United Kingdom General Election 2024: What are Political Parties Pledging for Disabled People?

On 22 May 2024, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced the next General Election would happen on 4 July 2024. The General Election is when people in the UK aged over 18 can vote for which party is in power and who becomes the next Prime Minister.

So, what has Disability Equality Scotland done since the general election announcement?

Our Chief Executive Officer, Lyn Pornaro, wrote to the leaders of the main political parties in Scotland. We informed them of the top 10 priority ‘key’ issues for disabled people in Scotland when deciding how they would vote on polling day, taken from the membership survey that we carried out earlier this year:

  1. Health and Social Care
  2. Accessible Transport
  3. Energy Bills
  4. Tackling Poverty and Inequality
  5. Accessible Parking
  6. Tackling the Climate Crisis
  7. Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  8. Brexit
  9. Social Security
  10. Access to Courts and Justice

Manifesto Tracker

A manifesto is a publication issued by a political party before an election. It contains the set of policies that the party stands for and would wish to implement if elected to govern. When political parties publish their manifestos, they should make sure accessible formats are available at the same time.

We have created a Manifesto Tracker to highlight the accessible formats of manifestos published in Scotland:

Disability Equality Scotland Manifesto tracker highlighting the various accessible formats published by political parties in Scotland. Scottish Conservative and Unionist: The manifesto is currently not available in any alternative formats. Scottish Greens: The manifesto is available in Audio, Large Print and Plain Text. It is not available in Braille, British Sign Language (BSL) and Easy Read. Scottish Labour: The manifesto is available in Easy Read and Large Print. It is not available in Audio, Braille, British Sign Language (BSL) and Plain Text. Scottish Liberal Democrats: The manifesto is available in Audio, Easy Read, and Plain Text. It is not available in Braille, British Sign Language (BSL) or Large Print. Scottish National Party (SNP): The manifesto is available in Braille, British Sign Language (BSL), Easy Read, and Large Print. It is not available in Audio and Plain Text.

  • Scottish Conservative and Unionist: The manifesto is currently not available in any alternative formats.
  • Scottish Greens: The manifesto is available in Audio, Large Print and Plain Text. It is not available in Braille, British Sign Language (BSL) and Easy Read.
  • Scottish Labour: The manifesto is available in Easy Read and Large Print. It is not available in Audio, Braille, British Sign Language (BSL) and Plain Text.
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats: The manifesto is available in Audio, Easy Read, and Plain Text. It is not available in Braille, British Sign Language (BSL) or Large Print.
  • Scottish National Party (SNP): The manifesto is available in Braille, British Sign Language (BSL), Easy Read, and Large Print. It is not available in Audio and Plain Text.

Party Manifestos

In light of our members election priorities we have put together a checker to help summarise what each party’s manifesto says.  We have split this into sections based on our members election priorities; the bullet points are what the manifesto says the party’s candidates will do if elected.

Scottish Greens

This manifesto checker is for the Scottish Green Party

Priority 1: Cost of Living Crisis (including household bills)

  • Cap the price of food essentials during peaks of inflation.
  • Decouple Energy and Gas Prices to prevent future surges in energy bills.
  • Abolish standing charges for customers and introduce progressive tariffs.
  • Raise the Minimum Wage to a living wage.
  • Introduce a four day working week across all sectors.
  • Renationalise the national grid and create a national energy company. This company would re-invest profits in the transition.
  • Broadband should be treated as an essential utility and be delivered through a publicly owned network nd provider.
  • Scrap VAT on products and services which contribute to achieving net zero.

Priority 2: Health and Social Care

Note:  Health and social care is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament under the devolution settlement. While we include what the manifesto says on these areas it is upto MSP’s and Scottish Government to decide any changes to NHS Scotland or Social care in Scotland.

  • Ensure the NHS is always publicly owned and free at the point of use.

Priority 3: Accessible Transport/ Parking

  • Renationalise all public transport.
  • Introduce a Frequent Flyer levy.
  • Ban short haul domestic flights where a train journey is affordable.
  • Introduce a new tax on private jets when using UK airports.
  • By the end of the parliament commission and implement a national road user charge.
  • Make rail travel cheaper than flying by using taxation on aviation to subsidize train tickets for the most popular air routes.

