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Gail speaks at SNP Spring Conference

March 15, 2016


Resolution 11, Supporting Public Services.


Conference, our government has faced and will continue to face unprecedented cuts to its budget from an uncaring, distant and mean spirited Tory Government in London.


Their ideology will not change.


So to see our government stand up for public services in the face of these cuts makes me proud to be a member of the SNP.


This, Ladies and Gentlemen is why we are trusted by the people of Scotland, THIS is why we have been in Government for two terms and are asking the people of Scotland to elect us for a third. THIS is the record of an SNP Scottish Government that puts people first.


You will have seen the Labour Party’s latest hashtag is KIDS NOT CUTS. This is despite voting against free school meals, despite two weeks ago, voting against a budget that maintained teacher numbers and doubled the fund for attainment in our schools and despite voting against free education in 2014.

The Lib-Dems and the Tories introduced austerity and Labour has put up little or no resistance to its implementation.


So let’s talk about KIDS shall we? Now you’ll need to listen carefully, because there are a lot of stats here but that is only because we’ve done so much!


The SNP have increased free early learning and childcare by almost a half since 2007 and we will almost double this to 1,140 hours if we are re-elected in May and it will be flexible! 


And yesterday the First Minister announced that the Maternity and Early Years Allowance, which the Westminster Government has decimated, will now be paid to eligible families, not only on the birth of their first child but there will be a payment for the second and third, and not just when they are born but when they start nursery and school. 




•    From January 2015 all children in primary 1 to 3 are entitled to a free school meal, this benefits over 129 thousand children and saves families around 380 pounds per child per year. And the First Minster announced yesterday that this is to be extended to all two, three and four year olds in childcare.


•    The introduction of curriculum for excellence has been a major step forward. It gives teachers more flexibility, provides a broader education for young people, and sets higher standards for achievement than ever before.


•    We are investing over 100 million pounds in the Attainment Scotland Fund to improve literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing – benefitting over 300 primary schools this year.


•    The number of pupils in ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ condition schools has more than halved since 2007.

•    We have committed to maintaining teacher numbers AND pupil teacher ratios.


•    Our children now learn in smaller classes. The number of P1 children in classes of 26 or more is down by 96%.


•    98% of children now benefit from at least two hours of PE a week in schools, compared to only 10% in 2007.


•    More than 600 schools have been rebuilt or refurbished.


•    We’ve retained the educational maintenance allowance, which benefits 35,000 school pupils and college students every year.


On 24th August 2015, the First Minister announced that from January, an additional 22,000 16 to 19 year olds will be eligible for the weekly grant.


•    A record percentage of young people are in work, education or training after leaving school - 91.7%.


And it's worth mentioning - 


•    We’ve removed tuition fees saving over 120,000 students studying in Scotland up to 27,000 pounds. And there will be NO tuition fees whilst the SNP are in power! 



This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what we do!


And it reminds me of a particularly brave and inspiring young woman that is wise beyond her years, Nobel Prize Winner Malala. She once said -


“There are many problems, but I think there is a solution to all these problems; it's just one, and it's education.”


The SNP supports and recognises the importance of early years, the SNP supports and values education and the SNP supports KIDS through investment and improvement of our public services.


Conference, please support the resolution.


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