hour contracts.
They also pledge to support public-sector workers in seeking fairer pay and to support the reinstatement of housing support for young people.
The manifesto also opposes the current two-child cap on tax credits and pledges to pressing for the abolition of the Rape Clause, which forces women to disclose that they have been raped for them to qualify for a credit for a third child.
Further, the SNP also outline their intention to push for increased spending on the NHS at a UK level and to take action to protect against further privatisation of the NHS.
With regard to the Brexit negotiations, the party make it clear that they oppose leaving the single market and have called for more serious consideration of their demand for Scotland to remain a member of the European Union.
Further, Stronger for Scotland outlines the party’s belief that Scotland should have a more secure place at the Brexit negotiating table and that the Brexit Bill should require Scotland’s consent before going ahead.
While independence took a backseat, Stronger for Scotland did highlight that party gains would strengthen their democratic mandate to seek a second independence referendum.
The SNP also call for further devolution of powers to Scotland. Most significantly, it was suggested that power over Scottish immigration should be fully devolved, along with full control over social security.
Other significant points in the manifesto include calls for the UK government to greater support and invest in Scotland’s industries, with particular focus placed on oil and gas. The SNP focus on tackling climate change, calling for the UK government to provide incentives for companies to diversify into renewables.
Other policies include the continued efforts to reduce domestic violence, greater protection and support from the UK government for Scotland’s rural communities and the abolition of the House of Lords.
SNP candidate for Edinburgh South, Jim Eadie told The Student: “It is vital that students get involved in this election and that their voice is heard.”
The party won an unprecedented 56 of 59 seats in the 2015 general election, with the party hoping to replicate their success on June 8.
They are expected to remain as the largest party in Scotland, however, with unionist support concentrating behind the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, the Tories predicting gains of a swathe of seats especially in wealthy and rural areas.
Image: The First Minister