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SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT’S PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT DRIVES PROGRESS IN FIFE
This year’s Programme for Government will help contribute to a successful and vibrant Fife, driving progress in health, social security, the environment and the economy, Jenny Gilruth, the Mid Fife & Glenrothes MSP has said.
Fife will benefit from ambitious action in a wide range of areas throughout 2018-19, including:
· Empowering head teachers to lead improvements to their schools with more power over their own budgets; developing ways for parents and pupils to ensure their voices are heard in decision-making; giving £10m to schools and councils to work together across regions; continuing to support teacher recruitment; and investing £33 million over three years to help children in care with education.
· A National Export plan ‘A Trading Nation’, backed by £20m, will boost the value of Scottish exports, help Scottish companies succeed in emerging markets, and provide additional help to those considering overseas trade.
· The National Infrastructure Mission, the most ambitious infrastructure spending plans yet, will invest £1.5 billion more infrastructure each year by 2025-26, including for faster broadband, improved transport and more low-carbon energy.
· £250m will be invested to reform the way we treat mental health in children and adults - delivering 430 new school, college and university counsellors, and fast-track specialist treatment systems for those with serious mental illness.
· A new Scottish Social Security System with dignity and respect at its heart will deliver 11 benefits, including the first Best Start Grant payments for low income families with young children by Christmas, 6 months earlier than planned; a 13% increase in the Carers’ Allowance – an extra £442 per person this year – as well as funeral expense assistance.
· New legislation to introduce a Scottish National Investment Bank.
· A major package of reforms in the justice system – with a new support system for victims, witnesses and families of those affected by crime, including a dedicated case worker for families of murder victims, improved information and support about prisoner release, as well as support for engagement between victims and offenders to help the victim and to prevent reoffending.
· £1bn investment a year including funding for low carbon transport solutions and to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 – creating at least 20 electric towns across Scotland by 2025; adding 1500 new charge points in homes, businesses, and in public; investing £20 million to help people switch to electric vehicles; adding more than 1500 new ultra low emission vehicles to public sector fleets; and investing £1.7 million to add over 100 green buses.
Jenny Gilruth MSP said:
“The Scottish Government’s plan for Scotland signals a major boost for jobs and the economy in Fife, including an additional £7 billion infrastructure investment in schools, hospitals, transport and digital connectivity over the next five years.
“We are continuing the major reforms in our health, education and justice systems over the course of 2018-19 – with a significant £250 million extra funding for mental health services, increased support for teachers, head teachers, parents and pupils, as well as a major package of reforms for the justice system, increasing support for the victims of crime and their families.
“Despite Brexit, we will ensure Scotland remains an attractive place to live and work and provide advice and support for those EU citizens already living in Fife that are dealing with the Tory government’s unfair plans to charge them for the right to live and work here.
“And our global climate change ambition will continue to be matched by realistic action, with £1billion funding in low carbon and public transport over the next year.
Notes to the editors
This year’s Programme for Government contains 12 new Bills, with a further 13 Bills continuing from the previous legislative session and will include major announcements:
List of Bills:
· Budget Bill
· Biometric Data Bill
· Census Bill
· Consumer Protection Bill
· Disclosure Bill
· Electoral Reform Bill
· Electoral Franchise Bill
· Family Law Bill
· Female Genital Mutilation Bill
· Non-Domestic Rates Bill
· Scottish National Investment Bank Bill
· South of Scotland Enterprise Agency Bill
Please note additional announcements in each policy area that can be highlighted:
· Develop and publish a Rural Economy Action Plan.
· Continue to support farmers through the difficult Brexit transition by taking forward the proposals in our Stability and Simplification Consultation, which closed in August. We will also respond to the CAP Greening Group discussion paper which looked at future policy and mechanisms which could support more environmentally sustainable farming and the delivery of public goods.
