I support Alzheimer Scotland’s pledge to deliver Fair Dementia Care for people with advanced dementia.
The Scottish Conservatives fully recognise animals as sentient beings, not mere property, and this guides us in our policy on all matters relating to animal welfare.
That’s why we pushed the SNP to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty to 5 years in prison, and why we campaigned alongside PC Dave Wardell for Finn’s Law – so that attacks on service animals like police dogs are treated seriously and not equivalent to a broken window.
I am therefore happy to support the ‘Pledge to do More for Scotland’s Animals’, so that all animals can enjoy a good life and we can work to make animal cruelty a thing of the past.
Overall, I believe issues like animal welfare are sidetracked by the SNP Government’s continual push for a divisive second independence referendum, perhaps as soon as this year.
At this election, voters have the chance to say no to another divisive referendum by stopping an SNP majority. The Scottish Conservatives are the largest opposition party and we proved at the last Scottish Parliament election that we are the best vehicle to do that.
I appreciate your concern on end of life choices. Coping with terminal illness is of course hugely distressing and difficult, both for the patient and their family. These cases are truly moving and evoke the highest degree of compassion and emotion. Should the law in this area ever be altered, I believe it is neither a matter for Government to decide nor a matter for the judiciary, but ultimately a matter for Parliament, and individual MSPs in a free vote.
You may be aware that the original End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill was defeated at Stage 1 in the Scottish Parliament in 2010, and Margot MacDonald’s Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill was also defeated in 2015.
I sympathise and am supportive in principle of new legislation and will certainly carefully consider any draft legislation presented in future.
If elected, I will be a #CancerChampion for the thousands of people living with cancer in Scotland, and back Macmillan's calls to ensure everyone gets the right support where and when they need it.
There is significant and increasing concern among charities and experts at the negative impact the pause on cancer services and screening has had on cancer patients’ outcomes in Scotland.
The number of people being sent on an urgent referral for suspected cancer reportedly dropped by 72 per cent during the early stage of the pandemic, with around 2,000 urgent referrals not happening in Scotland each week and almost 80,000 women have suffered delays to breast cancer screening.
The Scottish Conservatives recognised these risks early during the first lockdown and called for an urgent restart to cancer services in April 2020.
Early detection and treatment of cancer is vital, that is why while we welcome the resumption of screening services, the Scottish Conservatives will continue to push the SNP Government to return the provision of cancer care to pre-COVID-19 levels in a safe and effective way, as soon as possible.
Cancer hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic and patients must be able to access vital treatment.
I recognise the valuable contribution made by carers of all kinds - residential, domiciliary, paid, unpaid. I totally agree that carers must receive the right support to help them carry out their caring roles.
The Scottish Conservatives have long been a champion for carers in the Scottish Parliament. In 2016 we succeeded in passing an amendment to the Carers' Bill which required local authorities to provide short breaks, and ensuring that a person’s care plan must be agreed as soon as possible before they leave hospital and with the involvement of the carer. Although not well-implemented by the SNP, this should have given carers some much needed time away, benefiting their quality of life and wellbeing.
Carers have played a vital role in our fight against coronavirus and I am grateful for their hard work in what are very difficult times. I am committed to ensuring that positive changes for care workers are implemented.
But if the SNP win a majority at the upcoming election, carers will be sidelined in favour of another divisive independence referendum. Voters have the chance to say no to another divisive referendum by stopping an SNP majority. The Scottish Conservatives are the largest opposition party and we proved at the last Scottish Parliament election that we are capable of doing that.
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland's Hospital to Home Service
I understand that an estimated one in five people in Scotland are affected by chest, heart or stroke conditions, and many are left struggling to receive support and a decent quality of life post diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, I will commit to visiting Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland's Hospital to Home service, which I understand bridges the gap between leaving hospital/receiving a diagnosis and returning home.
Our natural environment is Scotland’s greatest asset, and we must do everything we can to protect and nurture it - so it can be enjoyed by future generations. But in recent decades we have experienced catastrophic loss of species and their habitats, accelerated by climate change. That’s why the Scottish Conservatives will introduce an ambitious Nature Bill in the next Parliament, to strengthen environmental protections on land, in our rivers and at sea - so that we can reverse the decline in native species.
We are open to discussions on the idea of divesting from fossil fuels, though this needs to be at a stage in our transition when it will not put jobs, particularly in the North East, at risk. We also support climate education and making school buildings more efficient.
