Scottish Draft Budget 2017-2018: equality statement

An equality assessment of proposed spending plans by ministerial portfolios to accompany the Scottish Draft Budget for 2017 to 2018.

Chapter 2 Overview by Protected Characteristic


This chapter offers an overarching assessment of how the protected characteristics - age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation - are affected by the Draft Budget 2017-18.

This overview is easiest to produce for those characteristics where there is most data and/or where an understanding of the implications of particular policy directions has been developed over time: on age, disability and gender, for example. Assessments for gender identity, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation are taken forward where possible but data limitations do affect what we are able to say.

Assessing intersectionality - that is, combinations of protected characteristics, for example, young disabled women - can also be challenging. More detail on intersectionality is provided in the box below.

As in previous years, this chapter also contains an assessment of the impact of the Draft Budget on low-income households (the 'Socio-economic' section below). This year, there is also an expanded section looking at child poverty, rights and wellbeing within the 'Age' section.

The focus on low income is likely to be strengthened further in future years. Action one of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan is to introduce a new duty on key parts of the public sector, also covering Scottish Ministers, to take socio-economic disadvantage into account when making strategic decisions. In addition, in 2017, a Child Poverty Bill with ambitious targets to reduce and ultimately eradicate child poverty, will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

Both these developments are likely to lead to a renewed focus on low income in the Equality Budget Statement ( EBS). The challenge thereafter will be to do this in such a way that the EBS maintains equality as its central concern, while maximising the synergies with the low-income strand going forward.

Intersectionality is the term generally used to refer to combinations of protected characteristics - for example older disabled men, younger Muslim women, or disabled transgender people. It makes clear that society is complex; and that we all as human beings reflect multiple combinations of the protected characteristics. These combinations can shape how we access and experience services, as well as how we experience society.

In this way, intersectionality requires government and the wider public sector/public services to think more carefully about what is provided, how, and to whom. Simply making a service accessible to disabled people might not address the specific needs disabled women have. Equally, opening up a service for lesbian, gay and bisexual ( LGB) people does not automatically mean that minority ethnic LGB people, for example, will use it. Policy makers, funders and service providers need to think harder and smarter about the range of protected characteristics users (and staff) have if they ultimately want to have a successful policy, funding stream or service.

It is widely acknowledged that it can be challenging to evidence impacts on particular intersections of protected characteristics because of low population numbers and the sheer number of different variations. Although there is some reference to intersectionality across the EBS, the evidence base on the range of intersections is often patchy or anecdotal. The Scottish Government's 'core questions' approach in the national health, household and crime surveys has provided better data on most single protected characteristics but, even with this data, it is sometimes difficult to find statistically significant results.

With this in mind, we committed in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan to produce an Equality Evidence Strategy by early 2017, in part aimed at improving the evidence base around intersectionality. This will use the data available from the core surveys where possible, but will supplement it with an increasingly qualitative understanding of how policies impact and how services are experienced. For example, to help to design and test the new Scottish social security system, new 'Experience Panels' will be set up, involving at least 2,000 people with recent experience of applying for, and receiving, benefits. Panel members will be instrumental in developing a key part of that evidence base.

The Scottish Government recently funded the Equality Network to produce guidance on including intersectional LGBTI people in services ( This booklet provides useful self-assessment questions which policy makers and service providers can use to support the development of person-centred approaches.


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

Children and Young People

The Draft Budget raises a number of issues about children's health and wellbeing. Continued investment to increase the Health Visitor Workforce will ensure that every child in Scotland and their parents receive quality health development support. Similarly, increased funding for the Family Nurse Partnership programme and its expansion to cover vulnerable first-time mothers up to the age of 24, will also have positive impacts for women and children. However, there has been a reduction in funding for Infant Nutrition and Maternity Services in 2017-18: any effects should be mitigated by improved monitoring and review of where best to focus efforts on these issues, using resources to better effect.

The Draft Budget's support for a preventative mental health focus on early years, children and young people should have a range of positive wellbeing impacts. This is likely to be particularly important for younger women who currently report lower levels of mental wellbeing and are more likely to self-harm.

Activities to tackle air quality and noise disturbance will have particular benefits to those who suffer most from the ill effects of pollution on their health and wellbeing, including children. Older people, those with pre-existing health problems, people living in dense, urban areas close to busy roads and those on lower incomes (who may also have poorer quality housing) will also benefit.

These investments will help ensure every child's right to the best possible health.

There is continued investment to deliver a high quality early learning and childcare sector, including starting to build the capacity required to double fully-funded provision to 1,140 hours by 2020. Early learning and childcare is Scotland's most significant infrastructure investment and high quality early years support is crucial to positive child outcomes.