· Maximise the use of our forestry resources for the benefit of Scotland’s people and especially her rural communities and make 750 HA of agricultural land on Scotland’s National Forest Estate available for potential lease to new farming entrants
· Promote Scotland’s Food and Drink industry and will improve Scotland’s domestic and international reputation for high quality meat production with further improvements to our approach to animal welfare on farms and at point of slaughter.
· Develop an Islands passport as a marketing initiative to encourage tourists and Scottish residents to visit more of Scotland’s 80 inhabited islands.
· Introduce a package of measures to support fishing.
· all forestry powers will come to Scotland and two new agencies will be set up to help woods and forests thrive.
· Meet target of planting 10,000 hectares of woodland each year, and increase this by a further 50% by 2025;
· 750 hectares of land in our forests will be made available for new farmers to rent, encouraging more people to live and work in rural Scotland.
COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
· Continue to tackle child poverty by taking forward the actions set out in our Child Poverty Delivery Plan, Every Child, Every Chance, underpinned by our £50m Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
· Step up our work to tackle food insecurity among children by providing an additional £2 million of funding to help accelerate action.
· Expand access to free sanitary products to those on low incomes who require them
· Build on our work to eradicate homelessness by acting on the recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group and the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee
· Strengthen the arrangements for local democracy and decision taking by taking forward the Local Governance Review jointly with COSLA which will look at how decisions are made within Scotland’s diverse communities.
· Set out what is needed to deliver a world leading digital planning service and how we will achieve this transformative change through exploiting the potential of emerging technologies and data driven innovation
· Increase access to affordable credit, including for care-experienced young people, investing £1m in the Affordable Credit Fund, working with the Carnegie UK Trust to reduce the ‘poverty premium’ low income households often have to pay.
CULTURE, TOURISM AND EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
· Before the end of the year, we will publish a new national culture strategy, which will demonstrate the intrinsic value we attach to arts and culture, and our determination to ensure that everyone can participate in cultural activities."
· Launch a Cultural Youth Experience Fund pilot to enhance existing opportunities for young people to experience Scotland’s excellent and diverse cultural places and activities
· Development of fairer work practices across the tourism and hospitality sector, including an increased number of business paying the Living Wage.
· Continue to explore the potential of the key elements of the sector, including golf, mountain biking and marine tourism, as a well as developing a campaign to promote tourism as a career of choice.
· Establish a service to provide information and support on immigration and citizenship for EU citizens resident in Scotland and carry out an EU nationals recruitment drive for EU nurses, care workers etc and offer to pay the settled status fees if they choose to settle in Scotland.
· Introduce an Electoral Franchise Bill to ensure that ensure that current EU citizens who live in Scotland can continue to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections
· Develop a ‘Welcome to Scotland’ resource.
· Work with creative businesses to identify where there are challenges and opportunities, including in public procurement, and where they need support.
EDUCATION AND SKILLS
· Invest up to £4 million to support headteachers in taking forward their newly empowered role as a result of the Headteachers’ Charter.
· 750 new, extended or refurbished nurseries as part of our doubling the provision of early learning and childcare.
· Raise awareness of children’s rights and incorporate the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.
· Improve the experience of students in further and higher education with wrap around support and more financial assistance, including changes to student loan repayments.
· Provide £33 million for local authorities to provide targeted initiatives, activities, and resources, that will help improve the educational outcomes of care experienced young people.
ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND LAND REFORM
· Continue to work across Government to implement the Climate Change Act and publish a new five-year Climate Change Adaptation Programme in 2019 to ensure our communities, economy and natural environment are resilient to the changing climate.
· Extend the community land fund.
· Consult on proposals to create four new Marine Protected Areas to protect charismatic species such as the basking shark, minke whale and Risso’s dolphin, and seabed habitats. We will also consult on the creation of a national deep sea marine reserve.
