Building a fairer Scotland

Delivering priorities on first anniversary of appointment.

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.”


Child poverty cumulative impact assessment: update - (

Equality, opportunity, community: New leadership - A fresh start - (

Programme for Government - (

Building a new Scotland - (


Actions taken by the Scottish Government towards achieving each of the core missions set out by the First Minister upon taking office include:

Equality: Tackling poverty and protecting people from harm

  • The Scottish Child Payment has helped to reduce financial pressure on households for the families of more than 327,000 children
  • Went beyond a commitment to double the Fuel Insecurity Fund last year from £10 million to £20 million by tripling it to £30 million for 2023-24, to support anyone at risk of self-disconnection, or self-rationing their energy use as a one-off increase in funding during the height of the energy bills crisis
  • Enabling disabled people to live full and independent lives, supporting older people to heat their homes in winter and low-income families with their living costs by increasing the funding of benefits by over £1 billion to £6.3 billion
  • Supported up to 4,000 families most at risk of living in poverty, through a package of over £12 million, invested in delivering funded school age childcare all year round
  • Convened a roundtable with practitioners and leaders who are working to promote positive masculinity in their broader approach to achieving equality across our communities
  • Published the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Delivery Plan and Workforce Action Plan with a vision to tackle stigma and inequality
  • Invested a further £15 million into the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for adults to tackle the impact of mental health inequalities faced by at risk and protected characteristic groups
  • Published a dedicated Self-Harm Strategy and Action Plan with a priority to tackle stigma and discrimination and build support and services
  • Published a new national strategy, backed by £2 million investment this year, to help cut violence further and reduce the harm it causes
  • Laid regulations to protect tenants concerned about rent increases following the ending of the emergency rent cap from 1 April
  • Published a cross-government Non-Binary Equality Action Plan, which aims to improve equality and wellbeing for non-binary people and is the first of its kind in the UK
  • A record high number of young Scots from deprived areas are applying to study at university

Opportunity: A fair, green and growing economy

  • Committed up to £500 million of strategic investment to help create thousands of green jobs and deliver the full economic potential of offshore renewables projects
  • Three offshore wind-enabling projects worth almost £500 million have moved closer to completion in a boost for the sector, representing investment into ports, infrastructure and manufacturing enabled through the Strategic Investment Model (SIM) – a novel, industry-led approach
  • Committed to a new deal for businesses, taking forward work in partnership to achieve business success and, in turn, Scotland’s economic success
  • Helped ensure the future of manufacturing by means of a £75 million total investment in the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, thus enabling the creation of its outstanding new flagship facility in Renfrewshire
  • Increased investment in the higher education capital budget to over £350 million in 2024-25 which will include support for research, knowledge exchange and collaboration, which are central to our economy
  • Supported businesses and marine organisations in our coastal communities with grants from the £14 million Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24 to support more than 90 projects including new marine research to harness the latest technology and harbour improvements
  • Introduced the Agriculture and Rural Communities Scotland Bill, the framework that will support future measures focused on key Scottish Government outcomes: high quality food production; climate mitigation and adaptation; nature restoration; and wider rural development
  • Worked closely with Prosper (formerly SCDI), including addressing their 2023 Forum, to emphasise the importance the Scottish Government places on engagement with businesses and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship

Community: Prioritising our public services

  • Delivered a budget committed to £6.3 billion investment in social security benefits; more than £19.5 billion for health and social care; over £14 billion for local authorities – the highest settlement yet delivered for local government; and over £1.5 billion for policing and nearly £400 million to support the fire service
  • Supported investment in excess of £10 billion for the NHS paybill, which has rewarded NHS staff in recent years during the cost of living crisis
  • Launched a ten-year cancer strategy 10-year Cancer Strategy to significantly cut the number of people diagnosed with later stage cancer and reduce the health inequalities associated with the disease, underpinned by a detailed three-year, 136-item action plan to improve areas of cancer services
  • Provided a further £3 million of funding in the last year on top of previous investment to support intensive work by health boards to bring the number of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals recruited from overseas to at least 1,250 by the end of this financial year
  • Increased Hospital at Home capacity up to 50% this year, providing more care in the community for our elderly population and reducing pressure on hospitals, backed by a further £3.6 million funding to support more than 150 extra virtual beds
  • Launched a new 10-year strategy to improve the lives of people living with dementia in partnership with COSLA and the voices of lived experience, with initial funded plans for delivery including a national anti-stigma campaign and extending the reach of our world-leading post-diagnostic support policy for people living with dementia and their care partners
  • Supported GP practices to tackle health inequalities backed by £1 million Scottish Government funding
  • Introduced the Police (Ethics, Conduct and Scrutiny) (Scotland) Bill, to improve the police complaints and misconduct system and strengthen public confidence in policing in Scotland.
  • Introduced the Victims, Witness and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill, which puts victims and witnesses at the heart of the justice system, improving their experiences while protecting the rights of the accused.
  • Introduced legislation enabling councils to increase their affordable housing stock without having to pay a tax on additional properties


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