Programme for Government 2020-21.

Ensuring Scotland’s economic, health, and social recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the focus of this year’s Programme for Government, published today.

Speaking in Parliament, the First Minister said the Scottish Government would prioritise work to suppress the virus – building on its commitment to COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and surveillance.

The COVID-19 response will be bolstered with the launch of Protect Scotland, a new proximity tracing app, later this month. The app will add an additional means of notifying people that they may have been exposed to the virus and that they should isolate to prevent onward transmission.

The First Minister also set out the government’s plans for renewal while ensuring a green recovery is at the heart of the economic recovery, with job creation, support for health and wellbeing and work to tackle inequalities all high on the agenda.

A National Transition Training Fund will support up to 10,000 people at risk of redundancy or unemployment. The Scottish Youth Guarantee will ensure every young person has the opportunity of work, education, or training. A new £100 million Green Jobs Fund will be created while a new Inward Investment Plan will create 100,000 high value jobs over the next decade and boost GDP.

The pandemic has also reiterated the need for a radical rethink of social care. An independent review of the care system will be established to examine how adult social care can be most effectively reformed to deliver a national approach to care and support services. This will include consideration of a National Care Service.

In order to support families, applications for the Scottish Child Payment will open in November 2020, with the first payments to be made in February 2021.

A new £10 million Tenant Hardship Loan Fund will protect people from homelessness by providing interest-free loans for those struggling to pay their rent and there will be a ban on evictions until March 2021.

Other measures include:

  • accelerating the roll-out of Community Treatment and Assessment Centres so more people can receive medical care in their community rather than going to hospital
  • expanding digital access to health care to ensure more people can get the help they need
  • £1.6 billion low carbon funding to secure a just transition to a net zero economy, including a £100 million Green Jobs Fund, investment in heat and energy efficiency and industrial decarbonisation
  • a 20 year vision for energy efficient, zero carbon housing, with access to outdoor space, transport links, digital connectivity and community services
  • £500 million for infrastructure to support active travel
  • bringing 50,000 people into the digital world through the Connecting Scotland programme and creating a world class digital eco-system in Scotland
  • introducing legislation on domestic abuse protection orders and progressing legislation to improve forensic medical examinations for victims of sexual assault

The First Minister said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound impact on our health and wellbeing, on business and the economy - indeed, on our whole way of life. That is true here in Scotland, and across the globe.

“Today’s Programme is clear that suppressing COVID is our most immediate priority - and it will remain so for some time. However, it also makes clear that we will not simply hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.

“This Programme for Government sets out plans for a stronger, more resilient and sustainable economy - with a laser focus on creating new, good, green jobs.

“It guarantees opportunities for young people – and refuses to accept that their generation will carry the economic scars of COVID into adulthood.

“It sets out plans to strengthen and reform our public services, including our NHS. And it takes the first step on the road to a National Care Service.

“It promotes equality and wellbeing, with decisive action to combat child poverty. At its heart is the new, game-changing Scottish Child Payment.

“We must treat the COVID-19 challenge not as a brake on our ambitions but as an accelerant – helping us shape a stronger, greener, fairer future.”


Full Programme for Government

Full First Minister statement

Bills to be progressed during this parliamentary session (2020-21):

  • Budget Bill
  • Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Incorporation of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Bill
  • University of St. Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill
  • Defamation and Malicious Publication Bill
  • Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) Bill
  • Hate Crime and Public Order Bill
  • Heat Networks Bill
  • Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) Bill
  • Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership Bill
  • UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) Bill


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