The Scottish National Party would fight for increased NHS spending and against privatisation across the whole of the UK, its leader has vowed today.
Launching its election manifesto, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the party would lobby for an increase in the NHS budget of £24 billion by 2020/21, the largest spending promise yet.
Under SNP plans, this would be funded by the scrapping of the Trident nuclear weapons programme, releasing £100bn to invest into areas such as health and education.
Of this, £24bn should be spent on the NHS across the UK, £9.5bn above inflation, including £2bn in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said.
She also accused both the Labour and Conservative parties of ‘selling the NHS short’.
She said: ‘We will seek to build an alliance in the House of Commons against the renewal of Trident and we will vote for the £100 billion that would be saved to be invested instead in education, better childcare, and the NHS… Our plans mean that we – the SNP – can make this clear commitment to the NHS across the whole of the UK.
‘We will vote for an increase in health spending across the UK of £24 billion by 2020/21 – £9.5 billion above inflation. That will deliver a total increase to the budget of NHS Scotland of £2 billion by 2020/21 – and it will ensure that our NHS enters the next decade fully equipped for the challenges it faces.’
Ms Sturgeon, formerly Scottish health secretary and a key proponent of Scottish independence from the UK, added that the SNP would also fight privatisation of the English NHS, saying: ‘I also give a commitment today that SNP MPs – in order to protect Scotland’s budget – will vote against any further privatisation of the NHS in England and we will back any moves to restore it to a fully public service.’