The Draft Budget is investing in the delivery of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, focusing on targeted improvements in literacy, numeracy, and health and wellbeing. This funding will contribute to closing the educational attainment gap between children and young people from the most and least deprived backgrounds. In addition, the Draft Budget continues to support local authorities to maintain the pupil teacher ratio nationally at 2016-17 levels. Our investments will help deliver every child's right to a high quality education.

The Scottish Government's commitment to delivering free access to higher education for Scottish or EU domiciled students will continue. We will provide a minimum income guarantee of £7,625 in maintenance support for students from households with an annual income of under £19,000, made up of a mixture of bursary and loans. In 2017-18, funding for colleges will increase.

The Draft Budget continues to invest in Youth Employment. The targets in the Developing Scotland's Young Workforce programme include reducing the gender imbalance in subject groups of college courses and improving positive destinations for all young people, including looked after children. Against a backdrop of reducing youth unemployment and the highest recorded percentage of young people sustaining a positive destination, we will sharpen the focus on young people who continue to face barriers to employment. Community Jobs Scotland will enhance the employment prospects of those young people, including young disabled people. We will continue to support the Inspiring Scotland 14:19 Fund to focus on the most disadvantaged young people aged 14-19 so that they make a successful transition from school into employment, education or training. As we enter the penultimate year of a 10-year financial commitment, funding for this programme will be tapered but remains significant. We will also develop a new programme targeted at young people who have been in care to help them access appropriate work, training or education opportunities.

The Draft Budget also supports the Modern Apprenticeship ( MA) programme. Skills Development Scotland's Equality Action Plan sets out to tackle occupational segregation, inequality and other culturally ingrained challenges in the MA programme. It includes specific improvement targets for participation in MAs by disabled people, minority ethnic groups, and care leavers, and aims to tackle areas where there are gender imbalances. The Scottish Government's administration budget will enable us to continue recruiting MAs and look to ensure better diversity within our future MA intake.

The commitment in the Scottish Government's Procurement Strategy to improve access for small and medium-sized enterprises ( SMEs) may particularly help younger (16-24) and older (65+) workers who are employed in SMEs in greater proportions than in large firms.

The Draft Budget also invests in transport to help young people. Sustained funding for the Road Equivalent Tariff ensures that island communities can travel on lifeline ferry services at an affordable cost. The scheme particularly benefits young people below the age of 16, as well as islanders on low incomes. In the coming year, we will also start work to deliver three months' free bus travel to those aged 16-24 who will be receiving the new Jobs Grant, as well as free bus travel for MAs aged under 21.

Finally, sustained levels of funding will allow the National Performing Companies to continue to target a range of initiatives at young people, for example, the Royal Scottish National Opera Junior Chorus.

Older people

Older people are affected by the Draft Budget 2017-18 in a number of ways.

The investment to expand the Golden Jubilee Hospital and create five other elective care centres will have a positive impact for older people, particularly around hip and knee replacements and cataract operations.

Increasing investment in the palliative care sector will have a positive impact for older people and those with a life-limiting condition as they reach the end of their lives.

The Draft Budget invests significantly in domestic energy efficiency to help people vulnerable to fuel poverty, which includes almost half of older households. Additional funding will also be available in 2017-18 to test new and innovative approaches to tackling fuel poverty.

The Equality Budget will support a range of work to help older people have their voices heard in policy making, including a Ministerial group on older people and work on social isolation and loneliness, to help inform work across Scotland to reduce inequalities faced by older people.

Funding for the National Entitlement Card will continue, providing free bus travel on local or Scottish long-distance buses for Scotland's older people. The scheme has positive impacts on the physical and mental wellbeing of cardholders, helping reduce social isolation.

The Equality Budget also funds Age Scotland as a key intermediary body, helping us take further steps towards age equality.


A number of elements in the Draft Budget 2017-18 specifically affect disabled people.

Long-term mental health problems that limit people's day-to-day activities are recognised as a disability. The five-year investment in mental health as well as the forthcoming mental health strategy will have a positive impact by reducing waiting times and supporting these individuals to manage their own conditions and stay well.

The Independent Living Fund Scotland will continue to deliver support payments to severely disabled people and increased funding will enable a new iteration of the scheme to open within the next year. This is a key investment, enabling independent living in the community.

Self-directed support ( SDS) allows users of social care, including older people and disabled adults and children, to choose how their support is provided and gives them control of their individual budget. The apparent reduction in funding for SDS is due to the movement of money previously set aside to support the opening of the Independent Living Fund to new users and does not, therefore, represent a fall in the amount of money available to support SDS.

