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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Building a Fairer Scotland

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Fairness is at the heart of everything the Scottish Government does, First Minister Humza Yousaf said, as he looks forward to his first anniversary in post this week.

During his time as First Minister, he has focused on tackling poverty through investment in public services, building a new relationship with business, and helping people with the cost-of-living crisis.

Recently published analysis estimates that 100,000 children will be kept out of poverty in 2024-25 as a direct result of Scottish Government policies.

The First Minister set out the outcomes his Government aims to achieve by 2026 in Equality, opportunity, community: New leadership – A fresh start at the beginning of his tenure.

The First Minister said:

“I have set clear missions for the Government I lead which are in the interests of everyone in Scotland.

“What drives me is fairness for all as we work to achieve better equality, greater opportunity, and safer communities.

“It is my passionate belief that Scotland will only reach its potential as a country when every single one of its citizens is able to reach their own potential.

“That means supporting them at times in their lives when they need it, and also ensuring they have access to high-quality jobs and thriving public services.

“Over the last year, my team in government has worked with the clear aims of delivering a just society and supportive business environment.

“We have worked with councils to agree a Council Tax freeze to provide much needed financial relief to Scottish households during the cost-of-living crisis, and we’ve invested a record £19.5 billion in our NHS – without losing a single day to pay-related strike action in our health system, uniquely in the UK.

“We have invested in and driven progress on Scotland’s huge renewables potential, which will support economic growth, with a pledge of up to £500 million to support the offshore wind industry.

“Unlike the UK as whole, Scotland has avoided entering a recession while recent business survey data shows stronger employment growth than anywhere else in the UK on top of long term growth in GDP per person almost double the UK average since 2007.

“And through our Techscaler network of start-up incubators, we are well on our way to delivering one of the finest state-funded entrepreneurial systems in the world, dedicated to the creation of high-growth businesses.

“Crucially, the policies of my Government will keep 100,000 children out of relative poverty and 70,000 out of absolute poverty in the coming year, according to recent modelling.

“We are making important progress on the missions I laid out for my Government – equality, opportunity and community, despite limited powers, and real terms cuts from the UK Government to Scotland’s budget.

“However, there is so much more we could do with the full powers of independence – that’s why we have published eleven papers so far in the Building a New Scotland series, with a twelfth publishing this week, to ensure voters are equipped with the information they need to make an informed choice on Scotland’s future.

“I am honoured every day to lead a government driven by clear values, and I am absolutely committed to continuing to make Scotland a better place to live, work and study for everyone who makes it their home.”

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