Last year, the 2018-19 Programme for Government and subsequent Scottish Budget set a path to address the big challenges faced by Scotland: improving our nation's health, giving all our children and young people the best start, adapting to changing demographics and building a low carbon economy. It also set out our determination to use our revenue raising powers to make Scottish income tax fairer and more progressive.
A golden thread throughout was an over-riding imperative to tackle inequality in Scotland, in all its forms. Together, they presented a vision of a nation leading the world in innovation while staying true to enduring values of social justice.
In the past year, we have shown time and again how we can take a progressive approach that reduces inequality. We have funded commitments to pay the living wage; removed the public sector pay cap; expanded early learning and childcare; and produced a delivery plan to tackle child poverty. We have invested to improve educational attainment for those living in less advantaged communities and maintained concessionary fares and passes on public transport. And we have used our new powers to establish a Social Security Agency and an employability programme that have dignity and respect at their heart while mitigating, where we can, the damaging welfare agenda of the UK government.
That work continues through this year's Programme for Government 'Delivering for Today; Investing for Tomorrow' and is further emphasised in our budget decisions for 2019-20, where we have continued to focus on how our policies and decisions affect different communities. This year's Equality Budget Statement, the tenth in the series, again provides a transparent consideration of how our budget will impact on all groups of the population.
Scotland leads the world in producing a consideration of its Budget that examines effects on so many equality groups, as well as socio-economic impacts, and we are committed to continuing to improve this in future years.
Shirley Ann Somerville
Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People
Derek Mackay MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work
Email: Liz Hawkins