The Guardian view on the SNP manifesto: a step back for Sturgeon


The SNP said the policy reflected the party's "clear anti-austerity agenda".

Ms Sturgeon is also expected to announce plans to spend an extra £118bn on public services.

Asked if she still stood by her previous timetable commitment of holding the vote between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, Sturgeon admitted a vote could take place later, depending on how long the United Kingdom government takes to strike a Brexit deal.

As the nation's first minister she has the power to do so under devolution, but said she did not want to do so because her government did not have the power to tackle tax avoidance.

The SNP has released its manifesto and the majority of people seem fairly pleased with it. Claiming to be in favour of a 50p top rate of tax across the United Kingdom but refusing to introduce one in Scotland where she actually has the power to do so is cynical politics at its worst.

But Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "Nicola Sturgeon tried her usual trick today of trying to ignore independence in her speech but making sure she's pushing for it in her manifesto".

Yesterday's manifesto launch saw the Nationalists shift position, with a vote for independence to be held "at the end of the Brexit process".

Professor John Curtice, who runs the What Scotland Thinks blog, said that the YouGov poll represented a one-point increase for the SNP, Tories and Labour since the end of April.

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The manifesto, unveiled at an event in Perth on Tuesday morning, is light on mentions of independence and gives no detail on when another vote should be held other than "at the end of the Brexit process".

The First Minister announced she was now willing to delay another independence vote until the end of the "Brexit process", which could take many years if a proposed transitional deal between the United Kingdom and European Union is taken into account.

She claimed an SNP victory would reinforce a double mandate she said had been created by the SNP emerging as the largest party in last year's Holyrood election, and a recent Scottish Parliament vote for another referendum.

Last year, Scottish Parliament delivered a democratic mandate for an independence referendum in the event of Brexit. "Jeremy Corbyn is not".

She cemented her position in 2016 by leading the Conservatives to second place in the Scottish Parliament election, winning a quarter of the 129 seats in the Edinburgh-based legislature. It sets the level of growth for pension payments based on the highest of three measures: the growth in national average earnings, inflation as measured by the consumer price index, or 2.5 per cent.

The manifesto said the industry had been "undermined by the United Kingdom government's ideologically-driven cuts to support for renewables".

The SNP says it would support a UK-wide income tax hike from 45p to 50p for those earning more than £150,000, and promises not to increase VAT or National Insurance contributions.