Priority 4: Social Security

  • Scrap the benefit cap.
  • Scrap the Bedroom Tax
  • Abolish the Two Child Limit and make Child Benefit universal.
  • Introduce a Minimum Income Guarantee.
  • Introduce a Ban on benefit sanctions.
  • End the 5 week wait to receive first payment of universal credit.
  • Increase Statutory Maternity and shared parental leave to cover 52 weeks.
  • Extend paid leave to anyone who loses their baby at any point during pregnancy.
  • Introduce a new right of compassionate leave when a close friend or relative dies.

Priority 5: Tackling the Climate Crisis

  • Introduce a Green New Deal backed up by £28bn of funding,
  • Scrap the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill and prohibit new offshore gas, oil and coal exploration and extraction licenses.
  • Scrap all tax breaks and subsides for fossil fuel companies.
  • Support calls for an International Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Oppose new nuclear power stations and oppose the renewal or expansion of Torness Power Station.
  • Introduction of a Carbon Tax.
  • Introduce a “real and effective” windfall tax on oil and gas companies.
  • Require fossil fuel companies to pay a share of the damage caused by climate change.

Priority 6: Brexit

  • Support Scotland Rejoining the EU as an independent member state. This will be a choice in a future referendum.

A full copy of the Scottish Green Party Manifesto can be found here: Vote Like Our Future Depends On It – Scottish Greens

Scottish National Party (SNP)

The manifesto check is about the Scottish National Party (SNP.)

Priority 1: The cost of living crisis (including household bills)

  • Legislate for an ‘Essentials Guarantee.’
  • Create a statutory social tariff on energy, broadband and mobile charges for disabled people, low income individuals and older people.
  • Reduce standing charges for energy and scrap standing charges for people on a pre-payment meter.
  • Calls for the devolution of employment law and minimum wage to the Scottish Parliament. Scrap the age thresholds for the minimum wage; uprating the minimum wage in line with the living wage and increase the minimum wage by inflation.
  • Demand that the UK Government introduces an emergency budget to reverse cuts in public spending which have taken place since 2010.
  • Adopt new fiscal rules to increase capital investment.
  • Reform VAT so that essential lifesaving items are accessible and affordable and address imbalances within the VAT system.

Priority 2: Health and Social Care

Note:  Health and social care is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament under the devolution settlement. While we include what the manifesto says on these areas it is upto MSP’s and Scottish Government to decide any changes to NHS Scotland or Social care in Scotland.

  • Through the emergency budget and new fiscal rules, increase spending on NHS England by £10bn which gives the Scottish Parliament £1bn for the NHS in Scotland.
  • Introduce a “Keep the NHS in Public Hands” Bill which prevents further privatization of the NHS and excludes the NHS from any future trade deals. The Bill would enshrine in law that the NHS is publicly owned and operated.
  • Scrap the current ban on care workers bringing their families with them when they take up a post in the UK.
  • Re-introduce the Tobbaco and Vapes Bill and ban single use vapes.
  • Tackle the drug death crisis via decriminalizing drugs for personal use and support a safe consumption facility.

Priority 3: Accessible Transport/ Parking

  • Full devolution of all powers regarding network rail and train tracks so to establish a fully publicly owned railway system in Scotland.
  • Establish a new Low Income Electric Vehicle Leasing Scheme with £50m of funding to enable people on low incomes to lease an electric vehicle.
  • Complete the dualling of the A9 and improve the A96 by dualling the Inverness to Nairn Route and Nairn Bypass.

Priority 4: Social security

  • Scrap the two child benefit cap.
  • Scrap the proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment and fit notes that take support away from disabled people.
  • Maintain the triple lock on the state pension and oppose any future rises in the state pension age.
  • Reverse cuts to the pension credit and introduce a strategy to encourage uptake of pension credit by older people.
  • Scrap the bedroom tax.
  • Scrap the sick pay threshold so that lower paid workers have access to statutory sick pay and scrap the 4 day waiting period.
  • Increase paid maternity leave to 1 year with maternity pay set at 100% of average weekly earnings for the first 12 weeks and for 40 weeks pay should be 90% of average weekly earnings or £150 per week whichever is lower.
  • Increase shared parental leave to 64 weeks with the additional 12 weeks to be the minimum taken by the father/ partner on a use it or lose it basis.
  • End the young parent penalty in universal credit.

