Scottish election 2021: Who should I vote for? Compare party policies

Published

Political parties in Scotland are campaigning ahead of the 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.

What are the parties promising you?

Select an issue and a party to see their policies

Covid-19

Including future containment measures, the rollout of vaccines, and recovery.

Independence

Including the state of the union, devolution, and a future referendum on independence.

Economy

Covering overall infrastructure investment, employment levels, business taxes, industry support and research and development.

Education

Covering schools, universities and early years, funding, salaries, testing, exams, and university tuition fees.

NHS and care

Covering hospitals, GPs, dentists, funding, staffing, waiting times, mental health and social care.

EU relations

Including trade and our future relationship with Europe.

Environment

Covering climate change, emissions targets, renewable energy, plastic use, recycling, energy efficiency and air pollution.

Work and benefits

Including minimum wages, zero-hours contracts, benefits, childcare, pensions, poverty, and food banks.

Housing

Including house building, home ownership, social housing, homelessness and tenants' rights.

Transport

Covering rail ownership and franchising, bus services, and road upgrades.

Justice

Including police and prisons, drug policy, preventing crime, sentencing, and rights.

Scottish National Party party logo

Scottish National Party

Leader

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon icon

Key policies

  • Hold a second referendum on Scottish independence after the Covid crisis is over
  • Build 100,000 new homes by 2032, with at least 70% of these being for social rent
  • Launch a National Care Service
  • Oppose nuclear weapons
  • Provide ScotRail services within the public sector

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • Make independence an essential priority for Scotland's recovery from coronavirus
  • Keep robust travel restrictions and quarantine measures in place for as long as necessary, however open up and support international travel as soon as it safe to do so
  • Deliver a programme of booster vaccinations later this year
  • Commission a public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland

Independence

Independence icon
  • Hold a referendum once the pandemic ends if there is a pro-independence majority at Holyrood

Economy

Economy icon
  • Invest over £33bn over the next five years in infrastructure and £1bn in the Scottish National Investment Bank. Found a new National Infrastructure Company to manage public assets.
  • Create a £25m fund to help drive tourism recovery
  • Offer £50m in funding to the winning proposal of a competition for economic transformation, as part of the delivery of a new 10-year strategy
  • Create a new £20m Rural Entrepreneur Fund – providing grants of up to £10,000 to support the relocation or creation of 2,000 new businesses
  • Increase investment in private sector-led research and development projects by £100m over the next five years
  • Invest an additional £500m to support new jobs and reskill people for the jobs of the future over the next parliament.

Education

Education icon
  • Invest a further £1bn to close the school attainment gap and recruit 3,500 additional teachers and classroom assistants
  • Free school breakfasts and lunches for primary school pupils all year and for all children in state-funded special schools
  • Provide every child with a device to get online, including a free internet connection and the support to use it
  • Fund the Young Person's Guarantee of a university, college, apprenticeship, training place or job for every young person
  • Build a childcare system which provides care before and after school all year round, free for the least well-off families
  • Scrap charges for school trips and practical activities for less well-off families, and increase the school uniform grant to at least £120 in primary and £150 in secondary

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Increase NHS frontline spending by at least 20% to "support and renew" the NHS recovery, increasing funding of frontline services by over £2.5 billion
  • Increase social care investment by 25% which will back a the creation of a National Care Service
  • Offer NHS staff a 4% average pay increase
  • Introduce a new national wage for care staff as well as national pay bargaining for the sector
  • Increase direct investment into mental health services by at least 25% and ensure that in five years, 10% of the frontline NHS budget is invested in mental health
  • Create a national pharmaceutical agency for the NHS to ensure secure and sustainable supply chains for vital medicines

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Maintain and strengthen Scotland's relationship with the EU with a view to rejoining as soon as possible
  • Continue to advocate for Scotland's inclusion in the Erasmus programme

Environment

Environment icon
  • Decarbonise the heating of one million homes by 2030 with investment of £1.6bn over five years
  • Double the Climate Justice Fund to £24m over four years
  • Implement a deposit return scheme for single use drinks containers next year
  • Increase targets for new woodland creation by 50%, from 12,000 hectares up to 18,000 hectares per year by 2025
  • Invest £100m in a green jobs fund to support new and more opportunities for green job creation

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Freeze Income Tax rates and bands and increase thresholds by a maximum of inflation
  • Remove council tax for under 22s
  • Begin work to deliver a minimum income guarantee - a social welfare system that ensures everyone has enough money to live on, but gives additional support to those who need it such as for childcare or disability
  • Double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week and give families with children in receipt of free school meals a cash grant of £520 until the programme is fully rolled out.
  • Publish a new four-year delivery plan to lift children out of poverty, backed by a £50m fund
  • Explore the transition to a four-day-week with a £10m fund to allow companies to pilot and measure its benefits

Housing

Housing icon
  • Invest £3.5bn to deliver 100,000 affordable homes by 2032
  • Support our communities to become 20-minute neighbourhoods
  • Offer bonds of up to £50,000 to young people and families to stay on or to move to islands currently threatened by depopulation
  • Invest an additional £50m over the next parliamentary term to end homelessness and rough sleeping

