The SDA vision is for a slimmed down, lower cost, administratively efficient government operating on behalf of the people in accordance with a written Constitution.
The SDA is committed to grasping the opportunity to build a strong and secure future, with responsible solutions to provide for the wellbeing and prosperity of everyone in Scotland.
In a Sovereign Scotland, the SDA will bring in simpler and more efficient monetary and fiscal systems; our own currency – the “Scots Pound”, and we will tighten retail and investment bank regulation.
The SDA believe in a caring, equal opportunity and democratic society that will be shaped by existing collective strengths and viewpoints; enabling everyone to do meaningful work, follow individual interests, interact within their community and enjoy our beautiful country.
We will create jobs by promoting more energy-efficient homes and workplaces; increasing commercial research and development funding; advertising Scotland globally; investing more in public transport; promoting use of local food supplies; and supporting affordable energy sources.
We support high-quality public services – run to meet people’s needs rather than budget-derived targets. We will protect the NHS from privatisation and return our Post Office and rail networks to public ownership. We will strengthen our education system by giving teachers more control over the curriculum, and making schools accountable to parents.
We support working folk being paid at least a living wage to ensure a good quality of life - with a citizen's pension providing dignified retirement.
The SDA believe in a written Constitution to protect our human rights and set out the structures, responsibilities and limitations of government.
We will regulate to protect workers’ rights, support a simplification in business regulations, and responsibly manage the natural resources on which we rely.
We will provide the security and defence forces necessary to protect the people and assets of Scotland, including the resources required to assist with humanitarian and disaster relief operations internationally, promoting goodwill to all responsible countries.
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Scotland has a diverse, broad-based economy achieved due to its highly educated, motivated and innovative work force. In addition to meeting domestic needs the Scottish economy has built up substantial export markets. The simpler and more-efficient fiscal systems the SDA propose, will include the financial levers to grow our economy and enable our companies to become even more competitive. The resultant billions in new revenue streams into our economy will positively impact jobs, and that will generate more money for public services. For example we will invest more in promoting our Tourism industry overseas, to bring many new visitors that will create more jobs and earn billions for our economy. Small and medium companies and cooperatives in particular will benefit from reduced administration costs and lower taxation, resulting in growth and more jobs.
We will provide incentives for both new and established industries; for re-locating company headquarters to Scotland; for re-establishing commercial shipbuilding; for development of companies manufacturing high-quality components; and for the development of free trade zones.
Our simpler tax system will cost less to administer for both companies and individuals, and tax contributions will be matched to the ability to pay. We will also place a proportion of our annual revenues into a Sustainment Fund for use as a reserve to assist with future needs.
The SDA will generate a 40-year National Energy Programme for Scotland, headquartered in Aberdeen – to provide long-term energy security for Scotland – in cooperation with energy suppliers, distributers and consumers. An SDA government will eliminate fuel poverty and address the climate crisis by investing in efficient energy industries. Instead of stifling our nation with expensive new nuclear power and wind farms, we will control energy bills and create more jobs by investing in warm and efficient homes, in smart grids and in innovative energy supplies, owned by public, private and community enterprises. We will ensure energy resilience by investing in affordable and innovative renewable energy generation, such as geothermal, biomass, mini-hydro, hydrogen fuel and other available proven technologies.
Health and the NHS
The Scottish Democrats believe that compassion and illness prevention must underpin our healthcare system. By supporting healthier eating, exercise and access to nature and by reducing pollution and social inequalities, an SDA government will support mental wellbeing while minimising healthcare needs and costs. We will maintain a publicly funded, publicly provided and decentralised health service, with the current range of free prescription charges and free eye tests. We will continue to develop ways to improve social care for elderly people.
The Scottish Democrats support inclusive education in local schools with smaller classes to enable every child to discover and fully develop their talents, whether in practical subjects, sciences, the arts or sports. We will strengthen our education system by allowing teachers more control over the curriculum and by providing free school meals, ensuring every student has free access to quality vocational and higher education, and by making schools accountable to parents.
Welfare and Pensions
The SDA support compassionate and effective capped welfare support for all in need. A living wage to provide a decent quality of life, while a citizen's income will cover everyone’s basic needs. A citizen’s pension - linked to average earnings - will meet the basic needs of able-bodied people, enabling dignified retirement. We will provide more flexible support to carers of disabled and mentally ill people. Housing and disability support will be linked to capped support and we will provide child allowance. Capped support being linked to a minimum hourly living wage of £8.30 – October 2014-02-16.
