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Wednesday, April 7, 1999 Published at 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK

Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party has published its Scottish Parliament Manifesto, committing itself to making the parliament work.

The party says the 6 May elections will prove to be " the most important in Scotland's history" and will be the pathway to its ultimate aim of independence.

It says its policies for Holyrood are founded on the pillars of "Enterprise, Compassion and Democracy".

Scottish National Party

SNP manifesto

The party launched its manifesto on 8 April with its "Penny for Scotland" proposals forming a central theme.

It says it will refuse to implement the penny cut in the basic rate of income tax proposed in the March Budget through use of the Scottish Parliament's tax varying powers.

This, the party says, would allow it to invest 690m over three years on Scotland's public services, and, in particular, education, health and housing.

It has outlined "key policies" which it says will make Scotland a better place.

The Scottish National says its "Penny for Scotland" proposals will allow it to increase the number of doctors and nurses in the NHS. It also proposes replacing Private Finance Initiatives with Public Service Trusts to end what it claims is "privatisation" of the health service.

The party says it will promote investment in "high growth industries", which can create well paid and sustainable jobs. It wants Scotland's industrial base to be expanded and made more diverse. It will also offer a 117m package aimed at promoting small businesses, including measures targeted at reducing business rates.

The Scottish National Party proposes an integrated air, rail, road and ferry network, encouraging people to use their cars less and less. For instance, bus and coach operators will be required to produce a National Integrated Timetable online and agree to nationally funded concessionary fares. The party also wants a review of road development and assistance for rail schemes, including a reinstated Borders line.

The party wants control over energy to be solely in the hands of the Scottish Parliament. It opposes the nuclear programme and says it will promote renewable sources of energy which have no detrimental effect on the environment.

The party says it will increase the number of teachers in schools, abolish student fees and restore grants for 20,000 students from lower income backgrounds. It promises to spend an additional 30 per pupil on text books and library books. The SNP says it will also create "a virtual Scotland" - supplying all school children with computer access and e-mail facilities.

Law and Order
The SNP is promising to ensure the "independence" of the Scottish legal system, which, it claims, has been the subject of unwelcome interference from Westminster. The party wants a review of sentencing policy, with the emphasis on a reduction in re-offending behaviour. It opposes plans for a single Scotland-wide police force and wants to see the creation of new drugs courts to help tackle Scotland's drugs problems.

The party says many of its policies will focus on helping the homeless and eradicating the problem of homelessness in Scotland. It will support the Rough Sleepers Initiative and greater powers for councils. The SNP proposes measures making it easier for people seeking to rent in public sector housing and says all tenants, whether, renting publicly or privately, should be made the priority. It will create a Housing and Communities Investment programme to regenerate communities and seek to provide affordable housing for young people in rural communities.

The party wants to see the creation of an External Affairs Ministry within the Scottish Parliament. This, it says, would handle relations with the European Commission and the European Council of Ministers and promote good relations with Westminster and positive involvement in the Council of the Isles.

The party has reaffirmed its commitment to a referendum on independence within the first four year term of an SNP government. The SNP says Scotland, under independence, would then move on to full EU membership.

The party says it will lift the beef on the bone ban and wants the transfer of Scottish/EU fishery negotiations from Westminster to the Scottish Executive.

The SNP advocates an Anti Poverty Strategy, focussing on the "root causes of poverty".

The party wants to see proportional representation introduced in council elections in Scotland.

The SNP wants to establish a network of "commercial embassies", selling Scotland abroad for tourism, exports and inward investment.

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