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SNP vows to fight for extra funding for the NHS

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has pledged to fight to protect the NHS from privatisation and gain it extra funding, as part of what it identifies as a set of “moderate left of centre policies” to make life better for the people of Scotland.

However, the key pledge in the SNP 2024 general election manifesto revealed yesterday was to deliver Scottish independence.

At the launch of the manifesto in Edinburgh on 19 June, Scottish first minister and SNP leader John Swinney said: “It is through independence that we believe that we can build a fairer country and the more prosperous economy that we know is possible.

“Not independence not for its own sake, but independence for the powers to protect our National Health Service and to help people through tough times.”

He added: “Voting SNP is a vote to protect our public services and our precious NHS.”

Out of 650 seats in Westminster, 57 are reserved for MPs from Scotland in the July election.

Before parliament was dissolved, the SNP held the vast majority of Scotland’s seats in the House of Commons.

Boost funding for the NHS

In its manifesto, the SNP has pledged to end 14 years of austerity, reversing what it says have been “deep cuts” to public services that have put real pressure on the money available for the NHS.

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Part of this reversal would include demanding that the UK Government boost NHS England spending by a minimum of £10bn extra each year.

Because of the way funding for devolved nations is calculated, following the Barnett formula, this would result in an additional yearly £1bn for NHS Scotland, the SNP believes.

In addition, the SNP wants to see the UK Government increase investment in NHS England staff pay and conditions by at least £6bn, to match Scotland’s NHS pay deals. This would mean an additional £600m for Scotland, that the SNP said could go towards further pay deals for NHS staff in the country.

“We will join with progressive politicians south of the border to press for greater funding for the NHS and for the UK Government to match the pay deals that we’ve given our health staff in Scotland,” he added.

“That would see an extra £1.6bn for the NHS in Scotland,” he said.

Prevent privatisation of the NHS

The SNP would also demand that the UK Government protect the NHS from privatisation through a ‘Keep the NHS in Public Hands’ bill.

This bill would prevent further privatisation of the NHS, ensuring it is fully protected as a publicly owned and operated services.

It would stop any UK Government undermining the principles and protections of the NHS as part of any future trade deals, the SNP has said.

Mr Swinney said that this would amount to a “legal guarantee” for a publicly owned, publicly operated health service.

“The SNP message on the health service is clear. It is simple and it will never change. The NHS is not for sale,” he said.

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Other health-related policies

The SNP has also said it would tackle the drugs death crisis by taking a radical public health approach just for Scotland.

This would involve decriminalising drugs for personal use and introducing a framework to allow supervised drug consumption facilities.

The SNP has also pledged to defend free university tuition in Scotland, which covers students looking to become nurses, paramedics or midwives.

In addition, it would call for reversal of attempts by some members of parliament to stop care workers from overseas bringing their families with them to work in the UK.

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