Nicola Sturgeon has delivered her 2017 conference speech. It’s a speech that sets out the next steps in delivering our progressive vision for the future – a vision that puts Scotland in the driving seat of change. Get the speech in full here.
Here’s what you need to know.
We will establish a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company to deliver low-cost renewable energy.
We will fulfil our manifesto commitment by delivering a government owned energy company to work for the collective good. The company will buy energy wholesale or generate it here in Scotland and sell it to customers as close to cost price as possible.
To deliver transformational change in early years’ education and childcare, by the end of this Parliament we will have doubled spending to £840 million.
We have already increased free, high quality childcare to 16 hours a week for all three and four year olds and extended provision to vulnerable two year olds. We will now extend provision to 30 hours per week – saving working parents around £350 a month on the costs of childcare.
We will deliver new support for children leaving care, by exempting care experienced young people from Council Tax.
Last year the First Minister announced an independent, root-and-branch, review of the system that supports children in care. That review is already underway but we won’t wait to act – we’ll help young care leavers financially by exempting them from Council Tax.
Free sanitary products will be provided in schools, colleges and universities from the beginning of the next academic year.
Scotland is already one of the first countries in the world to tackle ‘period poverty’ through a pilot scheme in Aberdeen. We will now provide free access to sanitary products to students in schools, colleges and universities from August next year.
We will ensure funding given to councils to deliver social housing, delivers social housing.
We are committed to delivering 50,000 affordable homes over this Parliamentary term – including 35,000 for social rent. If councils don’t use all the funding allocated to them to deliver new housing, the Scottish Government will take back the balance and give it to one that can.
The Scottish Government has given consent for a community right to buy bid to proceed for the island of Ulva.
The residents of Ulva, an island off the west coast of Mull, have sought permission to buy their island. The Scottish Government will now give the go-ahead for their community right to buy bid to go to the next stage.
A new fund will support popular tourist destinations in rural Scotland.
Scottish tourism is going from strength to strength. To help our most popular rural destinations deal with the additional pressures of increased tourism, over the next two years we will establish a £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to help meet the pressures.
We will protect our public services from Brexit, by ensuring we continue to benefit from the estimated 20,000 EU citizens who help deliver them.
If the UK government imposes charges on EU citizens forced to apply for settled status, we will ensure that devolved public bodies meet these costs for those working in our public sector.
This will give practical help to the individuals concerned and it will also help us to retain the doctors, nurses and other valued public servants that we need.