The Scottish Conservatives will put the environment at the heart of our plan to rebuild Scotland’s communities from this pandemic.
I support We Are Cycling in Scotland and their campaign to urge the Scottish Government Scottish Government to invest in cycling infrastructure and safety improvements needed so that more people can cycle and experience its benefits.
I support Diabetes Scotland and their campaign to achieve a fairer Scotland where everyone with diabetes can access the right care and support for them to live healthy, happy lives.
The Scottish Conservatives want to root out poverty so that no family or individual is faced with the prospect of not being able to put food on the table. We want to build a Scotland that supports those in financial crisis and caught in the cycle of poverty. Ultimately, we want a Scotland where no one needs to rely on a foodbank to make sure they are fed from one day to the next. But there is not just one fix, one magic button, it involves us committing to using a variety of policy levers at our disposal to reverse the trend of poverty across the country.
That’s why we have put forward a range of policy proposals that will target the root causes of poverty and financial hardship. For example, we were the first party to commit to extending free school meals at breakfast and lunch to all primary school pupils. That, alongside plans to extend free childcare, will equip parents with the right support system so that they can provide for their family.
We have also put forward our proposals to end the housing crisis in Scotland, with a priority being to end rough sleeping by the end of the next parliamentary term through, for example, expanding the Housing First programme right across the country. We would also build 60,000 homes over the course of the next five years.
We are also committed to having a robust safety net for people who slip through the cracks and the security of a welfare system. That’s why we lobbied the UK Government to maintain the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and want to make the Scottish Welfare Fund as effective as possible for the people who need it most.
We know there is much to be done, and the work and dedication of organisations like the Trussell Trust and volunteers across the country who relentlessly serve some of Scotland’s most vulnerable should never be taken for granted. The Scottish Conservatives are committed to working with the Trussell Trust and those with lived experiences in their pursuit to end the need for food banks in Scotland.
The Scottish Conservatives believe few things are as urgent as tackling the climate emergency and preventing its disastrous consequences for people all over the world, and so we support Scotland reaching net zero emissions by 2045.
If we want to achieve this vital target, we have to focus on adapting our economy. The SNP have so far failed to invest in energy efficiency and the circular economy. That is why the Scottish Conservatives would embark on a national mission to deliver green growth over the next five years.
Over the course of the next Parliament, we would spend £2.5 billion on making all buildings energy efficient and powered by low carbon heating systems. We would also introduce a Circular Economy Bill to cut down on waste across our economy and create new jobs in recycling and the production of low emissions materials.
We would ensure that the Scottish Government is a partner in the North Sea Transition Deal. This deal will see the UK Government and the oil and gas sector jointly investing up to £16 billion to reduce emissions in the oil and gas industry and support 40,000 jobs. We would ensure that the Scottish Government is a partner in the Deal to support supply chain businesses in the transition and as part of our proposals to deliver a fair share for the North East - so that no one is left behind.
The SNP keep making grand promises to tackle the climate crisis and create new green jobs - but time and again they miss targets and fail to deliver. The Scottish Conservatives will put the environment at the heart of our plan to rebuild Scotland’s communities from this pandemic.
I was particularly disappointed that the SNP missed their own legal emissions targets for 2018, with source emissions actually rising 1.5 per cent from 2017 to 2018. The SNP are also on track to break their flagship recycling pledge and spectacularly miss their renewable heat target. The SNP have also completely dropped their commitment to create a new, publicly owned energy company.
If the SNP win a majority at the upcoming election, the creation of clean green jobs will be side-lined in favour of another divisive independence referendum and thousands of jobs will be put at risk. Voters have the chance to say no to another divisive referendum by stopping an SNP majority. The Scottish Conservatives are the largest opposition party and we proved at the last Scottish Parliament election that we are capable of doing that.
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust
I support Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust's manifesto and their vision of a day where cervical cancer is a thing of the past.
No one should be marginalised or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or identity.
The Scottish Conservatives stand with the LGBTI community in Scotland and recognise the need for ongoing work to fight for equality.
I want to be part of a Scotland that is fundamentally a welcoming and safe place to all, no matter an individual’s sexual orientation or identity. That is a Scotland that the Scottish Conservatives are committed to building.
This SNP government is already responsible for the longest ever waiting times for children needing to access mental health support. And their attempts to provide additional mental health workers have also fallen short.
