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Live Reporting

Craig Hutchison and Bryn Palmer

All times stated are UK

  1. Key points from the election campaign today

    Here are the key points from today's campaigning in the Scottish Parliament election:

    • Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie unveiled his party's "doorstep dossier" and accused the SNP of a "series of broken promises" on issues like council tax and class sizes
    • SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon set out plans to support women's health and help improve their work prospects during the recovery from the Covid pandemic
    • Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said the stark warnings from climate strikers must be heard as he urged people to "vote like our future depends on it”
    • Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said Scotland needs to "urgently close the gap between promises and delivery" on climate change ahead of the COP26 conference
    • Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross claimed that more than £4.5bn of taxpayers' money had been "squandered" while the SNP has been in power
  2. Conservatives say SNP government has 'squandered' money

    Douglas Ross

    The Scottish Conservatives have claimed that more than £4.5bn of taxpayers' money has been wasted by the Scottish government while the SNP has been in power.

    Party leader Douglas Ross made a campaign visit to a former BiFab fabrication site in Fife to highlight the money "squandered".

    BiFab, which was part-owned by the Scottish government, went into administration in December, having been unable to secure a deal to make turbine platforms. It has since been taken over by InfraStrata, with the Fife yard set to reopen after securing a contract.

    Mr Ross said the "reckless way" the SNP "waste cash" is "visible all over Scotland" - citing delays to the Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh, and water infection problems at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, among other examples.

    He added: "If the SNP win a majority, they will waste the next Scottish Parliament focused on getting another referendum, instead of rebuilding Scotland."

  3. Labour: 'We need to deliver on climate change'

    Anas Sarwar

    Without further action to reduce carbon emissions, Scotland's credibility on the world stage could be damaged at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow later this year, according to Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

    He was in the Scottish capital to meet staff at the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative.

    Mr Sarwar said: "I want Glasgow to be synonymous with world-leading action on climate change, but with the Tories in charge in Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood, all we get is talk but no substance.

    "We need to urgently close the gap between promises and delivery.

    "Scottish Labour has proposed a bold climate recovery plan that will make our homes warmer, transport cheaper and our children's air cleaner."

    Anas Sarwar cycling in an Edinburgh park
  4. Election 2021: How do I vote?

    The Scottish Parliament election takes place on 6 May.

    On that day, about 48 million people across England, Wales and Scotland will be able to vote in a series of elections.

    People will also be voting in elections for the Welsh parliament; mayoral elections in 13 of England's biggest city areas; council elections across England; and Police and Crime Commissioner votes in England and Wales.

    Read more here about how to vote and see who the candidates are in your area.

  5. How could the election result affect the union?

    Nick Eardley

    Political correspondent

    The result of the Scottish Parliament election could have a significant impact on the future of the union.

    The SNP and Scottish Greens back another independence referendum in the next five years. Alex Salmond - who is leading the new Alba Party - wants even more urgency.

    ·Can independence supporters force another referendum?

    Unionist parties, who favour Scotland staying part of the UK, are trying to stop them holding the balance of power. They argue that a debate on Scotland's constitutional future would be a distraction when the country is trying to recover from coronavirus.

    ·Can unionists block another independence referendum?

  6. Bring your own pencil: Staying safe on polling day

    Lisa Summers

    BBC Scotland Health Correspondent

    A voter in a face mask casts their ballot
    Image caption: Other countries have held elections during the pandemic

    Write a memo to self not to leave home without pencil, polling card and mask.

    Polling stations will have in place a series of measures to keep people safe when they cast their vote on 6 May, but they are asking that you do your bit too.

    Expect one-way systems, screens, open windows and plenty of hand sanitiser on offer.

    In some places booths may be made of cardboard to reduce the potential of cross-contamination and each voter may get a longer voting period, with plenty of regular cleaning.

    So come prepared - but don’t worry if you do forget your pencil, staff will have supplies on offer that you can keep or dispose of as you wish.

    Covid in Scotland: How do you hold an election during a pandemic?

  7. SNP highlight plans to put women on 'equal footing'

    Nicola Sturgeon at a gurdwara in Glasgow
    Image caption: Nicola Sturgeon made a campaign stop at a gurdwara in Glasgow on Friday

    SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has set out plans to support women's health and help improve their work prospects in Scotland's recovery from the Covid pandemic.

    She said the party's Women's Health Plan would "improve services and reduce health inequalities on issues as diverse as breastfeeding support, screening services and the menopause".

