Scottish election 2021: Scottish Labour manifesto at-a-glance

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Anas Sarwar launched his party's manifesto

Scottish Labour has unveiled its vision for Scotland ahead of the 6 May Holyrood election. Below are the main policies from the party's manifesto.

The full document, which you can see here, sets out the policies the party's MSPs will support becoming law if returned to Holyrood.

Top priorities

  • 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
  • Develop a comeback plan for education which invests in and gives IT support to schools
  • 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


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


  • 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
  • Renegotiate the Fiscal Framework
  • Support further devolution of powers to Holyrood including borrowing and employment rights


  • Ensure no publicly-procured contract uses zero-hours contracts
  • Establish a Better Business Scotland certification scheme for businesses that want to work with the public sector to ensure they meet high standards
  • Restructure the Scottish National Investment Bank so it can provide seed 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
  • Establish a Business Restart Fund and Business Transition Fund to continue to support businesses facing financial hardship as a result of restrictions


  • Dedicated support for every young person by providing each of them with a personal comeback plan, based on an individual assessment, and provide personal tutoring
  • Enable young people to resit exams and support them to do that with a free place at college to take National Qualifications
  • Prioritise vaccinations for teaching and school staff
  • Give probationary teachers guaranteed completion opportunities, and give trainee teachers who have been unable to complete training the right to complete at no cost
  • Provide extra digital training for staff and a digital device for every pupil, and give targeted support to households without broadband
  • Implement a minimum student income
  • Give every young person free access to sport, transport, outdoor activities and culture this summer, and ring-fence resources for school trips to outdoor activity centres over the next two years

NHS and care

  • Find missing cancer diagnoses with a catch-up initiative across screening programmes to clear the backlog of appointments by the end of 2021/22
  • Establish Rapid Diagnostic Centres so patients can have a diagnosis within two weeks
  • Improve access to mental health support with a new referral and triage service and ensure GPs have dedicated mental health workers
  • 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
  • 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 adequate help to breastfeed and offer support to women with post-natal depression
  • Put in place a long-term pay deal for staff that addresses historic underfunding and low pay for NHS workers and carers
  • Deliver a national care service

EU relations

  • 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


  • Improve the energy efficiency of Scotland's buildings
  • Lead a just transition to net zero
  • Give interest-free government loans to help more low and middle income households buy electric cars over the next two years and accelerate the rollout 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

  • 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
  • A training guarantee offer for everyone on the Jobs for Recovery scheme with 20% of their time dedicated to developing skills and seeking their next job
  • 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


  • Build 200,000 zero-carbon social homes over 10 years, with parity of grant funding between councils, co-operatives and housing associations
  • Reform the law to allow for the acquisition of land for social housing at existing use
  • Value and use development gain to finance essential infrastructure
  • Create a National Housing Agency to end the housing crisis for good
  • Guarantee fair rents and improve tenants' rights in the private rented sector
  • Supporting people to own their own home, with specific support for young people and first-time buyers
  • End rough sleeping within the next five years


  • Provide free bus travel for under 25s, with a long-term goal of universal free bus travel
  • Bring all of Scotland's railways under public ownership and increase rail connectivity between smaller towns and villages by reopening stations and restoring neglected service
  • Enable bus services to go back into public hands with start-up resources for councils to run
  • 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


  • Restore connections between the police force and local communities
  • 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
  • Invest in digitisation of the courts system, mitigating barriers caused by digital inequalities and dealing with the backlog of 34,000 cases
  • Improve access to justice by reforming legal aid, roll out specialist domestic abuse courts and introduce a specialist sexual offences court

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