After these two recent life-changing years, do you get the feeling that Scotland’s council elections in 2022 have sprung upon us quite literally out of knowhere? Yep, you’re not alone!
We figured that if we want to vote for who will lead our local communities on May 5th 2022, we’d be better informed if we know what each party is focusing on beforehand.
And so we compiled this informative video in what will be a series of short videos introducing each one of the Scottish political parties and their top 10 platform issues being brought forward to voters.
Further down this article, you’ll find more detailed entries for each issue.
1, 2, 3, Let’s talk democracy!
A Really Short Introduction to The Scottish National Party
The letters ‘SNP’ stand for Scottish National Party. Other facts include:
- Scottish people say. “Scots National Pairty“
- The SNP was formed in 1934 to fight for Scottish independence
- The SNP are a ‘Social Democratic’ party
- Social Democracy is a political, social, and economic philosophy within socialism and supports economic democracy
- Social Democracy can be characterized as a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, eliminating oppression of minority groups, eradicating poverty, and supporting universal access to public services such as child care
Their leader is Nicola sturgeon. She’s the first minister for Scotland and has been since 20th November 2014.
One of her main focuses is to ask people to vote again on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country.
The party’s YES Campaign is their main platform for promoting Scottish independence.
Scotland voted against independence back in 2014’s referendum. Today, support for independence is almost 50/50 and Nicola Sturgeon is sharing her experience to help grow the next generation of SNP talent that might help them win independence.
With the Scottish council elections just around the corner (Thursday 5th May 2022), let’s take a wee dive into the top ten platform issues being brought forward to voters.
1. The Cost of Living Crisis
Here are the top actions that the SNP have already taken or say they will be taking in the near future to help bring relief to Scottish families who are now seeing the biggest hit to their household incomes in nearly 60 years:
- From April 2022, the SNP say they will increase payments by 6% to 6 Scottish benefits; Job Start Payment, Young Carers Grant, Funeral Support, Best Start Grant, the Carers Allowance Supplement, and The Child Winter Heating Assistance
- The Adult Disability Payment and the Child Disability Payment will increase by 3.1%
- The Scottish Child Payment will be doubled to £20 per week in April and will increase again to £25 per week by the end of 2022
- They will also extend the child payment to under 16s, too.
To help people in fuel poverty, the SNP say they are/will:
- Provide access to free energy advice and support through Home Energy Scotland
- Funding for existing energy programs worth £160 million
- Funding local community programs in the worst hit areas worth £64 million.
To help people manage the rising costs of their bills, the SNP say they are/will:
- Giving all households in council tax bands A-D a £150 council tax discount
- Investing £10 million into the Fuel Insecurity fund to provide a lifeline to families who are at risk of having to turn off their heating and electricity
The SNP say they will continue to offer:
- Free prescriptions
- Free NHS eye tests
- Rolling out FREE NHS dental care in Scotland
- Free personal care for those who need it
- Rolling out a national care service to save families £1,600 per week
- Free college and university tuition
- Free baby box full of essentials for newborns
- Lower council tax rates than England
2. The Ukraine Crisis
In their recent Ukraine statement, the SNP said this:
- We want to act as a single, super-sponsor to allow significant numbers of people fleeing Ukraine to come to Scotland immediately
- We have offered to sponsor 3,000 straightaway. Longer term, we have given an uncapped commitment to support at least 10% of the total number who seek sanctuary in the UK.
- We will provide temporary accommodation and then, with people already safely here and wrapped in a warm Scottish welcome, we will work at speed with partners – local councils, the Scottish Refugee Council, the NHS, Disclosure Scotland and others – to complete safeguarding checks, put in place wider health, education, practical and befriending support, and arrange longer term accommodation.
If you’d like to support a Ukrainian Family with accomodation, you may register your interest here.
