Our plan for a fairer and more equal Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead. It’s a plan that seeks to fulfill our high ambition for a Scotland where every person and community is able to achieve their full potential.

Here’s how we’ll do that.


Tackling poverty and inequality

  • We will continue to invest our £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund in new action to deliver the ambitious targets in the Child Poverty Act passed last year.

  • We will make fair work a criteria for job-related public sector grants. Payment of the real Living Wage, transparency on gender-equal pay and exclusion of zero-hours contracts will be a criteria for award grants like Regional Selective Assistance.

  • We will increase the number of people paid the real Living Wage. By the end of April 2019 we will aim for 7,500 more workers to receive a pay increase to the Living Wage as a result of employer accreditation.


A fairer social security system

  • Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payments will begin by Christmas – more than six months ahead of schedule.

  • A new Carer’s Allowance Supplement starts being paid in September 2018 – representing a 13 per cent increase on the Carer’s Allowance paid by the DWP.

  • We will introduce a new Funeral Expense Assistance over the coming year.

  • This year will continue work to develop a new Income Supplement payment. In time this will provide vital financial support for parents on low incomes.


Delivering social rights

  • An additional £2 million will be invested in measures to tackle food insecurity, including projects to ensure children who get free school meals don’t miss out during holidays.

  • We will increase investment in affordable housing to more than £750 million. Over this parliament, we will ensure that at least 50,000 affordable homes are delivered, including at least 35,000 council or housing association homes.

  • We will work with councils and housebuilders to increase the supply of accessible housing for disabled people.

  • We will set out an action plan to deliver all of the recommendations of the homelessness action group – with Rapid Rehousing and Housing First central to our plans.

  • We will aim to increase the number and range of places where sanitary products are available for those who need them. We’ve already made sanitary products free in all schools, colleges and universities, and we’re investing £500,000 to improve access for women on low incomes.

  • We will also work with private house builders and disabled people to increase the numbers of accessible houses for sale using a range of options including the potential to develop standard accessible wheelchair house types.

  • We will steer a new law through Parliament to tackle fuel poverty, aiming to have less than 5 per cent of people in fuel poverty by 2040.


Protecting and enhancing rights

  • We will introduce an Electoral Franchise Bill to ensure that current EU citizens who live in Scotland can continue to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections.

  • We will work towards delivering legislation on gender recognition.

  • We will introduce legislation to permit National Records of Scotland to ask voluntary questions on sexual orientation and transgender status/history in the 2021 Census and future censuses.

  • We will preserve and advance Scotland’s reputation as one of the most progressive countries in Europe in terms of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality.


Equal access to justice

  • We will implement a major package of reforms that will better protect victims in the criminal justice system.

  • We will introduce a Female Genital Mutilation Bill to strengthen the protection provided to women and girls.

  • Last year we passed new legislation to strengthen the law on domestic abuse. We will build on this by consulting on new protective orders which can bar perpetrators of domestic abuse from their victims’ homes. And a new Family Law Bill will provide further protection for domestic abuse victims in contact or residence cases.