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A summary of what each party's manifesto will mean for small shops ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 6th May.
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Scottish Election Party Manifesto Briefings

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

The scotlandmain Scottish political parties have now published their manifestos ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 6th May.

Below is a summary of what each party's manifesto will mean for small shops.


Scottish National Party


The SNP manifesto says they will deliver their deposit return scheme by next year, which will represent significant logistical challenges for retailers. There is also a commitment to bring forward a new Circular Economy Bill to ban certain single-use plastic cutlery but it is also likely to include a range of other environmental regulations that could impact retailers.

  • Appoint a Minister of Just Transition with responsibility for overseeing a ‘national mission' of fairness and opportunity as we move to net zero.
  • To bring forward sectoral Just Transition plans, charting the transition of sites, industries, regions and communities.
  • Bring forward a Circular Economy Bill to ban single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, stirrers and chopsticks), plates, straws, balloon sticks, food and beverage containers and cups for beverages.
  • Implement a Deposit Return Scheme for single-use drinks containers next year to improve recycling, reduce litter and achieve our climate change targets.
  • Phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, two years ahead of our original target.
  • Publish a Hydrogen Policy Statement setting out the role hydrogen can play in decarbonising energy and being part of the energy transition picture. To support the delivery of the hydrogen economy, there will be a pilot of hydrogen trains as an alternative to diesel and electrification
  • We will bring forward legislation to ensure fireworks are used safely and appropriately, so that we can reduce the negative impacts they have on individuals, communities and pets.


The SNP acknowledge the impact of the pandemic on high street and the ever increasing role of online shopping. They seek to address some of these concerns through reforms of the business rates system including the development of a digital sales tax with revenues used to support high streets. There is an important commitment to retain the Small Business Bonus Scheme for the duration of the parliament, which alleviates concerns about the review of the small business bonus scheme and the use conditionality for access to business rates relief.

  • We will maintain the Small Business Bonus for the lifetime of the parliament - ensuring 100,000 business properties pay no rates.
  • We will maintain the Business Growth Accelerator which removes rates liabilities for the first 12 months after occupation of a new build, and the fresh start scheme which removes liabilities for the first 12 months after occupation of a previously empty property.
  • A new national digital sales tax to level the playing-field between online and digital and use any revenue from this to breathe new life into our town and city centres.
  • A Retail Strategy to help the sector in Scotland change, innovate and thrive, and become an exemplar in inclusive growth, supporting a robust, local supply chain and offering people and communities the goods, experiences and services they want. 

Scottish Conservative Party


The Scottish Conservatives have committed to a wholesale review of business rates in Scotland and increase rate reliefs for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £20,000.

  • Given the continued economic uncertainty we would also look to offer at least 25 per cent rates relief to businesses in 2022-23. The exact level will be dependent on the economic conditions at the time.
  • We would also maintain the poundage rate freeze until the 2023 revaluation.
  • We would retain the Small Business Bonus Scheme and introduce a more tapered scheme on rates relief for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 and £20,000 to remove the cliff edge on relief.
  • The Scottish Conservatives would undertake a wholesale review of the business rates systembefore the end of the Parliament.
  • We would also expand funding for foundation apprenticeships. We would ensure that apprentices under 25 are required to receive ‘off the job' training through day or block release.
  • To deliver growth and create jobs in every part of our country, we would bring forward an Enterprise Bill establishing an economic development agency in each region of Scotland.
  • The Scottish Conservatives would connect every single home and business property in Scotland to full fibre broadband by 2027.
  • We will begin the rollout in the rural areas left behind by R100.
  • We will move up to 10,000 Scottish businesses online each year through a new e-commerce
  • taskforce


The Scottish Conservatives have pledged to align the implementation with the Deposit Return Scheme with the rest of the UK to ensure successful delivery. They will also prioritise the new Circular Economy Bill to reduce single use products that are difficult to recycle. This Bill is likely to include a range of environmental regulations that could impact retailers. The Scottish Conservatives are pledging to increase fines for littering to resource councils in enforcing litter and fly tipping measures. They will also introduce reporting measures that could be obligated to businesses. 

  • We would bring forward a Circular Economy Bill early in the next Parliament. This will set new targets for reducing our raw material usage, especially those that are single use or difficult to recycle.
  • We will establish a Circular Economy Awards Scheme to recognise innovation in reuse and waste reduction.
  • We will work with the UK Government to align the introduction of our Deposit Return Scheme with the rest of the UK, ensuring the successful delivery of the scheme.
  • We will increase fixed penalties and maximum fines for litter and fly-tipping, as well as introducing regular reporting.


