Revealed: The SNP’s decade of broken promises
8 Jan 2017
The SNP has been criticised after 51 of its manifesto pledges were exposed as “undelivered, forgotten or downright ignored”.
Analysis by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed the broken promises made in both the 2007 and 2011 Holyrood election manifestos.
They include clear commitments made to maintain NHS standards, such as waiting times for cancer patients and treatment following GP referral.
The nationalists’ infamous promise to reduce class sizes, pledge to write off all student debt and claim it would abolish council tax are also included in the document.
In total, 29 of the 2007 pledges have not been delivered, the manifesto in which the SNP won five years of minority government.
And a further 22 promises outlined ahead of the 2011 election – in which the SNP won majority control – have also been neglected.
The failings cover a range of subjects, including health, justice, education and rural affairs.
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said:
“These are 51 key pledges that the SNP made to the Scottish people that have been left undelivered, forgotten or just downright ignored.
“The nationalists’ 2007 and 2011 manifestos are littered with inflated promises that were abandoned in favour of a gambit for independence.
“The time for the SNP to start delivering on its promises to the Scottish people as a responsible government is long overdue.
“But instead, it constantly diverts attention away from our failing schools and hospitals to campaign for another divisive and unpopular referendum.”
The SNP’s 51 Broken Promises
- Scrap the current council tax system
Commitment: ‘Scrapping the unfair council tax and replacing it with a system based on ability to pay. The local income tax rate will be set at 3p’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p9).
- The SNP never introduced their local income tax and announced that they would maintain the current system with increased taxes on bands E- H. (BBC, 3 November 2016, link).
- Introduce free bus travel for school pupils
Commitment: ‘We will also pilot a new scheme to tackle congestion during the school run. In Edinburgh school pupils will be given free bus travel before and after school to encourage greater use of public transport.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p26).
- The SNP admitted in August 2007 that their plans had been put on hold (The Scotsman, 22 August 2007, link).
- Ban the sale of school playing fields
Commitment: ‘a moratorium on the sale of playing fields’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p10).
- During the 2011 election, it was widely reported that the SNP had broken their pledge not to sell any school playing fields (Daily Record, 16 April 2011, link).
- Introduce smaller class sizes in P1 – P3
Commitment: ‘We will reduce class sizes in Primary 1, 2 and 3 to eighteen pupils or less to give children more time with their teacher at this vital stage of their development.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p52).
- The SNP’s 2007 manifesto contained commitments to cut class sizes and maintain teacher numbers, these have since been abandoned. Only 12.9 per cent of youngsters in classes meet the standard of less than 18. The average class size in September 2015 was 23.6, which is 0.8 higher than in 2007 (Scottish Government, Primary School Class Sizes, 22 February 2016, link).
- Create a Support Fund for children with additional support needs
Commitment: ‘We propose to create an Additional Support Fund to improve services for children with additional support needs, for example dyslexia and autism. This £10 million fund will be focused on providing continuous professional development for teachers.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p51).
- The SNP Government did not create a fund but instead abdicated responsibility to local authorities. In answer to a parliamentary question from November 2007 asking whether ‘the £10 million additional support for learning fund promised in the SNP manifesto will be additional to existing resources and in which financial year or years it will be made available’, SNP ministers confirmed it would not be: ‘the additional support fund will be provided by means of a block grant. It is the responsibility of each local authority to allocate the total financial resources available to it on the basis of local needs and priorities’ (Scottish Parliament, Written Answer S3W-6265, 27 November 2007, link).
- Scrap the Students loans system
Commitment: ‘replace the expensive and discredited Student Loans system with means-tested student grants.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p54).
- The student loans system is still in place in Scotland and in 2015/16 loans worth £486.3 million were given out (SAAS, Higher Education Student Support in Scotland 2015-16, October 2016, link).
- Remove the burden of debt repayments owed to Student Loans Company by resident graduates
Commitment: ‘We will remove the burden of debt repayments owed by Scottish domiciled and resident graduates.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p54).
- Despite this clear pledge, the SNP Government holds student loans worth £2.9 billion, which is its single largest financial asset (The Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2016, 30 September 2016, p16, link).
- Introduce an 18 week maximum waiting time for treatment
Commitment: ‘We will set a target that no patient should wait longer than 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment by the end of 2011.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p35).
