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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
At-a-glance: Scots Tory manifesto
The Scottish Conservatives have launched their manifesto for the Holyrood elections. Here are the main points of the plan.

Scottish government

  • Commission a review of Scottish local government, with a remit to "pass power back to the people".
  • Devolve powers from the Scottish Parliament to town halls and pass other powers from local authorities to community councils to better meet the needs of local areas.
  • "Significantly" cut ring-fence funding, with the exception of funding for joint police and fire boards, to allow councils more opportunities to spend money as they see fit.
  • Move the date of local authority elections to give them separate "status" from Holyrood elections.
  • Consider cutting the number of MSPs from 129 to 108, saving 3m.

Communities

  • Creation of independently-run Affordable Homes Trusts to help prospective homeowners buy a house initially supported by a 100m-a-year fund, one third of which would come from the Scottish Executive and the rest from the private sector.
  • Encourage the transfer of local authority homes to housing associations.
  • Cut council tax in half for pensioner households in addition to existing discounts.

Environment

  • Invest 12m a year in an "Eco Bonus Scheme" to provide grants for households, communities and small businesses to install modern energy saving and creating devices, such as wind turbines.
  • "Urgent" review of building standards to incorporate energy-saving design.

Justice

  • Ensure victims of crime are regularly briefed through the duration of their case by police officers and the Crown Office.
  • Employ 1,500 more police officers.
  • Police board conveners will have to stand for election.
  • A "three strikes and you're out" policy would hand extra jail time to those about to receive their third custodial sentence.
  • A review on the operation of bail to ensure judges have the discretion to refuse it depending on the circumstances of the accused.
  • End Scotland's "double jeopardy" law to allow suspects to be tried more than once for the same crime.
  • Give sheriffs and judges powers to deduct fines from salaries and benefits to keep fine defaulters from being jailed.
  • Require released sex offenders to undergo lie detector (polygraph) tests and monitor their movements through satellite tracking.
  • Expansion of drug rehabilitation services, with funding of 100m per year.
  • Permit district courts to issue drug treatment and testing orders and ensure suspected drug dealers are tried on indictment, which attracts a stiffer sentence.

Transport

  • Set up a commission to investigate high-speed rail links between Glasgow and Edinburgh and Scotland and London, with a report delivered to Holyrood and Westminster by 2009.
  • The removal of tolls on the Forth road and Tay bridges.
  • Oppose the introduction of additional road-charging schemes.
  • Set aside 30m per year to upgrade key roads, including the A75, A82, A9 and A96.
  • Bring in a 15m-a-year programme to improve "accident black spot" roads.

Economy

  • Mutualise Scottish Water as a not-for-dividend company, with all profits reinvested to improve infrastructure.
  • "Streamline" Scottish Enterprise by merging its budget with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and tasking it with performing only "core" functions with a 130m-per-year budget.
  • Scrap local enterprise companies and give almost 60m every year to local authorities.
  • Establish a Scottish Skills Agency, with an annual budget of 170m, to oversee modern apprenticeships and Skillseekers.
  • Allocate an annual sum of 150m to reduce rates on small and medium-sized businesses, with many smaller enterprises paying none.
  • A town centre regeneration fund, worth 20m every year.
  • A five year "sunset clause" on major legislative regulation passed by MSPs to prove it has worked before being renewed, as well as a "red tape review".
  • A procurement unit to provide a single point of contact for businesses wanting access to public contracts.
  • VisitScotland to lead more international campaigns and review the reorganisation of tourist boards.
  • Scheme, worth 5m, providing grant aid to encourage new blood into farming.

Education

  • An Education Act to bring in sweeping changes to the current system.
  • Councils to be given control of education budgets, catchment areas and required to produce a strategy on teaching sciences and technical subjects.
  • Giving head teachers control on governance, discipline and setting classes based on pupil standards.
  • Giving parents some choice on having their children placed in mainstream or specialist education.
  • Pilot scheme for a city academy in Glasgow to pave the way for the possible roll-out of specialist vocational schools.
  • A commission would investigate university and college funding and student debt and finance.
  • A 5m annual fund to protect rural schools earmarked for closure but opposed by pupils, parents and teachers.

Health

  • An immediate review of NHS 24 which would also look into alternatives, including clinician-led local centres.
  • A "money-follows-patient" system allowing patients to choose from a "menu" of hospitals to perform medical procedures with the costs funded by the government and based on a national tariff scheme.
  • Providing 10m a year to train dental hygienists to therapist level, to allow them to perform treatment on children and use mobile units to check youngsters' teeth.
  • An extra 10m to improve mental health treatment while supporting the role played by voluntary organisations in the sector and the introduction of a register for those waiting for counselling or psychological care.





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