Friday, 07 September 2018 12:10

SNP CHALLENGES OPPOSITION TO BACK POSITIVE AGENDA

The SNP has challenged opposition parties to back the Scottish Government’s positive Programme for Government that drives progress in education, health, justice and the economy.

The legislative agenda unveiled by the First Minister this week details 12 new bills, including ambitious plans for a Scottish National Investment Bank and a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency Bill, with a further 13 Bills continuing from the previous legislative session.

Opposition MSPs are being urged to support the following proposals for the year ahead:

- Empowering head teachers to lead improvements in their schools with more power over their budgets and developing ways for
   parents and pupils to have their voices heard in decision-making.

- The National Export plan ‘A Trading Nation’, backed by £20m, to boost the value of Scottish exports and help Scottish
companies thrive.

- £1.5 billion additional investment in infrastructure each year by 2025-26, the most ambitious infrastructure spending yet
for faster broadband, improved transport and more low-carbon energy.

- An extra £250m to reform the way we treat mental health in children and adults - delivering 430 new school, college and
university counsellors, and fast-tracking specialist treatment for those who need it most.

- Rolling out new social security powers, including the first Best Start Grant payments for low income families with young
children - 6 months earlier than planned; as well as a 13% increase in the Carers’ Allowance – an extra £442 per person this
year – and funeral expense assistance.

- A major package of reforms to the justice system, with a new support system for the victims, witnesses and families of
those affected by crime. This includes a dedicated case worker for families of murder victims, improved information and
support surrounding prisoner release, and supporting engagement between victims and offenders to help victims and prevent
reoffending.

- Strong commitments on emissions, clean air, pollution, the circular economy and plastic waste.

SNP MSP Alasdair Allan said:

“The SNP in government is delivering for today and investing for tomorrow – and all parties at Holyrood should rally around that vision for reforms to education, health, justice and the economy.

“The First Minister’s ambitious and wide-ranging agenda invests an additional £250 million in mental health services, increases support for headteachers, teachers, parents and pupils, as well as for the victims of crime and their families, and over the next five years, £7 billion more will be invested in infrastructure.

“We are investing in Scottish exports to ensure Scottish businesses thrive in the face of the Tories’ damaging Brexit plans, and working hard to ensure Scotland remains an attractive place to live and work.

“And as always, we are putting the environment and sustainable economic growth front and centre with £1billion funding for low carbon and public transport.

“These ambitious plans are just some of the reasons why the SNP is the second biggest party in the whole of the UK. It’s time for the opposition parties to work with us to transform and invest in Scotland’s future.”

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