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Sunday, September 19, 1999 Published at 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK

UK: Scotland

SNP to 'review and readdress' policies

The SNP believes it is a party on the rise

A radical policy overhaul and modernisation programme is being planned by the Scottish National Party.

BBC Scotland Political Editor Brian Taylor reports
But as the SNP looks forward to its annual conference, Alex Salmond has declared that he is determined to lead it into the next Scottish Parliamentary elections in four years time.

Ahead of the conference senior party figures have been openly admitting they were outgunned by Labour at the Scottish elections.

The party has conceded the plan to reverse Labour's UK penny tax cut was badly timed and presented.

The leadership is urging modernisation, including a move to scale down the role of the conference in making detailed policy.

[ image: Kenny KacAskill says party members are looking foward  to refrom]
Kenny KacAskill says party members are looking foward to refrom
Kenny MacAskill, transport spokesman and left-winger, is convinced of the need for change.

But significantly he has indicated that he believes the party should move away from socialism to adopt a "can-do" business friendly mentality.

He told the BBC's Holyrood programme: "I think the fundamental review is not so much on the Penny for Scotland. It has to be on where we are, our place in a global economy.

"It has to be upon how Scotland sees itself in a growing European Union as the powers of the European Parliament increase, and it has to be to address those matters.

'It's a challenge'

"I think they are the criteria. The single currency, defence. These aspects which were implemented by the SNP in the early 1990s but we have not updated in view of the changing world."

BBC Scotland's David Nisbet reports on the challenges the SNP faces
He added: "As we go into the next millennium I think the SNP has to review and readdress. I think that we will do that. I think the activists and members are looking forward to doing that. It's a challenge."

Party business manager Mike Russell wants to see the party structure changed - with one member one vote - to ensure it has the resources to fight future campaigns effectively.

[ image: Alex Salmond says he is determined to remain party leader]
Alex Salmond says he is determined to remain party leader
Mr Salmond said the party was the only one in Scotland which could deliver fair taxation and effective public services.

He denied the party was out of touch, saying that it was time to look ahead to the next Scottish elections with a view to taking power.

"I think any part has to improve, and any party is in a state of constant evolution. The SNP has transformed itself over the last 10 years. I think there is improvements we can still make," he said.

"But that is not a sudden lurch to do something, that is a constant process of evolution. The SNP needs evolution not revolution."

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