Transport

Transport icon
  • Bring ScotRail into public ownership from next year and decarbonise Scotland's rail services by 2035
  • Provide free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them, remove the majority of fossil fuel buses from public transport by 2023 and create a greener, more affordable railway
  • Extend free bus travel to everyone under 22
  • Spend 10% of the transport capital budget on walking, cycling and wheeling

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Undertake a review of Scotland's prosecution system
  • Ensure that every child victim/witness will have access to a safe space based on the European Barnahus Model by 2025
  • Appoint a victims' commissioner to provide an independent voice for victims and witnesses and review the provision of victim services
  • Establish a new multi-year £100m funding stream over three years to support frontline services and focus on prevention of violence against women and girls from school onwards
Scottish Conservatives party logo

Scottish Conservatives

Leader

Douglas Ross

Douglas Ross icon

Key policies

  • End division and rebuild the country from the pandemic
  • Oppose another referendum on Scottish independence
  • Make tackling unemployment the top priority of the next Scottish Parliament
  • Create at least 200,000 jobs by investing to improve roads, railways and broadband infrastructure
  • A school catch-up plan including a national tutoring scheme and hiring 3,000 extra teachers

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • £600m to tackle the NHS backlog in 2021-22
  • £40m to NHS staff wellbeing this year including rest facilities and mental health services
  • £120m into a catch-up premium for every Scottish school pupil
  • Delay the introduction of any new non-Covid related regulations on businesses to April 2023
  • £500 for every Scottish adult to retrain for work each year
  • Tougher sentences for fraud following an increase during the pandemic

Independence

Independence icon
  • Oppose a second referendum on independence
  • Give the Scottish Parliament the tools it needs to properly scrutinise government
  • Bring forward proposals to allow voters to recall MSPs in exceptional circumstances
  • Support a freeze in MSP and ministerial pay for the next five years
  • Support a reduction in the Cabinet from 12 to six

Economy

Economy icon
  • Fund for full fibre broadband to every home by 2027
  • Introduce a 10-working day national standard for all business support grant applications to be processed
  • Maintain the poundage rate freeze until the 2023 revaluation
  • 25% rates relief to businesses in 2022-23
  • Introduce a Scottish Exporting Institute for trade expertise
  • Scrap parking charges to encourage local shopping

Education

Education icon
  • Allocate £1bn of attainment funding to all schools over five years
  • Oppose any cancellation of exams
  • Review the quality of teacher training and recruit 3,000 teachers over the next parliament
  • Allow every primary school child to access a free school lunch and breakfast
  • Create a Rural Teacher Fund to attract teachers to work in rural areas
  • Introduce a dedicated STEM teacher in every primary school
  • Introduce a "subject guarantee" to pupils that allows them all to take at least seven subjects in S4

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Increase annual NHS funding by at least £2bn by 2025-26, based on current estimates
  • Increase medical school training in line with future need, prioritising people who live in Scotland
  • Invest at least 11% of the overall NHS budget into general practice by the end of the next Parliament
  • Increase mental health funding to 10% of the frontline health budget
  • Maintain local democratic accountability of the social care system and avoid "unnecessary" structural reforms
  • Review the provision of drug treatment and recovery services before the end of the year

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Create a "global Britain" now that the country has left the EU
  • Negotiate a deal with the UK government to decide the future of the fishing industry

Environment

Environment icon
  • Establish a £25m Cleaner Seas Fund to take harmful products including plastics out of the seas
  • End peat extraction and aim to restore peatland to 20,000 hectares by 2024-25
  • Bring forward a new Animal Welfare Bill which would ban the use of electric shock collars and the sale of dogs with cropped ears
  • Create Scotland's third national park in Galloway
  • Bring forward a Circular Economy Bill to help Scotland achieve net-zero emissions by 2045
  • Support the UK government's North Sea Transition Deal

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Use devolved powers to target "specific" groups in receipt of the UK government's £20 per week increase to Universal Credit
  • Free school lunches and breakfasts for all children in primary school
  • Increase the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week
  • Introduce a taper rate to the Carer Allowance so that carers do not lose all of their allowance if they earn more than the limit
  • End rough sleeping by 2026 by investing £10.8m in a Housing First programme
  • Create a government-owned company to give disabled people work experience and skills to help them secure long-term employment

Housing

Housing icon
  • Build 60,000 new affordable homes with 40,000 of these in the social rented sector
  • Invest £50m in the Rural Housing Fund
  • £2.5bn over the next five years on energy efficiency in homes and buildings
  • Introduce Compulsory Sales Orders for long-term unoccupied properties in Scotland
  • Ban the use of combustible cladding in Scotland
  • Permanently increase the threshold for paying Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) to £250,000

Transport

Transport icon
  • Rebuild local railways where it would make "economic sense"
  • Expand the M8 to three lanes and upgrade the whole A1 to a dual carriageway
  • Invest £200m to repair potholes
  • Deliver a national charging infrastructure by 2025 for electric vehicles
  • Introduce a Scottish Smart Travel Card for passengers to use on all types of domestic transport in Scotland
  • Scrap Caledonian Maritime Assets and introduce long-term contracts for ferry operators

