Scotland is on a Different Path

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Scotland is on a different path to Boris Johnson’s Tories

The Queen has officially reopened the UK Parliament and highlighted the UK government’s priorities.

In a ten minute speech to the House of Lords, we learned of 30 laws that UK ministers intend to pass in the coming year.

Laws which will be implemented by a government Scotland didn’t vote for, but with far-reaching consequences for all of us.

The Queen’s Speech completely failed to deliver the investment and fundamental change we need, and instead the Tories are imposing long-term damage of cuts, Brexit and a power grab against Scotland’s will.

As we look beyond the pandemic and to build our recovery, the Tory UK government is repeating the same mistakes of the last economic crisis.

They are imposing a public sector pay freeze; cuts to Universal Credit and a “savings and efficiency review” of public services – which means cuts, cuts and more cuts to public services.

Instead of building a fairer society and implementing an investment-led recovery, the Tories are entrenching inequality and pushing people into poverty.

By comparison, the SNP is looking to rebuild our economy in an investment-led recovery as set out in our manifesto, and unlike this Tory government – the SNP manifesto has the support of the Scottish people.

The SNP’s policy programme will move our country forward – making it fairer, greener and more prosperous. The First Minister is already back at work and getting on with the job and our alternative is already in action.

With health and social care services having been on the front line of the pandemic, the newly elected SNP Government will now deliver a 20% increase in frontline NHS spending – a total of £2.5 billion.

And while this Tory Government dithers and delays on reforms to social care, the new SNP Government will move to establish a National Care Service, backed by a 25% increase in social care investment. This will include significant investment in the staff themselves.

Unlike the insult of 1% offer offered by the Tories, in Scotland NHS staff have been offered an average 4% pay increase, and the new National Care Service, backed by £800 million, will enable the government to offer a National Living Wage for all care staff.

To invest in the next generation, the SNP Government will invest £1 billion over the next parliament to close the school attainment gap, and recruit 3500 additional teachers and classroom assistants, while this Tory government had to be shamed by a professional footballer into providing free school meals.

In contrast the Scottish Government will get on with providing free school breakfast and lunches to every primary school pupil, year-round, and a device for every child in Scotland to get online.

For families, the SNP Scottish government will build a wraparound childcare system, to help support working parents – with the least well-off families paying nothing.

And whilst this Tory Government threatens to rip away the lifeline of the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit – the new SNP Government will double the game changing Scottish Child Payment over the life of the parliament.

We are living in unprecedented times and this Queen’s Speech was a wasted opportunity.

It could now not be clearer that Scotland is on a completely different political path to Westminster.

Once the crisis has passed, Boris Johnson must respect the will of the Scottish people to determine our own future in a post-pandemic independence referendum, so we can make the long-term changes needed for a strong recovery and a fairer country.