Nicola Sturgeon has set out the Scottish Government’s plan for the year ahead. On the economy, the Programme for Government will ensure Scotland is a nation inventing, designing and manufacturing the innovations that will shape the future.
Here’s how, in government, we’ll support businesses and invest for the future.
Investment for the future
- A new national mission on infrastructure will see an extra £7 billion invested by 2025-26 in hospitals, schools, houses, transport, low carbon technology and digital connections.
- We will establish an Infrastructure Commission that will identify key strategic investments in Scotland to be made to boost economic growth and support public service. It will also be asked to report on creating a Scottish National Infrastructure Company.
- A law will be introduced to pave the way for a Scottish National Investment Bank. A consultation has already been launched to ask the people of Scotland to help shape the bank.
- We will step up our plan to electrify Scotland’s road network. Action to support the switch to low emission vehicles will include: installing 1500 new charge points; supporting 20 new ‘electric towns’; investing £20 million to help people and businesses switch to electric vehicles; and delivering 500 new low emission vehicles for the public sector, and over 100 new green buses.
- This year the three main contracts will be awarded for our £600 million plan to deliver superfast broadband to every property in Scotland.
- The whole AWPR road will open late autumn. This year we will also see further progress on dualling the A9 and we will take forward important projects including the Maybole bypass.
- We will introduce a legislation to further improve our business rates regime and make it even more competitive. This will build on changes made last year, including introducing a relief for new builds and property improvements, and for day nurseries.
- We will introduce legislation to establish a South of Scotland enterprise agency to bring a fresh approach to business support and economic growth in the region.
Growing Scotland’s exports
- A new £20 million exports plan will provide additional business support to ensure that more of Scotland’s world class produce and innovations are enjoyed across the globe, with the benefits realised here at home.
- As part of our new Exports Plan, a First Minister’s export challenge will give intense support to 50 businesses every year to ramp up overseas activity and create 100 new business to business peer mentorships per year for new exporters.
- This year we will open new overseas offices in Paris and Ottawa – adding to our existing network of Innovation and Investment Hubs in London, Dublin, Berlin and Brussels.
Investing in skills and making work fair
- 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 the award grants like Regional Selective Assistance.
- To help workers upskill and retrain to prepare for future changes in their markets, a new national retraining partnership will be set up, working with trade unions and employer bodies.
- This year we will begin work on a £12 million intensive parental employment support programme.
- We will invest an extra £5 million over the next three years to support around 2,000 women to return to work after career breaks.
Attracting the best to live, work and contribute to Scotland
- We will continue to make the case new powers to boost our working population by attracting talent from elsewhere in Europe and beyond.
- We will continue to challenge misconceptions on immigration in Scotland and building on the success of the ‘We are Scotland’ marketing campaign.
- If the UK insists on introducing fees for EU citizens to gain settled status after Brexit, we will meet these for those who work in our devolved public services.