    The SNP also plans to create a £50m Women's Business Centre to support women looking to start or grow their business, help women returning to work and expand free childcare.

    "In many ways women have borne the brunt of the pandemic, working in caring professions and often taking responsibility for children or older relatives at home," Ms Sturgeon said.

    "We must make sure this recovery helps put women on an equal footing - with better jobs, better health care and greater safety."

    Nicola Sturgeon helps herself to some food at a gurdwara in Glasgow
  8. What issues matter in towns across Scotland?

    Ian Hamilton

    Ahead of voters going to the polls on 6 May, Ian Hamilton and his guide dog Major have been visiting towns across Scotland and hearing from people about what really matters to them.

    In two My Kind of Town programmes, the pair begin their journey in Lanark and end up in the country's most northerly town of Thurso.

    They speak to residents about issues ranging from town centre regeneration to mental health and climate change.

    The first programme is on the BBC Scotland Channel at 22:30 on Sunday.

  9. How do you decide who to vote for?

    View more on twitter

    Zarah, from BBC Scotland's The Social, has been looking for some advice on the election.

    Rajdeep Sandhu, political correspondent for The Nine, was on hand to give her some tips about polling day, and how to choose who you want to vote for.

    You can watch her advice above - and here's another very simple guide to the election.

  10. Greens: Politicians must listen to climate strikers

    Patrick Harvie outside Edinburgh's City Chambers

    The stark warnings for politicians from climate strikers must be heard at the 2021 Holyrood election, the Scottish Greens have said.

    The party's co-leader Patrick Harvie visited Dylan Hamilton, who has spent the last week on a vigil outside Edinburgh’s City Chambers.

    Dylan is an activist with the Scottish climate strikers as part of the Fridays for Future movement, which Swedish climate striker Greta Thunberg brought to prominence.

    Mr Harvie said: “What the climate strikers do to raise the threats we all face is humbling, because their generation has been failed by the lack of action from governments.

    "Teenagers like Dylan are demanding that we face up to the science that tells us we have less than 10 years to turn this around... the Scottish Greens have the solutions to the climate emergency, which is why it is time to vote like our future depends on it.”

    View more on twitter
  11. 'It will be a minute that changes my life'

    View more on twitter

    "It will be a minute that changes my life - I have the right to vote."

    For Syrians such Ahmad Alkhaled, the forthcoming Scottish election will be the first national vote where refugees will be able to take part.

    For many, it will be their first time participating in a free and fair electoral process.

    Ahmad, 24, arrived in Aberdeenshire last year as he and many relatives fled the conflict at home. He is now looking forward to going to a polling station.

    There are about 20,000 refugees in Scotland, and work is ongoing to support those heading to the ballot box.

    Read more here.

  12. Poverty report puts politicians on the spot

    Andrew Kerr

    Scottish political correspondent


    Recovery from the pandemic is a major theme in this election. It's recognised that many people are struggling - and lockdown has exacerbated the problem.

    An alliance of anti-poverty campaigners wants to press the point home ahead of polling day.

    The mixture of campaigners and academics have produced a hefty report - and the figures are stark. They say one million Scots are living in poverty, including 240,000 children.

    They acknowledge the laudable cross-party aim to eradicate child poverty by 2030 - but say things are actually getting worse.

    The parties all have broad and deep pledges on the issue in their manifestos. As a snapshot, they include:

    • The SNP says it will double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week, per child to lift thousands of children and families out of poverty
    • The Scottish Conservatives say delivering a growing economy with full employment is essential to tackling child poverty
    • Labour back the increase in the child payment and recognise the impact of economic growth - while also calling for a social security system with a Minimum Income Standard
    • Similarly, the Greens also support the increase in the payment and are blunt on taxation: fairer income taxes so most pay less - while those who can pay more
    • The Liberal Democrats back the increase in the child payment - and also want a campaign to ensure everyone claims benefits they're entitled to

    The anti-poverty campaigners say it's clear that progressive taxation is needed to get more cash in - and that's not so popular in the run-up to an election.

  13. Lib Dems accuse SNP of 'broken promises'

    Willie Rennie takes part in a karate lesson at The Meadows in Edinburgh
    Image caption: Willie Rennie took part in a karate lesson on the campaign trail in Edinburgh

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has accused the SNP of a "series of broken promises" as he attempts to win over wavering voters.

    Mr Rennie said Lib Dem activists had been meeting and speaking to people who are "concerned" about the SNP's plan for a second independence referendum.

