This week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will set out the Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead in her Programme for Government speech. Below Nicola Sturgeon sets out how we’ve delivered progress over the past year and will continue to do so this year.
Over the past year we have once again delivered significant improvements for the people of Scotland.
Last year’s Programme for Government contained radical and ambitious policies which have been widely praised both in Scotland and beyond our shores. Now is the time to build on those ambitions.
Our relentless focus on building a sustainable economy is ensuring that Scotland’s economy is going in the right direction – with Scottish growth and productivity rising faster the UK.
We have seen major infrastructure programmes delivered, including the Queensferry Crossing which recently passed its first anniversary, and I intend to set out plans to increase this investment in the years ahead.
Over the past year, we also became the first country in the world to implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol.
We’ve launched the first delivery plan aimed at eradicating child poverty by 2030, backed by our £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund and a range of other investments
Our £1 billion deal with councils will almost double early learning and childcare hours from 2020, to a total of 1,140 per year.
We passed the Domestic Abuse Bill to tackle harmful, coercive and controlling behaviour in relationships in Scotland.
We introduced a new income tax system that makes tax more progressive.
More than 900,000 homes have been connected to fibre broadband and we will now take the next steps on the way to delivering 100 per cent superfast broadband.
We have doubled funding for new cycling and walking routes as part of our commitment to lower carbon emissions.
And we are determined to be an early adopter of electric vehicles, reflecting our commitment to making the transition to a low carbon economy.
Our plans are ambitious and far reaching, and will create employment across the country.
Scotland is a country which in many ways led the world into the industrial revolution – now, we have a real chance to lead the world into the low carbon age.
This week, we will set out the next steps toward establishing a publicly owned Scottish National Investment Bank which will invest in projects that will align with our economic mission, including projects that support our transition to a low carbon society.
And, in its 70th year, we will set out plans to build on the success of, and address the challenges facing our National Health Service. Our aim is to build an NHS that is fit for the changing demands of our aging population – and one that supports good mental as well as physical health.
The Programme for Government I unveil this week will build on the ambitious policies unveiled last year, as well as unveiling a raft of new announcements, and 12 new Bills, which we will progress over the coming months.
Brexit heightens the importance of everything else we are doing as a Government.
The people of Scotland did not vote to leave the European Union, but in this parliamentary year we are set to be taken out of the EU against our will – with continuing uncertainty around our future relationship with the world’s largest trading block, which is around eight times larger than the UK market alone.
In the face of this uncertainty, we have to intensify our focus on improving the wealth and the wellbeing of communities across Scotland while continuing to argue the case for a common sense approach to Brexit – for continued membership of the single market and customs union.
Brexit uncertainty must not derail our relentless focus on improving public services, and making Scotland a fairer and more prosperous nation.