Election: What do UK party manifestos say about Scotland?

All the main UK-wide parties have now revealed their pitches to voters ahead of December 12.

Leaders: All three main UK parties promising Scottish investment Getty
Leaders: All three main UK parties promising Scottish investment

All the main UK parties have now unveiled their manifestos for the upcoming general election.

The big three UK-wide parties – the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – made spending pledges that, if implemented, would give a knock-on cash boost worth billions to Scotland.

The Scottish Government is partly funded by a block grant which is calculated by the Barnett formula, and higher spending in England translates into more money for the Scottish budget.

Beyond that, each of the the parties has sections of their manifestos dedicated to their plans for Scotland.


The Scottish ToriesScottish Lib Dems and Scottish Labour have also launched separate manifestos, broadly mirroring the UK parties but providing more detail on Scotland.

The manifesto of the SNP, which doesn’t stand in seats outside of Scotland, is broadly focused on Scottish issues, though does commit the party’s MPs to certain stances on UK-wide issues like Trident, VAT and corporation tax.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party wants a second independence referendum, to stop Brexit, for austerity cuts to Scotland to be reversed and to introduce legislation to protect the NHS from any future trade deal with the US.

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Key pledges:

  • A post-Brexit deal for Scottish fishing, with a pledge to take the UK out of the EU Common Fisheries Policy at the end of next year.
  • A review of alcohol duty to help better support the Scotch whisky industry.
  • A “transformational” deal for the North Sea oil and gas sector as the economy transitions to net-zero.

On Scotland:

“Twelve years of SNP government have led to an obsessive focus on independence – all while Scotland’s public services and its economy have been neglected.

“So long as the SNP are in power, Scottish schools and hospitals will always take second place to the pursuit of another independence referendum.

“We are opposed to a second independence referendum and stand with the majority of people in Scotland, who do not want to return to division and uncertainty.

“Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP promised that the 2014 referendum would be a ‘once in a generation’ vote and the result was decisive. We believe that outcome should be respected.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives can block a Sturgeon/Corbyn alliance and stop a second independence referendum, so that we can get Brexit sorted and Scotland can move on from uncertainty and division.”

Mentions: 16 mentions of “Scotland” or “Scottish” throughout the 64-page manifesto.

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Key pledges:

  • To give around 700,000 Scottish workers a pay rise by introducing a “real living wage” of £10 an hour.
  • To invest at least £100bn in Scotland through Barnett consequentials over the next decade.
  • To provide the Holyrood-controlled Scottish National Investment Bank, with £20bn of lending power.

On Scotland:

“Labour believes that Scottish independence would be economically devastating and it would be the many not the few who would pay the price.

“Scotland needs the transformative investment coming from a Labour government, not another referendum and not independence.

“A UK Labour government will focus on tackling the climate emergency, ending austerity and cuts, and getting Brexit sorted.

“That’s why in the early years of a UK Labour government we will not agree to a Section 30 order request if it comes from the Scottish Government.”

Mentions: 18 mentions of “Scotland” or “Scottish” throughout the 107-page manifesto.

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Liberal Democrats

Key pledges:

  • Work hard to ensure that Scotland remains a part of the United Kingdom, including opposing indyref2.
  • Allocate to the Scottish Parliament all of the powers set out in the 2016 Scotland Act.
  • Review the UK excise duty structure to better support whisky exports.
  • Allow greater involvement from Scottish ministers in reserved policy areas like drug policy and student visas.

On Scotland:

“Liberal Democrats want home rule for each of the nations of a strong, federal and united United Kingdom. We have a proud record of leading the way on giving greater powers to Scotland and Wales.

“We will not allow Brexit to reverse devolution and will oppose attempts to use Brexit to go back to the past when powers were hoarded at Westminster.

“We will champion a federal future for the UK. Our plans for a written, federal constitution will include a permanent Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales and we will take forward practical steps to ensure that Scotland and Wales both have strong voices in the future of the family of nations.

“Scotland benefits from being inside the UK and EU single markets. Each is worth billions of pounds and supports tens of thousands of Scottish jobs.

“Under the Liberal Democrats inclusion in those single markets will continue.”

Mentions: 24 mentions of “Scotland” or “Scottish” throughout the 98-page manifesto.

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Brexit party

Nigel Farage has dubbed his party’s prospectus to voters a “contract with the people” rather than a manifesto, saying people don’t trust the promises in manifestos.

The party wants a no-deal Brexit, to reduce VAT on fuel, to crack down on illegal immigration and to cap immigration in the UK at 50,000 people per year.

The Brexit party’s “contract” contains zero mention of Scotland or devolution, and there is no separate Scottish document.


The Green party of England and Wales is a completely independent entity from the Scottish Green party, although they describe themselves as “sister parties”.

UK-wide, the party wants to invest £100bn a year in a “green new deal”, call a People’s Vote on Brexit, scrap universal credit and introduce a universal basic income.

On Scotland-related issues, the Greens south of the border refer voters to the manifesto of the Scottish Greens.

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