Today Nicola Sturgeon set out the priorities that will guide the SNP in Government over the next five years. Here’s what you need to know:
The defining mission of this government will be education
Nicola Sturgeon has been clear that tackling the attainment gap will be a priority for the SNP in Government, and our manifesto outlined the reforms we plan to undertake.
Before the summer holidays, Education Secretary John Swinney will publish a draft Delivery Plan which will set out more of the detail, timescales and next steps we will take to close the attainment gap.
We want to build consensus on this issue, making closing the attainment gap not just the mission of the SNP, or the Parliament but of Scotland as a whole. Over the next few months we will convene a major summit on school reform and raising attainment. As well as key stakeholders in education, we will invite party leaders and education spokespeople to attend to look at the actions we can take to help raise attainment.
We have a precious opportunity over the next five years to make real improvements which benefit young people today and generations to come – we are absolutely determined to seize that opportunity.
The SNP want every child to have a fair chance in life
During the election campaign we announced that we will give every child the best start in life by entitling new parents to a baby box.
Today, Nicola announced that the baby box will be introduced in twelve months time. This simple but powerful idea symbolises the fair and equal start that we want for all children.
The SNP will continue to make Scotland a great place to do business
Just yesterday an EY Attractiveness Survey showed that 2015 was a record year for inward investment in Scotland – demonstrating that Scotland is a great place to do business. We will continue to support businesses by extending the Small Business Bonus – lifting 100,000 properties out of business rates altogether.
We will also continue to invest in the infrastructure that businesses need. Our manifesto pledged to deliver superfast broadband to 100% of premises in Scotland by 2021. This will improve productivity across Scotland and transform connectivity for businesses based in remote and rural areas. Over the next few months we will set out our detailed timetable for achieving this goal.
We will seek to build alliances across party boundaries
Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to reach out across party boundaries to build on common ground with those in the parliament who share our values and support policies such as free prescriptions, free education, a social security system with dignity at its heart and protection of our environment.
We will also listen to ideas from those who share our progressive ideals. Nicola Sturgeon today announced that we will consider the introduction of a Young Carers’ Allowance to provide extra support for young people with significant caring responsibilities – a proposal from the Green Party manifesto.
The SNP has appointed Scotland’s first dedicated Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt, a key ask of the Liberal Democrat manifesto.
We will also explore initiatives to relieve the pressure on family doctors, including examining a proposal from Labour’s manifesto to extend the Minor Ailments Service to make it a universal service available in all pharmacies.
We will continue to empower individuals and communities in Scotland
The SNP believe the best people to decide the future of our communities are the people who live in those communities. We will continue to work to get more land into community ownership and make land ownership more transparent. Over the summer we will also progress our commitment to introduce a mandatory public register of controlling interests in land.
We know that it is only by empowering individuals that we can achieve our shared ambition for a fairer and more prosperous nation.