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Bring in a Victims Law which would include an end to the not proven verdict
  • Introduce a Local Policing Act which would include reinstating policy scrutiny boards across Scotland
  • Double the maximum sentence for assaults on police and other emergency workers
  • Introduce whole-life sentences, end the presumption against short sentences and end automatic early releases
  • Repeal the Hate Crime Bill and introduce a Protection of Free Speech Bill
  • Revoke prisoners' right to vote
Scottish Labour party logo

Scottish Labour

Leader

Anas Sarwar

Anas Sarwar icon

Key policies

  • Guarantee a job for every young Scot
  • Invest in the NHS to get cancer treatment back on track, improve mental health, and give carers the pay they deserve
  • Deliver a comeback plan for education
  • Invest in green jobs and seize Scotland's hosting of COP26 to champion an ambitious climate justice plan
  • Create a community recovery fund to invest in local areas

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • Deliver a national plan for recovery that has five key themes: jobs recovery, NHS recovery, education recovery, community recovery and climate recovery

Independence

Independence icon
  • Labour will not support a second independence referendum in the next five years, while the country is focused on recovery from Covid-19
  • Instead, it believes more powers should be given to local councils
  • Support further devolution of powers to Holyrood including borrowing and employment rights
  • Renegotiate the Fiscal Framework, the funding arrangement between Holyrood and Westminster which underpins devolved finances

Economy

Economy icon
  • Guarantee job or training opportunities following the pandemic by investing in a national training fund and investing in Scotland's infrastructure
  • Boost economic growth by repurposing Scottish Enterprise as a business recovery agency focussing on a restart fund and transition fund
  • Create a community recovery fund to invest in local areas and introduce specific programmes aimed at regenerating the high street
  • Establish a Better Business Scotland certification scheme for businesses who want to work with the public sector to ensure they meet high standards, and make sure no publicly procured contract uses zero-hours contracts
  • Restructure the Scottish National Investment Bank to provide funding for new ideas, offer investment for "capital for good" projects and support businesses transition to green and digital futures
  • Reduce business rates on non-grocery bricks and mortar shops, and set up a taskforce to fully examine how business rates need to change

Education

Education icon
  • Deliver an Education Comeback Plan, including a personal tutoring programme for all ages and all pupils
  • A resit guarantee for pupils affected by the pandemic, with the offer of a free college place to take national qualifications
  • Provide extra digital training for staff and a digital device for every pupil, and give targeted support to households without broadband
  • A guaranteed completion opportunity for probationary teachers to ensure that they can gain registration and help to refresh the workforce
  • Implement a minimum student income
  • A summer comeback programme focusing on sport, outdoor activities, mental health and wellbeing
  • Prioritise vaccinations for teaching and school staff

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • An NHS recovery plan that gets services back on track and prioritises cancer treatment and care
  • Establish rapid diagnostic centres so patients can have a diagnosis within two weeks
  • Increase the mental health budget to 11% of the NHS budget, to match spending in England and Wales, and establish dedicated mental health A&Es in every health board area
  • Improve access to mental health support with a new referral and triage service and ensure GPs have dedicated mental health workers
  • Create a national care service
  • A real pay rise for NHS staff and raising social carers' pay to £15 an hour, with an immediate rise to £12
  • Set up baby clubs to support mums of babies born during the pandemic, offer an extra health visitor visit at 18 months, ensure women have help to breastfeed and support women with post-natal depression

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Develop as close a relationship with the EU as possible as part of a radical redesign of the UK's democratic institutions
  • Explore the need to reform the immigration system so that it works for all nations and regions in the UK now that the UK has left the EU

Environment

Environment icon
  • Invest in energy efficiency measures for buildings across Scotland
  • A Just Transition focused on developing the skills needed in a green recovery and protecting jobs and communities impacted by the transition to net zero
  • Develop a coherent biodiversity action plan for post-2020 for land, air and sea
  • Give interest-free government loans to help more low and middle income households buy electric cars over the next two years and accelerate the roll-out of electric charging points
  • Increase active travel spending to 10% of the overall transport budget, giving priority to encouraging and enabling people to get out of their cars, onto bikes, and walk more
  • Decarbonise Scotland's railways within 15 years, focusing on electrification, and seek to make train journeys between Scotland's cities faster than going by car

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Increase the Scottish Child Payment to £20 a week by the end of 2022
  • Abolish the council tax and replace it with a fairer alternative based on property values and ability to pay
  • A guaranteed public sector job for six months for every unemployed person under 25, unemployed disabled people not already on a job scheme, and the long-term unemployed
  • Create a new £500 retraining grant for people who are unemployed or on furlough, without affecting existing payments, and an extra £750 in income support for unemployed people in training.
  • Bring shoppers back to town centres with a £75 prepaid card to every adult in Scotland to be spent in non-food retail businesses
  • Roll out government funded subsidies for holiday accommodation across Scotland giving tourists every third night of accommodation free on off-peak dates

Housing

Housing icon
  • Build 200,000 zero carbon social homes over 10 years
  • Create a National Housing Agency to end the housing crisis
  • Reform the law to allow for the acquisition of land for social housing at existing use value
  • Guarantee fair rents and improve tenants' rights in the private rented sector
  • Support people to own their own home, with specific support for young people and first-time buyers
  • End rough sleeping within the next five years

