SNP plans to change to policies
Sturgeon’s policy revamp ‘contains nothing new’
Nicola Sturgeon’s much-awaited ‘relaunch’ of government policy has been described as a rehash of previously announced plans.
The First Minister will unveil detailed changes in policies for local government, the economy and the environment to shake-off the SNP’s image as a party obsessed with seeking a second independence referendum.
She is expected to hand more power to local government, introduce new measures to boost energy efficiency, curb the use of diesel engine vehicles in cities, and boost exports. Independence is likely to pushed down the list of priorities.
Ms Sturgeon’s rethink follows the party’s loss of seats at the General Election, indicating a frustration among voters with the party’s push for independence. She subsequently announced in a speech at Bute House that the constitutional issue had cost the party votes. “I will reflect on that and come to a considered judgement,” she said.
Last month she gave more hints of change, telling MSPs in parliament: “Any government after ten years needs to take stock and to refresh. Over this summer, as we prepare our next programme for government and our budget for the year ahead, that is exactly what we will do.
“We will set out afresh our vision for the country that we lead, together with the creative, imaginative, bold and radical policies that, as far as is possible within the current powers that are available to us, will help us to realise that bold, ambitious vision for Scotland.”
However, the revamped proposals so far known about drew criticism from the Scottish Conservatives who said none of them were new, having either been included in SNP manifestos or already set out formally as Scottish Government policy.
Scottish Conservative economy spokesman Dean Lockhart said: “These are ideas we’ve heard before from the SNP – there literally isn’t a new proposal in there. That’s not the radical relaunch bragged about by SNP insiders. It’s indicative of a tired government which has run out of inspiration and ideas.
“Indeed, the only other ‘new policies’ to be announced recently by the SNP have in fact been copied from the Scottish Conservative manifesto, including the announcement of a new enterprise agency for the south of Scotland and education reforms.
“And that’s no surprise – for years all ministers have cared about is breaking up Britain, and that’s come at the expense of areas like health, education and the economy.
“That’s why no-one will believe the nationalists when they say they’re now focused on the day job.
“Simply rehashing policies already announced will convince no-one that this is a party fit to govern Scotland.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale echoed the same criticism. She said: “There is nothing ‘radical’ about Nicola Sturgeon’s government. Over the SNP’s decade of division, Scots have seen no innovative thinking – just increased waiting times in our hospitals, a decline in education standards, and sweeping cuts to local services.
“She refuses to use Holyrood’s powers to tackle austerity in Scotland and the only ideas she has come-up with are borrowed from the Labour manifesto.
“As the General Election result showed, people are fed-up with Nicola Sturgeon’s failure to govern.
“A half-baked attempt at a reboot months down the line is simply too little, too late for the generation of Scots she has let down.”