The SNP plans to freeze income tax for the duration of the next Scottish Parliament if it wins the election next month.
Nicola Sturgeon made the pledge as she launched the party’s manifesto, saying it will help “provide stability to the economy and to household budgets during this period of recovery” from coronavirus.
She also announced a “transformational” spending increase for the NHS, promising to boost frontline spending by at least 20% – rising by £2.5 billion by the end of the next Holyrood term.
She has promised voters a £10 billion programme on investment in NHS facilities, combined with a minimum 25% rise in mental health spending and the establishment of a National Care Service.
The SNP also vowed to set up fast-track cancer diagnostic centres in every health board area.
Ms Sturgeon said every GP practice in the country will have access to a dedicated mental wellbeing link worker, creating a network of 1,000 additional staff, while NHS dentistry charges will be abolished.
At the virtual launch of the SNP manifesto on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said: “This will ensure that cost is not a barrier to accessing health care.
“It will complete an SNP mission to restore all of Scotland’s NHS to its founding principle – universal healthcare, provided free at the point of need.”
Covid-19 has given Scotland the chance to “build a better nation”, she added.
“As we recover, we have the opportunity to reimagine our country.
“In this manifesto the SNP is setting out a serious programme for serious times.
“It is practical but unashamedly optimistic and it is transformational in its ambition.”