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BASW in Westminster: SNP Conference 2020

The major announcement from the conference was that all health and care workers in Scotland are to be given a £500 payment in reward for their work during the pandemic.

The Scottish National Party had their annual conference over the weekend from 28-30th November. The SNP are the third biggest party represented in Westminster and are the largest party elected to the Scottish Parliament. Running a minority government, the politics and policy that happens at their conference is important as not only does it make a huge impact on those who live in Scotland, but also has repercussions for the rest of the UK.

Like the Conservative and Labour conferences this year, the SNP conference was virtual and lacked the thunderous applause and rallying of the party bases that makes a party conference so worthwhile to the leadership.

The major announcement from the conference was that all health and care workers in Scotland are to be given a £500 payment in reward for their work during the pandemic. Tax rules and regulations get a little tricky here, as the decision whether these payments will be taxed or not lies with the UK Government, not the devolved Scottish Government.

In addition to this, the Scottish National Party Leader Nicola Sturgeon confirmed a £100m winter fund to help those on low incomes through the pandemic. The party conference also overwhelmingly backed a four-day working week, calling on the Government to explore the possibility of it  - even though employment law is still an area controlled by Westminster.

Politically speaking, what the Scottish Government does is incredibly important to the UK-wide party leaders. Any progressive policies that the SNP implement will be used to criticise the Prime Minister for not introducing the same policies to relieve financial pressures of people who live in England. And any popular policies that the SNP announce should also keep the Labour Leader Keir Starmer awake at night, as the Labour Party will struggle to take control in Westminster without more Labour MPs in Scotland.