This year's Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget statement is published against the immediate backdrop of a significant threat to our progress towards a fairer and more equal nation, where all our people's human rights are progressively realised – Scotland's exit from the European Union, contrary to the wishes of the majority of its people.
Simultaneously, we are facing the unprecedented challenge of the global climate emergency and the imperative to take action to address it, while protecting and supporting those who will be most affected – the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society.
Therefore while this document sets out substantial work, across all the portfolios of the Scottish Government, to achieve greater equality and social justice, we are clear that we must continue to raise the bar and work to ensure that our actions are as impactful as possible.
That is why the First Minister has put in place programmes of work to continue to challenge us to go further. Her National Advisory Council for Women and Girls has made suggestions that will help us to make continued progress towards gender equality – and this budget includes resources to substantively take forward their recommendations.
Similarly the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership is now guiding work to put human rights at the heart of all that we do. Over time this will provide a crucial underpinning to human rights in Scotland, helping us to respect, protect and fulfil them.
But there is always more to do. The budget this year also includes resources to develop a strategic programme to embed equality and human rights across the Scottish Government. This reflects our clear understanding that these are not niche concerns but fundamental underpinnings for policy making and delivery across the public sector in Scotland – and essential prerequisites to delivering the outcomes set out in our National Performance Framework.
The challenges that we face are stark but our focus on achieving an equal and fair Scotland is unwavering. Indeed without equality and fairness at their heart, our efforts to meet those challenges will not be successful.
Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People