The SDA will support investment to build and refurbish homes to meet everyone's needs for warm, secure and comfortable housing. Council and co-operative housing will be prioritised for funding, housing associations democratised and protections for private tenants improved.
The SDA will support an integrated public transport system that will be reliable, affordable, convenient and widely accessible, with bus and rail services making more use of park and ride facilities. By investing in safe cycle lanes, pavements and pedestrian areas and in better local rail and bus networks, we will reduce air pollution and congestion. The SDA will return the railways to public ownership, re-open lines and stations and reduce fares. We will provide incentives to develop Scottish airports as international hubs, and we will set up our own maritime, air control and border agencies.
Migration, when managed fairly, can make a very important contribution to our nation’s development, being a crucial means of broadening access to skills and experience. With independence, decisions on immigration will enable choices based on Scotland’s need and priorities. The SDA are committed to building Scotland’s economy through the well-managed movement of people and would seek to encourage immigration of people with the skills and experience required by our expanding economy.
Food and Agriculture
Scotland has the capability to both feed our own population and export high quality food products. The SDA will support farming and local food supply practices that protect the land and wider environment and respect animal welfare; seek to eliminate the need for food banks; and work to increase trade with the Commonwealth and other countries. We will work to reduce the administrative burden and redistribute agricultural grants and subsidies more evenly to the farmers and crofters who do the work.
Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities
The SDA will propose a written Constitution as Fundamental Law that will for example:
- Incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into Scots Law.
- Set out the structure, authorities, responsibilities and limitations of Government.
- Set out the authorities, limitations, accountability and independence of the Judiciary.
- Set the rules for budgets and authorise National Credit for government borrowing.
- Use referendums to determine people’s preferences on key issues – such as NATO, EU or EFTA, Trident, etc.
- Provide for the independent auditing of all public sector and associated agencies.
The SDA will devolve authority to autonomous national, regional and local governments in order to provide decision-making at the most effective level. The SDA will reinstate Burgh councils to re-build local community decision-making. Currently, Scotland has the lowest level of elected representation in Europe. The bulk of people in Scotland do not appear to be aware that the highly centralised system of government in Scotland is Not the Norm in democratic states. Across Europe and Scandinavia the working Norm is at least three levels of representative government, namely: - national, regional and local.
The SDA will hold a referendum on whether Scotland should join either the EU, EFTA or an EEA Associate membership. The SDA advocates trading in a reformed Europe where sovereignty has been returned to member states; with European institutions designed to resist capture by corporations and instead work democratically and cooperatively in the public interest. We will promote self-determination of regions acting independently on local issues, whilst supporting cooperation on global issues that affect us all, like fisheries protection, pollution or human rights.
Fishing and EEZ
The SDA will fight to regain sovereign control of our territorial waters, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and all seabed, fishing and maritime asset rights contained within these areas. All wayleave rights, rights of way and associated land value rents within the 12-mile territorial waters will be allocated to adjacent coastal communities and to adjacent regional governments for the seabed between the 12-mile to the 200-mile limits. At present our fishing industries [alone] are losing revenues worth over £2000 million per year.
Security and Defence
The SDA will provide for the security of Scotland using a combination of intelligence agencies working in cooperation with our neighbours and integrated naval and land forces supported by air assets, e.g. Helicopter capable naval and coastguard vessels with marines, operating from three bases at Faslane, Rosyth and Scapa Flow – to protect our sea lanes, fisheries and offshore assets. We would provide distributed ground forces for land defence. Both sea and land elements being supported by light fighter aircraft, helicopters, transport aircraft and maritime patrol aircraft – operating from Lossiemouth, Leuchars and Arbroath. Plus assets for supporting humanitarian and disaster relief operations at home and global-wide. We propose an initial operational Defence budget of £1.92 billion, to fund an all-volunteer Scottish Defence Force (SDF) comprising some 15,000 full and part-time professionals.
The SDA support strong policies on animal welfare and wildlife habitat protection. We will end factory farming, ban live export of farm animals, encourage a reduction in consumption of animal products, increase investment in humane research and end animal experiments. We will introduce tighter regulation for the breeding and keeping of companion animals, prohibit the import of exotic pets and abolish the use of animals in circuses.