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

This publication sets out the First Minister’s vision for Scotland and the outcomes he and his government aim to achieve by 2026.

First Minister's Foreword

To serve our country as First Minister is the greatest privilege and honour of my life.

As First Minister I have promised to lead Scotland in the interests of all our people, and I restate that commitment here. I pledge to earn and re-earn the respect and trust of the people of Scotland and work with anyone and everyone who shares my vision of a fairer Scotland. Together, we can deliver a better future.

We live in challenging times. We are still recovering from the COVID pandemic. War has returned to the streets of Europe. Austerity, the £100 billion cost to the UK economy of Brexit, and the cost of living crisis have combined to create some of the most challenging economic conditions in living memory – much of it due to economic mismanagement by the UK Government that is hitting the Scottish economy. Indeed this has led to the Office for Budget Responsibility projecting low growth in the UK and the biggest fall in UK living standards on record. At the same time, we also face the twin crises of climate change and nature loss.

These times call for us to share our vision of how we will face those challenges head-on, while providing clarity on how we seek to build a better future. We must grow the economy, create better communities and seize the opportunities of net zero to build a green wellbeing economy. In doing so we must ensure equality of opportunity for all – reaffirming our commitment to embedding equality, inclusion and human rights into everything we do.

We will use the powers of devolution to their maximum to deliver services and improve the lives of the people of Scotland. We will make the case that with the powers of independence, we can do so much more to ensure that Scotland will be wealthier, fairer, greener and a more equal country.

As a government we will be unapologetic about supporting those in greatest need. We will use every power at our disposal to protect the vulnerable in our society – particularly as the cost of living crisis puts additional pressure on household budgets across the country. This will mean taking some tough decisions to ensure that we target every pound we spend and invest in order to get the maximum value, ensuring it reaches those that need it the most.

This is a fresh start for the Scottish Government under new leadership.

I am setting out how my team and I will have a laser focus on delivery for the people of Scotland, and announcing three missions that will guide our decision making over the remaining three years of this parliamentary term, and what we will achieve by 2026.

Ours is a vision for all of Scotland and those who live in our wonderful country. We will work with colleagues from across the parliament, in Local Government, the third sector, business, and communities across the country to deliver it – building on the successes to date of the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Green Party.

Our Missions for 2026: equality, opportunity and community

I am setting three critical – and interdependent – missions for my government which will make a difference, tackling the issues which matter most and grasping the opportunities we have, to improve the lives of people across the country. These will be underpinned by our refreshed National Outcomes.

This prospectus describes what we aim to achieve by 2026, which when taken together will deliver upon the three missions described below.

Equality: Tackling poverty and protecting people from harm

Only with the full economic and fiscal powers of an independent nation can we eradicate inequality and poverty. In the meantime, we will use our fixed budget and all the powers we have to reach our targets of substantially reducing child poverty. We will continue to tackle poverty in all its forms and improve the life chances of people across our country. We will protect people across Scotland as far as possible from the harm inflicted by UK Government policies and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Opportunity: A fair, green and growing economy

Whilst we are bound to a failed UK economic model and do not hold all the financial levers needed, we will use all the powers we do have to support economic growth for a purpose, to help business and trade to thrive and maximise the opportunity of the green economy, with fairness at its heart. This can then drive improved living standards, reduce poverty, and sustain high quality public services – all key to a wellbeing economy. We will do this through harnessing the skills and ingenuity of our people and seizing the economic and social opportunities from meeting our net zero targets.

Community: Prioritising our public services

We will deliver efficient and effective public services, including our emergency services, that deliver for the people who use and rely on them. The NHS and social care, schools and childcare, our police force and tackling crime, and delivering affordable housing and transport will be our focus. As part of this, my government will ensure the recovery and reform of our NHS and our other vital public services by delivering sustainable, person-centred public services with a focus on tackling inequalities. The Government I lead will ensure we protect the rights of all our people, and where possible we will advance those rights.

These missions will define the work of my government as we take the steps required to deliver the public services that our communities rely upon, increase quality, create a fairer society and drive opportunity for the people of Scotland and our businesses.

My ministerial team are critical to the delivery of this vision – this document outlines the ambitious range of outcomes that I have agreed with each Cabinet Secretary and the co-leaders of the Scottish Green Party. These are the key objectives that they will deliver over the next three years to support these missions.

First Minister
Humza Yousaf MSP


Email: pfg@gov.scot

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