2016 has been a year of progress for Scotland. A lot has been achieved in the last year, health spending has reached a record high, crime is at a 42 year low and we’ve committed £750 million to closing the educational attainment gap.
Here are just some of the ways that Scotland has been moving forward in 2016.
Health spending in Scotland reached a record £13 billion in 2016. And we’ve committed an additional £304 million in resource funding for our NHS – a record.
- Investment committed to the Attainment Scotland Fund has risen to £750 million over five years, putting targeted resources to raise attainment in schools where it is needed most.
- £100 million of government spending on infrastructure has been brought forward, as part of a package of measures to stimulate Scotland’s economy following the result of the EU referendum.
- 90 per cent of patients rated their NHS care and treatment as good or excellent, the highest rating since the inpatient survey began in 2010.
- Recorded crime is at a 42-year low, new figures released in September showed.
- The number of registered businesses in Scotland has reached 173,995 in 2016, the highest number on record.
- Scotland’s biggest project – the Queensferry Crossing – is now 94 per cent complete and is on schedule to open in May next year.
- We’ve exceeded our world-leading target of reducing emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 – six years early. And work is underway to introduce tougher targets for future years.
- Renewable sources delivered the equivalent of 59.4 per cent of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2015 – exceeding the 2015 50 per cent renewable electricity target.
- 83 per cent of properties in Scotland now able to get superfast broadband, up from 73 per cent in 2015. This is the greatest increase in superfast coverage of all the UK’s nations.
- 504,980 vulnerable households in Scotland – including around 190,000 pensioners and over 80,000 single parents – have been protected from UK Government cuts to Council Tax benefit.
- New figures showed that in 2015 97,000 fewer households were living in fuel poverty compared with 2007.
- NHS staffing reached a new record high – with 11,500 more whole time equivalent staff under the SNP.
- Figures published in November showed 83 per cent of primary school children have signed up to participate in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.
- The gender pay gap in Scotland decreased from 7.7 per cent in 2015 to 6.2 per cent in 2016. Across the UK as a whole the gender pay gap decreased 0.2 percentage points to 9.4 per cent.
- Scotland’s A&E performance has been the best in the UK for 20 months.
- From April 2013 to June 2016 217,000 low income households in crisis have been helped to buy essentials such as nappies, food and cookers through our Scottish Welfare Fund.
- In September 2016 the Times Higher Education world university rankings showed that five of Scotland’s universities were ranked in the global top 200. On a per head basis, that’s more than any other country except Luxembourg.
- 500,000 acres of land are now in community ownership.
- This year 152,701 Higher passes, only the second time the number of passes has exceeded 150,000.
- The Scottish Government announced that over the next five years 1,000 new paramedics will be trained.
Scotland was rated the number one country in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights for the second year running.