Scotland election: Issues guide

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The Scottish Parliament has a range of responsibilities - from business and culture to education and the environment.

During the 2011 Holyrood election campaign, the parties have been explaining to voters how they would govern Scotland.

Here is a look at a range of policies put forward by the Scottish National Party, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Tories, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens, taken from their manifestos.

Election issues 2011


Scottish National Party



Liberal Democrats


  • Continue council tax freeze in next parliament.
  • £250m Scottish Futures Fund focussing on young people and early years, rolling out superfast broadband to rural areas, a "warm homes" initiative and transport fund.
  • Bring forward independence referendum bill in next parliament.
  • Maintain police numbers, including 1,000 extra officers delivered in last parliament.
  • Protect the NHS budget with extra £1bn over four years.
  • No university fees for Scottish students studying in Scotland, requiring additional funding of £93m a year.
  • Increase domestic energy generation from renewables to 100% by 2020, ensuring 130,000 jobs delivered in low-carbon economy.
  • Abolish youth unemployment in next parliament and create 250,000 jobs by end of decade.
  • Deliver a National Care Service within the lifetime of the next parliament to end postcode lottery for elderly care.
  • Six-month mandatory minimum jail sentences for knife-carrying.
  • Re-instate Glasgow Airport Rail Link.
  • Specialised training for up to 1,000 teachers, to boost literacy and numeracy standards.
  • Introduce a new Scottish Living Wage of £7.15 an hour, piloted in the public sector
  • Freeze council tax for two years.
  • A continued freeze for council tax bills for all in 2012-13.
  • Pilot introduction of hard shoulder -running, initially on sections of M77 and M8.
  • Introduce variable university graduate fee, capped at £4,000 annually with the expectation of an average charge of £3,600.
  • Look into possible tourism investment bank, based on the Austrian model.
  • End Scottish government policy against new nuclear power - consider proposals for new stations but not on new sites.
  • 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.
  • Nationwide knife amnesty and reforms to "reflect" public expectation to jail knife carriers.
  • Create the conditions for 100,000 new jobs, supported by at least £1.5bn of investment freed up by selling off Scottish Water debt, turning it into a "public benefit company".
  • Keep university education free, with no tuition fees and no graduate contribution.
  • Protect free personal care.
  • Keep the Scottish bus pass, but progressively raise the age of entitlement to 65.
  • Reform the council tax using the powers in the Scotland Bill
  • Establish a new creative industry fund.
  • Keep higher education free, if other parties work with us
  • Support the provisions set out in the Scotland Bill on more tax, borrowing and other powers for Holyrood.
  • Focus on crime prevention and putting mediation and restorative justice at the heart of the system.
  • Ensure local health services are protected against centralisation.
  • Commit to large-scale ecosystem restoration projects, including the provision of dedicated funds for peatland restoration.
  • Cancel second Forth crossing and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route
  • Back renewed convention on Scottish devolution, with the public and civic organisations in the driving seat.
  • Land value tax to replace council tax and business rates and make use of the variable rate of income tax if the cuts continue.
  • Keep higher education free based on ability to learn, not to pay.

Party websites:

Scottish National Party

Scottish Labour Party

Scottish Conservatives

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Greens

Scottish National Party manifesto 2011

Scottish Labour manifesto 2011

Scottish Conservative manifesto 2011

Scottish Lib Dem manifesto 2011

Scottish Green manifesto 2011

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