Programme for Government: What it means for families and young people

Humza Yousaf has announced the Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead. The Programme for Government outlines how we will support families and young people across Scotland, improving public services to help families and young people through the cost-of-living crisis.

We will maximise every lever at our disposal to tackle poverty.

The Scottish Government is dedicated to uplifting and supporting its citizens, especially during challenging times. 

As part of this unwavering commitment, we will remove income-based restrictions for the Best Start Foods grant, which assists pregnant women and young children in purchasing nutritious food. 

This change will expand the benefit to even more families, providing them with the necessary resources to thrive. 

Furthermore, we will increase the Scottish Child payment, Funeral Support Payment and all disability and carers benefits by inflation, which offers crucial financial aid to low-income families with children. 

We will build a childcare system that works for families.

We’re working tirelessly to expand access to high-quality childcare for families in Scotland. 

All three-and-four-year-olds and some two-year-olds now have access to an incredible 1,140 hours of funded childcare per year. 

Alongside the acceleration of providing funded childcare for all two-year-olds, we have now also committed to providing funding to six early adopter council areas to expand provision to support children from nine months old until the end of Primary School. Creating a user-friendly digital childcare service making it easier than ever for parents and carers to find and pay for additional childcare.

Additionally, we’re proud to support childminders by providing funding to ensure staff are paid a minimum of £12 per hour, helping to ensure that our children receive the best possible care.

Free bus travel for under-22s

We’re continuing to support young people by providing all those under 22 in Scotland free bus travel right across the country.

This will carry on enabling 100,000s of people to access work or education opportunities, or for them to socialise with friends or family without cost barriers during the Westminster cost-of-living crisis, helping to enhance community, equality and opportunity for the young people of Scotland.

Providing free school meals for all children in Primary 1 to 5

The Scottish Government is committed to the provision of free school meals for all children in Primary 1 to 5.

Too many children in these isles go hungry, despite the mammoth efforts of parents to provide for their children. The shadow of the Tories’ disastrous mini-budget, austerity policies, Brexit and the cost-of-living crisis have left families struggling to keep their heads above water.

While Labour refuse to commit to delivering free school meals, and the Tories are failing to act now. In Scotland, it’s the SNP Scottish Government that’s delivering.

The provision of free school meals is the right thing to do; by standing by Scotland’s children, we are ensuring their education isn’t lacking and investing in our children and the economy of the future.

We will support families in rented housing through our new deal for tenants.

The Scottish Government is also set to introduce a housing bill which will help to deliver the New Deal for Tenants, enhancing their rights and protections.

The Scottish Government will continue to work with vital stakeholders across landlord and tenant groups as it crafts a tailored approach to this crisis that suits Scotland’s unique needs.

During the cost-of-living crisis, this Government took prompt action to introduce an emergency rent cap for most private tenants and to introduce additional protection against eviction.

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to bite families and households, we have announced that the current rent-cap and evictions ban will be extended to the end of March next year.

We will help disabled people with the most complex needs to live independent lives.

Our independent living fund has helped thousands of disabled people to live independent lives. 

These grants have provided vital support for everyday living, further education and employment support, helping to break down the barriers that exist in society for disabled people.

As part of our plans for the year ahead, we will reopen the independent living fund and invest £9 million to support up to 1,000 additional disabled people with the most complex needs to access the support they need and deserve to live independent lives.

Launching a new Scottish Education Exchange Programme

Building on an initial test and learn project that we are delivering in 2023-24, we are launching a new Scottish Education Exchange Programme to relay the opportunities which the Erasmus Programme offers young people and to mitigate the cost of Scotland losing the EU’s Erasmus Programme through Westminster’s hard Brexit.

We are prioritising placements for disadvantaged groups and upholding Scotland’s commitment to the EU and global partnerships with schools, colleges and universities including through working with these sectors.

Delivering for families this year and beyond

The Programme for Government shows that we are working for the people of Scotland and are going above and beyond in delivering progressive and radical policies to transform the lives of families, unlike the UK government, which has made the choice to impose yet more austerity on families.

Your SNP Government will never stop believing that decisions about Scotland should not be made by Westminster but by the people of Scotland. 

With our abundant resources, Scotland can reach it’s potential as an independent country. Independent countries comparable to Scotland are more wealthy, fairer and faring better than the UK, so why not Scotland?

A better, fairer and wealthier Scotland is possible – and achievable – but only by voting SNP.