SNP manifesto 2024: what money policies did John Swinney announce?

The SNP manifesto has been launched in Scotland, and makes several key commitments, including a pledge to end austerity and a commitment to rejoin the EU.

John Swinney holds the SNP manifesto aloft at its launch in Edinburgh (Photographer: Emily Macinnes/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

John Swinney has launched the SNP manifesto for the 2024 general election in Edinburgh, with Scottish independence, austerity and Brexit high up on its agenda.

 The party, which has been in charge of the Scottish government since 2007, has promised that it would move to open independence negotiations with the UK government should it secure a majority of seats north of the border. It also wants to end the “Westminster consensus” of public service cuts, as well as rejoin the EU.

In terms of personal finance commitments, the party says it wants to push for full devolution of the tax system, maintain the triple lock on the state pension, and get the Westminster government to provide “full, fast, and fair” compensation to Waspi women. It also pledged it would “tackle the cost of living crisis” by, amongst other things, calling for statutory social tariffs for utilities.

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While you can’t vote for the SNP unless you live in Scotland, the party had the third biggest grouping of MPs in the House of Commons during the last Parliament. But the polls suggest it could lose several seats at the 4 July election.

Its manifesto is the last to be published by the major parties. The Conservative Party’s document contained promises targeted at its core vote, while Labour’s manifesto was centred around proving it could be trusted with the public finances. The Liberal Democrats have pledged to make the economy fairer, the Green Party has pushed to make the UK more environmentally friendly, while Reform UK has laid out a five-year plan to overtake the Tories.

What money pledges has the SNP manifesto made?

The SNP has set out several personal finance pledges covering taxes, pensions and utility bills. Here’s a round up of what the manifesto promises across each of these categories.


After independence, the second highest priority in the SNP manifesto is a plan to push the Westminster government to give Holyrood “full devolution” on tax. At present, the Scottish government has control over income tax - but little else besides.

John Swinney’s party says having control over the entire tax system would make it “fairer” and would allow the Scottish government to ensure it “protects public services and invests in our economy”.

A key levy it wants greater power over is National Insurance. It suggests it wants to bring it in line with Scottish income tax, which has different bands to those elsewhere in the UK. The SNP has also targeted bringing windfall taxes under Holyrood’s scope to help it fund its cost of living measures and tackle climate change. The document suggests taxes on excess profits could be extended to other sectors, given the current oil and gas-focused regime is geographically focused on the North East of Scotland.

Other taxes it wants under its scope include road tax and fuel duty, which it says would allow it to “develop a new approach to funding road travel” - the suggestion being that these taxes would be scrapped in favour of something else. VAT reform would also be high up on the party’s agenda, with lower rates applied to hospitality and tourism and reliefs extended to other services, like on-street EV charging. Like Labour, it says it wants to strip private schools of their VAT tax break.

Alongside tax reforms, the SNP says more devolved powers would also allow it to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion. The party added that it wants to force international firms to be more transparent about how much they pay into the public purse.

Public finances

The SNP has come up with its own set of fiscal rules that it says will allow Scotland to pour more investment into its infrastructure and public services. Most of the main parties have signed up to Jeremy Hunt’s strict set of rules, which some economists have described as being arbitrary and too tight.

If Swinney succeeds in convincing the next UK government to implement his fiscal rules in its first budget - an event the party wants to happen immediately - we would get a ‘public sector net worth rule’, which the manifesto says would recognise the value of investing in infrastructure and public sector assets, on top of liabilities. A maximum limit on debt servicing costs would also come in, which would see the sustainability of the national debt reviewed. Finally, it calls for three-year detailed spending plans to support planning and boost clarity for devolved governments.

These rules would support public services and grow the economy, the SNP claims, arguing that the current rules “choke off borrowing for investment” and are not “pragmatic”.

One key infrastructure spending commitment it wants to bring in is a £28bn a year green investment. In a clear dividing line with Labour, which axed its own £28bn environmental target, the party says it could deliver a “step change” in advancing towards net zero.

Cost of living

On the cost of living, the SNP has targeted reforming utilities in a bid to alleviate financial pressures. It wants to push for an “essentials guarantee” that would ensure everyone can afford “basic necessities”, such as food and energy.

Among the party’s ideas to bring energy bills down, it wants to implement a statutory social tariff on energy bills, bring in a “significant cut” to standing charges and increase benefits. It would also reintroduce the Help to Buy ISA to aid first-time buyers.


The SNP has joined the other major parties in committing to the triple lock on the state pension. It says it also wants to bring in a ‘wellbeing pension’ and to oppose any speeding up of plans to hike the state pension age.

For Waspi women, there is a pledge in the manifesto to press the next UK government to implement compensation in full. It adds that it wants to reverse pension credit cuts, maximise pension credit uptake, and to force the Westminster government to “compensate in full” those who have been affected by the Equitable Life Scandal.

Henry Sandercock
Staff Writer

Henry Sandercock has spent more than eight years as a journalist covering a wide variety of beats. Having studied for an MA in journalism at the University of Kent, he started his career in the garden of England as a reporter for local TV channel KMTV. 

Henry then worked at the BBC for three years as a radio producer - mostly on BBC Radio 2 with Jeremy Vine, but also on major BBC Radio 4 programmes like The World at One, PM and Broadcasting House. Switching to print media, he covered fresh foods for respected magazine The Grocer for two years. 

After moving to - a national news site run by the publisher of The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post - Henry began reporting on the cost of living crisis, becoming the title’s money editor in early 2023. He covered everything from the energy crisis to scams, and inflation. You will now find him writing for MoneyWeek. Away from work, Henry lives in Edinburgh with his partner and their whippet Whisper.