The SNP Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, which was set out yesterday by our Party Leader and First Minister, Humza Yousaf, is an ambitious policy agenda targeting the key issues which affect the Scottish People, especially during the cost-of-living crisis, and recognising great opportunities to grow the Scottish economy.

It targets three key areas:

  • Equality: Tackling poverty and protecting people from harm.
  • Opportunity: Building a fair, green and growing economy.
  • Community: Delivering efficient and effective public services.

Since we got elected to Government in 2007, we set out to reduce poverty and increase opportunity as a central mission of our time in government. I am proud of the work we have done to abolish prescription charges, abolish tuition fees, extended free bus travel to under 22s, and introduced the Scottish Child Payment. These are only some of the great policies that we have introduced under the limited powers we have. These policies have helped reduce health inequality, increased opportunity, especially for young people, as every child should have the best chance in life to succeed. We don’t intend to stop there.

Key commitments which the First Minister announced yesterday include:

  • expanding access to funded childcare
  • paying social care workers in a direct care role and frontline staff providing funded early learning and childcare in the private, voluntary, and independent (PVI) sector, at least £12 an hour from April
  • speeding up renewable energy projects with a new deal for the onshore wind industry
  • delivering a new £15 million support package to unleash entrepreneurial talent
  • expanding free school meals in primary schools

You can read more about our ambitious and rewarding Programme for Government here:

Let’s not forget, in this very challenging economic climate for people, businesses and government, the Scottish Government continues to mitigate UK Government austerity and policies which hit the poorest and most vulnerable to a tune of £700 million per year. This is money that could be used elsewhere, such as in our NHS and Education, but instead this money is used to mitigate cruel policies from Westminster that would hit the pockets of the most vulnerable in society if it weren’t for the Scottish Government.

It is important to remember that only with the full powers of independence can we pursue our own tailored policy agenda in all areas that will meet the full needs of the Scottish people and gives us the fiscal powers to take on the challenges of today and unlock the potentials of tomorrow. We cannot do this whilst still part of unequal, unfair and regressive UK, where we can’t tell the difference between Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party and the Tories under Rishi Sunak.