    His party’s “doorstep dossier” highlights their proposals to "put recovery first", while highlighting what he labels the "negative track-record" of the Scottish government.

    “From council tax and class sizes to superfast broadband, their record is that promises get broken," Mr Rennie said.

    “This initiative is part of our plan to win new voters from the SNP. The gains we make from them will stop an overall majority and allow the new parliament to put recovery first.”

    Willie Rennie takes part in a karate lesson at The Meadows in Edinburgh
    Willie Rennie takes part in a karate lesson at The Meadows in Edinburgh
  14. Man charged over alleged candidate threats

    A man has been charged over alleged threats made to a Scottish election candidate in Aberdeenshire.

    The incident, involving Aberdeenshire West SNP candidate Fergus Mutch, allegedly happened in Aboyne on Friday 2 April.

    Police Scotland said in a statement: "A 66-year-old man has been charged in connection with threatening comments made towards a man."

    A report has been submitted to the procurator fiscal.

    Read the full story here.

  15. Who should I vote for? Compare party policies

    A vote pondering

    Political parties in Scotland are continuing to campaign ahead of the Holyrood election on 6 May.

    To help you decide who you might vote for, use this policy guide to compare where the parties stand on the key issues.

  16. How many seats did each party have before the election?

    The Holyrood chamber

    The Scottish Parliament has 129 members, or MSPs.

    A total of 73 MSPs represent individual geographical constituencies, with a further 56 returned from the regional list.

    You can read more about how the voting system works in our really simple guide.

    Going into the election, the SNP were the biggest party at Holyrood with 61 of the 129 seats - four short of an overall majority.

    The breakdown of seats for each party is:

    • SNP - 61
    • Scottish Conservatives - 30
    • Scottish Labour - 23
    • Scottish Greens - 5
    • Scottish Liberal Democrats - 5
    • Independent - 3
    • Reform UK - 1
    • Presiding Officer 1

    Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh was returned as an additional member on Scottish Labour's regional list in 2016, but suspended his membership on taking office, to ensure the presiding officer remains non-partisan.

  17. The voters the parties are vying to win over

    Five voters

    They are the voters all the parties want to win over - "the undecided".

    The BBC spoke to five people from our voter panel who are still working out who to vote for in the Scottish election.

    We asked what issues matter to them. You can read their views here.

  18. How does Scotland’s voting system work?

    Video content

    Video caption: Election 2021: How does Scotland’s voting system work?

    How does the voting process for the Scottish Parliament work?

    The BBC’s Connor Gillies explains how 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) are elected through the Additional Member System.

    People in Scotland have the chance to cast two votes – one for a constituency MSP, and another for a regional ballot.

  19. 'The oddest election I have ever covered'

    The Daily Record's political editor Paul Hutcheon tells Good Morning Scotland's Election Desk that he imagines the campaign will hot up in the final week.

    So far, he says, this has been the oddest election he has ever covered.

    He says the most interesting thing this week was the first minister's Covid statement, as people are more interested in knowing when they'll get back to some form of normality.

    Hannah Roger, from The Herald, agrees that people are more interested in when they can get to the shops.

    She says the constitution has dominated, and says Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has done quite well at trying to come across as "the adult in the room".

    Mr Hutcheon argues that Mr Sarwar has had a better campaign than Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, but that opinion polls suggest the Tories are likely to achieve second place.

    He says Labour will find the gap hard to close and that Mr Ross will probably be happier with where the Scottish Conservatives are in this race.

    He adds that the SNP are expected to win handsomely, and that is leading to a "very, very strange" election.

    Quote Message: I don't think it's taken off with the public... that may change in the last two weeks, but even with the release of the manifestos it doesn't feel like it's getting people's juices flowing." from Paul Hutcheon Daily Record political editor
    Paul HutcheonDaily Record political editor
  20. 'A very, very sleepy campaign'

    Good Morning Scotland

    BBC Radio Scotland

    The weekly Election Desk on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme looks back on the highs and lows of the week's campaigning.

    So with all the larger parties' manifestos now out, how is the campaign going?

    The Herald's political correspondent, Hannah Rodger, feels it has been pretty much as expected.

    Ms Rodger says the highlights this week were the Question Time debate last night, which was "quite interesting", and the NUS hustings, which provided a viral video clip.

    "Overall there has been nothing sensational this week," she says.

    The Daily Record's Paul Hutcheon agrees, saying: "I'm still waiting for a highlight in terms of this election. It's been a very, very sleepy campaign."