Priority 5: Tackling the Climate Crisis

  • Invest £28bn in the green economy and in all future energy projects the UK Government should obtain an equity stake.
  • Where issuing new oil and gas licenses by the UK Government; these must pass a climate compatibility assessment. Decisions around new exploration must be evidence led.
  • Call on the UK Government to match funding for the Just Transition Fund.
  • No new nuclear power plants to be approved in Scotland.
  • Ban new coal licenses with no support for new coal mines.

Priority 6: Brexit

  • Rejoin the European Union via Scotland being an independent member state.
  • Support freedom of movement.
  • Agree with the EU an EU-wide youth mobility scheme. This is a scheme to allow young people to work and study in EU countries.
  • Devolve powers over migration to the Scottish Parliament to allow Scotland to decide its own immigration policy.

The SNP manifesto can be found in full: SNP 2024 Manifesto: A Future Made in Scotland — Scottish National Party

Scottish Liberal Democrats

This manifesto checker is for the Scottish Liberal Democrats,

Priority 1: The cost of living crisis (including household bills)

  • Cut energy bills through an emergency Home Energy Upgrade Programme
  • Implement a one-off windfall tax on the profits of the oil and gas giants.
  • De-couple electricity prices from wholesale gas prices.
  • Eliminate unfair differences in domestic energy bills
  • Introduce a social tariff for energy bills for vulnerable households.
  • Once economic circumstances allow cut income tax by increasing the personal allowance.
  • Give everyone a new right to flexible working and every disabled person the right to work from home if they want to, unless there are significant business reasons why it is not possible.
  • Scrap VAT on children’s toothpaste and toothbrushes.

Priority 2: Health and Social Care

Note:  health and social care is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament under the devolution settlement. While we include what the manifesto says on these areas it is upto MSP’s and Scottish Government to decide any changes to NHS Scotland or Social care in Scotland.

  • Lessen the workload on GP’s by introducing a greater number of specialists into local teams including Mental Health Practitioners and Physiotherapists.
  • Ensure everyone can see an NHS dentist.
  • Cut red tape that is preventing qualified dentists from overseas from working in the NHS.
  • Improve mental health services by increasing access to talking therapies, boosting the number of training places for psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
  • Replace the salary threshold for worker visas.
  • Exempt health and social care workers from the £1000 immigration health surcharge.
  • End the Ban on care workers bringing their partners and children when a care worker takes up a posting in the UK.
  • Support un-paid carers by introduce paid carer’s leave and a statutory guarantee of regular respite breaks.
  • Make Care a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Create a Carer’s Minimum wage.
  • Create a Royal College of Care Workers.

Priority 3: Accessible transport/ Parking

  • Cut VAT on electric vehicle charging to 5%.
  • Support new charging points with an upgraded national grid.
  • Require airlines to show the comparable carbon emissions for domestic flights versus an equivalent train journey.

Priority 4: Social Security

  • Scrap the Bedroom at UK Level.
  • Reduce the wait period for the first payment of Universal Credit from 5 weeks to 5 days.
  • Replace the sanctions regime with an incentive based scheme to help people into work.
  • Restore the full rate of universal credit to parents under the age of 25.
  • Give Disabled People’s Organisations and Disabled People a greater say on the design of benefits policies and processes.
  • Bring the Work Capability Assessment in House.
  • Make people eligible for statutory sick pay from day 1 instead of day 4.
  • Make sick pay available to workers earning less than £123 a week.
  • Align the rate of Statutory Sick Pay to the National Minimum Wage
  • Double Statutory Maternity and Shared Parental Pay to £350 a week and introducing an extra use-it-or-lose-it month for fathers and partners, paid at 90% of earnings.
  • Make paid parental leave a right from day 1 and extend the right to self employed people.
  • Introduce Neonatal care leave.
  • Scrap the Two child limit and benefit cap.
  • Protect the triple lock for the state pension.
  • Ensure compensation for the WASPI

Priority 5: Tackling the climate crisis

  • Reform the taxation of international flights to shift the burden to those who fly the most and reducing the tax on households that take one or two flights a year.
  • Introduce a new super tax on private jet flights, remove VAT exemption for private jet flights, first class flights and business class flights.
  • Ban short domestic flights where a direct rail option of less than 2.5 hours is available.

