Friday, 27 May 2016 06:10

First Minister sets out plan to take Scotland forward

Written by

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today set out a ‘bold, ambitious and progressive’ vision to take Scotland forward – including action to boost the economy, improve and reform public services and tackle the attainment gap between rich and poor children.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today, Nicola Sturgeon made clear that the SNP’s ambitious manifesto – which received an unprecedented mandate from people in Scotland – will form her blueprint for delivery in government, while confirming that she will work to build alliances across party boundaries to strengthen the voice of Parliament.  

Among the plans set out by the First Minister today were:

  • A baby box of essential items for every child born in Scotland to help level the playing field in the very first days of their life
  • Using new social security powers to to introduce a maternity and early years allowance to give financial support to low income parents
  • The transformation of childcare with 30 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds and vulnerable 2 year olds.
  • Appointing an additional qualified teacher of childcare graduate in every nursery in our most deprived areas
  • Expanding the Attainment Fund, the publication of a draft Delivery Plan on closing the attainment gap and a major summit on school reform and raising attainment.
  • The construction of at least 50,000 affordable homes, supporting 14,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating £1.8bn in economic activity.
  • Legislation for 50:50 gender balance on public boards
  • Establishing a new target of reducing actual Scottish emissions by at least 50%
  • The establishment of a new Scottish Social Security Agency with dignity and respect at its heart
  • Publication of a Labour Market Strategy, building on the work of the Fair Work Convention – and action to improve productivity in Scotland.

Welcoming the First Minister’s statement, SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth – who made her maiden speech during the debate today – said:

“The statement by the First Minister today was a welcome commitment to build on the progress the SNP has made in government over the last nine years – and to use the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to create a more fair and equal society.

“Boosting our economy, tackling the attainment gap, empowering communities and supporting our public services stand at the heart of the SNP’s plan to take Scotland forward – and a clear commitment to social justice runs through the priorities announced by Nicola Sturgeon today.  

“The manifesto the SNP stood on during the election received an unprecedented mandate from people in Scotland – and now stands as our blueprint for delivery in government.  

“And with the bold, ambitious and progressive vision set out by the First Minister today, it’s clear that the SNP will use every power at our disposal in continuing to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous place - transforming our economy and society and making significant progress towards achieving true equality of opportunity.”