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Tuesday, April 27, 1999 Published at 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK


Scottish Labour



Scottish Labour unveiled its manifesto for the Scottish Parliament with a strong emphasis on investing in Scottish education. Announcing details of the manifesto, Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar said education would be at the heart of the party's ambitions for a prosperous Scotland. Mr Dewar said Scottish Labour would aim to make Scotland a pioneering leader in many areas of policy.

Scottish Labour Party

Essentials
The party launched its manifesto on 12 April under the banner headline "Building Scotland's Future".

It outlined commitments to a "world class" education system, investment in jobs and skills, encouraging enterprise and the creation of a "knowledge economy".

Scottish Labour promised no increase in Scottish taxes during the first term of the new parliament and said Scotland's future would only remain secure within the United Kingdom.

Health
Scottish Labour says it is delivering on its 1997 General Election pledge to cut waiting lists.

If it gains power in a Scottish Parliament, the party says it will ensure a patient-centred service.

It is promising eight new hospitals and a new airline-style booking service where patients know the date and time of their hospital appointment before they leave their GP's surgery.

The party pledes cuts in waiting times for consultant appointments and a new NHS Direct 24 telephone helpline

Economy
Scottish Labour has promised not to use the Scottish Parliament's tax-varying powers to raise income tax in the first term of the new parliament.

It says Scotland's growth depends on fostering a knowledge economy, with training and education at the heart of policy.

It is pledging the creation of 20,000 modern apprenticeships in Scotland

The party cites its New Deal scheme, inward investment initiatives and a new Corporation Tax rate of 10p as examples of its efforts to promote economic growth.

Transport
The party says it is committed to an integrated transport policy and will invest 90m in the Public Transport Fund to encourage alternatives to car use.

It will introduce road charges "where appropriate", with the money invested in transport improvements.

Environment
Scottish Labour says it is taking account of the environment in all areas of government.

The party says it is acting to cut pollution, promote renewable energy programmes and giving the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency additional funding.

It says National Parks will be established and water companies made more accountable.

Education
Education forms the centrepiece of Scottish Labour's manifesto commitments and it pledges a 1,300m investment in schools over three years.

The party promises to implement 100 new school developments, establish New Community Schools and ensure a minimum of four computers in every classroom in Scotland.

It guarantees a nursery place for all three and four-year-olds and says it will restore teachers to their traditional status in Scotland through "proper rewards" for the best.

The party will introduce a new statutory duty on ministers and local authorities to meet targets for national school performances.

Law and Order
Scottish Labour has announced proposals for a Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency and promised new powers of confiscaton to strip convicted dealers of their assets.

The money will be "recycled" into education, prevention and rehabilitation services.

Scottish Labour says it is investing in new computer systems for the police, freeing up more officers to fight crime.

It says it will continue with initiatives targeting violent crime and domestic violence.

Housing
Scottish Labour promises a 300m investment in housing through New Housing Partnerships, involving the public and private sector.

It says it wants to attract 2,000m of private investment but control of developments will rest with the community or housing associations.

The party's other policies include continued support for the Empty Homes Initiative, whereby derelict homes are redeveloped and brought back into use.

Nationalism
The party's manifesto is unequivocal in its commitment to keeping Scotland as part of the United Kindgom.

It says the party has delivered on its promise to bring decision making to Scotland through the Scottish Parliament and the parliament will work in "partnership" with Westminster.

Scotland and the rest of Britain's destiny is "intertwined", the party says.

Europe
Scottish Labour says the UK government must continue to have the leading role in political discourse with Europe.

However, it promises to represent Scotland's needs, particularly in relation to matters such as the Common Agricultural Policy.

Miscellaneous
The manifesto also includes a commitment to "supporting families" through cuts in taxes, increasing child benefit and introducing Child Tax Credit.

The party pledges to free 60,000 Scottish children from poverty by the year 2002.

Scottish Labour says it wants to see a continued fall in council taxes, coupled with the "highest standards" of service from local authorities.

The party promises an end to the "feudal" system of land ownership through its land reform agenda.



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