Welcome to the launch of the SNP’s manifesto for the 2016 election - a manifesto for the next generation.
This is a document brimming with ideas and policies to move our country forward.
It is the most ambitious programme for government that the SNP has ever published and I am proud to put it before the Scottish people today.
*Check against delivery*
Congratulations once again to all of this year’s prize winners.
It is truly inspiring to hear of the work led by trade union members across Scotland.
Last year was the first time I had the privilege of addressing you as First Minister and of presenting those awards.
We believe that this election is an opportunity to back the next generation of young Scots, to ensure that they have the best start in life and to improve the opportunities available to them when they grow up.
We want to build on our strong record in government of protecting family incomes through policies like increasing free childcare provision and extension of free school meals.
Here are some of the key benefits to Scotland’s parents and children from a re-elected SNP government.
Tackling climate change remains one of the defining global issues of our times.
Last year’s UN climate summit in Paris sent the clear message that all countries need to further increase their ambition and action on cutting emissions.
I was struck by many comments made at those talks about the good example Scotland was setting. It has not always been easy, but Scotland has been a genuine world leader in the area of climate change and green energy
The week ahead is the one when the election campaign gets serious. The phoney war is over and the simple choice will start to become clear - in just over a fortnight people across the country will cast their votes to determine which party will form the government at Holyrood and who will be Scotland’s First Minister.
Scotland’s communities have distinct needs – but all deserve the same opportunity to thrive.
In government the SNP has taken strong action to support the needs of rural Scotland. If re-elected an SNP Scottish Government will continue to be a champion for all of Scotland’s communities.
When the Scottish Parliament passed the Land Reform Act earlier this year I made it clear that I did not see this as the end of the road. As Nicola Sturgeon announced today, the next step in Scotland’s land reform journey will be to improve transparency on land ownership.
Nicola Sturgeon has today published her tax return for 2014/15 and committed to publishing her tax return annually, when it is submitted, for as long as she is First Minister. The tax return shows:
I was the first in my family to go to university. Growing up in a working class community, this wasn’t something that was very common but was made possible by my mother’s high ambitions for her children and the influence of inspirational teachers.