Scottish Parliament Elections- What You Need To Know Before You Vote

Voting for the Scottish Parliament starts on Thursday the 6th of May and may just be one of the most important elections in recent history. With the fallout of Brexit and Covid-19 to handle as well as a crumbling economy the next party to govern over Scotland will have their work cut out for them. Here is the list of the main parties in Scotland as well as some that you may have seen over social media recently and an overview of some of their policies, an insight into their leaders and how you can place your vote.

In Scotland the voting system is called the Additional Members System (AMS) and you’re given two votes. The first vote is for your constituency MSP and the person with the most votes in the constituency wins. There are 73 constituency MSPs in total that make up the Scottish Parliament. Your second vote is to elect your regional MSP who also sits within the Scottish Parliament and each region is allocated seven MSPs and when combined with the constituency MSPS makes 129 MSPS all together.

The Scottish Alba Party

The Alba Party is ran by former First Minister Alex Salmond and is a Pro-independence party that is less than six months old. Alba want to put pressure on the Scottish Government and Westminster to accelerate plans for an independent Scotland, a new currency to be created for Scotland to use, a new constitution to be made once Scotland becomes independent, a second chamber to be added to Holyrood, Scotland to join the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Area all while having trade deals and agreements in place with the rest of the UK and recovery from Brexit and Covid-19.

The SNP

The SNP have been in power for more than a decade and are the current party in power in Scotland. They have overseen Covid and Brexit as well as implemented major policies such as not having to pay the ‘bedroom tax’ in Scotland, the baby box all mothers are given which provides vital equipment for a babies early development and gave the country free prescriptions. Their key policies for the next five years include re-building the country after Covid and Brexit, improving education facilities, a second independence referendum, invest more into the NHS and see Scotland become a more greener and eco safe country.

Nicola Sturgeon is the current leader and has had a rocky time in power as she was highly criticised for the alleged actions of Alex Salmond and for the way the SNP has handled Covid and Brexit.

Labour

New Labour leader Anas Sarwar has continued to portray Labour as a left of centre unionist party as they say won’t support an independence referendum for another five years as Labour want to focus on being a strong opposition and government that focuses on rebuilding the country. Their main polices include seeking further devolved powers, improving ways Holyrood can hold the government to account, introduce a new bail-out scheme for high street businesses, ensure that no publicly procured contract uses zero-hours contracts to employ staff, create jobs for everyone over 25, the long term unemployed and disabled people that are able to work; put more funding and effort into treating potential cancer patients that may have been over looked by the pandemic, fund mental health services better and will stop private schools from avoiding tax rates by being listed as a charity organisation.

The Conservatives (Tories)

Tory leader Douglas Ross has been described as a part time and flimsy leader due to him also being a football linesman out with his role as a leader. The Tories in Scotland are strongly against Scottish independence, they want to stop it and don’t agree with having a referendum at all, they are however wanting to offer a 25% rates relief fund to business during 2022-2023 to help the country repair after Covid, hire 3,000 teachers and don’t want to increase taxes for those in Scotland. For the most part the Scottish Conservatives mainly side with their Westminster counter parts and rarely deviate from their core beliefs.

Greens

The Greens are famous for being strong advocates for making Scotland a more environmentally safe country as well as supporting independence but there is more to the Greens than just these issues. The Greens are hoping to help improve LGBT+ rights and lives in Scotland by reforming the Gender Recognition Act, ensure all health and social services are LGBT+ inclusive and ban conversion therapy. The greens also want to reform aspects of education so that pupils will learn about their countries past, workers rights and how to better improve the climate crisis. Economy wise the greens wish to make income tax more fair, scrap the council tax and instead tax millionaires more and put more money into the NHS through taxation of the affluent.

The Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats are an unionist party that falls in the centre of the political spectrum. Their plans for Scotland over the next five years include putting Covid’s recovery first, introduce new pay audits to ensure fair opportunities for people from ethnic minorities and disabled people, guarantee teachers a minimum starting salary of £30,000, Invest in low carbon heat networks and double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week.

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