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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Salmond marks 100 days in office
Alex Salmond at Holyrood

The SNP has marked its first 100 days in power by issuing a 20-page report card on its progress.

Party leader Alex Salmond and his team said they had laid a "solid platform" for making Scotland a better country.

The first minister pointed to the party's plans for smaller class sizes and moves to save local accident and emergency units as proof of success.

Despite his claims, opposition parties attacked the SNP for being "populist" and obsessed with spin.

In the report card, Mr Salmond cited challenges his government had faced in its first 100 days, including the attack on Glasgow Airport and the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

He said: "I believe there is general agreement that the government has responded to these events calmly and with authority.

"These issues put Scotland to the test and the country has not been found wanting."

The SNP set out goals for its first 100 days in a paper published at the party's spring conference in March.

This was packed with commitments and featured 49 pledges.

Among them were plans to challenge Westminster over Scotland's oil and gas rights as well as more control over EU fishery negotiations.

'Populist announcements'

Labour insisted the document contained more than 60 promises, of which only 20 had been delivered in full.

The party said that 10 of the pledges had been partly delivered on, while 38 had not been delivered at all.

Labour also claimed that out of five promised bills, only one, on independence, had so far been delivered.

In response to the SNP document, the Liberal Democrats accused the nationalists of "one of the biggest spin operations since Torvill and Dean".

Tory chief whip David McLetchie accused the SNP of playing to the gallery through populist announcements on tolls, tuition fees and A&E units.

But Mr McLetchie said the real challenges lay ahead, particularly on public spending.

It does appear that the shift towards more constructive engagement by parties to deliver for the people is under way
Robin Harper
Green MSP

"After spending eight years in opposition pandering to every interest group that wanted to spend more taxpayers' money, without much thought for the consequences, the SNP are going to have to learn to say no and face up to the consequences," he said.

The executive's report claims progress has been made against the commitments but does not calculate a final score.

In some cases, a start was made within days of assuming power, like the pledge for a smaller ministerial team.

The Scottish Green Party, whose two MSPs have a loose co-operation agreement with the SNP, claimed credit for at least one of the measures.

Green MSP Robin Harper said his party had secured agreement with the SNP on early action on a climate change bill.

I believe there is general agreement that the government has responded to these events calmly and with authority
Alex Salmond
First Minister

He added: "It does appear that the shift towards more constructive engagement by parties to deliver for the people is under way.

"I am pleased that despite our small number, we continue to make a difference and bring influence to bear."

The SNP's programme did not refer to a law making St Andrew's Day a full public holiday, raising criticisms that the plans had been dropped.

Mr Salmond once said this would be the first act of an SNP government - but it was not mentioned in the executive's report card.

Former independent MSP for Falkirk West, Dennis Canavan - who has long campaigned for Scots workers to be given the day off to celebrate their national day - said he was "very concerned" by the reports.

National day

Mr Canavan, who stood down from the Scottish Parliament in May, said: "My bill to make St Andrew's Day a national holiday received the unanimous approval of the Scottish Parliament with support from all parties, including the SNP."

A spokeswoman for the executive said Mr Salmond had spoken to Dennis Canavan, who was "very happy" with the reassurance given to him.

"This government has very ambitious plans to encourage the people of Scotland to celebrate St Andrew's Day and what it means to be Scottish - and we believe that having a holiday will support this approach," the spokeswoman said.

She added: "We are building on the holiday provisions in Dennis Canavan's bill to make the most of Scotland's national day and create a winter festival stretching from St Andrew's Day through Hogmanay to Burns Night."

This year, Scottish Executive staff will be allowed a half-day off on 30 November - if they swap it for an existing break.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Review of Alex Salmond's first 100 days in office



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