So, What's It All About?
The SNP Manifesto is entitled, ‘Stronger for Scotland’. It says that “a vote for the SNP will strengthen Scotland’s hand against further Tory cuts and ensure that progressive polices, like those pursued by the SNP government in Scotland, are firmly on the agenda at Westminster.” Nicola Sturgeon, introducing the manifesto, said it had “fairness and opportunity at its heart” and was a manifesto for a “country that is welcoming and outward-looking”.
Human Rights Laws
The SNP say that their MPs will “hold the Tories to account to ensure that the rights and protections currently safeguarded by EU membership are not diminished after the UK leaves.” The Human Rights Convention is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998, ensuring that human rights are protected by the Scottish Government and all Scottish legislation. The SNP says it will oppose any attempts by the UK Government to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw the UK from the Human Rights Convention.
Employment and Workers' Rights
Human rights laws protect our rights at work, as well as at home. The SNP’s commitment to workers includes pressing for a ban on zero-hours contracts, and ensuring that workers have appropriate rights and protections, including holiday and sick pay. They back the Women and Equalities Committee’s recommendation to strengthen the law to protect women from discriminatory redundancies and practices. They also want to establish a Fair Work Commission “to ensure workers’ rights across the UK are not diminished as a result of Brexit.”
Under the Human Rights Convention, we all have the right to be free from discrimination. The Equality Act provides further protections for key groups. SNP MPs will call for new action to close the gender pay gap. They want to make any employer who loses an equal pay claim carry out and publish an equal pay audit. Other measures include pressing for a change to the Equality Act to prevent employers having different dress codes for men and women, and seeking reforms to ensure that same-sex couples have equal pension rights and that all LGBT people are fully protected from discrimination and harassment.
The SNP say they will hold the UK government to its commitment of spending 0.7 percent of Gross National Income on international development. The party also urge an immediate halt to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and to any regimes suspected of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. They back a reopening of the Dubs Scheme for unaccompanied children to ensure that safe routes are open. They also support the establishment of a special envoy to promote the rights of LGBT people throughout the world.
Health and Disability
We all have a right to healthcare. The SNP manifesto sets out a plan for protecting the NHS, including additional spending that would, by 2021/22, increase the NHS Scotland budget by up to an extra £1bn. They call on the UK Government to increase health spending per head of population in England to the current Scottish level, which is 7% higher. The Scottish Government has produced an action plan for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They urge the UK Government to fully engage with the current UN investigation into its implementation in the UK.
A key promise of the SNP manifesto is to make sure that Scottish interests are not ignored in the Brexit negotiations. They say that if the SNP wins this election, they will “demand a place for Scotland at the Brexit negotiating table and the inclusion of the case for our place in the Single Market in the UK’s negotiating remit.” The SNP also say that, “at the end of the Brexit process, when the final terms of the deal are known, it is right that Scotland should have a choice about our future.” This means holding a second independence referendum.
In acknowledgement of the vital right to education, the SNP say they’ll expand early years education and childcare to 30 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds and vulnerable 2 year olds. They’ll also continue to invest in and reform school education, with the new National Improvement Framework, the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the £120 million Pupil Equity Fund. Further, they guarantee the continuation of tuition free university education.
Free Speech and Privacy
The SNP say that responsibility for broadcasting in Scotland should transfer from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament. In the meantime, they’ll continue to push for a greater authority and funding to be moved from BBC network to BBC Scotland, and for “a fairer share of the TV licence fee raised in Scotland being spent in Scotland.” SNP MPs will seek to protect local news and other content provided by local commercial radio stations, and demand that the UK government reinstates its funding for Gaelic broadcasting.