A budget for equality

Derek Mackay has announced the Scottish Government’s budget plans for the year ahead. You can read a quick summary of the budget here.

Faced with continued Westminster cuts and the damaging impact of Brexit, the SNP has chosen a different path for Scotland.

It’s a budget that supports our ambition for a more inclusive Scotland – not just because that’s good for individuals and communities but because it’s good for our economy too.

Here’s how we’ll work to achieve that.

Delivering gender equality

  • Eight out of 10 women will pay less in Income Tax than they do now. We have reformed Income Tax so that it is better linked to ability to pay, raising more money to invest in public services like our NHS.
  • We will support more parents who wish to work, through expanding child care and early years education. Almost a quarter of a billion will be invested this year in our plan to deliver 30 hours per week of free childcare to three and four year olds, as well as vulnerable two year olds, by the end of this Parliament.
  • Next year we will lift the one per cent public sector pay cap. Public sector pay will be increased progressively, with a three per cent increase for workers earning less than £30,000. This will have a positive impact on lower paid workers, who are more likely to be women, and will help reduce the gender pay cap.
  • The equality budget will support the recently-established Advisory Council on Women and Girls. The Council will work to raise awareness of gender inequality, champion the rights of women and girls and work to spark change.
  • To better support unpaid carers, who are more likely to be women, we will use new powers to increase Carer’s Allowance from summer 2018.

Equality for all LGBTI people

  • We have launched a consultation on reforming gender recognition legislation to ensure that it is in line with international best practice. We want to make simpler – and less intrusive – for transgender people to be legally recognised in their acquired gender.
  • We have introduced a Bill to Parliament to right an historic wrong by pardoning people convicted of same-sex sexual activity offences under outdated and discriminatory laws. This will be considered by Parliament in the coming year.

An inclusive Scotland for all disabled people

  • We will use Scotland’s new employability powers to launch the £96 million Fair Start Scotland scheme, to support people facing the greatest barriers to employment. The Scheme will support disabled people and those with long term conditions into work – without the threat of sanction – and help meet our aim to halve the disability employment gap.
  • We will continue to fully mitigate the Bedroom Tax, which would otherwise have disproportionately impacted disabled people.
  • Priority will continue to be given to disabled first time home buyers through the Open Market Shared Equity scheme.
  • We will invest an additional £550 million in social care and integration. This will support the implementation of new rights for carers, the real Living Wage for adult social care workers and additional free personal care payments.

Tackling discrimination based on race and religion

  • We will continue to implement our long-term Race Equality Framework and Race Equality Action Plan to promote race equality and tackle racism.
  • We have begun an ambitious programme of work to implement the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion. This begun in November 2017 with the launch of the ‘Hate has no home in Scotland’ campaign, run jointly between the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the Crown Office.
  • We will continue to provide funding to Interfaith Scotland to help foster more inclusive communities.