The Scottish Government promotes the supported employment framework which sets out national and local government's shared ambition for supporting disabled people who want to work into employment. We are working closely with partners, including local authorities, to support them to develop and deliver a 'place and train' model locally in mainstream employment.

The Draft Budget recognises that housing is a key issue for disabled people via a number of investments. During 2017-18, we will maintain funding for housing adaptations that will help their older and disabled tenants live safely and independently at home. We will continue to fully mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax, an investment which is particularly important for disabled people. And we will continue to build affordable homes to meet our ambitious 50,000 target. New homes, wherever possible, comply with essential aspects of Housing for Varying Needs and funding is also available for specialist housing - for example, helping disabled people with more complex needs live independently in their own homes. The grant subsidy rates that the Scottish Government provides are benchmarks and not flat rates. This creates a flexible system to facilitate access to additional subsidy, where needed.

This Government is committed to improving access to information and services for our citizens whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language ( BSL). The Equality Budget will support work in 2017 to produce the first ever National Action Plan on BSL.

This budget will enable investment in work with partners to increase the number of disabled people establishing micro and social enterprises.

Transport is another key issue for disabled people. Funding for the National Entitlement Card will continue, providing free bus travel on local or Scottish long-distance buses and helping disabled users to access employment and educational opportunities, as well as reducing social isolation. The Ferries Accessibility Fund will support a wide range of improvements across the network which will include accessible toilets, tactile signage, and the provision of more disabled parking spaces at harbours and on vessels. On accessible tourism, stable levels of funding will allow VisitScotland to market its new Access Guide website and increase the number of Accessibility Guides featured. VisitScotland will also deliver a new programme of industry events that will encourage businesses to work in partnership with local authorities and destination organisations to develop more accessible tourism destinations.

The Equality Budget also supports Inclusion Scotland as a key intermediary body helping us work towards equality for disabled people in Scotland.


The Draft Budget 2017-18 has a range of implications for gender equality.

Our investment in health and social care enables adult care workers to receive the Living Wage - a development that will impact positively on women who are more likely to fill these roles.

In terms of sport, a Gender Equality in Sport Fund will be developed in order to address the barriers specific to women's participation.

In order to reduce gender under-representation in some college and undergraduate courses, the Scottish Funding Council will continue to implement its Gender Action Plan which sets out the actions they will undertake in collaboration with key partners.

The Draft Budget's continuing investment to tackle violence against women and girls ( VAWG), through both the Equality and Justice Budgets, will have an ongoing and positive impact on women and young people. We will introduce a Bill that makes domestic abuse a specific offence and deliver the final year of the First Minister's commitment to invest in services to support victims of violence and sexual assault. Our national VAWG strategy will help ensure that early intervention prevents violence and maximises the safety and wellbeing of women, children and young people. This work will also help address deep-rooted structural inequalities to enable women and girls to thrive as equal citizens.

The Scottish Government's More Homes Scotland approach will deliver 35,000 affordable homes in the social rented sector, which is a particularly important tenure for lone parents, the large majority of whom are women.

Delivery against the Programme for Government 2016-17 commitment to establish a Women's Advisory Council to celebrate achievements and further promote gender equality in Scotland will also be possible as a result of the Draft Budget. In addition to continuing to champion our Partnership for Change 50/50 by 2020 campaign, efforts to increase the number of women on Boards will be assisted by the introduction of legislation for gender balance on public sector Boards.

The Equality Budget also supports intermediary bodies which help us work towards gender equality - Engender, Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women's Aid and the Scottish Women's Convention.


The Draft Budget 2017-18 has a range of implications for race equality.

The Equality Budget will help to implement the Race Equality Framework which sets out a long-term partnership approach for promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality from 2016-2030. The framework is based on partnership, but the resources set out in this budget will assist the Scottish Government in delivering its commitments. Resource will also underpin engagement with Gypsy Traveller people which will inform strategic work in 2017 to address specific community issues.

Scotland is proud to have received around 1,250 Syrian refugees under the Syrian Resettlement Programme since October 2015. Resource will enable us to meet our commitment to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Scotland by assisting with the ongoing integration of refugees and supporting them to rebuild their lives in our communities.

Investment in third sector organisations is being maintained in 2017-18 to deliver early intervention and prevention work to children, adults and families. Funding includes support for organisations that work with minority ethnic communities.

The Equality Budget also supports intermediary bodies which help us work towards racial equality - BEMIS, the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations ( CEMVO), and the Scottish Refugee Council.

