First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday a 2019-20 Programme for Government that includes a “Green New Deal’” that harnesses the power of the new Scottish National Investment Bank to create a £3 billion package of investments to attract green finance to Scotland.
The First Minister also confirmed the Referendums Bill will go forward this year and that the Scottish Government will ask, during the passage of the Bill, for the transfer of power to hold an independence referendum within this term of Parliament.
Following the First Minister’s acknowledgement of a global climate emergency earlier this year, the Programme for Government sets out the Scottish Government’s next steps to tackle climate change.
The plan includes an investment of more than £500 million to improve bus infrastructure across the country to encourage more people to use public transport.
The First Minister also announced plans to decarbonise Scotland’s railways by 2035 and make the Highlands and Islands the world’s first net zero aviation region by 2040.
Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and securing a positive future for generations to come are the focus of this year’s Programme for Government.
She also confirmed a first wave of schools to be built or refurbished through a new £1 billion school investment programme that will be announced later this month.
An additional £20 million of funding will help tackle the public health emergency of drug deaths in Scotland.
The Child Payment, which will benefit low income families with young children by £500 each year, will now be introduced by Christmas 2020 – ahead of the original schedule.
Other measures include:
- a ‘Green New Deal’, harnessing the power of the Scottish National Investment Bank and creating a £3 billion package of investments to attract green finance to Scotland
- develop regulations so that new homes from 2024 must use renewable or low carbon heat
- targeting a minimum of £30 million of support for renewable heat projects
- making the first Job Start Payments in spring 2020
- putting in place a Women’s Health Plan to tackle women’s heath inequalities
- continuing to support mental health, with a 24/7 crisis support service for children and young people and their families, a community wellbeing service enabling self-referral for children and young people and a £5 million investment in a community perinatal mental health service across Scotland
- taking forward planning to mitigate the worst consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit
Sturgeon said: “This Programme for Government will put health, prosperity and wellbeing at its heart, and will reinforce Scotland’s place as a dynamic, open, innovative economy.
“In the last 12 months we have made important progress in creating a better and fairer country and this year’s Programme for Government builds on that record.
“Earlier this year, I acknowledged that Scotland – like the rest of the world – faces a climate emergency. We are now committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest – earlier than any other UK nation.
“This year’s Programme for Government is an important part of our response to the climate emergency, containing measures which will reduce emissions while supporting sustainable and inclusive growth.
“It sets out actions which will make a difference for years to come. It details measures which can help make our country the best in the world to grow up, learn, work and live. It meets the challenges of the future, while staying true to our enduring values.
“However, alongside these crucial steps, we will continue to plan for the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and, as long as this remains a risk, the Scottish Government will work as hard as we can to mitigate the impact on families, communities and businesses across the country.”
Bills for introduction in 2019-20:
- Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill
- Budget Bill
- Circular Economy Bill
- Civil Partnership Bill
- Continuity Bill
- Defamation and Malicious Publication Bill
- UEFA European Championship Bill
- Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) Bill
- Good Food Nation Bill
- Hate Crime Bill
- Heat Networks Bill
- Redress (Survivors of In Care Abuse) Bill
- Rural Support Bill
- Transient Visitor Levy Bill