3. Young People & Students
Here’s the latest on how the SNP are helping Scotland’s young people:
- The creation of the Young Person’s Guarentee program that aims to give every 16-24 year old in Scotland access to a job, apprenticeship, education, or training
- FREE bus travel for under-22s
- FREE university tuition for all
- Connecting young people with nature-based, sustainable jobs
- £70 million investment helping young people, especially women into farming and land management
- Part of the £70 million funding will create an extra 9,900 college places
- Protecting the educational maintainance allowance
4. Renewable Energy
In terms of green, renewable energy, the SNP say they are making considerable investments in wind, let’s take a look:
- 17 offshore wind projects have been approved so far this year (2022)
- These wind projects have a combined capacity to generate 25GW (Gigawatts) of clean energy
- For perspective, 0.95GW is enough to power 650,000 homes
- Scotland is aiming for net-zero by 2045
5. Gender & Health Equality for All
This is the latest on their project to deliver gender and health equality to all, especially women and girls:
- The first country in the UK to introduce a women’s health plan. It includes striving for improvements in areas such as menopause, heart health, menstrual health, and sexual health. They say the plan has been driven by real life experiences of women
- They’ve introduced the Women Returners Program to help women who’ve been out of work, back into work
- Making more progress in equal pay for women
- The passing of the domestic abuse bill which makes it easier to prosecute someone for committing psychological abuse
- Protecting womens pensions
- Fighting to abolish the two-child benefit cap set by the UK Government
6. More Social Security Powers
With limited powers, here are a collection of actions that need to be addressed which might illustrate why the Scottish people might be better served by their own governemnt social security system:
- Designing a social security system with a strong local presence
- Engaging with people with experience of receiving benefits, to build a social security system that works for them
- Improving benefits for carers by increasing the Carer’s Allowance and introducing a Young Carer Grant and a payment for carers of more than one disabled child
- Improving benefits for disabled people and people with ill-health, and confirming that no assessments will be carried out by the private sector
- Campaigning to maximise benefit take-up
- Delivering the Best Start Grant to increase support for low-income families with young children
- Providing help with heating costs and extending the Winter Fuel Payment to families with severely disabled children
- working with the Department for Work and Pensions to introduce flexibilities to the way Universal Credit is payed
7. Child Poverty
From April 2022:
- The SNP are doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20
- Scottish Child Payment, together with Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods, will provide over £5,200 of financial support for families by the time their first child turns six. For second and subsequent children, it will provide over £4,900.
- Free school meals for all primary pupils
- A baby box for every newborn in Scotland. The box includes essential items for a baby’s first weeks and months, provides a safe space for babies to sleep, and helps tackle deprivation while improving health and supporting new parents.
8. Adult Disability Payments
A more compassionate service is what the Scottish governement are promising through their new Adult disability payment which will replace the personal independence payment nationwide from 29th August 2022.
9. A Safer Scotland
This area mostly focuses on the Scottish police force and includes:
- Giving police officers a fair pay rise
- Creating 800 new police officer jobs
- Investing £3.2 billion into the front-line justice system
- Investing in community projects funded by seized criminal assets
- The domestic abuse bill
10. The Scottish Economy
Employers paying the accredited minimum wage is a big focus at the moment, while reducing youth unemployment through their Young Persons Guarentee program is another key goal of the SNP.
Other areas of investment are:
- Investing £26 billion in infrastructure
- Designing modern apprenticeships
- Supporting the growth of green jobs
- Supporting exporters in the face of Brexit troubles
What’s Your Favourite Party Focusing on?
Let’s take a look at the issues the main political parties say that they are focusing on.
Are you Registered to Vote?
The 2022 Scottish local elections will take place on Thursday 5th May.
If you’re 16+, we need to be registered by 18th April 2022 to have our voice heard.
Make sure you know how to register to vote.
Congratulations! Happy voting 🙂
Go and tell them what you really think, and use these helpful links and resources if you need them:
- Contact your local Electoral Registration Office if you have a question about registering to vote.
- Find your local councillors. Or discover more about the work they do.
- Find your address with the Post Office postcode finder.
- Discover more about how to vote.
- Information about voting during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Want to vote by post?
- How to apply for a national insurance number.