Transport

Transport icon
  • Place railways back into public control and increase rail connectivity between smaller towns and villages by reopening stations and restoring neglected service
  • Give councils authority to directly run local bus services
  • Extend free bus travel to under 25s, with a long-term goal of universal free bus travel
  • Create neighbourhoods where people can access all the services they need within a 20-minute walk
  • Bring all lifeline ferry services into public hands - with investment in a new fleet of ships fit for the future - and make ferry travel free for under 25s

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Restore the connections between the police force and local communities and end further centralisation
  • Invest in specialist staff to rebalance the workforce and increase the number of officers in local divisions by at least 500 to reverse cuts to local policing
  • Support diversion policies that prevent vulnerable drug users being exposed to unnecessary court action
  • Deal with the backlog of 34,000 cases in the court system
  • Improve access to justice by reforming legal aid, rolling out specialist domestic abuse courts and introducing a specialist sexual offences court
Scottish Greens party logo

Scottish Greens

Leaders

Patrick Harvie

Lorna Slater

Patrick Harvie icon Lorna Slater icon

Key policies

  • A fair and green recovery from the pandemic
  • Tackle the climate emergency with direct investment in transport, warm homes and renewable energy
  • Re-join the European Union as an independent country

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • Introduce a universal isolation grant to support people isolating because of an infectious disease such as Covid-19
  • Launch a public inquiry into the Scottish government's response to the Covid pandemic
  • Develop robust PPE procurement and ensure fair access to treatment and rehabilitation for people with long Covid
  • Use a one-off windfall tax on profits made by larger companies as a result of the pandemic to rebalance the economy and support recovery

Independence

Independence icon
  • Support a referendum on Scottish independence in the next parliamentary term, and build the Green Yes campaign
  • Encourage further devolution of powers from Westminster to Holyrood such as energy and employment laws
  • In the event of Scottish independence, introduce taxes on the wealthiest members of society, luxury goods and carbon emissions from corporations

Economy

Economy icon
  • Phase in a four-day working week
  • Introduce a 1% annual "millionaires tax" on wealth and assets above £1m - including property, land, pensions and other assets
  • Scrap council tax and replace it with a residential property tax related to property value
  • Support the partial replacement of corporation tax at the UK level with a carbon tax that increases over time in line with our climate targets
  • Replace air passenger duty with a frequent flyer levy, where passengers pay increasing sums for flights after their first return in 12 months - but excluding domestic flights in the Highlands and islands

Education

Education icon
  • Introduce year-round free school meals for all pupils including breakfast
  • Recruit 5,500 additional permanent teachers and 2,500 more additional needs teachers, and reduce class sizes to a maximum of 20 pupils
  • Make an extra year of funding available for students who need it, for example those who need to repeat a year because of the pandemic
  • Raise the school starting age to seven and introduce a kindergarten stage for three to six year olds
  • End P1-S3 Scottish National Standardised Assessments and end homework in primary schools. In secondary schools, expand continuous assessment of coursework and reduce the role of exams.

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Commit at least 11% of health spending to general practice by the end of the next Parliament
  • Give 10% of frontline health spend to mental health and put £161m into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services by 2026
  • Introduce "safe and compassionate" laws that allow terminally ill adults the right to an assisted death
  • End competitive tendering in the care system
  • Remove the rule that two doctors must approve abortions and retain the provision for abortions at home introduced during the pandemic

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Campaign with the support of the European Green Party to re-join the EU as an independent nation
  • Re-join the EU's Erasmus student exchange programme
  • Establish low carbon transport connections with Europe

Environment

Environment icon
  • Source at least 70% of the onshore wind supply chain domestically
  • Invest in marine renewables and give financial support for innovation and to support early stage tidal turbines
  • Call on the UK government to stop issuing new licences for oil and gas exploration and development and end subsidies and tax breaks for the industry
  • Ban the importation of shale and fracked gas for processing in Scotland, and ensure the Scottish government can deliver the transition to net-zero
  • Introduce Low Emission Zones with immediate effect in all areas that breach air quality limits

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Introduce a Universal Basic Income pilot by negotiating the necessary powers from Westminster - and if refused, fund smaller-scale, more limited pilots that do not require powers
  • Support the transition to a four-day week with no loss of pay
  • Accelerate the roll-out of the new Scottish Child Payment and double it to £20 per week per child
  • Increase grants for new born children in low income families and school clothing grants by £100
  • Give funds to local authorities so they can introduce grants to mitigate the effects of the benefit cap

Housing

Housing icon
  • Invest £500m each year to ensure heating homes and buildings meets climate goals
  • Introduce green heat grants for households to replace fossil fuel boilers with green alternatives, principally heat pumps, with the aim of installing 500,000 by 2030, and ban new fossil fuel boilers from 2025 for buildings off the gas grid, and 2028 for all buildings
  • Establish a regulator for the private rented sector and ban winter evictions
  • Support the building of 120,000 homes by 2032 - 70% of which should be for social rent - and invest in innovative public housing for older people
  • End homelessness