- In their 2007 NHS action plan, the SNP set a target of a maximum 18 week waiting time from GP referral to treatment. ‘From December 2011, 18 weeks will become the maximum wait for treatment following referral by a GP for non-urgent patients.’ (NHS Scotland, Better Health, Better Care: Action Plan, December 2007, p68, link).
- In December 2011 92 per cent of patients were seen within 18 weeks – the manifesto commitment was that ‘no patient should wait longer than 18 weeks’ and 7,770 were waiting longer than 18 weeks at that time (ISD, 18 Weeks Referral to Treatment, 28 February 2012, link).
- This target is still being missed – for Q3 2016 (the latest figures available) 84.7 per cent of patients were seen within 18 weeks, compared to a target of 90 per cent (ISD, 18 Weeks Referral to Treatment, 29 November 2016, link).
- Introduce direct elections to health boards
Commitment: ‘Sometimes difficult decisions must be made and local people should always be at the heart of the process. To ensure this is the case we will introduce direct elections to health boards. At least half of health board members will be elected by the public. Those elected will be encouraged to serve on their local community health partnership as well as the health board.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p10).
- Pilot elections were held in Fife and Dumfries and Galloway in 2010 but turnout was low. Most health boards opposed or had doubts about direct elections and Nicola Sturgeon admitted the scheme was ‘massively unpopular’. In 2013 it was reported that the SNP had abandoned the idea (BBC News, 7 November 2013, link).
- Introduce a NHS Redress Bill
Commitment: ‘We will replace the current NHS clinical negligence scheme with a no-fault system of compensation to help foster a more open and respectful relationship between patients and clinical staff. This will help eliminate the blame culture that can inhibit the actions of medical staff and deliver fairer, quicker and less costly outcomes. Our NHS Redress Bill will give patients an alternative to pursuing a medical negligence claim by introducing a right to redress without having to go through a lengthy legal battle.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p37).
- The SNP have failed to introduce an NHS Redress Bill. The Scottish Government held a consultation on a proposed no-blame redress scheme between March and August 2016. They had established a Compensation Review Group in 2009 and Alex Neil restated their commitment to ensure that ‘any patients harmed as a result of poor clinical treatment have access to redress in the form of compensation, where this is appropriate, without the need to go through lengthy court processes’ in 2014 (Scottish Government, March 2016, link).
- Ring fence mental health funding to health boards and local authorities
Commitment: ‘An SNP government will support the development of mental health and wellbeing services, such as counselling and talking therapies, in each community health partnership area, backed with ring-fenced funding to health boards and local authorities.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p37).
- In November 2007 the Scottish Government published a Concordat setting out the terms of a new relationship with local government, underpinning the funding to be provided between 2008-09 and 2010-11. Annex B includes a list of areas which will be ring-fenced in 2008-09, and mental health is not included. The Concordat sets out an aim to reduce the level of ring-fencing (Scottish Government, 14 November 2007, link).
- Reduce the use of anti-depressants by 10 per cent by 2009
Commitment: ‘With this support we aim to reduce the use of anti-depressants by 10 per cent by 2009.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p37).
- The total number of anti-depressants prescription items dispensed has increased fairly consistently over the last ten years, rising by 72.4 per overall from 2005-06 (ISD, Medicines Used in Mental Health, 4 October 2016, link).
- Introduce ‘Life Begins’ health checks and individual health plans for those that reach 40 and are of retirement age
Commitment: ‘Introducing “Life begins” health checks and individual health plans for all men and women when they reach the age of 40 with the aim to extend this initiative to Scots reaching retirement age’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p10).
- In 2011 Shona Robison announced a screening programme for people aged over 40 (Daily Record, 6 May 2014, link).
- It involved an online or phone questionnaire, rather than a visit their GP (Herald Scotland, 5 May 2014, link).
- However in 2014 it was reported that the check-up scheme had been scrapped and a Scottish Government spokesperson admitted it had been discontinued in 2013 (Herald Scotland, 5 May 2014, link).
- Meet the two month waiting time for cancer treatment
Commitment: ‘We will also ensure that the two-month waiting target for cancer patients to be diagnosed and treated is met.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p35).