As NHS services re-open we must see immediate improvement in waiting times, staff numbers, and to ensure speedy and appropriate diagnosis. The Scottish Conservatives pledge to commit 10 per cent of Scotland's NHS budget to mental health treatment.
The Scottish Conservatives have called on SNP ministers to work with the many mental health charities providing support on a redesign and reform of mental health services.
Actions must be taken to develop the support that will be needed as we come out of the COVID-19 lockdown to ensure that this public health emergency does not turn into a mental health crisis.
But if the SNP win a majority at the upcoming election, tackling the mental health backlog will be sidelined in favour of another divisive independence referendum. Voters have the chance to say no to another divisive referendum by stopping an SNP majority. The Scottish Conservatives are the largest opposition party and we proved at the last Scottish Parliament election that we are capable of doing that.
Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
MND is a rapidly progressing, terminal illness. I support MND Scotland’s manifesto and their campaign for a National Care Service for Scotland and a National Accessible Housing Strategy.
Pregnancy and Babies
I support SANDS’ Pregnancy and Baby Charities Network Manifesto and pledge to help make Scotland the safest place in the world to have a baby.
Scots and all its varieties have played a key role in our cultural heritage through song and literature.
The most recent Census found that found that it is spoken by one in three Scots, which equates to more than a million and a half people.
Scots has a rich and meaningful history. That is why the Scottish Conservatives support its promotion and preservation.
Shelter Scotland Campaign
The Scottish Conservatives view the creation of new social homes by the end of the next Parliament as a top priority, especially in light of the fact that the SNP cut its housing budget in the recent Scottish budget and have failed to meet their housing targets in the last parliamentary term. This is completely unacceptable.
I am equally concerned that more than 20,000 people living with a disability remain on the waiting list for accessible housing and that homelessness figures continue to soar under the SNP.
All of these challenges must be addressed head-on in the next Parliament.
That is why the Scottish Conservatives have pledged to deliver 60,000 new affordable homes, including 40,000 in the social rented sector over the next five years. We will also support our construction sector to get back to pre-2007 levels of housebuilding so they are building 25,000 homes per year by the end of the next Parliament.
Through our Communities Bill we will make it an obligation for councils to deliver services for new housing so that we are building real communities alongside these new homes.
Our ambitious housebuilding programme will also be central to our pledge to end rough sleeping by the end of the next parliamentary term as we seek to get people off the streets and into safe and affordable housing by investing in the biggest social housing drive in the history of devolution.
Everyone deserves a secure roof over their head and a safe place to call home.
I support NUS Scotland's call for A Student Guarantee for Scotland to see more done to secure students rights in the next Scottish Parliament term.
Victims of Crime
The SNP’s soft-touch justice system is stacked against victims and lets criminals away with easy sentences for horrific crimes.
The Scottish Conservatives will put victims of crime and their families back at the heart of our justice system by introducing a Victims Law in the Scottish Parliament. The Victims Law would end soft-touch sentencing to punish offenders properly and fix court system flaws that put the rights of criminals before those of victims and their families.
This law would enable victims to provide in-person statements so their voices are heard in court, put a stop to criminals being automatically released early to keep our streets safe, end the SNP’s ban on short prison sentences and ensure all community sentences handed down by the courts are completed in full. We would also introduce whole life custody for the very worst criminals, with no prospect of parole. Too many violent offenders are released early then go on to kill again.
Additionally, as part of the Victims Law, we would deliver the long-standing Scottish Conservative campaign for Michelle’s Law. The family of Michelle Stewart, who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2009, aged only 17, have called for changes to prison and parole rules to safeguard families. The SNP promised to act in 2018 but have comprehensively failed. We would explicitly require the safety and welfare of victims and their families to be taken into account when parole and early release are considered. We would increase the use of ‘exclusion zones’ on offenders, to offer increased protection to victims and their families. And finally, we would toughen up the Victim Notification Scheme so victims and their families are given reasons for an offender’s release, and can make representations in person every time it is considered.
Finally, we would tackle the SNP’s outrageous court case backlog so that victims and families do not wait years to see justice delivered.
For the past 14 years the SNP have been soft on crime. The Scottish Conservatives will always put victims and public safety first.
But if the SNP win a majority at the upcoming election, these issues will be sidelined in favour of another divisive independence referendum, which Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold as soon as this year. Voters have the chance to say no to another divisive referendum by stopping an SNP majority. The Scottish Conservatives are the largest opposition party and we proved at the last Scottish Parliament election that we are capable of doing that.