Priority 6: Brexit

  • Automatically grant full settled status to all EU nationals who have pre-settled status.
  • Reset UK-EU relations through partnership agreements with EU agencies.
  • Negotiate a comprehensive veterinary and plant health agreement that is mutually agreed between both UK and EU.
  • Once these new agreements are in place and trust restored; rejoin the single market.

The  full Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto can be found here: 2024 Manifesto – Scottish Liberal Democrats (scotlibdems.org.uk)

Scottish Conservative & Unionist

This manifesto checker is for the Scottish Conservatives

Priority 1: The Cost of Living Crisis (including household bills.)

  • Cut green levies on household energy bills and rule out introducing any new green levies going forward.
  • Maintain the energy price cap so that it prevents people being overcharged by their supplier.
  • Review and reforming standing charges for energy so that they are as low as possible.
  • Give Households the choice of using a Smart Energy Tariff.
  • Reduce National Insurance for employees by 2%.
  • Scrap the main rate National Insurance for the Self Employed by the end of the parliament.
  • No increase in VAT.

Priority 2: Health and Social Care

Note:  Health and social care is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament under the devolution settlement. While we include what the manifesto says on these areas it is upto MSP’s and Scottish Government to decide any changes to NHS Scotland or Social care in Scotland.

  • Deliver a My NHS Scotland App to allow patients to book appointments and see live hospital waiting times.
  • Introduce a single digital health record for every person living in Scotland available via the My NHS Scotland App,
  • Increase mental health spending to 10% of the total NHS frontline budget.
  • Deliver better community health services offering support to people with mild to moderate mental health conditions.
  • Oppose the SNP’s plans for a National Care Service and instead take a patient centred approach with a local care guarantee for everyone.
  • Re-introduce the Tobacco and Vapes Bill which would regulate advertising and display of vapes. The bill also bans children born after 2009 from ever being allowed to purchase tobacco products.
  • Maintain the existing ban on care workers bringing dependents to the UK.
  • Introduce a legally binding cap on migration; this will be renewed annually. There is no exemption for the NHS or Care Workers from the cap.

Priority 3: Accessible Transport/ Parking

  • Improve connectivity via road, rail and ferry.
  • Update the East Coast Mainline for trains between London and Edinburgh.
  • Extend borders railway to Hawick and onto Carlile.

Priority 4: Social Security

  • Introduce a “triple lock plus” for pensioners. This means that the state pension and pension tax free allowance would increase by the highest measure of wages, inflation or 2.5%.
  • Maintain the two child limit.
  • Change the tapering threshold at which families begin to lose child benefit to £120,000 and assess this against a household rather than individual claimants. After £160,000 households will lose entitlement to child benefit.
  • Reform Personal Independence Payment to provide support to disabled people via alternatives to cash benefits. This will also include changes to the assessment process.
  • Reform the Work Capability Assessment from September 2025 so that people with mental health conditions or moderate mobility problems can engage in work with tailored support.
  • Overhaul the Fit Note Process so that decision around issuing fit notes are done by specialist healthcare professionals rather than GP’s.
  • Tougher sanctions on people who refuse to take up work after 12 months on benefits. People who refuse will have their case closed and their benefit stopped.
  • Accelerate the rollout of universal credit.
  • Introduce a new Fraud Law which will give the DWP the similar powers to those of HMRC to “treat benefit fraud like [the government] treats tax fraud.”

