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



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