Nicola Sturgeon unveils manifesto with free dentists, four-day week and Indyref2

Sophia Sleigh
·2-min read
Nicola Sturgeon (PA Wire)
Nicola Sturgeon (PA Wire)

Nicola Sturgeon set out a smorgasbord of promises for the Scottish people today, including free trips to the dentist and pilots for a four-day working week and universal basic income.

The SNP leader has unveiled her manifesto which - despite big promises - pledges to freeze rates of income tax over the next parliamentary term.

Showing her determination to push for a second referendum, Ms Sturgeon described the manifesto as “transformational” but said she could go further if Scotland was independent.

Among the raft of pledges, she has outlined a £2.5 billion increase in NHS spending in the next five years and a £800 million boost in social care funding.

She promised that NHS dentistry charges will be scrapped to ensure the “cost is not a barrier to accessing health care”. It is initially expected to cost £75 million a year, before rising to £100 million annually as demand grows.

Meanwhile, government-supported childcare will be expanded to one and two-year-olds.

Ms Sturgeon said: “In this manifesto the SNP is setting out a serious programme for serious times. It is practical but unashamedly optimistic and it is transformational in its ambition.”

The First Minister also outlined how an SNP government would use its powers in Holyrood to take steps towards a minimum income guarantee.

She said it would “lay the foundation” for the introduction of a citizens’ basic income - should Scotland choose to become independent which would give it the necessary powers.

An SNP government would also provide funding to businesses to pilot a four-day working week.

Ms Sturgeon added: “Before the pandemic struck, many people were already worried about work-life balance. We want to do more to support people to achieve a better balance and help businesses employ as many people as possible.

“We will establish a £10 million fund to support willing companies to explore and pilot the benefits of a four-day working week.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross hit back saying the manifesto confirmed that Scotland had two futures - referendum or recovery. He said: “They are determined to create a constitutional crisis that would crash Scotland’s economy and force us through years of division and uncertainty.

“The rest of the SNP manifesto is irrelevant. It is a list of future broken promises. They won’t deliver because, just like the last 14 years, they’ll be distracted from the task at hand.”

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