The Scottish National Party has today unveiled a 649 page blueprint for how it anticipates Scotland to operate, should they be elected in an independent Scotland in 2016.
The paper promised a ‘revolution’ in social policy and set out plans to place childcare at the heart of the SNP’s agenda. As well as making the case for independence, the White Paper also established a series of policy pledges for the SNP in a post-independence landscape. These include:
- Thirty hours of childcare per week in term time for all three and four-year-olds, as well as vulnerable two-year-olds.
- Trident nuclear weapons, currently based on the Clyde, removed within the first parliament.
- Housing benefit reforms, described by critics as the “bedroom tax”, to be abolished, and a halt to the rollout of Universal Credit.
- It would be in Scotland’s interest to keep the pound, while the Bank of England would continue as “lender of last resort”.
- BBC Scotland replaced at the start of 2017 with a new Scottish broadcasting service, continuing a formal relationship with the rest of the BBC.
- Basic rate tax allowances and tax credits to rise at least in line with inflation.
- A safe, “triple-locked” pension system.
- Minimum wage to “rise alongside the cost of living”.
Speaking at the launch of the paper in Glasgow, Mr Salmond said: “Our vision is of an independent Scotland regaining its place as an equal member of the family of nations. However, we do no seek independence as an end in itself, but rather as a means to changing Scotland for the better.
“We know we have the people, the skills and the resources to make Scotland a more successful country. What we need now are the economic tools and powers to build a more competitive , dynamic economy and create more jobs.
“With these policies, we can begin the job of undoing the damage caused by the vast social disparities which have seen the UK become one of the most unequal societies in the developed world.”
Alistair Darling, the former UK Chancellor and head of the Better Together campaign, was critical of the paper and labeled it a ‘work of fiction, full of meaningless assertions’.
He said: “It is a fantasy to say we can leave the UK but still keep all the benefits of UK membership. The White Paper is a work of fiction. It is thick with false promises and meaningless assertions.
“Instead of a credible and costed plan, we have a wish-list of political promises without any answers on how Alex Salmond would pay for them.”