£500m care pledge as Scottish Lib Dems launch manifesto

Alex Cole-Hamilton
Alex Cole-Hamilton launched the party's manifesto at a farm in South Queensferry [PA Media]

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto for the 2024 general election.

The party's plans include a £500m "rescue package" for care, which it says will enable people to be released from hospital and relieve pressure on the NHS.

The manifesto also contains pledges to invest £170m in Scottish agriculture and ensure everyone has a warm home.

The proposals were unveiled by Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain in South Queensferry.

election banner

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: "Every vote for the Liberal Democrats at this election is a vote to elect a strong local champion focused on getting you fast access to GPs and dentists, and giving our nation's carers a fair deal.

"We will stop sewage being dumped in our rivers, lift up Scottish education, and deliver warm homes that insulate you from the cost of living crisis.

"Our vision is of a better Britain where we work in partnership, restoring your faith in politics and fixing our broken relationship with Europe."

He said that the "crisis" in social care was a major cause of the problems in the health service.

"Paid and unpaid carers do so much heavy lifting but they are being taken for granted and are struggling to make ends meet.

"They've been in the shadows for far too long," he said.

Alex Cole-Hamilton
[PA Media]

The party's manifesto pledges to create a new carer's minimum wage and to give family carers an extra £1,040 per year.

Mr Cole-Hamilton added that Scotland's farmers had been taken for granted by both the UK and the Scottish government.

He said the Lib Dems would invest £170m in Scottish agriculture, address worker shortages and make it easier to trade with European countries.

The party's other pledges include:

  • Establish world-class mental health services, giving every school pupil fast access to a mental health counsellor, funded by £150m from taxing social media companies

  • Generate an extra £1bn in capital funding to build new local health facilities, tackle the housing emergency and stop sewage dumping

  • Make homes warmer and cheaper to heat with a 10-year emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insulation and heat pumps for those on low incomes

  • "Lift up Scottish education" with steps to tackle the crisis in recruiting and retaining teachers

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, SNP leader John Swinney is in Stornoway to highlight the impact of Westminster spending cuts.

The Scottish Conservatives' deputy leader Meghan Gallacher is in Annan to focus on the problems facing the hospitality industry.

And Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is in South Queensferry to unveil the party's campaign bus.