Priority 5: Tackling the Climate Crisis

  • Pass legislation to provide for an annual licensing round for new oil and gas from the North Sea.
  • Progress a Carbon Capture and Storage facility in Aberdeenshire.
  • Introduce a new import carbon price on Iron, Steel, ceramics and cement from countries with no or lower carbon pricing compared to the UK.
  • Oppose creation of any frequent flyer levy.
  • Change the remit of the Climate Change Committee so that it has to consider the “cost to households and UK energy security” in any future climate advice.

Priority 6: Brexit

  • No changes to freedom of movement.
  • Remain outside the EU, Customs Union and Single Market and make use of post Brexit freedoms.

The Scottish Conservative Manifesto can be accessed in full here: 2024 General Election Manifesto – Scottish Conservatives

Scottish Labour

This manifesto checker is for Scottish Labour.

Priority 1: The cost of living crisis (including household bills)

  • No increases to VAT, National Insurance.
  • Keep Mortgage Rates as low as possible through “economic stability” and a strong bank of England.
  • Change the remit of the Low Pay Commission so that it takes into account cost of living when making adjustments.
  • Introduce a living wage and scrap the age banding in the National Minimum Wage so everyone receives the same minimum hourly rate regardless of age.
  • Increase the powers of the energy regulator.
  • Enshrine in law full right to equal pay for Women, Disable People and BAME people.
  • Introduce disability pay gap reporting requirements for large employers.
  • Introduce a warm homes plan with £6.6bn across the UK over the next 5 years to improve homes energy efficiency.

Priority 2: Health and Social Care

Note: Health and social care is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament under the devolution settlement. While we include what the manifesto says on these areas it is upto MSP’s and Scottish Government to decide any changes to NHS Scotland or Social care in Scotland.

  • Reduce the number of health boards in Scotland from 14 to 3.
  • 160,000 new appointments every year funded through tackling tax avoidance and scrapping Non-Dom tax status at a UK wide level.
  • Access to a mental health professional in every GP surgery.
  • A NHS staff retention strategy which includes greater flexibility, further training clinical research and mentoring. Staff would have access to dedicated changing facilities, rest rooms for breaks/ hot meals and protected time for learning and professional development.
  • 11% of frontline healthcare spending to be spent on mental health.
  • Include lung cancer in the National Cancer Screening Program to be rolled out across Scotland.
  • Support a safe consumption facility in Glasgow to help tackle drug deaths.
  • Expand virtual appointments to support people with chronic conditions and access to this service in rural areas.
  • Abolish non-residential care charges.
  • Create a National Care Service delivered in local communities; oppose the current plans for changes in structures.

Priority 3: Accessible Transport/ Parking

  • Nationalise rail infrastructure through Great British Railways which will work in partnership with Scotrail.
  • Devolve bus services to local authorities to enable locally run services.
  • Cap Bus Fares and create an integrated travel system.

Priority 4: Social Security

  • Tackle the backlog to Access to Work claims.
  • Reform or replace the Work Capability Assessment coupled with a plan to support disabled people get into work.
  • Review Universal credit to “make work pay and tackles poverty.”
  • Retain the Triple Lock on the State pension.
  • No change to the two child cap on child benefit.

Priority 5: Tackling the Climate Crisis

  • Introduce a new Energy Independence Act to establish framework for government policies.
  • A phased and responsible transition for the North Sea. No new oil and gas licenses.
  • Close the loopholes in the Windfall Tax on oil and gas excess profits. They will also extend the sunset clause for said levy until the end of the next parliament.
  • Create Great British Energy a new publicly owned energy company. This will partner with industry and trade unions to develop a co-investing strategy.
  • Support introduction of the Carbon Border Adjustment mechanism.
  • Include Climate Change as part of the Bank of England’s mandates.
  • Require institutions and FTSE 100 companies to develop transition plans to adhere to the 1.5 degrees target set out in the Paris Agreement.
  • Reform supply chains.
  • Create with international partners a new Clean Energy Alliance.

Priority 6: Brexit

  • No rejoining the single market, customs union or European Union.
  • No freedom of movement.
  • Negotiate with the EU to create a new veterinary agreement to lower the cost of food.

The full Scottish Labour Manifesto for the election can be found here: Scotland – The Labour Party