Scottish Conservative and Unionist leader Ruth Davidson today launched the party's manifesto for the Scottish Elections being held on May 5th. As Ruth noted at the meeting held in Glasgow this morning, the manifesto was a radical shift from past manifestos. As opposed to setting out a set of measures with the assumption that the party will enter Government, Ruth Davidson announced that in the short term, it was important that the party aim to become Scotland's official opposition. Alongside consistent campaign messages that the party will always back our United Kingdom, will oppose tax rises and also hold the SNP firmly to account, Ruth Davidson also announced a raft of policy messures that new Scottish Conservative MSP's will champion if elected. These include:
- Creating a “transformational” plan to invest more in mental health services within the NHS.
- Investing in a new Crisis Family fund to replace the discredited Named Persons law.
- Campaigning for competitive income tax rates, with evidence provided by a new shadow Council of Economic Advisers.
- Backing vocational education, and urging the SNP to reverse college cuts.
- Empowering school leaders so they have more control over their budgets and curriculum.
- Making childcare more flexible, and handed more hours for disadvantaged children aged 1 and 2.
- Halving the disability employment gap, so that disabled people have the chance to work if they wish.
- Tackling anti-social behaviour and focussing on rehabilitation in prisons.
- Building 100,000 new homes and rebuilding empty properties.
- Investing more in energy efficiency so that ‘every home is a warm home’.
Ruth Davidson also announced a measure to invest an additional £300m towards improving mental health services over the next 5 years. This is an area of public health which has been chronically underfunded and rarely brought to the fore of Scottish politics.