Scottish election: Scottish Conservative manifesto
The Scottish Conservatives have launched their manifesto for the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.
Here is a look at all the key pledges:
- Create £140m Scottish business start-up fund to support access to enterprise, vocational training, and to provide aid to create new businesses.
- New Scottish minister for enterprise and jobs, with responsibility for enterprise, planning, transport and infrastructure.
- Business dividend fund, providing extra funding to councils for exceeding business start-up targets.
- Place duty on all public agencies to promote economic growth.
- Retain Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Scottish Development International, but merge back-office functions.
- Expand Business Gateway to include all businesses not covered by Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
- Business Rates Reform Bill to consolidate legislation on non-domestic rates and small business discounts, while extending the policy.
- Increase notice period of a change in liability for business rates as a result of a revaluation to at least six months.
- Expand scope of rural business rate relief.
- Retain and review Regulatory Review Group on cutting red tape.
- Target for 25% of local and national government contracts to be awarded to smaller businesses.
- Establish business-led review of the planning system, to report by March 2012.
- Require Scottish Water to complete the work within three months of planning permission in detail being granted for a development.
- Speed up the introduction of superfast broadband across Scotland to ensure our economic competitiveness is maintained.
- At least one further round of the town centre regeneration fund.
- Increase the qualifying age for concessionary bus travel from 60 to 65 from April 2012 to protect the scheme.
- Pilot introduction of hard shoulder-running, initially on sections of M77 and M8.
- Use UK government borrowing provision made available by the UK Government to finish the new Forth road bridge, ensuring other important capital projects are not delayed.
- Introduce a road maintenance fund.
- Abolish regional transport partnerships, with the exception of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, which will return to its previous state as pure service provider.
- Continue Edinburgh-Glasgow rail improvement programme.
- Make the ScotRail franchise available for an extended period of 10 years, from the next renewal, in return for savings, improved investment in rolling stock or better services.
- Retain existing "lifeline" ferry services, but make savings in the Scottish government's ferry subsidy, partly by tendering the Caledonian MacBrayne and Northlink contracts in smaller bundles.
- No more central government grant funding for Edinburgh trams.
- Establish EU-compliant successor to the Air Route Development Fund.
- Require local authorities to subject road maintenance work to competitive tender.
- Retain but reform the Scottish Futures Trust, giving it access to a full range of funding options, including PPP/PFI private sector tie-ups.
- Turn Scottish Water into a publicly-owned public interest company, free from government control.
- Consult on right to bid for voluntary sector on public services.
- Freeze public sector pay for those earning more than £21,000 until April 2013.
- Ensure new contracts paying salaries of £50,000 and above the proposed salary are subject to independent assessment and prohibition of bonus payments.
- Require all public bodies to publish worker absences and bring in new target for sickness rates.
- Merge regulatory functions of Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, Marine Scotland, Food Standards Agency, and the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate, into one new agency - the Scottish Environment Regulator.
- Integrate development functions of the rural bodies into one new agency - Scottish Environment Development.
- Freeze council tax until at least 2013, and give residents power to stop bills rising faster than inflation, once freeze ends.
- Council tax pensioner discount from 2013-14, initially set at £200 per household.
- No council tax revaluation or introduction of new bands.
- Give people the chance of having a "powerful", elected provost by holding referenda in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.
- Abolish the concordat agreement between government and councils on funding, to be replaced with a requirement upon councils to set out their own plans and report on progress.
- Review the funding formula for local government.
- Extend our "transparency revolution" to local government, with a £500 reporting threshold for non-salary payments.
- Require local authorities to allocate a budget to community councils, proportionate to the size of the area they cover.
- Create new Scottish minister for finance and reform, with responsibility for decisions on taxation and spending.
- Introduce variable student fees, to make further education more sustainable, payable after graduation once earnings have reached a certain threshold, capped at £4,000 annually with the expectation of an average charge of £3,600.
- Reduce school leaving age to 14, provided pupils sign up to a monitored apprenticeship or a full-time vocational or technical training course.
- Allow educational charities, philanthropists, not-for-profit trusts and parents to set up new schools and allow existing state schools to be run independently of local authorities, on a non selective, non fee-charging basis.
- Give local authority headteachers more power over discipline policy, staff recruitment and budgets.
- Make testing of reading, writing and arithmetic more rigorous.
- Pilot "second chance centres" pupils persistently excluded from school and whose disruptive behaviour is preventing others from learning.
- Establish charitable trust fund with £2m to give pupils a week of residential outdoor education.
- Allow creation of new Gaelic schools where there is local demand.
- Reintroduce prescription charges at the 2009 level - set at £5 for a single item and £48 for a prepayment certificate - putting £37m into the NHS as well as a review of the charges exemption list.
- Protect NHS from funding cuts by increasing spending annually in line with inflation.
- Cut health service management costs by 30% over the next parliament, with all savings going back to frontline NHS services.
- Review NHS structure with view to cutting health boards and quangos.
- Free, universal health checks for those aged between 40 and 74.
- Allow NHS boards to commission voluntary and private sector care, while removing the ban on entities other than GP partnerships providing primary care.
- Pilot walk-in treatment centres in major cities, set up either by the NHS or independent providers.
- Review out-of-hours services and seek to amend GP contracts, if necessary.
- Give every Scot access to a dentist.
- Make it easier for NHS workers to "whistleblow".
- £20m fund to give all parents guaranteed level of health visitor support until their child reaches the age of five.
- Attach all health visitors to GP practices.
- Retain current entitlement of 12.5 hours nursery care per week, but ensure greater flexibility.
- Merge health and social care budgets, placing social care under NHS control.
- Ban the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty and VAT.
- Brink back prison sentences of less than three months as alternative to community service.
- Tougher community sentences, with offenders carrying out "meaningful jobs", like litter picking, snow shovelling and beach cleaning.
- Pilot a community court in Glasgow.
- Nationwide knife amnesty and reforms to "reflect" public expectation to jail knife carriers.
- End automatic early release from prison.
- Use cash seized from criminals to help victims of crime
- Reform legal aid.
- Commitment to new prisons in Inverclyde, Highland and Grampian, with plans to re-develop other parts of prison estate.
- Move responsibility for operation of community sentences from social work departments to a new Scottish Prison and Rehabilitation Service.
- Guarantee of "meaningful and constructive rehabilitation opportunities" for all prisoners.
- Compulsory drug tests for all inmates on arrival and departure from prison.
- Replace police boards with elected local police commissioners who will not be involved in operational issues.
- Oblige police to release monthly local crime figures and maps.
- Reinstate "modernised" right to buy for new and recently built social houses in local authority ownership.
- Additional housing need weighting for local people and those with a proven family connection in specific areas.
- Abolish home report surveys to stimulate the property market, but retain home energy reports.
- Require councils to publish "heat maps" showing demand for district heating.
- All public bodies to publish energy consumption details and commit to targets for cutting it.
- Campaign for UK green investment bank to be headquartered in Scotland.
- End Scottish government policy against new nuclear power - consider proposals for new stations but not on new sites.
- Pursue Common Fisheries Policy and domestic fisheries reform.
- Make the reduction of fish discards "a high priority".
- Encourage procurement of local food across the public sector and retain single farm payment.
- Right to request disused publicly-owned land be put into use as allotments.
- Preserve free entry to national museums and galleries.
- Establish private sector group on tourism to deliver a "wholesale rationalisation" of sector.
- Look into possible tourism investment bank, based on the Austrian model.
- Retain tourist information centres, but encourage premises-sharing with other organisations.
- Place obligation on heritage body Historic Scotland to promote tourism.