Transport

Transport icon
  • Cease funding road building projects that add capacity to the network and redirect funds toward safety improvements, maintenance of existing existing infrastructure, public transport, cycling and walking
  • Invest in cycling, walking so everyone in towns and cities to be able to get what they need within a 15-minute walk
  • Ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2026 and introduce workplace parking levies, congestion and parking charges, and a 20mph default speed limit in built-up areas
  • Bring the rail network, bus companies and ferry routes into public ownership

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Abolish the not proven verdict
  • Reform prisons, including more funding for alternatives to custody and special provisions for offenders who are mentally ill and for women who are pregnant or have young children
  • Support full integration of British Transport Police with Police Scotland
  • Provide legal aid to all domestic abuse victims including in civil cases, decriminalise sex work, increase funding for Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland and make funding available to the human trafficking awareness group TARA
Scottish Liberal Democrats party logo

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Leader

Willie Rennie

Willie Rennie icon

Key policies

  • Put recovery first from the pandemic
  • An education bounce back plan
  • Train more mental health specialists for community centres, hospitals, workplaces and schools
  • Tackle the climate emergency with a green jobs revolution
  • Oppose a second independence referendum, given there's a pandemic

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • Put education at the heart of the recovery from Covid
  • National standards and fair pay for all social care staff
  • A public inquiry to learn the lessons of the pandemic for the future

Independence

Independence icon
  • Oppose independence and a second referendum
  • Work to reform the UK to a federal future

Economy

Economy icon
  • A new fiscal framework to ensure local councils get a fair share of the budget
  • New pay audits to ensure fair opportunities for people from ethnic minorities and disabled people
  • Scottish workers given the best chance to manufacture offshore wind turbines
  • Increase the range of jobs and careers available to people in rural areas

Education

Education icon
  • A programme to help children bounce back in education including an expansion of outdoor learning, increased provision of school trips and new support assistants
  • Play-based education until age seven based on the Nordic model
  • The legal right to defer Primary 1 and have it replaced with funded early learning and childcare starting this August
  • Every qualified teacher guaranteed a job with a minimum starting salary of £30,000, as well as a review of workloads and career opportunities for existing teachers
  • End national testing of five year olds

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • An urgent plan to put recovery first for the NHS
  • A bigger range of specialists, diagnosis and treatment in local communities
  • A target of 15% of new health spending going to mental health and train more mental health specialists, including a grant of £5,000 for students undertaking counselling courses
  • Treat drug misuse as a health problem rather than prosecuting those who experience it
  • Promote preventative health to take the pressure off the NHS
  • National standards and fair pay for all social care staff

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Support a close relationship with Europe

Environment

Environment icon
  • Move one million homes to zero emission heating by 2030
  • Invest in low carbon heat networks
  • Double the programmes to end fuel poverty
  • Invest in new skills for a just transition from fossil fuel industry
  • New national parks, and new woodlands close to where people live

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week
  • Develop a system of Universal Basic Income
  • A job guarantee for 16-24 year olds
  • 2,000 paid graduate internships with small businesses
  • New £5,000 Scottish Training Bonds to help people change careers

Housing

Housing icon
  • Build 60,000 affordable homes to help address homelessness
  • Help to Renovate loans to bring derelict homes back into use

Transport

Transport icon
  • Reopen railway lines and move away from fossil fuels on the network
  • Give the public confidence in electric vehicles by progress towards a network of well-maintained rapid chargers
  • Support active travel, making it easier to make safe journeys by bike or on foot
  • Create single through-tickets and swipe cards that work for buses, trains and ferries across Scotland
  • New local powers to integrate all forms of transport and to control local bus services

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Increase the influence of communities over the way they are policed and give Police Scotland more support
  • Improve rehabilitation services for people leaving prison so they are less likely to re-offend
  • Get more mental health support workers alongside the police
  • Reform Fatal Accident Inquiries to stop delays and learn the lessons more quickly
  • Establish a cross-party commission to recommend urgent steps to prevent violence against women and girls
Alba party logo

Alba

Leader

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond icon

Key policies

  • Independence for Scotland as an immediate necessity, and overwhelming priority, achieved by democratic means through a vote of people resident in Scotland
  • The promotion of all Scottish interests, and the building of an economically successful and socially just independent country, through the pursuit of a social democratic programme
  • The acceptance by the Scottish people of a written constitution for the newly independent country; defending the rights, liberties and equality of all citizens before the law

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • Set up a powerful independent inquiry to find out what Scotland must learn from its successes and mistakes during Covid

Independence

Independence icon
  • Aims to achieve a "supermajority" of pro-independence MSPs in the election to deliver an overwhelming Scottish Parliamentary vote to begin negotiations on independence.
  • Pressure the new Scottish government to immediately start negotiations with Westminster on another referendum and the terms of independence, and lay a motion at Holyrood to deliver this instruction
  • Include a formal demand for a section 30 order in the negotiating position
  • If a section 30 order is refused, call for the Scottish government to urgently pass a referendum bill and be ready to fight it in the courts if need be
  • Set up an independence commission to consider how to build an independent Scotland
  • Propose a written constitution and a new Scottish currency to be introduced at an early date following independence with Sterling still used as a dual currency over a period of time