- This is not currently being met – in Q3 2016 87.1 per cent of patients started treatment within the 62 day standard, compared to a target of 95 per cent (ISD – Cancer Waiting Times, 13 December 2016, link).
- Ring-fence funding for drugs education
Commitment: ‘An SNP government will restore ring-fenced funding for drugs education, with £10 million of dedicated funding for drugs education in classrooms’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p43).
- The SNP stated in a written answer in November 2007 that they would not ring fence funding but instead provide block grants to local authorities (The Scottish Parliament, Written Question S3W-06689, 28 November 2007, link).
- Ensure adequate care homes places for those who need residential care
Commitment: ‘We will invest an additional £6 million each year to ensure an appropriate availability of care home places for those who need residential care.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p38).
- Between 2006 and 2015 the number of adult care homes decreased by 17 per cent and the total number of registered places decreased by 4 per cent, from 43,311 to 41,161(ISD, Care Home Census, 25 October 2016, link).
- Double the number of school based nurses
Commitment: ‘a doubling of the number of school nurses’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p10).
- There is no evidence that this has happened. An FOI in 2011 revealed that numbers had only increased from 308 to 330 (Daily Record, 1 July 2012, link).
- Introduce annual health checks and individual health plans for every school pupil
Commitment: ‘Annual health checks and individual health plans for school pupil’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p10).
- The ISD say all children are offered a health check on entry to primary school but no annual checks thereafter. ‘Thereafter there are no formal universal reviews, however health promotion and detection of problems are part of mainstream school life and children who require additional support will be seen as necessary by the school health team. Some NHS Boards also offer reviews at other stages’ (ISD, link).
- Introduce a £10 million new entrants scheme for farmers
Commitment: ‘It is vital that we build a viable future for the agriculture sector. The SNP will introduce a new entrants scheme for farmers. Our aim is to build a system that works best in a Scottish context and we will support this initiative with annual funding of £10 million. This may be further augmented by European funds.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p68).
- The £10 million was spread over several years, rather than being paid on an annual basis. Richard Lochhead responded to a PQ from Nanette Milne that ‘funding for measures within the Scotland rural development programme is allocated over the life of the programme (2007 to 2013) and not on an annual basis. The indicative financial breakdown includes £10 million for the new entrants measure’ (Scottish Parliament, Official Report, 23 July 2008, link).
- Reduce paperwork in CAP
Commitment: ‘The SNP is concerned by the failure of the recent CAP reforms to cut down the amount of red tape and paperwork. We will support a review of the enforcement of subsidy regulations. The SNP recognises that farmers who commit innocent errors in their paperwork are made to feel like criminals and that the resulting penalties imposed are often disproportionate to the offence. The SNP will raise the system’s lack of flexibility at European Union level. At home, we will introduce a truly independent appeals panel in response to the existing system’s shortcomings.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p69).
- Criticism of red tape in the Common Agricultural Policy has persisted. The Scottish Government was criticised by NFU Scotland for ‘gold plating’ greening regulation with red tape still featuring (Herald Scotland¸ 22 October 2015, link).
- In 2011 the NFUS called for a ‘more proportionate system of inspections and penalties’ (STV, 7 April 2011, link).
- Repatriate fishing powers to the Scottish Parliament
Commitment: ‘Enlisting support among EU partners for repatriation of fisheries responsibilities. Involving the fishing community more closely in conservation policy. Working to secure quota allocation from decommissioned vessels for active vessels. Additional support for the onshore fishing sector and specific marketing support for abundant supplies’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p13).
- The Fishermen’s Association Limited reported in 2014 that ‘the SNP’s policy of repatriation of fisheries, of the aspiration of national control has been discarded’ (Fishermen’s Association Limited Newsletter¸ 11 June 2014, link).
- Reduce regulation on farmers
Commitment: ‘In government we are determined to deliver lighter and effective regulation. This commitment will include a policy of ‘one in, one out’ so new regulations replace rather than add to old regulations.’(SNP Manifesto 2007, p69).
