Election: SNP lay out their case for an end to austerity

Angus Robertson – “appropriate conventional defence”

The SNP’s main priority is to end austerity and so help thousands of families throughout Moray currently struggling with low wages and cuts to the welfare system.

That is the message being broadcast by their candidate in May’s general election, Angus Robertson, who is this week setting out his party’s manifesto commitments – and pledging that a team of nationalist MPs would deliver progressive politics for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Mr Robertson has published a list of commitments he and his SNP colleagues would set out to achieve in the next Parliament. His pledges include:

* The SNP are the only party offering an alternative to the Westminster cuts agenda.

* For the NHS this will mean an additional £9.5 billion spending above inflation across the UK by 2020/21 – £24 billion in total. This will deliver a total increase for NHS Scotland of £2 billion.

* I will back plans for an annual UK target of 100,000 affordable homes, and use additional capital investment to deliver a further expansion of house-building in Scotland.

* I will back an increase in the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020.

* I will back the restoration of the 50p top income tax rate for those earning over £150,000.

* I will support an increase in the Employment Allowance from £2,000 per business per year to £6,000, to help smaller firms take on and retain additional staff.

* I will oppose the £3 billion cut in disability support that threatens to cut the income of a million disabled people by more than £1,000 a year.

* I will vote to retain the triple lock on pensions and protect the winter fuel allowance.

Mr Robertson said: “I will work with SNP colleagues and other politicians who want to deliver progressive change and, above all else, end austerity and the damage it is doing to families and communities right here in Moray.

“SNP candidates want to see modest spending increases – the equivalent of increasing departmental spending by 0.5% above inflation – in each year of the next parliament.

“Under our proposal, the deficit and the national debt would still fall each year. But a slightly slower path to eliminating the deficit completely will still allow at least £140 billion extra to be invested in infrastructure and support for business, in protecting our public services, and in policies that will help to lift people out of poverty.”

The candidate says that while the elimination of the deficit is important that should not be at the expense of those who have the least, adding that he would back the restoration of a 50p rate of income tax for higher earners.

He added: “We remain 100% opposed to Trident renewal at an eye watering cost of 100 billion pounds, which would be better spent in other public services and in ensuring we have an appropriate conventional defence, including maritime patrol aircraft to replace Nimrods.

“We will vote for an increase in health spending across the UK of £24billion by 2020/21 – £9.5billion above inflation. That will deliver a total increase to the budget of NHS Scotland of £2 billion by 2020/21 – and it will ensure that our NHS enters the next decade fully equipped for the challenges it faces.

“The SNP will always support independence – but this election is not about independence. It is about making Scotland stronger.

“Promises have been made by the other parties both during and since the referendum and they must be held to account to ensure those promises are kept.

“A vote for this SNP manifesto on May 7th will make Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster more strongly than it has ever been before. And a stronger voice for Scotland will mean new, better and more progressive politics at Westminster – for everyone.”

There are six candidates for the Moray seat – Douglas Ross (Scottish Conservative), Angus Robertson (SNP), James MacKessack-Leitch (Greens), Sean Morton (Labour), Jamie Paterson (Lib Dem) and Rob Scorer (UKIP).

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