Economy

Economy icon
  • Rebuild Scotland's domestic business base by letting the Scottish National Investment bank access the global capital
  • A major expansion of available capital from the Scottish National Investment Bank to offer finance from start-up companies emerging from universities and colleges
  • Mobilise capital through the Scottish National Investment Bank to finance socially rented housing and other key infrastructure projects
  • Reframe public sector purchasing and procurement to favour Scottish and locally based business
  • Introduce a development land tax in Scotland, with carefully calibrated exemptions to protect Scotland's farming community but aimed at bringing assets, currently hoarded, into productive use

Education

Education icon
  • Double the Educational Maintenance Allowance
  • Free school breakfasts and lunches for nursery, primary and secondary pupils using high quality Scottish produce centrally purchased with menus devised by leading Scottish chefs and nutritionists - every week of the year
  • A "bonfire of paperwork" for teachers to free them of bureaucracy and allow them to focus on teaching
  • Extra support for learning and behaviour support to help pupils recover from the pandemic
  • Sports and gym facilities to be provided free to the under 18s

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Build a new generation of world-class modern care homes which are better and safer for residents and more efficient in running costs
  • To bring forward and invest in a catch-up programme for all the NHS activity which was cancelled because of Covid
  • A mental health recovery plan, recognising the impact of the pandemic on the mental wellbeing of the nation
  • To streamline management structures in the NHS and create greater frontline staff involvement in management

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • A proposal for Scotland to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and through EFTA admission to the European Economic Area while maintaining the Common Travel Area and potentially a customs union with the rest of the UK
  • This would serve as either an interim position from which to negotiate EU membership or a long term proposal depending on the view of the Scottish people.

Environment

Environment icon
  • Create a Scottish National Renewables Corporation to finance the transition from a carbon based economy, and give the SNRC an automatic shareholding of all licensed energy projects of 30 MW and above
  • The Scottish National Renewables Corporation will make sure that this time a far greater proportion of those major wind farms will embrace public and community ownership and that many more of the components from which they're built are made in Scotland
  • Major programme to reinsulate houses
  • Commission a roadmap on how Scotland will electrify its transport network
  • Support the transition away from fossil fuels by replacing corporation tax with a wellhead production tax on the offshore oil industry

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Campaign for WASPI women
  • Introduce a £500 annual payment to all low-income households
  • Introduce a legal right to food to make tackling food poverty a legally enforceable requirement for public agencies

Housing

Housing icon
  • Set up a Scottish national housing company to build houses to high standards including high environmental standards
  • Buy land at the best price so the houses can be made available for the lowest possible rent
  • Build a major retraining programme into the heart of the Housing Company to train people in Scotland to fill the gaps in the construction workforce, and build the houses out of Scottish timber

Transport

Transport icon
  • Modernise and expand domestic ferry services
  • Fund transitioning Scotland's taxi fleet to electric vehicles, and bring the level of grant provided to taxi drivers at least in line with Northern Ireland

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Give women the right to maintain their sex based protections as set out in the Equality Act 2010
All for Unity party logo

All for Unity

Lead candidate

George Galloway

George Galloway icon

Key policies

  • Stand up to the SNP against Scottish independence
  • Seek to form a government of 'national unity' in favour of the Union
  • Work with any and all pro-Union parties to stop nationalists from holding a second independence referendum

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • Scotland needs time to rebuild after the pandemic and Brexit
  • Introduce a personalised tutoring and mentoring programme to help pupils catch up after Covid
  • Emergency funding for a post-Covid taskforce to clear the backlog of cancer screenings and other critical NHS operations

Independence

Independence icon
  • A Clarity Act to set down the conditions for granting another referendum and the rules for holding it
  • No referendum unless a majority of all Scottish adults vote for pro-independence parties in the election
  • All Scots living elsewhere in the UK should be eligible to vote in any referendum on independence
  • Scottish regions who vote No in a referendum should have the choice of remaining in the UK or joining the new independent Scotland
  • Scottish government should be renamed as the Scottish Executive and more powers should be devolved to the regions

Economy

Economy icon
  • Reverse the trend of declining inward investment in Scotland by providing a strong voice within UK initiatives and using trade missions within the FCO and British Council
  • Create a Small Business Recovery unit to safeguard small business interests
  • Scrap the Scottish National Investment Bank and the Scottish National Infrastructure Company

Education

Education icon
  • Develop national interventions for addressing the attainment gap
  • Introduce individualised tutoring and mentoring programmes to help pupils catch up after Covid
  • A Scottish education recovery programme, putting literacy and numeracy at the centre of the learning process again
  • Giving Scottish schools more autonomy like their English counterparts
  • Replace Education Scotland with an independent inspectorate, reform the SQA and radically overhaul the Curriculum for Excellence

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Emergency funding and organisational prioritisation for a post-Covid taskforce to clear the backlog of cancer screenings and other critical operations
  • Increase the number of students in Scottish medical schools who are domiciled in Scotland
  • Increase recruitment and retention in general practice
  • Increase the provision of mental health services for all, particularly young people
  • Give carer workers a reasonable wage to stop high turnover and make caring a rewarding career
  • Increase funding for drug rehabilitation centres

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Resist any attempt to remove Scotland from the European Convention on Human Rights