- Richard Lochead admitted that the SNP had increased regulations on farmers. When questioned by Liz Smith about the ‘one in, one out’ policy, Richard Lochhead responded that ‘it is often difficult to keep up to date with the number of regulations that we have to implement in Scotland as we take forward some of these policies.’ (Scottish Parliament, Official Report, 25 March 2010, link)
- Seek withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy
Commitment: ‘The SNP will continue to work for withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy and will not support any future European Constitution that grants the EU “exclusive competence” over this valuable resource. We will work with our partners to enlist support for the repatriation of fisheries responsibilities to member states.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p73).
- They have not made any progress to leave the CFP and in their 2016 Manifesto argued only for ‘decentralisation’. The 2016 SNP Manifesto said ‘we will push for further decentralisation of the Common Fisheries Policy’ rather than proposing withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy. (SNP Manifesto, May 2016, link).
- Reduce car ownership
Commitment: ‘The SNP will aim to decouple ownership and usage of cars. We will persuade and not punish car users to use other modes’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p26).
- The 2011 Scotland’s People Survey found that 70 per cent of households had a car available for private use (Scotland’s People, 29 August 2012, link).
- In 2007 the same proportion, seven in ten, households had at least one car available for private use, so the SNP failed to reduce car ownership in their first term in office (Scotland’s People, 7 August 2008, link).
- In 2015 70 per cent of households had at least one car available, so car ownership has remained the same under the SNP (Scotland’s People, 27 September 2016, link).
- Increase the proportion of Gaelic speakers up to 2001 levels
Commitment: ‘An SNP government will focus on increasing the place of Gaelic in education, improving the status of the language throughout Scotland and supporting Gaelic speaking communities. To stabilise the language we will set a target of ensuring that by the 2021 census, the proportion of Gaelic speakers is back up to 2001 levels at the very least. We will also set a target to expand the number of children in Gaelic medium education within our first term’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p57).
- The 2011 Census showed that the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland has fallen by 1.2 per cent from 59,000 to 58,000 since 2001. (BBC, 26 September 2013, link)
- Introduce a traffic light system for sex offenders
Commitments: ‘There will be a traffic light system, with the police and Procurator Fiscal able to trigger a ‘red alert’ in a variety of circumstances in which case there would be all necessary steps to protect the local community. For amber, where there is some concern about a sex offender’s behaviour, key organisations in a community will be informed. For example, these might include the local schools or a local swimming pool. The green light would only be applied for the range of less serious offences and where there was no assessed risk. The current arrangements would apply in these cases.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p59).
- Other than an initial test period, there is no evidence the ‘traffic light system’ for sex offenders was rolled out across the country. The proposal to enable the procurator fiscal to trigger a ‘red alert’ for serious sex offenders living in a community was not included in legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament and was only rolled out on a limited basis. (The Scotsman, 27 May 2007, link).
- Reinstate the Airborne Initiative
Commitment: ‘As part of our wider commitment to the right intervention we will reinstate the Airborne scheme and also support the further development of work-based mentoring for young Scots, along the lines of the Working Rite model.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p62).
- The Airborne Initiative was a scheme based in Lanarkshire between 1994 and 2004, which aimed to reduce young offenders’ reoffending rates. The scheme was scrapped on cost grounds in 2004, despite the fact four years earlier a Scottish Government report stated: ‘Offenders who complete the Airborne programme are less likely to be reconvicted and they may… be more employable or better prepared for further education or training as a result.’ (Scottish Government, Evaluation of Airborne Initiative (Scotland), 23 June 2000, link).
- The SNP made reinstating the Airborne Initiative a central tenet of their justice agenda in 2007. Kenny MacAskill, then SNP justice spokesman, said at the time: ‘Airborne is a last-chance saloon, it does work and it does so in a cost-effective manner that’s been proven. An SNP administration will immediately take steps to restore the Airborne initiative… Airborne was effective and it was also substantially cheaper than prison.’ (BBC News, 25 August 2006, link).
- The SNP have failed to reinstate the Airborne Initiative in Scotland, despite promising to do so in their 2007 manifesto. Whilst the Airborne Initiative has been restarted in England, it has failed to in Scotland. (The Glasgow Herald, 10 June 2012, link).
- Introduce a First Time Buyers’ Grant of £2,000
Commitment: ‘An SNP government will give particular help to first time buyers who are struggling to afford a home of their own. We have already announced plans to introduce a first time buyers’ grant of £2,000, to help with the costs and outlays of buying their first home.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p10).
