How we’ve delivered progress for Scotland over the past year

A year ago, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out an ambitious new plan to build an inclusive, fair, prosperous, innovative country, ready and willing to embrace the future.

Since then, the SNP Scottish Government has been busy delivering on this high ambition. Here’s just some of what has been achieved.

  1. We have lifted the public sector pay cap. NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff will receive the highest pay uplift anywhere in the UK and police staff will receive the highest pay uplift in 20 years.
  2. We have made Income Tax fairer. Our progressive changes have ensured that  7 out of 10 taxpayers pay less than they did last year and additional funding can be invested in public services.
  3. We have become the first country in the world to implement Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol. After 20 years, the policy could lead to 121 fewer deaths every year.
  4. Scotland is now the only part of the UK with statutory child poverty reduction targets. A new plan to meet tough new targets has been backed up by a new £50 million fund.
  5. Work has begun to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank. An implementation plan has been published and Bernie Higgins, former CEO of Tesco Bank, has been appointed Strategic Adviser.
  6. We have introduced a world-leading Climate Change Bill. Scotland has already outperformed all countries in Western Europe except Sweden on reducing carbon emissions. Our new Bill will set the world’s most ambitious targets – aiming for a carbon-neutral Scotland by 2050.
  7. A landmark Social Security Act has been passed and Social Security Scotland has begun work.
  8. We have committed to end rough sleeping and transform how we prevent and tackle homelessness. We are implementing expert recommendations backed up with a new £50 million fund.
  9. We are fast tracking education reform plans. A landmark agreement has been reached with local councils to empower schools, teachers and parents.
  10. From this month we are delivering a boost in Carer’s Allowance – a 13 per cent increase on the level paid by the DWP.


A healthier Scotland

  • We have passed legislation to extend free personal care to under 65s – available to all who require it by 1 April 2019.
  • We have introduced a Safe Staffing Bill. The Bill will place a legal duty on health boards and care service providers to ensure appropriate staffing is in place to ensure all patients receive safe, high quality care.
  • We have set a new national target to halve childhood obesity by 2030, as part of our new plan to address obesity in Scotland.
  • We have introduced new rights for Scotland’s unpaid carers, through the Carers (Scotland) Act.


A smarter Scotland

  • The number of teachers has increased by 543 between 2016 and 2017.
  • A teacher pay deal has been agreed that lifts the 1 per cent public sector pay cap.
  • £120 million is going direct to schools this year through the Pupil Equity Fund.
  • A deal has been agreed with Scotland’s councils to fully fund our transformative childcare and early learning plans. Spending on childcare will rise to £1 billion a year by 2021-22.
  • We delivered a new £100 national minimum school clothing grant. This will mean all eligible families will get the same level of support wherever they live.
  • We established a new £20,000 bursary for career changers aiming to become teachers in priority science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects.
  • We extended rights to children under Additional Support for Learning legislation. This has enabled them to have a direct say in the support that they receive.  
  • New national guidance on anti-bullying has been delivered. This helps schools effectively respond to and prevent incidents of bullying.
  • We have delivered national guidance on supporting pupils with healthcare needs in schools, ensuring young people who experience ill health get the support they need.
  • £33 million from the Attainment Scotland Fund will support attainment for care-experienced young people. This will help provide additional targeted initiatives to improve attainment and ensure equity for all.
  • Investment in our school estate has continued through the £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme, with 95 new schools opening. Once complete, 117 new schools will benefit 60,000 pupils.


A greener Scotland

  • We have ensured that no fracking can take place in Scotland.  
  • We have doubled investment in walking and cycling to £80 million, with projects across Scotland securing funds.
  • We passed a law to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland.
  • We passed a law to fully devolve forestry to Scotland. The Forestry Act has been passed to help us make more effective use of Scotland’s land.


A fairer Scotland

  • We have become the first country in the world to make free sanitary products available in all schools, colleges and universities. And £500,000 is being invested in improving access for women on low incomes.  
  • We passed a law to give an automatic pardon to men convicted of historic discriminatory crimes relating to same-sex sexual activity. And the First Minister gave a public apology on behalf of the government to all of the men who should never have been convicted in this way.
  • We met the landmark target of reaching 1,000 real Living Wage accredited employers based in Scotland.
  • A Fuel Poverty Bill has been introduced that will set a new statutory target of reducing fuel poverty to under 5 per cent by 2040.
  • We have introduced a new relief that ensures 80 per cent of first-time buyers pay no Land and Buildings Transaction Tax at all.
  • We have passed a new law requiring public bodies to ensure a fair representation of women on their boards – the only part of the UK to do so.
  • We have reformed to the private rented homes sector to provide security and stability for tenants, and appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
  • We announced the extension of the Concessionary Bus Pass to companions of eligible disabled children aged under five. We also confirmed there would be no other changes to the age of eligibility
  • A Planning Bill has been introduced to increase community involvement in decisions, to enable good quality development and support the economy.
  • We’ve announced additional funding so that Scotland’s women’s national football team will be able to train full-time for the FIFA 2019 World Cup.


A wealthier Scotland

  • We are providing the most competitive reliefs package in the UK, worth a record £720 million. This now includes a new Growth Accelerator that ensures new or improved properties pay no rates for a year.
  • We have begun work to establish a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland backed up with £48 million Scottish Government funding.
  • We have exceeded our target to deliver 27,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts in 2017/2018.
  • A £10 million Flexible Workforce Development Fund has been piloted for employers to increase the skills of their workforce.  
  • A new £4 million Unlocking Ambition Challenge has been set up to support the entrepreneurs of the future.
  • We established the South of Scotland Economic Partnership to bring a fresh approach to economic growth in the region. Its work is supported with £10 million this year, with £7.7 million allocated to new projects in the region.
  • A Transport Bill has been introduced to help local councils meet local needs for the provision of bus services, including running their own bus services in certain circumstances.
  • We began investing an additional £45 million in business research and development, through Scottish Enterprise, over the next three years.
  • A network of Trade Envoys has been established to champion Scottish businesses and exports abroad.
  • A £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund has been established.
  • Screen Scotland has been established – a new unit to champion film and TV within Creative Scotland. This unit is backed with an additional £10 million of Scottish Government funding.
  • Fair Start Scotland, Scotland’s new devolved employability service, has been established and will support a minimum of 38,000 people.  


A safer Scotland

  • The Domestic Abuse Act has been passed. The Act creates a new specific offence that covers not just physical abuse, but also other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour.
  • A Bill has been introduced that, if passed, will raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12.
  • We have introduced a Bill to ensure many more vulnerable witnesses – in particular children – can give pre-recorded evidence in advance of a criminal trial.


Scotland’s place in the world

  • We passed a Scottish Continuity Bill to protect Scotland’s Parliament from a Tory power grab after Brexit.
  • An Innovation and Investment Hub has been established in Berlin, to promote Scotland as a place to live, work and invest.
  • The First Minister visited China to promote trade and cultural links with Scotland.
  • The First Minister led a business delegation to Germany, seeking to increase trade with Scotland’s fourth largest export market.
  • The First Minister addressed the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, setting out our vision for greater economic collaboration with our neighbours in northern Europe.


Stronger communities

  • A Local Governance Review has been launched to consider how powers are shared across national and local government, and with communities.
  • A Crown Estate Bill has been published, which will give councils and communities the opportunity to directly manage Crown Estate assets.
  • Working with COSLA, a second New Scots refugee integration strategy has been published – ensuring Scotland remains a welcoming place for those fleeing persecution.