Building blocks: Oxfam Scotland’s reaction to party manifestos Holyrood 2016

The Scottish Parliament election is just one week away, and all political parties have published their manifestos, setting out their agendas and ideas for what the next Parliament can achieve.

For Oxfam Scotland, this election is an opportunity for every party to transparently commit themselves to creating a more equal Scotland in a more equal world. In October, we published our policy priorities – both domestic and international in nature – for the Scottish Parliament in our “Even It Up” paper

Then, in January, we released polling showing people in Scotland want a more equal distribution of wealth with a large majority believing politicians in Scotland should do more to deliver it.

Since then, people across Scotland have added their voice in support of our policy priorities: over 2,200 people wrote to the leaders of the parties represented in the previous Scottish Parliament, and more than 180 attended our Candidate Cafe events to quiz candidates directly about poverty, inequality and more (find out more about the Candidate Cafes here). Thank you to everyone who took part. 

Between now and polling day, it’s still not too late for all parties to make further commitments in support of our policy priorities, and we urge them to do so. However, the manifestos released by parties represented in the last Scottish Parliament show politicians in Scotland are listening to Oxfam and our supporters. Below is a flavour of what parties have said in relation to Oxfam Scotland’s policy priorities, demonstrating willingness – across party lines – to tackle poverty at home and abroad:

  • The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party recognises the importance of enhancing international aid, saying that the Scottish Parliament “should continue to support the International Development Fund, increasing it to £10m every year.”
  • The Scottish Greens aim to reduce inequality of power  by embedding participatory budgeting, championing “citizen-led local governance through a Local Democracy Act.”
  • The Scottish Labour Party aspires to end hunger in Scotland  by  establishing a Statutory Food Commission that will “develop binding recommendations on the reduction of food poverty”.
  • The Scottish Liberal Democrats show support for delivering climate justice, pledging to “continue the work of Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund to support international action against climate change.”
  • The Scottish National Party aims to build a more equal Scotland  through the establishment of a Poverty and Inequality Commission which will “provide expert advice to ministers on how to tackle poverty and measure and monitor the progress made across all portfolios and all parts of Scotland.”

This is just a snap-shot and you can find out much more on the individual party websites. Other political parties and independent candidates are also standing in this election and have published their own manifestos (full details of all parties and candidates standing in any given area can be found on local council websites).

Whatever the outcome of the election, Oxfam will continue to do all we can to ensure the next Scottish Parliament does more to tackle poverty at home, whilst increasing our contribution to the creation of a world without poverty. We will scrutinise the progress made to make sure pre-election promises translate into meaningful policy change to overcome poverty and challenge inequality.