Moving Forward Together
We are already delivering. Since I became First Minister less than three weeks ago, I and my team have already made tangible progress to deliver for the people of Scotland.
I have promised to lead Scotland in the interests of all our people and I believe that delivering the three missions I have set out is the most effective way to make my vision of a fairer Scotland a reality – a Scotland of equality, opportunity and community.
My first act as First Minister has been to build on the doubling of the Fuel Insecurity Fund last year to now triple it to £30 million for 2023-24. The Fund is a critical plank in our support to people who are struggling with their energy costs. It continues to provide a lifeline to households who are at risk of self-rationing or self-disconnecting their energy use.
I have reinforced our commitment to help parents and carers into work, enabling them to provide for their families and to contribute to a wellbeing economy by investing £15 million in free high quality school age childcare for those who need it most. This will provide safe environments for children and opportunities for them to socialise and take part in a wide range of activities. Local football clubs will also be able to apply for funding totalling £2 million to support the provision of after school and holiday activities clubs, in a joint initiative with the Scottish Football Association.
I recognise the importance of supporting energy transition across the North East of Scotland and have committed £25 million from the Scottish Government's Just Transition Fund to help the region to become the net zero capital of the world.
I am proud that through Project CAVForth Scotland will be at the forefront of transport innovation, with the UK's first autonomous bus fleet taking to our roads in May 2023.
I have set out my commitment to tackling widening health inequalities, with additional funding of £1 million to support general practices in the most deprived areas. This will deliver the care and support needed by patients at the highest risk of poor health.
Additionally, some of our most innovative companies that are part of the £42 million Techscaler programme will now be able to link up with NHS, which will mean that new health products can be trialled in clinical settings. Our life sciences sector already has an annual turnover of more than £8 billion and this will help to ensure that Scotland is the best location for life sciences companies.
Real change demands real partnership. We are at our best when we work as 'Team Scotland' to bring together the talents and expertise of national and Local Government as well as business and the third sector. My Cabinet and I will work in partnership with all those who share our vision for Scotland.
We answer to everyone who calls Scotland home, so it is imperative that transparency underpins our approach to delivery. My government will ensure the people of Scotland have the information they need to hold us to account. To this end, we will publish annual updates on our delivery against these critical missions.
I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Scottish Green Party through the Bute House Agreement, and to resetting our relationship with Local Government and delivering a New Deal for Local Government.
I want Scotland to be independent. I want that so we can make our own decisions that best serve the people who live in our great country. With the full powers of independence, and the levers that would bring, we can truly grow a green economy, tackle poverty head-on, and create the opportunities to thrive.
For too long we have been hamstrung by being tied to the decisions of another government which do not serve the best interest of our people or our economy. But whilst my team and I work with others to build the case for independence, we will continue to use the powers we have to work for the people of Scotland. Together, we will build a fairer Scotland, where every child will have the best start in life and everyone living in this country will have equal opportunities and be proud of their public services.
My promise to you is to dedicate myself, and the efforts of the Government I lead, to serving you, the people of Scotland.
Humza Yousaf MSP
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