Today’s Scottish Government Programme for Government as suspected had a focus on COVID, as we as a country continue to try deal with profound impacts this pandemic has had on our health, economy and society. The reality of these impacts and the scale of the challenge we now face to tackle them permeates through everything which was set out in the Programme for Government by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today.
However, as a country, we must take this opportunity, not simply to go back to how things were, but to address many of the deep seated challenges our country faces, and this year’s Scottish Government Programme for Government 2020-21 shows a determination to recover from this virus and deliver a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland for everyone.
Outlined below are some of the key announcements from today’s statement:
Scottish Child Payment
The introduction of a Scottish Child Payment of £10 per week per child, which poverty campaigners have called a “game-changer” in efforts to reduce child poverty. It will be open for applications in November 2020, with the first payments expected to be made from the end of February.
Incorporating the UN Convention on the Right of the Child into Scots Law by the end of this term of Parliament which will deliver a revolution in children’s rights in Scotland.
The Scottish Government is establishing a £60m Youth Guarantee to ensure that every young person gets the opportunities they deserve to succeed – whether that be in education, training or work.
Additional Teachers and Support Staff
There will be an additional E135 million education investment fund to ensure young people catch-up on any lost education as a result of COVID, with funding to recruit 1400 additional teachers and 200 support staff.
Later this month, Scotland’s new proximity COVID app Protect Scotland will launch to help protect public health and work in collaboration with Test and Protect in attempts to eliminate the virus in Scotland.
Low Carbon Fund
The first tranche of the £2 billion Low Carbon Fund will be set out, including plans to help secure investment of £1.6 billion over the next Parliament in heat and energy efficiency in our homes and buildings.
As well as delivering a £100 million Green Jobs Fund, and providing £60 million for industrial decarbonisation.
National Transition Training Fund
The Introduction of a National Transition Training Fund to provide support for up to 10 000 people facing redundancy and unemployment as a result of the current COVID pandemic.
Inward Investment Plan
The Scottish Government will put in place an Inward Investment Plan to create 100,000 high-value jobs over the next decade and boost Scotland’s GDP
Adult Social Care
The Scottish Government will establish an Independent Review of adult social care including considerations to be given to a National Care Service.
Improved Access to Health Services
Scottish Government will expand digital access to health care to ensure more people can get the treatment they need.
As well as Improving access to community based health services through the launch of Pharmacy First, accelerating the rollout of the Community Treatment and Assessment Centres, and of our Covid-19 hubs.
Aim to complete the delivery of 50,000 affordable homes as quickly as it is safe to do so, and set out a 20 year vision for energy efficient, zero-carbon housing, with access to outdoor space, transport links, digital connectivity and community services.
Digital Eco-System in Scotland
Will aim to support 50,000 people into the digital world through Connecting Scotland and create a world class Digital Eco-system in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for the publication of a draft Bill setting before the end of the Parliament which will set out the terms and timing of an independence referendum, as well as the proposed question people will be asked.
And, in next years election, the SNP will make the clear case for Scottish independence and ask the Scottish people to endorse their right to choose.
Full statement can be found here