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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Salmond sets out SNP priorities
Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond addressed the party conference in Dundee
Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has spelled out the top priorities for the first 100 days of a Nationalist government at Holyrood.

Addressing his party's conference in Dundee, he promised to lower business rates for small and medium-sized firms.

Mr Salmond said his first acts would include new rights for patients.

He also promised to publish a bill for an independence referendum and to declare St Andrew's Day a national holiday in Scotland.

Mr Salmond told delegates that the SNP needed to capture 20 new seats to win next year's Scottish Parliament election.

He set out seven things he would do if the party achieved that goal and formed the next government.

His priorities were to:

  • introduce legislation to abolish the council tax and replace it with a local income tax

  • introduce a Patients' Rights Act, giving patients a legally binding waiting time guarantee

  • cut the rates burden for small and medium-sized businesses

  • begin the process to replace the private finance initiative with a Scottish futures trust

  • establish a council of economic advisers to chart a process of recovery for the Scottish economy

  • publish a referendum bill to give people the opportunity to vote on independence

  • establish St Andrew's day as a national holiday.

During his speech Mr Salmond accused Labour and the Conservatives of raising "dirty money" by selling peerages.

He offered broad support for the government's handling of the bird flu case, although he said it was "not acceptable" that neither First Minister Jack McConnell nor his deputy had been in Scotland.

The SNP also published a blueprint for economic growth on Sunday, entitled Let Scotland Flourish.

Our aim is to give Scotland an economic edge
Stewart Hosie MP
Treasury spokesman

It promised a reduction in corporation tax from 30% to 20% and a global network of Scottish trade missions.

The Nationalists also want an overhaul of Scottish Enterprise, with local economic powers transferred to councils.

And the party set out economic "golden rules" aimed at delivering a target of 4% annual GDP growth.

The SNP claimed that its proposals could create 200,000 jobs over a decade and improve average wages by 1,500.

Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie MP said: "Our aim is to give Scotland an economic edge by reducing the taxes and burdens on wealth creators and making Scotland the most competitive of the current UK nations.

"The benefit will be felt by families the length and breadth of Scotland, with our proposals designed to narrow the wealth gap between the richest and poorest so that the benefit of economic growth is felt by all."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Analysis of Alex Salmond's speech



SEE ALSO:
SNP's independence referendum bid
08 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Rallying call for SNP activists
08 Apr 06 |  Scotland
SNP backs legal patient guarantee
08 Apr 06 |  Scotland


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