- Nicola Sturgeon announced in 2008 that the SNP Government would instead make £250 million available to shared equity schemes. Outlining the Scottish Government’s decision to opt for a shared equity scheme rather than a system of direct grants to improve the chances of first-time buyers getting on the housing ladder, Sturgeon said: ‘It is our judgment that, in the current climate, this approach offers more effective help to first-time buyers than direct grants.’ (Daily Record, 26 June 2008, link).
- Require a minimum of 25 per cent of all new house development for affordable housing
Commitment: ‘We will require all public authorities to identify surplus land suitable for house building and encourage local authorities to make greater use of the planning process to ensure that house building permissions are appropriate to the housing needs of their communities. We will expect that a minimum of 25 per cent of all new housing developments are reserved for affordable housing.’ (SNP Manifesto 2007, p46).
- The 25 per cent target was not enshrined in law. Despite the ambition for 25 per cent of all new housing developments to give space for affordable housing, this rule has no place in law and can be waived upon application. A Scottish Government report on Scottish planning policy stated: ‘SPP states that authorities may seek a percentage affordable housing contribution from developers of new housing developments where this is justified by the HNDA and included in the LHS and development plan. The benchmark figure is that each site should contribute 25% of the total number of housing units as affordable housing. If a different percentage is required locally, justified by the HNDA and identified in the LHS and development plan, then the 25% benchmark does not apply.’ (Scottish Government, Affordable Housing and Housing Land Audits, August 2010, link)
- Improve educational performance in the PISA survey
Commitment: ‘After a period of drift since devolution, the first assessment under an SNP government shows that the tide has turned, with Scottish pupils performing above the international average in reading and science, at the international average in maths and at the same level as in England and Northern Ireland and better than Wales. We are determined to see an increased performance in the next PISA survey.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p23)
- The results from the 2012 and 2015 PISA surveys showed a decline in performance in mathematics, reading and science.
(Scottish Government, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015: Highlights from Scotland’s Result, 9 December 2016, link).
- Introduce new guidelines and rules for the delivery of rural education
Commitment: ‘The SNP Government’s Schools Consultation Act has already been used to ensure fair treatment for rural communities threatened by school closures. However the legislation could be improved and new guidelines are needed. There needs to be a national means of assessing capacity and a national approach to imaginative delivery of rural education.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p24)
- The SNP published a consultation paper but have not introduced legislation to set new guidelines (The Scottish Government, Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education, April 2013, link).
- Reduce class sizes and improve pupil teacher ratios
Commitment: ‘And, smaller class sizes – particularly in Primaries 1-3 and in the areas of greatest deprivation – are worth working for. With local government we will look first to maintain the recent improvement before continuing with progressive reductions in class sizes and improved pupil-teacher ratios.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p23)
- The SNP’s manifesto contained commitments to cut class sizes and maintain teacher numbers, these have since been abandoned. Only 12.9 per cent of youngsters in classes meet the standard of less than 18. The average class size in September 2015 was 23.6, which is 0.8 higher than in 2007 (Scottish Government, Primary School Class Sizes, 22 February 2016, link).
- Increase support for college bursaries
Commitment: ‘We will continue with increased support for college bursaries, allowing us to provide 50,000 a year for each of the next five years’(SNP Manifesto 2011, p25).
- The SNP have cut bursaries for the most deprived university students from £100.6m in 2012/13 to £63.6m in 2014/15.The maximum payment fell from £2,640 to £1,750, with the average payment falling from £1,860 to just £1,220. There continues to be a significant gap between the money needed for bursaries, and the funding allocated to this by the SNPIn 2014, NUS Scotland found a gap between the money given and the money needed of £11.2 m. This year it was reported that unmet demand was over £2.4m (NUS Scotland, 29 January 2016, link; TESS, 28 October 2014, link).
- Introduce fifty new Scottish science and engineering bursaries
Commitment: ‘We will also look to develop Scottish Science and Engineering Bursaries, with government match funding contributions from the private sector to enable us to create fifty £5,000 bursaries for young Scots looking to advance in science and engineering. We will ensure the bursary programme supports efforts to widen access and draw more young Scots into science and engineering.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p25).