The Scottish Conservative manifesto details a new plan to establish the next stages of EV roll out in Scotland, including ensuring delivery of a national charging infrastructure.

  • An ambitious new electric vehicle action plan is required to take Scotland into the next phase of
    the rollout and deliver a complete national charging infrastructure by 2025.

Scottish Labour Party



  • A training guarantee offered to everyone on the Jobs for Recovery scheme with 20% of their time dedicated to developing skills and seeking their next employment.
  • Supplementary funding to kick-start ‘Kickstart' by providing a further six months of subsidy for wages, encouraging businesses to employ young people in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance. In exchange for the wage subsidy, employers would need to guarantee a permanent job at the end of the scheme.
  • Reinvigorate apprenticeships across Scotland targeting 5,000 new places in the next financial year, with subsidised wages to raise pay for all and working with local authorities to establish local ‘Share an Apprentice' schemes.
  • We will ensure fair pay for retail workers. 



  • Through our Better Business Scotland certification we will ensure that every business that wants to work with the public sector has a clear carbon reduction plan and a commitment to achieving net zero.
  • We will accelerate the creation of charging points, including in less well served areas and for owners who do not have access to a residential charger.
  • Where local suppliers don't exist, the Scottish National Investment Bank would be used to invest to help existing companies diversify or support the creation of new local supply chains. Support would be tied to our Good Work criteria and would promote cooperative business models.
  • Scottish Labour supports measures that deliver a circular economy, including introducing a Circular Economy Bill and obligations on the producers of waste and annual material flow accounts.
  • This includes the introduction of deposit return schemes and regulatory action to eliminate plastic cigarette filters.
  • We will move towards a polycarbonate ban and require food manufacturers and retailers to reduce
  • We support a new litter strategy that addresses the defects in the current system, prioritises community education, commits to investment in infrastructure and reviews the barriers to enforcement.


  • Bring shoppers back to our town centres with a £75 prepaid card to every adult in Scotland to be spent in non-food retail businesses.
  • Deliver a High Street Bailout plan with reduced business rates on non-grocery bricks and mortar shops. We will set up a taskforce to fully examine how business rates need to change to ensure the digital economy makes a fair contribution to local services.
  • We support the establishment of a Business Restart Fund to continue to support businesses facing financial hardship as a result of restrictions. We will also support businesses to transition into new markets or online through the establishment of a Business Transition Fund.
  • We will work with local authorities to promote alternative business models including cooperatives, social enterprises, and in-house provision.
  • Restore connections between the police force and local communities, invest in specialist staff to rebalance the workforce and increase the number of officers in local divisions by at least 500 to reverse cuts to local policing.
  • Warden services need to be resourced so they can take robust action against anti-social behaviour and we will put a renewed emphasis on community policing.


Scottish Liberal Democrat Party



  • We will reform business rates to take the burden off high street retailers, who are unfairly hampered compared to purely online retailers who have lower premises costs.
  • We will review the rates relief system to give more support to shops on local high streets which have low turnover but a high rateable value.
  • We will give local authorities control of the level of tax and reliefs in their area to foster new partnerships between councils and local business.
  • Launch a consultation on how to support local retailers to maximise the opportunities around online retail and to reduce the environmental impact of deliveries.
  • Change planning regulations so that town centres can adapt to new demands with the support of local communities.
  • Establish a right for communities to protect threatened community facilities through different ownership or the use of shared premises as hubs. Community groups or cooperatives should be given a fair chance to purchase or acquire these assets.
  • Encourage enterprise bodies to value and support more small and micro businesses, taking account of local community impacts, supporting them beyond the start-up phase to include expansion, collaboration and diversification.
  • Roll out superfast broadband to support business growth, education and public services in rural areas.


  • Provide transition support and specialist low carbon advice free of charge to businesses on how to minimise the impact of their work on the environment.
  • Introduce the delayed energy efficiency regulations to require landlords to meet higher energy standards within five years, and make it easier for people in shared buildings to agree to upgrades and improvements.
  • Set out that the climate emergency and Scotland's 2045 net zero target are material considerations to be afforded significant weight in planning decisions.
  • A duty to produce a Resource Reduction Plan, updated every five years.
  • Commitments from industries including food and drink, agriculture, energy, construction and facilities management sectors, along with major public sector resource consumers such as the NHS, to adopt circular economy approaches and reduce waste and environmental impact.
  • The proposed deposit return scheme for drinks containers and the coffee cup levy, both of which followed successful Scottish Liberal Democrat campaigns, will remove plastic and other material from the waste stream. Our aim is to end the mainstream use of single-use plastics.


