Election 2019: Scottish National Party

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Ian Blackford of the SNP makes his party's pitch to the third sector

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20th November 2019 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

At this crucial election, Scotland’s future is on the line.

On 12 December, a vote for the SNP will be a vote to escape Brexit and to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands with independence.

Over the past decade we have seen the third sector left to pick up the pieces from harmful welfare cuts and austerity imposed by the Tories and Lib Dems, and left in the dark over future funding from the EU.

The voice and needs of Scotland’s people, businesses and organisations have been side-lined throughout this entire Brexit process – they deserve better than this.

Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford

People in Scotland are sick of this Westminster mess

They deserve a strong voice that will stand up for them and challenge the Tories over their shameful record and their callous cuts to welfare and other key services.

In 2018/19, the SNP Scottish Government will spend over £125 million on mitigating the impacts of welfare reform and supporting people on low incomes. This figure is a damning indictment of the Tories’ obsession with pursuing an austerity agenda no matter the cost, and the extent to which the Scottish Government has been forced to clean up the Tories’ mess, along with Scotland’s third sector.

In Scotland, the SNP Government have taken a different approach to a social security system – it has built a system based on fairness, dignity and respect.

Since powers were devolved through the Scotland Act in early 2016, the SNP Scottish Government has introduced six benefits and are on track to deliver another six by the end of this Scottish parliamentary term – including additional payments for carers of more than one disabled child.

We have shown time and time again that we can improve the lives of people facing the sharpest end of poverty because we listen to the experiences of people affected.

In stark contrast, UK government welfare cuts are estimated to reduce spending on social security in Scotland by a massive £3.7 billion by next year, and their decision to freeze benefits will cost Scots £300m a year.

The impact of this will be felt most keenly by Scotland’s third sector. That is why the SNP will continue to call on welfare powers to be fully devolved to Scotland to address the challenges third sector organisations face, and champion their ability to hold governments to account.

The SNP will continue to support strict rules on lobbying and enhanced registration thresholds for campaigners and we will strongly oppose restrictions on the activities of campaigning charities. We will push for those parts of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 which have been used to gag campaigning organisations to be removed.

The SNP manifesto for the general election sets out how the SNP can protect Scotland and build a fairer society for all with our anti-austerity agenda.

People in Scotland are sick of this Westminster mess. A vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit, escape austerity and give Scotland the right to choose our own future as an independent country.

Ian Blackford is leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons.