Scottish Budget 2019-2020: Equality and Fairer Scotland statement

An Equality and Fairer Scotland assessment of proposed spending plans by ministerial portfolios for 2019 to 2020.

Chapter 4 Overview by Protected Characteristics


This chapter provides an overview of how the protected characteristics (age, disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation) are affected by the Scottish Budget 2019-20.

This overview is dependent on data being available on which to assess the impacts of the Scottish Budget for each protected characteristic. While assessments for race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation and gender identity have been made, limitations in the available data restrict what can be said about these protected characteristics. Data limitations for gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity means that these are not covered in the overview, although specific impacts are identified where appropriate in the full document.

Impact assessments of the Scottish Budget 2019-20 on intersectional outcomes - that is, inequality due to combinations of protected characteristics - are also challenging due to low population numbers with particular intersections and the high number of possible intersections. Greater attention is being paid to developing intersectional data and the linkage of administrative data sets may increase the potential for statistical analysis. However, it is perhaps in the implementation stage through in-depth work with stakeholders where policies can best be tailored to improve intersectional outcomes.


The Scottish Budget 2019-20 builds on a range of policies and legislation seeking to address inequality between men and women. The Act states sex as the protected characteristic but for any data collection where people are asked to self-identify it tends to be the social construct of 'gender' rather than biological sex that is being collected.

Key developments in the last year have been made in the representation of women in public bodies and in improving the understanding and developing action to tackle lower levels of participation and progression for women in the Scottish economy. The First Minister's Advisory Group on Women and Girls will report soon and a commitment has been made to consider how to assess the gender sensitivity of future Programmes for Government. This Scottish Budget will continue to provide financial support to organisations that work to improve sex and gender equality in Scotland.

A number of programmes in the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will support the ongoing commitment to prevent and tackle violence against women and girls, as outlined in the Equally Safe Strategy.

Evidence shows that reported acts of domestic violence and sexual abuse are most prevalent against women and young people. The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 will be implemented in 2019-20, introducing a new domestic abuse offence. Investments in the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will address inequalities in domestic abuse via the provision of support for victims of domestic violence and specialist training to police officers in relation to the new domestic violence offence. Funding will also support a national awareness campaign to coincide with implementation of the Act. The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will continue to invest in the implementation of the Caledonian Programme, extending it to a further six local authority areas, which provides male perpetrators of domestic violence with access to rehabilitation services. The Caledonian programme is likely to have a positive impact on both perpetrators and victims of domestic violence.

Funding will continue for local domestic violence and sexual assault services for women and children who have experienced gender-based violence, including additional funding for Rape Crisis Centres. Investments in the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (COPFS) portfolio are responding to an increase in the number of reported sexual offences by establishing a national specialist High Court Sexual Offences Team and are investing resources in improving arrangements under which evidence from vulnerable witnesses is obtained by progressing the Vulnerable Witnesses Criminal Evidence (Scotland) Bill 2018 through Parliament. Funding within the Social Security and Older People portfolio will also support a pilot accreditation scheme to address gender-based violence in the workforce and a national campaign to challenge sexual harassment and sexism.

Work in relation to the advancement of a Female Genital Mutilation Bill will also be supported by the Scottish Budget 2019-20, which will positively impact on the protection of women and girls in relation to this specific type of gender-based violence.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will allow the Education and Skills portfolio to invest in tackling sexual harassment and gender-based violence against women and girls on university campuses. Colleges and universities will be expected to adopt and adapt the Equally Safe in Higher Education Toolkit, a Gendered Analysis, to assess their own policies and practices and put in place measures to keep students safe and engaged with their studies, while meeting the needs and diversity of survivors.

It is known that women are more likely to be inactive in the paid or formal labour market, or working part-time due to caring responsibilities. It is also known that women are paid less per hour on average and that there is gender segregation by employment sector and grade. A Gender Pay Gap action plan is being developed with stakeholders to identify and tackle these structural inequalities. The Gender Pay Gap Action Plan will be published early in 2019. Various investments in the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will also help to address these structural gender inequalities in the economy with continued funding for the women returns programme and a commitment by Scottish Enterprise to build the number of account managed companies led by women.

Funds within the Education and Skills portfolio will allow Skills Development Scotland to advance equality in the labour market by taking forward the measures set out in the Equality Action Plan (EAP) for Modern Apprentices. The EAP set out the scale of the challenge in relation to occupational segregation and inequality in Scotland's Apprenticeship Programme and the requirement that partners collaborate to tackle gender imbalances. This Scottish Budget will also support the delivery of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Education and Training Strategy which will have a positive impact by increasing participation and attainment in STEM among girls and young women.

In last year's Scottish Budget, the Scottish Government removed the cap on public pay policy and continued to promote payment of the Living Wage. A higher proportion of women than men work in delivering public services so developments here will be important. For example, our continued commitment to ensuring that workers engaged in adult social care are paid the real living wage is benefiting around 40,000 staff, many of whom are women. Similarly, the development and regulation of our 200,000 social services workers in Scotland will continue to have a positive impact in ensuring that workers - who are predominantly women - have the necessary skills to undertake their roles and progress.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will continue this work by addressing gender pay inequalities within specific sectors. Funding within the Culture, Tourism and External Affairs portfolio, for example, will be used to facilitate partnerships across the tourism sector to increase the number of businesses paying the Living Wage and improve gender-equal pay.

Caring is a particular barrier to employment for many women. The continued investment in the expansion of childcare enables greater universal care provision, enabling women to enter the labour market or undertake other paid or unpaid activity. Investments in the Health and Sport portfolio will also support work to embed the recently established rights for Scotland's unpaid carers.

Several programmes in the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will address gender inequalities in health and wellbeing. Significant investment in the Health and Sport portfolio will provide free tuition and bursary support to nursing and midwifery students, and will support the increased recruitment and training of nurses and health visitors. This will have positive impact in improving the health of pregnant women and infants. Additional investment in specific health facilities - at the Baird Family Hospital and the ANCHOR Centre in Aberdeen - will also have a beneficial impact on the health of women and their children through the provision of maternity, gynaecology and breast-screening services. Investments within the COPFS portfolio will also address female health and wellbeing via the development of a new female custodial estate, women's prison and two innovative community-based custody units in Glasgow and Dundee, which will have a beneficial impact in helping women in custody to address health and wellbeing issues that can drive future offending.

Several actions will be supported to improve health outcomes for men. New funding within the Health and Sport portfolio will implement a range of actions to reduce suicide - which is more prevalent among men - including suicide prevention training for public and private sector workers and the development of digital suicide prevention methods. Significant investment will also advance actions to tackle diabetes and obesity, including improvements to NHS weight management services. This investment is likely to especially benefit men, since men are less likely than women to be a healthy weight. Increased funding for alcohol and drug treatments may also have a particular benefit for men, as evidence shows that men consume more alcohol and have a greater occurrence of drug-related deaths than women.


This assessment considers how different groups across the age range - in particular children, young people and older people - are affected by the Scottish Budget 2019-20.

Children and Young People

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 funds a number of policy areas linked to the Year of Young People 2018 which aims to improve the life experience and chances of Scotland's young people. This is in addition to actions to tackle child poverty set out in Chapter 6.

Several policy commitments aim to widen skills and improve access to education and opportunities among Scotland's children and young people. Investments will support the continued delivery of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, closing the attainment gap for care-experienced young people, disabled children and young people, and children and young people from Gypsy/Traveller, Polish, Caribbean/Black, African and Arab groups who are over-represented in the most deprived areas. This funding will also have a positive impact in advancing equality of attainment for children with Additional Support Needs by continuing to provide additional resources to promote learning and development.

Increased investment in the Widening Access Programme will also provide financial bursaries for eligible care-experienced students in Further and Higher Education which are in line with the Living Wage.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 continues to invest in Youth Employment. Investment in the Developing the Young Workforce Programme will allow continued delivery of work-relevant learning to young people and provide skills for the current and future job market.

Continued investment in the Scotrail franchise will also provide reduced fares to job seekers and the newly employed - who are predominantly young people - on all routes in Scotland. Furthermore, sustained funding for the Bus Service Operators Grant could make the bus network more extensive and reduce the cost of fares, benefiting young people as frequent users of bus services.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 provides funding for several programmes that promote youth engagement in cultural activities. The continuation of funding for the Youth Music Initiative will have a positive impact in helping young people to access opportunities to learn about and enjoy music. Furthermore, the launch of the new Cultural Youth Experience Fund will provide young people from deprived areas with access to cultural opportunities.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will increase investment in services to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people. The Task Force on Children and Young People's Mental Health Improvement will look at how to improve the way children's mental health services are organised, commissioned and provided, which will have a positive impact in improving children and young people's access to mental health support. Significant additional funding will also be provided to recruit increased school nurses and counsellors in schools, further education and higher education; provide Local Authorities mental health first aid training for teachers; and extend the Distress Brief Intervention programme pilots to include people under 18.

In the Justice portfolio, work is being progressed to support initiatives and approaches to reduce unintentional harm, which is more prevalent among young people. Work within the Justice portfolio will also focus on community sentences including greater use of electronic monitoring, and services to reintegrate people leaving prison to reduce reoffending. These investments will help to prevent some of the detrimental impacts of imprisonment which can be particularly acute for younger people, children of people in prison, older people and women.

Continued investment in the Ending Homelessness Together Fund will support prevention initiatives towards transforming temporary accommodation and ending homelessness. This will have a positive impact on younger people who are disproportionately likely to be homeless.

Older People

The publication of an Older People's Framework in March 2019 will pull together a number of programmes in the Scottish Budget 2019-20 which particularly benefit older people.

Many programmes within the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will positively impact on the health and wellbeing of older people. Increased investment in the Chronic Medication Service, for example, will be particularly beneficial for older people and disabled people with long-term conditions by enabling community pharmacists to provide a higher level of personalised care. Furthermore, a new scheme to improve access to dental care among people living in care homes will be introduced, which will have a positive impact on older people and disabled people. Increased funding will support the expansion of the ophthalmology services at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital and NHS Highland's North of Scotland Elective Care Centre which will help to meet the increasing demands for elective surgery.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 continues to invest significantly in domestic energy efficiency programmes, such as Energy Efficient Scotland pilots, Warmer Homes Scotland and Scottish Government funding for Home Energy Scotland, which help people vulnerable to fuel poverty. These programmes will be particularly beneficial for older people - almost half of older person household are in fuel poverty.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 also supports Funeral Expense Assistance which is likely to have a particularly positive impact for older people on low incomes by helping with funeral costs for family members and close friends.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 maintains support for the delivery of 50,000 homes, 70 per cent of which will be for social rent, and will also support ongoing funding of Open Market Shared Equity and Help to Buy (Scotland), in which older people are a priority group.

A Careers Information Advice and Guidance strategy, encompassing the all-age careers sector, will have a positive impact in enabling older people to access careers services and ensuing that careers services are responsive to changes in the labour market and wider economy. The strategy will be published autumn 2019, with development of an action plan on implementation thereafter.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 retains its commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Concessionary Travel Scheme, currently providing free bus travel on local or Scottish long-distance buses for Scotland's older people and disabled people. The scheme has documented positive impacts on the physical and mental wellbeing of cardholders, and has a positive impact in reducing social isolation.

Scotland will be one of the first countries in the world to deliver on a national strategy to tackle social isolation and loneliness, issues that affect both older and younger people among others. This strategy will help to raise awareness about what we can all do to reduce social isolation and loneliness, deliver resources to community groups who need a helping hand to foster social connections in their area and ensure that every part of government is focused on how we empower communities to build a connected Scotland.


The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will support a variety of actions in the Fairer Scotland for Disabled People Action Plan. These policies will improve access to buildings, transport and public spaces, increase access to opportunities, information and services and improve health and wellbeing.

Several programmes will promote physical access for disabled people. In 2019-20, the Scottish Budget will continue to support the Scottish Disability Equality Forum to develop and host the accessible travel hub and engage with disabled people to increase transport accessibility, in line with the Accessible Travel Framework. Investments in the Transport Infrastructure and Connectivity portfolio will also continue to support the development of the Thistle Assistance Card, which has a beneficial impact in notifying transport staff of an individual's disability or additional care need.

Continued investments in the Scotrail fleet will deliver a fully compliant fleet ahead of the 2020 accessibility deadline and will increase the number of accessible rail stations. Funding for the Minor Works budget will further improve facilities across the network. These funding programmes will have a positive impact in removing barriers to travel and promoting confidence in the use of rail by disabled people and those with reduced mobility.

As discussed above, the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will continue to provide free bus travel for disabled and older people. Companion cards will also be introduced for eligible disabled children. In addition to having beneficial impacts on wellbeing, the Concessionary Travel Scheme also helps disabled people to access educational and employment opportunities. In 2019, options to provide free travel to recipients of the new Young Carers Grant will be explored.

Funding will also be maintained for the National Park Authorities which have a beneficial impact in increasing the accessibility of facilities and services. This will include Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and the Cairngorms national parks and will be positive for disabled older people who face accessibility barriers in visiting the outdoors.

Several programmes within the Scottish Budget 2019-20, will increase access to opportunities, information and services among disabled people. Within the Government Business and Constitutional Relations portfolio, for example, funding will be maintained for the Access to Elected Office Fund which provides support to disabled candidates for by-elections and the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. This fund has previously had a positive impact, successfully supporting disabled candidates to get elected in the Local Government elections 2017.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 recognises that housing is a key issue for disabled people and aims to address this inequality through a number of investments. The social rented sector is a particularly important tenure for long-term sick and disabled people so the continued investment to build at least 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, of which 70 per cent will be for social rent, will be beneficial. Continued funding will be provided for the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme with priority access given to disabled people, who may otherwise be disadvantaged in accessing home ownership.

Aspects of the Health and Sport portfolio budget will impact positively on disabled people. Significant investment will be made in frontline NHS spending in social care services and integration, and to local authorities in support of social care. This will support a variety of actions, including extending free personal care provision to disabled people under the age of 65 through the Independent Living Fund, and improvements in adult support. Furthermore, the implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 will have a beneficial impact on the health of disabled people and older people.


The Scottish Budget 2019-20 has a range of implications for race equality. It will support the delivery of a range of outcomes and activities as described in the Race Equality Action Plan. This supports the implementation of the Race Equality Framework which sets out a long-term partnership approach for promoting race equality and tackling racism from 2016-30.

This Scottish Budget will support a number of programmes that aim to improve representation, access and human rights. Specific funded programmes in the Education and Skills portfolio, for example, will continue to provide priority access to early learning and childcare for minority ethnic households and will support employment opportunities among members of minority ethnic communities. As discussed above, the Scottish Attainment Challenge aims to close the attainment gap among children and young people from Gypsy/Traveller, Polish, Caribbean/Black, African and Arab groups.

Funding will be provided for activities for Gypsy/Travellers, as set out in the Race Equality Action Plan. This will include establishing the new Gypsy Traveller Women's Voices Project to empower women in the Gypsy/Traveller community to participate in public life, and projects that help children and young people in the Gypsy/Traveller community to overcome barriers to their learning and opportunities.

People of other nationalities make up a large proportion of those who are referred to human trafficking-related services. As part of the ongoing implementation of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 and the actions set out in the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy, the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will continue to invest in ongoing measures to address human trafficking and exploitation and to support victims of human trafficking.

There will be continued investment in improving access via the provision of translation and interpretation services. For example, COPFS will continue ongoing provision of interpreting services for all Crown witnesses and transcription services to all witnesses and accused persons who require it, which will have a positive impact in ensuring that people whose first language is not English are fully able to participate in the criminal justice process.

Religion and Belief

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will continue to invest in programmes to support equality in religion and belief.

Tackling hate crime remains a key focus. Based on the findings of Lord Bracadale's independent review of hate crime legislation in 2018, the Scottish Budget 2019-20 will support consultation on the development of consolidated hate crime legislation. Ongoing investments by COPFS in support of services for victims of hate crimes and in educational campaigns to increase awareness of individual rights and responsibilities in relation to offensive behaviour will also have a positive impact across the protected characteristics, including in tackling inequalities related to religion and belief.

As part of the Scottish Government's continuing commitment to tackling sectarianism, this Scottish Budget will support ongoing work in relation to sectarianism and take forward the Independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland's recommendations of implementation.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will invest in several programmes that help to build on the progress made on equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

The Scottish Government has recently published an independent analysis of consultation responses on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. These are being carefully considered and a response to the consultation will be issued in due course. The most recent Programme for Government committed to continue work to enable us to deliver a Bill on Gender Recognition for next year's legislative programme.

Scotland will become the first country in the world to have LGBTI-inclusive education embedded within the curriculum. Work to implement the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group will have a positive impact in improving the learning experience for LGBTI young people. All state schools will be supported to teach themes related to LGBTI equality and inclusion, to effectively tackle prejudice and promote awareness of the history of LGBTI equalities and movements.

Evidence shows that the proportion of people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other in good or very good general health is lower than the rest of the population and that lesbian, gay and bisexual people have poorer mental wellbeing than heterosexuals, including higher rates of attempted suicide depression, anxiety and self-harm. The Scottish Budget 2019-20 is investing in the introduction of several measures to improve mental health across the population, including in the expansion of the Distress Brief Intervention programme to include people under the age of 18, trialling improvements to the NHS 24 Breathing Space service and enhanced handling of 111 calls through specialist mental health. This funding will have a positive impact across the protected characteristics, including among LGBTI people.

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will also support the National Registers of Scotland to test a range of equality questions, including questions on sexual orientation and transgender status/history, which are being proposed to be asked in 2021 on a voluntary basis. This will allow for increased measurement of sexual orientation and the development of baseline data on gender identity.


In sum, the Scottish Budget 2019-20 is investing in a range of programmes that address inequalities across the protected characteristics. Further details of the funding programmes discussed in this overview are provided in the portfolio chapters.


Email: Liz Hawkins

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