  • We will make it much simpler, through permitted development rights, for urban derelict land and rural farm buildings to be used for zero emission homes.


  • Give the public confidence in electric vehicles by progress 27 | Scottish Liberal Democrats - Put Recovery First towards a network of well maintained rapid chargers.
  • Change town planning processes to make sure roads have separate spaces for cyclists, walkers and motorists, to keep them all safe.

Scottish Green Party



  • The Scottish Greens are proposing a detailed green infrastructure programme for the next five years, drawing on at least £7.5bn in public investment to create over 100,000 green jobs.
  • Support the transition to a four-day week with no loss of pay.
  • Encourage community ownership through business rate reductions for social enterprises and employee-owned businesses.
  • Require businesses with a turnover of £5m or more to publish an environmental, social and corporate report alongside their annual financial reports.
  • Calling for an urgent one-off windfall tax on the extraordinary profits enjoyed by larger companies as a result of the pandemic.
  • Withdraw support for hydrogen produced from fossil fuels and support the development of green hydrogen.
  • Create a new climate, energy and just transition committee that reports to Scottish Ministers and replaces the UK Committee on Climate Change.
  • Create a Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero to oversee the transition plan and to ensure tackling the climate emergency is given the priority it needs.
  • Make 15-minute neighbourhoods a key principle in Scotland's Planning Policy Framework. Our vision is for everyone in towns and cities to be able to get what they need within a 15-minute walk.
  • Create a town and city centre green transformation fund to re-orient these places towards pedestrians, cyclists and vulnerable road users including children, the elderly and disabled people.
  • Close the loopholes in the pavement parking ban.
  • Ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2026.
  • Provide new multi-year funding for skills development, training and apprenticeships to expand and upskill the workforce.
  • Engage communities in all stages of local development planning.


  • We will invest at least £895m over the next five years in restoring nature whilst investing in rural communities, creating over 6,000 green jobs.
  • Introduce a Circular Economy Bill with targets to reduce our overall consumption of raw materials, our carbon footprint, and a duty to produce Resource Reduction Plans.
  • Keep pace with Europe and fully implement the Circular Economy Plan.
  • Phase out pointless plastics, including single-use, non-essential plastics that that can easily be replaced by 2025.
  • Move towards a circular economy whereby all packaging and products sold in Scotland must be readily able to be reused, repaired, or recycled, with producers responsible for the costs of managing their products throughout their lifecycle.
  • Move towards a circular economy whereby all packaging and products sold in Scotland must be readily able to be reused, repaired, or recycled, with producers responsible for the costs of managing their products throughout their lifecycle.
  • Develop a carbon food labelling scheme.
  • Bring back the Food Promotions Bill to restrict the marketing, promotion and advertising of unhealthy foods including alcohol
  • Use the planning system to break the dominance of unhealthy takeaways, including banning the opening of fast food outlets near schools.
  • Make living wage accreditation or other union negotiated rates of pay a requirement for public kitchens and public food tenders.


  • Increase support for apprenticeships and ensure they pay at least the living wage regardless of age, work to break gender stereotypes, and increase opportunities for disabled people and people from minority ethnic groups. Government funding of apprenticeships should be contingent on these measures.
  • Introduce mandatory unit, calorie and ingredient labelling and prominent health warnings on all alcohol products.
  • Work to make the licensing system more transparent and accessible to local communities.
  • Introduce a social responsibility levy on alcohol retailers.
  • Achieve a smoke free generation by 2034 through increasing investment in targeted smoking cessation programmes, communication campaigns, and a ban on smoking around schools, playgrounds and other locations used by children.
  • We are committed to radical reform of local taxation and will devolve powers to set, collect, and
  • offer reliefs for non-domestic rates locally.



  • The Scottish Greens are committed to understanding and addressing the root causes of crime. We recognise that this means tackling the enormous inequalities that scar our society.
  • Contribute to the revival of our town centres by supporting the repurposing of commercial properties into low carbon artists' spaces such as studios, venues, cinemas, workshops and production facilities.

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