Let’s get to work

This morning Nicola Sturgeon held the first press conference of the new parliamentary term at Bute House, in which she set out initial priorities for an SNP government.

Here’s what you need to know:

We will start work to deliver on the ambitious and challenging goals in our manifesto.

Our manifesto set out clear priorities for this term in government, and we won a clear mandate for our policies in these areas.

Today Nicola set out her intent to get to work in delivering a transformational expansion in childcare, closing the attainment gap, making sure our NHS is equipped to meet the challenges of an ageing population and decentralising power and responsibility to local communities.

Find out more about an SNP government’s priorities here.

For the first time, responsibility for the economy will be separated from responsibility for finance in the Scottish Government.

For the first time responsibility for the economy will be separated from responsibility for finance – creating two Cabinet-level roles.

The new Cabinet Secretary for the economy will be focussed on supporting the economy and addressing underlying challenges, engaging inclusively with business, and ensuring we are doing all we can to protect and create well-paid jobs.

The Cabinet Secretary for finance will have responsibility for the Scottish Government budget and introducing new tax powers.

We will stand up strongly for progressive politics.

We believe there is a clear majority, not just in parliament, but in the country as a whole for progressive values and policies – policies like free prescriptions, free education, a social security system with dignity at its heart, fair and transparent land ownership, continued membership of the EU and protection of our environment.

We will reach out and strive to find and to build on common ground with those in the parliament who share our values and want to protect these policies.

We will seek to build strong opposition in the Scottish Parliament to unfair or regressive Westminster policies – policies such as continued austerity, Trident renewal, and attempts to undermine human and trade union rights.

We will support the strengthening of parliamentary scrutiny of government.

While decisions on parliamentary reform and how parliament holds government to account will be for a new Presiding Officer to take, Nicola outlined changes she would support.

If FMQs could be lengthened from half an hour to 45 mins, for example, this would give more time for backbench questions while protecting the amount of time given to party leaders.

Nicola has also suggested that the First Minister should appear before committee conveners much more regularly. Quarterly sessions would give more timely and regular opportunities for in depth questioning and scrutiny across a range of subjects.