- There has been no mention of these bursaries outside of the 2011 Manifesto and in general the SNP has cut bursary support (NUS Scotland, 29 January 2016, link; TESS, 28 October 2014, link).
- End the postcode lottery of childcare services
Commitment: ‘Taking into account the messages from the review of the early years undertaken for the Scottish Government by former Health Minister, Susan Deacon, our legislation will end the postcode lottery of services across Scotland.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p22).
- The Family and Child Care Trust research paper found that only 15 per cent of local authorities in Scotland reported sufficient childcare for working parents, down from 23 per cent in 2014 (Family and Childcare Trusts, Childcare Costs Survey 2015, p18, link).
- Maintain waiting time standards
Commitment: ‘The SNP will keep waiting times low and we will focus just as hard on improving other aspects of the quality of care’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p14)
- In 2015 health boards missed six out of eight key waiting time standards. Targets have changed over the years but the recent Audit Scotland report shows a decline since 2013 when four out of eight key waiting time targets were missed (Audit Scotland – NHS in Scotland 2016, 27 October 2016, link).
- Increase the early detection of cancers by a quarter
Commitment: ‘We will therefore embark on a Detect Cancer Early Initiative with a target of increasing the number of cancers detected at the first stage of the disease by 25% over the next parliament’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p14)
- This standard was not met – between 2008-09 and 2014-15 the percentage of people diagnosed with cancer at stage 1 increased by 8 per cent, below the target of 25 per cent (ISD – Detect Cancer Early, 26 July 2016, link).
- Ring fence funding for drug treatment services
Commitment: ‘That is why we will maintain investment at 2010-11 levels in frontline drug treatment services. (SNP Manifesto 2011, p19)
- In 2010-11 £28.6 million was invested in frontline drug treatment services (Wired, 17 August 2010, link).
- £30.4 million was maintained in 2-15-16 (Scottish Parliament, 9 September 2016, link).
- In real terms £30.4 million in 2015-16 is equivalent to £28.3 million in 2010-11keadng to a cut in funding of £300,000 in real terms.
- Deliver the Forth Replacement Crossing on time and on budget
Commitment: ‘We will continue work to deliver the Forth Replacement Crossing, on time and on budget.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p13)
- The new Queensferry Crossing is due to open five months late in May 2017(BBC, 8 June 2016, link; The Scotsman, 1 August 2016, link).
- Build improvements to the A96 and A9
Commitment: ‘we will continue development of a route strategy and improvements for the A96 and dualling the A9.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p13)
- The Scottish Government is still considering how to improve the A96 (Press and Journal, 27 October 2016, link).
- Dualling on some sections of the A9 is underway but other sections are still being consulted on (BBC News, 9 November 2016, link).
- Establish a Future Generations Fund
Commitment: ‘Our plans will also include proposals to establish a Future Generations Fund so that our energy wealth provides benefits not only for today but for Scotland into the future. (SNP Manifesto 2011, p26)
- There has been no mention of the Future Generations Fund since June 2011. Alex Neil said the Future Generations Fund would be included in the Autumn 2011 spending review but this was not the case (Official Report, 29 June 2011, link; Autumn 2011 Spending review, September 2011, link )
- Reduce farming bureaucracy
Commitment: ‘To reduce the bureaucracy facing farm businesses we will take forward proposals for a Funds Gateway – an online portal and single point of access for fund applications. We will investigate the creation of a single IT platform for Scotland’s rural agencies to enable information to be shared more easily and will pilot a SEARSkitemark that will be recognised across agencies as indicating that a premises has reached an agreed standard. We will also encourage agencies to move to a more risk-based assessment, and begin a process of review of existing regulation to streamline requirements within the legal limits that exist.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p39)
- Proposals mentioned for a Funds Gateway were last mentioned in March 2012 and do not appear to have progressed. (Scottish Government, March 2012, p25, link)
- The Scottish Government’s mishandling of the CAP IT system increased bureaucracy for Scotland’s farmers who were kept in the dark as to when payments would be made, according to Audit Scotland. (Audit Scotland, May 2016, link).
