Nicola Sturgeon Election 2017

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Nicola Sturgeon

Live coverage of the speech by SNP leader and Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, marking ten years of the SNP being in government in Scotland.

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but as a matter of general principle...


Hello, everybody. It is fantastic to be here in Queensferry today. Today


is a very special day for the SNP. Exactly ten years ago today, the


first-ever SNP Government took office in Scotland. And over these


past ten years, we have worked each and every day to make Scotland a


better country and we have made real progress to be proud of. Today, our


NHS budget is at record levels. It is ?3 billion higher today than it


was when we took office. Today, there are 12,000 more people working


in our NHS and we abolished prescription charges, removing the


tax on ill-health. APPLAUSE


We have done what previous administrations failed to do,


integrate health and social care and today, our Accident Emergency


departments across our country are the best performing anywhere in the


United Kingdom. On education, we have extended free childcare from


12.5 hours per week to 16 hours a week and over the next few years, we


will extend it further to 30 hours a week. In our schools, we see record


exam passes by our young people and now we are investing in a new pupil


equity fund to drive up standards in our schools even further. And I am


proud to say that we have kept university tuition free of tuition


fees. Today, in Scotland, just as it was when I was so fortunate enough


as a young person to go to university, your ability to go to


university is based on your ability to learn, not on your ability to pay


and the SNP will always keep university access free of tuition


fees. We have maintained the number of


police officers on our streets and as a result, we now see crime act at


42 year low. We have restored Council house building and built


more than 60,000 affordable homes across our country. We have


protected people from Tory policies like the Bedroom Tax. We set up a


Scottish welfare fund to protect people from the worst impacts of


Tory cuts to social security. We said world leading climate change


targets and we have met them six years ahead of schedule. We gave


votes to 16 and 17-year-olds for the Scottish parliament and Council


elections. In so many ways, we have made so much progress to be proud


of. Now, I know we're not perfect. We haven't got everything right and


there is so much more work still to do, work to grow our economy, to get


more people into employment and drive up standards in our schools


even further. But we can be proud in Scotland that when it comes to


progressive policies, we are leading the UK. Labour launched its own


manifesto this morning and many of the policies in Labour's manifesto


will seem very familiar in Scotland. Free tuition, an end to the Bedroom


Tax, climate change targets, getting rid of NHS parking charges. They


seem familiar policies in Scotland for a very good reason. The SNP


Government has already delivered all of them in Scotland.


And even the Tories, who spent the past ten years criticising council


house building and criticising free prescriptions, have now changed


their tune, albeit belatedly and with not very much credibility. So


we are making progress and we are leading the UK in progressive


policies. My message today is this - we must resolve to keep Scotland


moving forward and in this election, it is vital that we elect strong SNP


MPs who will stand up for Scotland and protect Scotland's interests at


Westminster. We know the biggest risk to Scotland in the years ahead


is an increasingly hardline Tory Government, intent on more


just on Brexit but the most extreme just on Brexit but the most extreme


form of Brexit possible. So we need to make sure that after this


election is, Scotland's voice is heard loudly and clearly. It is more


important than it has ever been before. And's voice to be heard, for


MPs from Scotland to stand up for Scotland and protect our interest.


So the message is clear, Tory MPs will be rubber-stamped for whatever


Theresa May wants to do. SNP MPs will be there to stand up for


Scotland and protect our interests. The SNP is stronger than Scotland.


We always have been and we always will be. Let's get out there and win


this election the Scotland. CHEERING


I think professional sport is looking strong in Newport at the


moment and I wondered if you would join me in paying tribute to all of