Holyrood 2016: SNP manifesto at-a-glance

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The manifesto was launched by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon at an event in Edinburgh

The SNP has published its manifesto ahead of the Holyrood election on 5 May. Here are some of the key points from the document, which can be read in full here.

Key messages

In her introduction, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon sets out her vision for creating a "fair, equal and prosperous nation with opportunity for us all to grow and thrive".

She says this means giving Scotland's children a better start in life and more opportunities for the rest of their lives, as well as fresh ideas and greater investment in the health service and "supporting small businesses, helping all businesses to innovate and grow, and making sure everyone gets a fair day's pay for a fair day's work".

And she says it means using new powers over tax and social security to "expand our economy and lift more people out of poverty" and "always trusting the people of Scotland to make the big decisions about the future of our country."

Ms Sturgeon says she is "immensely proud" of what the SNP has achieved in government over the past nine years, but stresses that "the journey to a fairer, more equal and prosperous Scotland is far from over".


The SNP says it will never waiver in its belief that the NHS must remain a publicly funded service, free at the point of use, and that the party will never stop trying to make Scotland's NHS healthier.

The manifesto pledges to:

  • Increase the NHS revenue budget by £500m more than inflation by the end of the parliament - meaning it will increase by almost £2bn in total
  • Invest £200m to expand the Golden Jubilee hospital in Clydebank and establish five new elective treatment centres in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Livingston and Edinburgh
  • Implement a new £100m cancer plan to improve prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer
  • Create an additional 1,000 training places for nurses and midwives
  • Invest £150m in mental health services, with a ten year plan to transform mental health in Scotland
  • Protect free prescriptions and free personal and nursing care


The SNP says its priority in government is to ensure that every child in Scotland - regardless of their background - has the very best chance of success in life.

The party says it will:

  • Almost double the amount of free nursery education for all three and four year olds, as well as the most vulnerable two year olds, from 16 hours a week to 30 hours a week by 2021
  • Ensure that every child in early education in the most deprived communities will have access to an additional teacher or childcare graduate by 2018
  • Deliver £750m in additional investment through the extended Scottish Attainment Fund
  • Introduce national standardised assessments in primaries 1, 4, 7 and in S3 to provide better information on how children are progressing
  • Oversee a "revolution in transparency" about school performance
  • Protect free university education


The SNP says the foundations of Scotland's economy are strong - but that there is more the party wants to do to deliver more and better paid jobs, share the "fruits of success" more equally, and create stronger, more sustainable growth.

The manifesto proposes:

  • Expanding the Small Business Bonus to exempt 100,000 premises from business rates
  • Investing in infrastructure to ensure all of Scotland has broadband, building 50,000 affordable new homes and continually improving transport links
  • Double the number of living wage accredited employers to 1,000 by autumn of 2017
  • Deliver 30,000 new Modern Apprenticeships a year by 2020
  • Freeze the basic rate of income tax for the duration of the next parliament and increase the tax free allowance to £12,750 by 2021/22
  • Not proceed with the UK government's plan to raise the higher rate of tax threshold to £50,000

'A fairer Scotland'

The manifesto argues that the Conservative government at Westminster is stripping basic support for those who most need it.

It says the SNP will use new social security powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to transform the service people receive.

This would include:

  • Introducing a Scottish Social Security Bill in the first year of the next parliament and establish a new Social Security Agency
  • Abolishing the "Bedroom Tax" as soon as its has the powers to do so
  • Not means testing or cutting disability benefits and raising the allowance paid to carers to the same level as Jobseekers' Allowance
  • Introducing changes to how Universal Credit is paid to ensure that vulnerable people are better supported
  • Tackling fuel poverty by improving energy efficiency

Independence and the constitution

The SNP stresses that independence will only be achieved when the majority of people in Scotland want it to happen.

It says the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is "clear and sustained evidence" that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people - or if there is a "significant and material" change in circumstances, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will.

And it says it will undertake new work, starting in the summer, to persuade people that independence offers the best future for the country.

Among its other constitutional policies are:

  • Implementing the new powers contained in the Scotland Act 2016 and making the case for "even greater powers" over tax, welfare and the economy to be devolved to Holyrood
  • Ensuring the UK government delivers in full on the commitments it made for a more powerful parliament and protection of the Barnett formula
  • Campaigning for Scotland and the UK to remain in the EU
  • Defending the rights and freedoms of trade unions
  • Opposing UK government plans to repeal the Human Rights Act
  • Arguing for the abolition of the House of Lords
  • Opposing plans for a replacement to the current Trident nuclear weapon system

Environment and rural affairs

The SNP says it is committed to creating sustainable rural communities, where people can live, work and prosper.

It wants to:

  • Deliver superfast broadband to every property in Scotland
  • Invest £25m in rural housing
  • Introduce a new Climate Change Act, with a new target of cutting emissions by more than 50% by 2020
  • Empower island communities through an Islands Bill
  • Maintain the Road Equivalent Tariff on all current ferry routes and reduce ferry fares on routes to Orkney and Shetland
  • End anonymous ownership of land in Scotland by introducing a mandatory public register
  • Ensure there is no fracking in Scotland "unless it can be proven beyond any doubt that there is no risk to health, communities or the environment"

What do the other party manifestos say?

More on this story