- Develop a new ‘Scottish food fans’ grading system
Commitment: ‘develop a new ‘Scottish Food Fans’ grading system for establishments that stock local and seasonal produce’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p38)
- The last mention of this policy was in 2012 with no evidence of it being brought forward (Scottish Government, March 2012, p23, link).
- Introduce a £1 million Great Scottish Food fund
Commitment: ‘Our plans for the future include a £1 million Great Scottish Food Challenge to support the development of new products for market.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p38)
- Other than references during the 2011 election campaign, there was no publicity for the challenge being launched and no available evidence that it was brought forward.
- Establish a national strategy for fishing dependent areas
Commitment: ‘We will develop a national strategy for Fisheries Dependent Areas to support economic development and encourage local authorities’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p39)
- There is no evidence of a single document for fisheries dependent areas since 2011, the Scottish Government only launched an Inshore Fisheries Strategy in 2015. (Marine Scotland: Scottish Inshore Fisheries Strategy 2015, link)
- Seek withdrawal from the CFP
Commitment: ‘The SNP will continue to work for withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy and will not support any future European Constitution that grants the EU “exclusive competence” over this valuable resource.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p73).
- They have not made any progress to leave the CFP and their 2016 Manifesto argued only for ‘decentralisation’. The 2016 SNP manifesto said ‘we will push for further decentralisation of the Common Fisheries Policy’ rather than proposing withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy. (SNP Manifesto, May 2016, link)
- Create 2,000 new jobs through Community Jobs Scotland
Commitment: ‘Community Jobs Scotland will provide 2000 new work opportunities in Scotland’s third sector(SNP Manifesto 2011, p10)
- The programme’s start was delayed and it did not meet its 2,000 target, with only 1,861 jobs created. (University of Glasgow, Evaluation of Community Jobs Scotland Programme, June 2012, link)
- Have the highest rate of broadband update in UK
Commitment: ‘In October last year we set out our Digital Ambition for Scotland and have recently published our Digital Strategy. Our aim is that: the rate of broadband uptake by people in Scotland should be at or above the UK average by 2013, and should be highest among the UK nations by 2015.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p13)
- In 2013 52 per cent of premises in Scotland had access to superfast broadband, the lowest in the UK – with 95 per cent access in Northern Ireland, 76 per cent in England and 48 per cent in Wales. (Audit Scotland, Superfast broadband for Scotland, A progress report, February 2015, link)
- In 2015: ‘The proportion of premises able to receive superfast broadband services (30Mbit/s or higher) is highest in England (84%), followed by Wales (79%), Northern Ireland (77%), and Scotland (73%).’ (Ofcom, The Communications Market Report, August 2015, link)
- Build 6,000 new socially rented houses each year
Commitment: ‘Overall, our aim is to build over 6,000 new socially-rented houses each year.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p17)
- The SNP failed to deliver 6,000 new socially-rented houses each year, falling considerably short of the target each year of the 2011-2016 Parliament. Official figures released highlighted that the target was missed every single year, coming closest in 2011/12. As The Scotsman reported: ‘Social-sector builders came close in the first year at 5,890 but annual completions were around the 4,000 mark thereafter, and fell to 3,458 by 2015/16, Scottish Government housing statistics show.’ (The Scotsman, 14 June 2016, link).
- Introduce a levy on long term empty houses
Commitment: ‘And, we will introduce a levy on long term empty houses, which will bring in £30 million of extra resources to fund further council house building.’ (SNP Manifesto 2011, p17)
- The proposed levy on long-term empty houses takes the form of Council Tax increases, which the Scottish Government doesn’t control. Whilst the Scottish Government can enable councils to charge more for long-term empty properties – through changing the law to allow councils to apply an excess charge – the Government itself cannot implement this. Therefore, the levy is dependent on the local situation and what proposal specifically the Council votes for. (Scottish Government, October 2011, link).
- Devolve more powers to community councils
Commitment: ‘We want to give Scotland’s Community Councils greater relevance and more opportunities to make a difference for the areas they represent.’ (SNP Manifesto2011, p26)
- A short-life working group was established to consult on the future of community councils. This working group recommended devolvement of further powers and examination of whether budgets could be handled locally, as is the case in Orkney. The Scottish Government did not act on the group’s recommendations. (Scottish Government, September 2012, link).
* Commitments have been double counted where they are included in both manifestos.