· Continue work to make our economy more circular and sustainable and to tackle our throwaway culture, building on work we are already doing through the expert panel on environmental charging, and announcing the design of the Deposit return scheme
· We will develop Greenway sites along the John Muir Way – creating ecological links between pollinator hubs and bringing together the benefits of active travel with enjoying our natural environment
· Deliver a programme of work to safeguard environmental standards and powers in Scotland after EU Exit
FINANCE, ECONOMY AND FAIR WORK
· PfG Commitment: paying the living wage, being transparent on gender-equal pay and excluding zero-hours contracts will be made criteria for the award of job related support grants like Regional Selective Assistance.
· Take forward a range of actions to support women to return to work including investing an additional £5 million over the next 3 years to support around 2000 women returners.
· Continue to explore the potential of data driven innovation to transform our everyday lives and improve our public services.
· Make further progress towards making Scotland a Living Wage Nation, recognising the first Living Wage town increasing the number of workers receiving a pay increase to the Living Wage by 7500 by the end of the financial year, as a result of employer accreditation.
· Publish a Fair Work Action Plan setting out the next steps towards embedding fair work practices in Scottish workplaces.
· Promote awareness and encourage take up of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
· Review Scottish Government-funded employability services to develop a new delivery model that builds on the principles underpinning Fair Start Scotland.
HEALTH AND SPORT
· Invest £250 million in improving mental health and wellbeing support, including provision of school counsellors.
· Develop and implement a redesigned minor ailment service available to all, in the coming year.
· Open the Major Trauma Centres in Aberdeen in October and Dundee in November, with two more centres to follow.
· Continue to implement our £100 million cancer strategy, with enhanced radiotherapy services and investment of up to £2.5 million in improving cancer care for teenagers and young adults.
· Support improvements to person-centred visiting in our NHS. So that patients can be with the important people in their lives while in hospital, flexible visiting will be in place across NHS Scotland by 2020.
· Introduce a package of measures to strengthen transparency and the voice of victims and their families, where appropriate, in key aspects of the justice system, including sentencing, parole and prisoner release.
· Introduce a package of measures to continue and further strengthen Scottish Government’s work to tackle all forms of violence against women and children.
· Expand our successful approach to youth justice to include care experienced young people up to the age of 26 where appropriate.
· Commit to bring forward a public consultation seeking views on what should be included in a new hate crime bill, following Lord Bracadale’s independent review.
· Introduce increased sentences for the worst types of animal cruelty, including ‘Finn’s Law’ to increase maximum sentences for attacks on police dogs and other service animals.
SOCIAL SECURITY AND OLDER PEOPLE
· Replace the Sure Start Maternity Grant with the Best Start Grant
· Publish an Older People’s Framework
· Establish a Scottish Commission on Social Security
· Create and launch new Social Security Agency, Social Security Scotland; and deliver first benefit payments, the Carer’s Allowance Supplement payments will begin next week, benefiting more than 75,000 carers - increasing their allowance by more than £400 per year. And Young Carer Grant worth £300 pa will be paid from next Autumn.
· Publish a national strategy to tackle social isolation and loneliness
TRANSPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE AND CONNECTIVITY
· To provide economic stimulus, boost international competitiveness and prepare for Brexit we will adopt a National Infrastructure Mission. We will steadily increase Scotland’s annual infrastructure investment until it is £1.5 billion higher by the end of the next Parliament than in 2019-20.
· On rail - by the end of next year, there will be a 20% increase in seating capacity and 200 new services will operate in eastern and central Scotland.
· Roll out the electrification of Scotland’s roads with 1500 new charge points and £20 million to help people and businesses switch to electric vehicles.
· Reduce our carbon footprint with 500 new ultra low emission vehicles in the public sector and over 100 new green buses.
· Award contracts for first phase of the Reaching 100% broadband programme.
· Continue implementation of our Mobile Action Plan.
· Maximise the impact of Internet of Things (IoT) and ensure our public services benefit from the potential of this technology.
· Create a public energy company by the end of this Parliament.
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