Programme for Government 2017 - key points

Written by Staff reporter on 5 September 2017 in Inside Politics

An overview of the forthcoming legislation and Scottish Government commitments for the parliamentary year 2017/18

Nicola Sturgeon - Image credit: Parliament TV

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out the Scottish Government’s programme for government on 5 September. In it she laid out the sixteen bills her government proposes to put before the Scottish Parliament in the 2017/18 session, as well as other action it will take across all policy areas.


New legislation for 2017/18

  • Budget Bill
  • Climate Change Bill
  • Crown Estate Bill
  • Damages Bill
  • Education Bill
  • Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Bill
  • Management of Offenders Bill
  • Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill
  • Organ and Tissue Donation Bill
  • Planning Bill
  • Prescription Bill
  • Safe Staffing Bill
  • Sexual Offences (pardons and disregards) Bill
  • Transport Bill
  • Vulnerable Witnesses and Pre-recorded Evidence Bill
  • Warm Homes Bill


Children and education

  • Multi-year funding for local authorities to support recruitment and training of early years’ staff
  • Rates relief for day nurseries
  • An education governance bill with new powers for headteachers “formally establishing them as leaders of learning and teaching” and more funding direct to schools
  • New regional education improvement collaborations to be set up
  • New routes into teaching for priority areas and subjects
  • Reform student support following findings of independent review in the autumn to open up university to “all who have the talent to attend”
  • Increase in modern apprenticeships


Business and economy

  • Increase support for business R&D by 70 per cent
  • Create a network of Scottish trade envoys
  • Create a Paris investment hub in addition to those already announced for London, Berlin, Dublin and Brussels
  • Help for key growth sectors clean energy, lightweight manufacturing and financial technology sector and establishment of new body Fintech Scotland
  • Direct government funding for the Acorn carbon capture and storage project in Aberdeenshire
  • An additional £10m for a screen development and growth facility for Scotland’s film industry, bring total funding to £20m a year
  • Establishment of a new ‘unlocking ambition challenge’ to encourage entrepreneurship with 40 start-ups to be supported by established entrepreneurs
  • New strategic board for enterprise and skills, to be led by Nora Senior, formerly of British Chambers of Commerce
  • A new south of Scotland enterprise agency
  • Implementation of Barclay business rates review
  • Establish a Scottish national investment bank



  • Aim to phase out petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032
  • Low emissions zones to be introduced in Scotland’s four largest cities by 2020, followed by all other air quality management areas by 2023
  • Spend on active travel to be doubled to £80m a year
  • Introduce a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles
  • Supporting Land Commission publication of its first plan to outline plans for first three years and future research



  • At least a real terms increase in the NHS budget
  • A safe staffing bill to ensure sufficient staff in the right areas
  • A health and social care delivery plan to shift resources to primary and community care
  • An additional £20m for alcohol and drug misuse services
  • Ill health strategy
  • New strategy to tackle obesity including rules about marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt
  • Implementation of ‘Frank’s Law’ making free personal care available for under-65s with certain conditions such as dementia
  • Organ and tissue donor bill



  • Protection of frontline police budget
  • Presumption against short-term prison sentences to be increased to 12 months
  • An automatic pardon for historic convictions for sexual offences that are now legal (i.e. for same sex relationships)
  • Minimum age of criminal responsibility to be raised from 8 to 12
  • A new criminal offence of drug driving in 2019


Social justice and equalities

  • Creation of a £50m child poverty fund
  • A financial health check for families on low incomes
  • New support for young carers
  • Free sanitary products to be provided in schools, colleges and universities
  • Investigate the viability of a citizen’s basic income along with interested local authorities
  • A national objective to end rough sleeping
  • A short-life group to advise on action and legislation needed on homelessness
  • A £10m a year ‘Eradicating Homelessness Together’ fund
  • A comprehensive review of local governance next year
  • At least one per cent of council budgets to be controlled by them
  • Oppose repeal of Human Rights Act and withdrawal from European Convention on Human Rights
  • A new race equality action plan
  • Work with the TIE campaign on LGBT bullying
  • Scottish Government will not oppose John Finnie’s member’s bill to ban smacking
  • Will incorporate UN Convention of the Rights of the Child into law
  • Lift the one per cent public sector pay cap



  • Oppose leaving single market and customs union
  • Produce a paper next year outlining all the current tax liabilities and all proposals for alternatives, including those from other parties, for discussion ahead of budget



Related Articles

Associate feature: Winning on a level playing field
18 March 2019

Andre Reibig, senior policy officer at the Scottish Funding Council, on how the benefits of student participation in sport run much deeper than you might think

Calls for increased resources for pupils with additional support needs
15 March 2019

A children's organisation has called for more resources but the Scottish Government argues there has been an overall increase in non-teaching support staff

Related Sponsored Articles

Associate feature: 5 ways IoT is transforming the public sector
5 February 2018

Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery

Share this page