The Scottish National Party has now published its manifesto for the 2017 General Election. Its key message is that it wants to bring austerity to an end, increase investment in public services, protect families’ finances and stop cuts to benefits for the disabled and working families.
If you are a voter north of the border, here is our summary of what its proposals will mean for your personal finances.
Pensions and older people:
The SNP will preserve the triple lock on the state pension which guarantees that payments will rise by the higher of wages growth, inflation or 2.5%. It will continue to support the WASPI campaign which seeks compensation for women born in the 1950s that have been caught out by rapid increases to state pension age.
The SNP will also oppose any plans to increase state pension age beyond 66 and will use its expanding powers to protect the winter fuel allowance. In Scotland pensioners (as well as those on low incomes) are offered free financial health checks to help them make the most of their money – the SNP will also campaign for this initiative to be adopted across the UK.
The Scottish Parliament now has responsibility for setting rates of income tax. As such it has already frozen the basic rate of income tax to aid low and middle earners. However, the SNP says it will support a UK-wide increase to the additional rate of tax from 45p to 50p from 2018/19.
It will also oppose any hikes to VAT or national insurance and support the reversal of the married couple’s tax allowance, reversals to reductions to the bankers’ levy and the launch of a tax on bankers’ bonuses.
The SNP believes that pensions are the most appropriate means of saving for retirement and as such it will support moves to extend auto-enrolment pension schemes to ensure that more low paid workers as well as the self-employed can benefit.
It will also call for the Lifetime Isa to be scrapped on the grounds that this initiative discourages savers from investing in more appropriate retirement savings plans.
The SNP wants consumer protection to be fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament. One of its priorities will be to launch a fuel duty regulator to stabilise the price of petrol and diesel. It also says that insurance premium tax punishes groups that typically have to spend more on insurance such as those living in flood risk areas and young drivers. It will call for IPT rates to be frozen.
Furthermore the SNP will strive to ensure that Brexit does not mean roaming charges for Scottish phone users are reinstated when they make calls abroad.
Tackling ticket touts is also on the agenda and it will seek a ban on software that enables ticket touts to purchase large volumes of tickets that they can then sell on for profit.
Finally, residents of remote parts of Scotland are forced to pay punitive delivery charges. The SNP will press the UK government to regulate and ensure delivery charges to rural communities are fair.
The SNP will push the government to put a price cap on standard energy tariffs and increase pressure on energy providers to reduce the number of households that are forced to use expensive pre-payment meters. It also wants energy companies to prioritise those at risk of fuel poverty as they roll out smart meters.
The SNP will extend free childcare to 30 hours a week for all three and four year olds as well as vulnerable two year olds. It will guarantee the maintenance of tuition fee free university education in Scotland.
The SNP will look to ban zero-hours contracts which offer little security to workers and will back a move from the minimum wage to the higher real living wage. It also says it will call for ‘tough new action’ on the gender pay gap. In order to achieve its aims SNP will continue pressing for full devolution of employment and employability policy.
The SNP opposes caps on child tax credits that limits it to the first two children and the removal of the family element of universal credit. It also wants to end the freezing of benefits and will call for all benefits to be increased in line with the consumer prices index measure of inflation.
It also wants to scrap the bedroom tax and will abolish it in Scotland once it has the powers to do so. It will also support moves to restore housing benefit for young people age 18-21.
The SNP would also like to reverse recent cuts to bereavement benefits.
- For details of the other political parties' policies, read our coverage of General Election 2017.