SNP calls for retrofit tax cut and ban on nuclear power stations

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has called for cuts to VAT for retrofit work, an RAAC remediation fund and a ban on new nuclear power stations in its election manifesto.

The pro-independence party is not standing in seats outside Scotland and so cannot win enough MPs to form the next government. Most of its policies are therefore calls on the UK government to take action in specific areas.

These include giving the Scottish Parliament powers over VAT, with which it says it would “address the imbalance in VAT rates in the construction sector to encourage the refurbishment and retrofitting of existing buildings”.

The policy has been suggested by figures including Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds at the 2021 CN Summit.

The SNP manifesto, released today (19 June), also states that the party is calling on Westminster to rule out new nuclear power plants in Scotland.

“The SNP believe the best pathway to net zero and secure, affordable and clean energy is through significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen and carbon capture,” it says.

It also calls on the UK government to support the Acorn Project carbon capture scheme; for a secure future for the Grangemouth oil refinery; and to allow more immigration to mitigate labour shortages in Scotland.

SNP MPs will also push for the UK Government to introduce a new fund to remediate public sector buildings that contain reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

The manifesto reiterates the party’s previous stated commitments to the long-stalled plan to dual the A96, and the A9 between Perth and Inverness.

It repeatedly calls for more powers to be given to Scotland.

“We have already invested in key infrastructure projects like the Borders Railway and the Queensferry crossing and delivered over 128,000 affordable homes, but without a change in approach to fiscal rules we are reaching the limits of what can be done,” it states.

Launching the document, party leader John Swinney described the election as an opportunity to reinforce the case for independence.

He said: “Using the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament has had a real impact on people’s lives. We’ve overseen a massive expansion in renewable energy and are already half way towards net zero. We’ve delivered many more affordable houses, per head of population, than England or Wales.”

He added: “That is the SNP in government at Holyrood – working day in, day out to earn and re-earn the trust of people in Scotland. We will not always get everything right but we will always put the interests of Scotland first.”

Writing on X, Scottish Conservative MSP Craig Hoy accused the party of having neglected key infrastructure in power at Holyrood.

He said his party would prioritise upgrading the A75 and A77 roads.

UK Green Building Council policy advisor David Steen said the manifesto’s language on climate and nature was “encouraging”.

He added: “The party rightly sees Scotland’s vast natural resources as a means to accelerate the UK’s progress towards a net zero, nature-recovered environment through greater investment in renewable energy generation, peatland restoration, and tree planting.

But progress on decarbonising buildings at home in Scotland has fallen behind schedule, and this manifesto doesn’t include commitment to the bold action we know is needed to drive-up energy efficiency in our buildings, or to address the built environment’s embodied carbon challenge. We need real ambition at every level of government if we’re to tackle the climate and nature crises right across the UK.”

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