Environment

Environment icon
  • A pause in the afforestation of the uplands to put in place robust legislation that protects Scotland's iconic heather moorlands
  • Encourage regenerative agriculture and encourage farmers to transition to carbon-neutral grazing systems
  • Campaign for discrete continental-style cycle lanes to be incorporated into any new development
  • Force retailers to use biodegradable packaging unless a clear need for plastic can be proven

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • An independent commission to examine optimal tax rates and make recommendations
  • Skills funding should be more aligned to industry need

Housing

Housing icon
  • Push for any quantative easing by the Treasury to be used to fund projects to increase the housing stock
  • Encourage the building of new, low-cost starter homes
  • Campaign for more high street shops to be turned back into housing to regenerate communities in town and city centres
  • End homelessness by allowing local authorities to convert empty town centre shops into hostels

Transport

Transport icon
  • A review of the country's major road network with a view to supporting fishing, agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, manufacturing and heavy engineering
  • Improve the A82, dual the A1 from Edinburgh to the Border and find a solution to landslides on the Rest and Be Thankful
  • A road link between the Mull of Galloway and Northern Ireland and upgrade the A75 to strengthen the economy of the south of Scotland
  • An urgent review of ferry services in the west of Scotland

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Repeal the Hate Crime Bill
  • Remove all political links from the role of Lord Advocate
  • Verdicts in Scottish courts would be changed to "proven" or "not proven"
  • Make Police Scotland locally accountable again by having a chief constable in every former constabulary area
Freedom Alliance party logo

Freedom Alliance

Leader

Carol Dobson

Carol Dobson icon

Key policies

  • Oppose the government lockdown restrictions
  • Oppose any and all curtailments of the liberties and human rights of free individuals
  • Reduce the role of the state in the management of our lives
  • Government should be devolved and decentralised to the smallest practicable level and direct democracy should be utilised to return decision making to the people

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • Closing down the country in response to a coronavirus is a dramatic and completely unnecessary overreaction
  • Quarantining the country is not the way to deal with the virus
  • It is not the government's place to impose health measures on the populace
  • People should have the absolute right to leave home whenever they choose, to make a living and operate business premises
  • Opposed to the compulsory use of facemasks in schools, and to the idea of vaccination mandates or "vaccine passports"

Independence

Independence icon
  • Freedom Alliance MSPs will abstain on any vote on IndyRef2 in the Scottish Parliament
  • Should IndyRef2 happen Freedom Alliance MSPs and members will be free to campaign on whichever side they choose

Economy

Economy icon
  • Seek to introduce legislation to more effectively tax big online corporations
  • A levy a Covid-19 'windfall tax' on the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers
  • End the immunity from prosecution granted to the pharmaceutical industry by the UK government
  • End deficit spending at the UK government level. All government expenditure should be financed by tax receipts.

Education

Education icon
  • A multi-faceted approach to help children regain the ground lost over the last year through post-school education in vocational courses and apprenticeships and also via decreased pupil to teacher ratios
  • The additional teaching staff required to be recruited from retired teachers, former teaching assistants or people currently undergoing teacher training.
  • Oppose any more school, further and higher education institution closures and instead push for a permanent return to face-to-face teaching.
  • Oppose any moves towards mask mandates, mandatory Covid-19 testing or "vaccine passports". The party will ensure to the best of its ability that all pupils, students and parents are fully informed of all the issues relating to masks and Covid-19 testing and that the measures are voluntary.

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Push for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate what has happened in care homes, the NHS and corridors of power since the beginning of 2020
  • Push for more funding for scientific studies aimed at finding ways to improve the nations' health via natural and alternative means to expand upon existing recommendations regarding eating a balanced diet and taking enough exercise in the fresh air
  • Significant increases in Vitamin D3 testing with appropriate management and supplementation

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Respects the democratic will of the British people and accepts the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum
  • Will seek to build relationships and alliances with elected representatives from EU member states and countries around the world opposed to the disproportionate lockdown measures being imposed upon the people of their nations

Environment

Environment icon
  • Environment policies will be added as they are announced

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Oppose any further extensions of the furlough scheme and the costly propping up of non-viable jobs and businesses
  • Reach out to concerned and like-minded experts, business leaders and stakeholders willing to help us find the best way forward to create viable jobs and rebuild our shattered economy

Housing

Housing icon
  • Housing policies will be added as they are announced

Transport

Transport icon
  • Fight to regain Scots' basic human right to unfettered freedom of movement within the UK
  • Try to enable Scots to travel abroad without requiring "vaccine passports" or Covid-19 tests

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Policies will be added as they are announced
Reform UK party logo

Reform UK

Leader

Michelle Ballantyne

Michelle Ballantyne icon

Key policies

  • Return of Freedoms
  • Restart the Economy
  • Restore Education Standards
  • Rebuild the NHS
  • Reform Holyrood

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • No more lockdowns
  • No domestic vaccine passports

Independence

Independence icon
  • Oppose independence and a second referendum
  • Full audited review of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish government
  • Devolve further powers to local government

Economy

Economy icon
  • A costed radical plan for economic reform that will make Scots up to £1,500 better off
  • Scrap Air Passenger Duty
  • Raise income tax threshold to £20,000

Education

Education icon
  • Scrap the Curriculum for Excellence and return direction of learning to teachers
  • Champion play-based learning for early years
  • Introduce a curriculum that will give equal weight to academic and vocational learning

