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At a glance: What's in the Scottish Labour manifesto?

Richard Leonard unveiled his party's prospectus to voters ahead of the December 12 election.

Richard Leonard has pledged to "end the scourge of child poverty" and "deliver real change" across Scotland as he launched Scottish Labour's election manifesto.

The Scottish Labour leader unveiled his party's plans in Glasgow on Friday ahead of the general election on December 12.

It comes the day after Jeremy Corbyn launched the UK Labour manifesto and the two documents match closely.

Leonard praised Scottish Labour's "radical" prospectus, revealing key policies on school meals, public transport, wages and investment in services.

So what else is in the manifesto, and where does it differ from Corbyn's pitch to voters?

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1442580-labour-pledges-100bn-investment-in-scotland-over-decade/ | default

School meals

Leonard has vowed to introduce free school meals for all primary and secondary pupils in Scottish schools.

There is one crucial caveat: even if Labour win this election, enacting this policy would require the agreement of the SNP-led Scottish Government.

It's a caveat that comes up with rather a lot of Scottish Labour's campaign pledges this election.

But here's what the party proposes:

  • A total of £310m of funding sent to Scotland to fund school meals for every pupil during term-time - £190m more than what is currently spent.
  • In addition, £25m in capital investment to fund the infrastructure and services needed to provide the meals.
  • And £41m to provide meals for all pupils during the holidays - meaning "a free meal for every child 365 days a year".
  • The party says a number of trials in the Labour-led North Lanarkshire Council area showed access to free school meals increased health and academic attainment. 
  • Currently in Scotland, all P1, P2 and P3 pupils receive free lunches.

Bus travel

Labour would pay for a £2bn 'green bus fund' to upgrade Scotland's bus stock.

  • The party thinks it can bypass Holyrood and give councils direct access to this fund to improve Scotland's 4200-strong bus stock.
  • The money would be earmarked for local authorities to make their buses more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly.
  • Scottish Labour says these new buses should be built in Scotland, with the potential to create up to 1400 jobs.
  • It's part of the party's plans for a "green industrial revolution" (more on that in a minute).

Wages

Under Jeremy Corbyn's plans for a £10 an hour living wage for all workers 16 and over, Scottish Labour says 700,000 Scots would get a pay rise.

The party is also pledging:

  • To end zero-hours contracts and "bogus" self-employment.
  • To strengthen workers' rights for whistleblowers and against unfair dismissal.
  • To require employers to work on tackling the gender pay gap or face fines.
  • To extent statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months, double paternity leave from two weeks to four and increase statutory paternity pay.
  • A trial of universal basic income.

Brexit

Contrary to Jeremy Corbyn - who refuses to say which side he backs - Scottish Labour has pledged to support Remain in a future Brexit vote.

Official UK Labour party policy is to negotiate a new deal with Brussels that would keep a customs union and closely align the UK with the EU single market.

That deal would then be put to British voters in a referendum within six months, with the other option to remain.

Indyref2

A Labour government would not agree to a request from the Scottish Government for a second independence referendum in its "early years".

  • But Scottish Labour says it wants to extend borrowing powers for Holyrood.
  • It also says employment law should be devolved, giving Scotland control over workers' rights.
  • UK-wide, Labour is calling for the abolition of the House of Lords - to be replaced by a "Senate of the Nations and Regions".
https://stv.tv/news/politics/1442370-corbyn-rows-back-on-ruling-out-indyref2-in-first-term/ | default

Trident

Scottish Labour's manifesto echoes that of the UK party's in supporting the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons.

But party members officially voted to oppose Trident renewal back in 2015, a fact which seems to have been ignored by the leadership in 2019.

Funding services

When it comes to devolved services, the large glaring caveat mentioned earlier applies.

How schools, hospitals and the police are funded in Scotland is a matter for Scottish ministers and MSPs.

But Labour is promising a spending blitz south of the border which it says it would pay for through a "fairer" taxation system, including higher taxes for the top 5% of earners.

And through the Barnett formula which partly funds the Scottish Government, these spending increases in England would lead to £100bn in investment for Scotland over the next decade, the party claims.

This would include:

  • £2bn in additional health funding a year.
  • As part of this, £600m extra each year for social care, which a Scottish Labour Holyrood government would use to form a new "Scottish Care Service".
  • Improve and expand mental healthcare.
  • Replace core funding in schools that has been lost to council cutbacks around Scotland.

'Green industrial revolution'

The party says the upcoming election is "our last chance to protect future generations" from the climate crisis, and wants to make "substantial" progress towards becoming net-zero by 2030.

It is calling for a "green industrial revolution" that will tackle climate change while also reducing energy bills and creating jobs - up to a million across the UK, according to Labour.

  • A Labour government would take the UK energy sector into public ownership.
  • In Scotland, £6bn would be invested under a Scottish Labour government at Holyrood in insulating homes to make them more energy-efficient.
  • It would also introduce free bus passes for under-25s, nationalise the railways and work to phase out the use of diesel and petrol cars. 
  • This "revolution" will be funded by an £11bn windfall tax on oil and gas companies, although Labour is promising to "safeguard a future" for North Sea workers.

Social security

Labour's keynote policy when it comes to welfare is to scrap universal credit.

It is also promising to end "dehumanising" work capability assessments and keep the "triple lock guarantee" for pensioners of the winter fuel allowance, free TV licences and free bus passes.

The party also wants to build 120,000 new council homes in Scotland - although, of course, the aforementioned, Scottish Government-shaped caveat applies.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1442402-here-are-the-candidates-in-scotland-for-the-general-election/ | default

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