Our plan for Scotland: what you need to know

Today saw the publication of the 2019-20 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government’s programme for the year ahead. Entitled Protecting Scotland’s Future, the programme unveiled 14 new Bills, as well as a raft of non-legislative announcements.

The ambitious programme highlights the contrast between a Scottish Government getting on with the job of delivering progress and a Westminster system in meltdown.

Earlier this year, the First Minister acknowledged that there was a global climate emergency. Action to tackle climate change is at the heart of this year’s programme.

In addition to confirming the next steps to achieve net zero emissions, it sets out how the Scottish Government will:

  • build a successful, fair and green economy
  • improve outcomes through public services
  • create communities where everyone is valued, protected and respected

Here’s just some of what we have planned:

We will invest a further £20 million in this Parliament to tackle the issues associated with the use of illicit drugs. This is intended to reduce harm and stop the rising number of drug deaths.

We will continue to support mental health, with a 24/7 crisis support service for children and young people and their families. We will invest £5 million in a community mental health service for pregnant women and new mothers across Scotland.

We will establish a Women’s Health Plan which will lead on actions to target women’s heath inequalities. The plan will improve access to reproductive health services and reduce inequalities.

We will invest an additional £15 million to improve the experiences of children who need additional support and their families. Working in partnership with local government, we will use this funding to secure additional frontline staff in this academic year.

Beginning in 2021, we will invest a further £1 billion in our schools, benefitting around 50,000 pupils across Scotland. This is in addition to the 60,000 who will see their schools renewed or refurbished by the end of next year.

Evidence shows that unemployment rates for young people in Scotland are consistently higher than those for other age groups. In Spring 2020, young people will receive the first payments of the Job Start Payment initiative.

We will bring forward regulations so that we can introduce our new Scottish Child Payment of £10 per week. We will commence payments to eligible families with children under the age of six by Christmas 2020 – ahead of schedule.

We will launch a new Scottish Low Carbon Heat Funding Invitation through our Low Carbon Innovation Fund, targeting a minimum £30 million of support for renewable heat projects.

From 2024 will require new homes to use renewable or low carbon heat. For non-domestic buildings, our ambition is to phase in this approach from 2024. We will work with the construction industry to develop the new standards.