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Create an NHS Reserve Force that works similar to Army reserves
  • Put the priority on standards of patient care and job satisfaction

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Seize all opportunities that Brexit will present

Environment

Environment icon
  • Environment policies will be added as they are announced

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Work and benefits policies will added as they are announced

Housing

Housing icon
  • Housing policies will be added as they are announced

Transport

Transport icon
  • Transport policies will be added as they are announced

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Repeal the Hate Crime Act
Scottish Family Party party logo

Scottish Family Party

Leader

Richard Lucas

Richard Lucas icon

Key policies

  • Support stable family life as family instability currently fuels a host of social problems
  • Promote marriage as a means of strengthening families, through education, the tax system and wider culture
  • Protect the lives of the unborn from the ongoing tragedy of abortion, and the elderly from the pressure of assisted suicide
  • Protect our basic freedoms, including freedom of speech
  • Restore high standards to education

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • A swift return to full normality, with the permanent lifting of all lockdown restrictions

Independence

Independence icon
  • Neutral on the benefits or otherwise of Scottish independence.
  • Oppose a referendum in the next parliament because more time needs to pass since the last one and pandemic recovery necessitates a period of stability

Economy

Economy icon
  • Boost the economy by removing all Covid restrictions to allow businesses to flourish again

Education

Education icon
  • Scrap the Curriculum or Excellence and replace it with a clear academic curriculum
  • Maintain exams as an objective and fair measure of attainment
  • Empower teachers to maintain good discipline, using effective punishments where necessary
  • End indoctrination into left wing/liberal/progressive political causes in schools
  • Replace "vulgar and corrupting" sex education with facts-based lessons presenting positive moral principles.
  • Stop teaching transgender ideology

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • A well-funded and efficiently managed NHS
  • Stop all transgender "treatments" for under 16s
  • Medical confidentiality and decision-making powers at 16 instead of the current 12 years old
  • Addiction treatments focusing on cure rather than perpetual management
  • Council tax relief for families taking elderly relatives into their own home

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Neutral on membership of the EU, but respect the result of the 2016 referendum

Environment

Environment icon
  • Conserve the natural beauty of Scotland, its flora and fauna
  • Practical, sustainable and carefully costed measures to tackle carbon emissions
  • Every means of energy generation should be considered on its merits and none dismissed on ideological grounds

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Remove the discrimination against full time parents currently embodied in the tax and benefits system, helping families to choose the work/home balance that they desire
  • Oppose social engineering to close the gender pay gap
  • Support meritocracy, not quotas or other such unfair and discriminatory employment practices

Housing

Housing icon
  • Enable families to buy their own homes by encouraging more new family housing developments on brownfield sites

Transport

Transport icon
  • Cheap and efficient public transport alongside ongoing affordable car use
  • Extend safe cycleways by integration into pavement areas
  • Explore the potential of river transport on some of Scotland's great waterways

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Stop the politicisation of the police as it undermines confidence in their impartiality
  • Police pursuing criminals instead of pedalling politically correct slogans and attempting to ensure people are being kind on Twitter.
  • Just sentences: there should be a punitive and deterrent element in sentencing
  • Protect the identity of the accused until charges are brought, at the earliest
UKIP party logo

UKIP

Leader

Donald Mackay

Donald Mackay icon

Key policies

  • Scrap the Scottish Parliament
  • Oppose Scottish independence and any further independence referendums
  • Repeal the Hate Crime Act

Covid-19

Covid-19 icon
  • End all Covid restrictions now
  • Oppose further lockdowns, and instead opt for a different approach to managing Covid-19 which allows the economy to function more normally

Independence

Independence icon
  • Scrap the Scottish Parliament
  • Oppose Scottish independence and any further independence referendums

Economy

Economy icon
  • Keep government regulations to a minimum
  • Encourage small businesses to expand

Education

Education icon
  • Reintroduce selective schools
  • End the need for political correctness in schools

NHS and care

NHS and care icon
  • Endorse the Great Barrington Declaration - which calls for "focused protection" for the elderly and those particularly vulnerable to Covid, while others continue to live relatively normally

EU relations

EU relations icon eu_relations_v2
  • Northern Ireland is an integral part of United Kingdom and should be treated as such – which includes scrapping checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain

Environment

Environment icon
  • UKIP Scotland does not believe in man-made climate change
  • Oppose forcing a transition away from fossil fuels

Work and benefits

Work and benefits icon
  • Encourage strong local economies to allow people to support themselves as far as possible

Housing

Housing icon
  • Abolish the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

Transport

Transport icon
  • Only use speed cameras at accident black spots - for public safety, not revenue generation

Justice

Justice icon crime_v2
  • Repeal the Hate Crime Bill
  • Scrap Police Scotland and reintroduce divisional police forces

This guide is a concise summary of the main policies being put forward by each party.

The policy areas featured in the guide were selected using polling data on what the public consider to be the most important issues facing the country.

While some issues such as health and education are the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament, others such as foreign policy and Brexit are decided at the UK parliament at Westminster. You can read more about how devolution works here.

More information on how the issues and parties were selected is in our methodology.

A full list of parties standing at the election is available here.