With the Scottish Parliament elections a week away, all five of the main political parties have now launched their manifestos.
We have examined each one to see in what way their policies match the ‘asks’ in our own MND Scotland manifesto ‘It’s About Time’ which we launched in January.
MND Scotland's manifesto highlights the rapid speed in which MND progresses and the devastating impact this has on those with the illness as they lose their ability to care for themselves and move safely around their home. Statutory services are needed quickly but too often can’t keep up with the speed of deterioration, leaving people with MND and their families to struggle on.
Our Advocacy service supports people affected by MND during this difficult time and the most common problems brought to the service are accessing social care, home adaptations and alternative accessible housing.
Our manifesto, therefore, has two key asks of the next Scottish Government:
A National Care Service for Scotland – This would include fast-tracking people with MND, choice, quality and anticipatory care planning. It would also include: prioritising carers, including respite, and investing in a sustainable workforce with fair pay, conditions and training.
A National Accessible Housing Strategy for Scotland – This would focus on adaptations and accessible housing. It would include: fast-tracking people with MND, simplified processes, investment, anticipatory planning, cross tenure standards, empty homes made accessible and a national accessible housing target (10% minimum).
In December, prior to our manifesto launch, we shared these ‘asks’ with each of the five main political parties in the hope that they would be included within their own party manifesto development.
Three of the five main political parties include the creation of a National Care Service in their manifestos: the SNP, Scottish Labour and the Scottish Greens. Individual manifestos for these parties include increased funding, national standards, improved pay and training for care workers, and support and respite for unpaid carers.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives don’t advocate the creation of a National Care Service but do commit to improving social care. Manifestos for those parties include national standards, fair pay, guaranteed respite, and anticipatory planning for the terminally ill. The need to fast-track people with MND for social care was included in both the Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives manifestos.
Scottish Labour’s manifesto includes a national strategy for housing and disabled people, investment in adaptations, a 10% accessibility target for new social housing, and reviewing minimum space and quality standards. The SNP manifesto includes a new Housing Standard for new and existing homes, with minimum space standards, as well as a Scottish Accessible Homes Standard for new housing.
The Scottish Conservatives pledge to encourage future proofing new-build housing for easier accessibility adaptations and fast-tracking people with MND for adaptations. The Scottish Liberal Democrats commit to a Scottish Standard for Housing, which includes lifetime accessibility, and the Scottish Greens commit to ensuring a fair share of investment in accessible housing and reviewing the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.
It was really encouraging to see so many of our asks in each of the five main political parties' manifestos.
With the help of our fantastic supporters, many individual candidates have also pledged support for our MND Scotland manifesto. With these individual commitments, alongside party manifesto commitments, we look forward to working with MSPs across the political spectrum on behalf of people affected by MND over the next parliamentary term.
We've recently launched our postcode checker tool to allow you to see which of your local candidates has pledged their support for MND Scotland's manifesto.
If you haven't already, please email your candidates to ask for their support. We've made it super easy to contact all of your local candidates automatically in just a few quick steps. Don't worry - we'll screen out your emails to candidates who have already pledged their support.