A Fairer, Greener Scotland
Leading Scotland safely out of the pandemic, urgently confronting climate change, driving a green, fair economic recovery, and boosting opportunities for children and young people are among the core priorities in this year’s Programme for Government (PfG), published today.
The programme sets out plans for a record increase in frontline health spending, new legislation for a National Care Service, a system providing low-income families with free childcare before and after school and during holidays, and actions to drive forward Scotland’s national mission to end child poverty.
The programme also includes plans to help secure a just transition to net zero – creating opportunities for new, good and green jobs, making homes easier and greener to heat, and encouraging people to walk, wheel or cycle instead of driving.
Speaking in Parliament, the First Minister said:
“This programme addresses the key challenges Scotland faces, and aims to shape a better future.
“It sets out how we will tackle the challenge of Covid, and rebuild from it. It outlines how we will address the deep-seated inequalities in our society. It shows how we will confront with urgency the climate emergency, in a way that captures maximum economic benefit. And it details the steps we will take to mitigate, as far as we can, the damaging consequences of Brexit while offering a better alternative.
“In the face of these challenges, our ambition must be bold. This programme sets out clear plans to lead Scotland out of the greatest health crisis in a century and transform our nation and the lives of those who live here.
“We will deliver a National Care Service; double the Scottish Child Payment; and invest in affordable, energy efficient homes and green travel. We will ensure that businesses have the support, and people have the skills, to succeed in the low carbon economy of the future. We will show global leadership in tackling the climate crisis. And we will offer people an informed choice on Scotland’s future. To that end, I can confirm that the Scottish Government will now restart work on the detailed prospectus that will guide the decision. The case for independence is a strong one and we will present it openly, frankly and with confidence and ambition.
“This programme addresses our current reality, but it also looks forward with confidence and ambition to a brighter future. It recognises that out of the many challenges we currently face, a better Scotland - as part of a better world - is waiting to be built.”
Building on the progress from the first 100 days of this government, with the co-operation agreement with the Scottish Green Party at its heart, the PfG sets the scene for the next five years. Key commitments for over the course of this Parliament include:
- increasing frontline health spending by 20%, leading to an increase of at least £2.5 billion by 2026-27
- undertaking the biggest public service reform since the founding of the NHS – the creation of a National Care Service – with legislation brought forward by June next year
- improving national wellbeing with increased direct mental health investment of at least 25%, with £120 million this year to support the recovery and transformation of services
- investing £250 million to tackle the drugs deaths emergency over the next five years
- expanding the Scottish Child Payment to under-16s by the end of next year and doubling it to £20 a week as soon as possible after that, with a £520 bridging payment given to every child in receipt of free school meals this year
- investing a further £1 billion to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap and providing councils with funding to recruit 3,500 additional teachers and 500 classroom assistants
- providing free childcare to low income families before and after school and during holidays, and expanding free early learning and childcare to one and two year olds
- investing £100 million over the next three years to support frontline services for preventing violence against women and girls
- providing £1.8 billion to make homes easier and greener to heat, as part of a commitment to decarbonise 1 million homes by 2030
- ensuring that at least 10% of the total transport budget goes on active travel by 2024-25, helping more people to cycle, wheel or walk instead of drive
- delivering a revolution in children’s rights, including across the justice system
- supporting a just transition to a low-carbon economy for people and businesses, including a £500 million Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray
- investing an additional £500 million to support the new, good and green jobs of the future, including by helping people access training
- delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 and investing an additional £50 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping
- taking forward the democratic mandate for a referendum on independence to be held within this Parliament and, if the Covid crisis is over, within the first half of this Parliament, while providing the people of Scotland with the information they need to make an informed choice on their future
Bills to be progressed during this parliamentary session:
- Budget Bill
- Bail and Release from Custody Bill
- Coronavirus (Compensation for Self-isolation) Bill
- Covid Recovery Bill
- Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Bill
- Fox Control Bill
- Gender Recognition Reform Bill
- Good Food Nation Bill
- Miners' Strike Pardon Bill
- Moveable Transactions Bill
- National Care Service Bill
- Non-Domestic Rates COVID-19 Appeals Bill