Religion and Belief

The Equality Budget will continue to fund a range of activity to support faith groups, including tackling discrimination. This includes funding for Interfaith Scotland - a key intermediary body.

Building on the progress made towards more inclusive communities and working across religious and cultural boundaries, work to support interfaith dialogue will continue. This will be informed by an interfaith summit in 2017, which will help support greater community cohesion.

The Scottish Government will continue to fund work with faith groups and others to tackle extremism and hate crime. Support for the implementation of the recommendations by the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion will help advance equality and tackle prejudice and discrimination.

Time-limited funding for sectarianism community projects within the Safer and Stronger Communities budget ends in 2016-17, but the Justice Portfolio will continue to take forward and embed the learning from these along with the recommendations of the independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland; and we will continue to take a stand against sectarianism wherever it exists.

The Scottish Government has created a new space for prayer and ablution, meeting particular faith needs of staff in our Glasgow office. We will look to expand this provision into our other buildings, wherever there is suitable space.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex

The Equality Budget will help to build on the progress made on equality for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people which will contribute to maintaining Scotland's position as one of the most LGBTI-progressive countries in Europe. Specifically, it will help us take forward the reform of gender recognition legislation as set out in the Programme for Government 2016-17.

The Draft Budget's investment in mental health will have a positive impact for LGBTI people who have higher rates of attempted suicide, self-harm, depression and anxiety.

To encourage the removal of barriers to participation in sport, including those for women and LGBTI people, an Equality in Sport and Physical Activity Forum will be established. Although sports and legacy funding will be reduced for 2017-18, any negative impact for LGBTI people will be mitigated through the Scottish LGBTI Sports Charter, which ensures that funding for all sports includes conditions on specific actions to tackle LGBTI discrimination.

Tackling hate crime across Scotland continues to be a top priority for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Equalities and Justice portfolios. This is an issue that crosses all protected characteristics with exception of age and gender.

The Equality Budget also supports intermediary bodies which help us work towards LGBTI equality - the Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland, the Scottish Transgender Alliance and Stonewall Scotland.


A range of support in the Draft Budget 2017-18 supports those on low incomes.

Enhanced provision of fully-funded childcare will help parents in low-income households who are seeking to return to work by removing the burden of upfront childcare costs. This will also promote gender equality by providing greater opportunities for women to enter the labour market.

The Education Maintenance Allowance ( EMA) programme, expanded in January 2016, will continue to support school pupils and college students from low-income households to overcome financial barriers in order to continue their studies and fulfil their potential. Over a third of EMA recipients in 2014-15 were living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland.

The investment in 35,000 homes for social rent should help less-well-off households, as the lower rents in this sector play an important role in limiting poverty.

In 2017-18, the total Regeneration Budget has increased and will continue to be focused on supporting regeneration in disadvantaged areas, with a particular emphasis on projects that engage and involve local people.

Our Empowering Communities Fund is supporting over 300 community organisations to deliver locally-identified priorities to tackle poverty and inequality in a responsive way. We have also created an Aspiring Communities Fund which will support communities to work collaboratively with partners to accelerate the design and delivery of community-led initiatives that tackle poverty, inequality and exclusion.

The Draft Budget's continuing investment in crisis support and help to live independently continues to be significant for those on low incomes. The Scottish Welfare Fund ( SWF) is a national grant scheme that provides Crisis Grants to help those facing disaster or emergency situations, and Community Care Grants to help people live independently. To date, 164,000 low-income households have been supported, including more than 54,000 households with children.

Our investments in energy efficiency are crucial for those on low incomes. Ninety-two per cent of households with weekly incomes of less than £200 were in fuel poverty in 2015.

The third sector plays a vital role in helping to advance equality and in supporting communities most impacted by discrimination and disadvantage. The Third Sector Budget of £24.5 million has protected our funding support to the sector.

Ring-fenced Educational Attainment funding, as included in the local government settlement, will be targeted at closing the poverty-related attainment gap in education.

The package of council tax reforms includes the lifting of the council tax freeze and a 25 per cent increase to the child allowance within the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, benefiting up to 77,000 households by an average of £173 per year and helping nearly 140,000 children. This is particularly likely to benefit those from more socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The income tax policy proposal is protecting low-and middle-income taxpayers, and raising additional revenue for the delivery and support of public services in Scotland.

On transport, because of our funding of the ScotRail franchise, reduced rail fares will be available for job seekers and the newly employed on all routes. Our record level of investment in active travel will be maintained, helping those who live in less affluent communities where car ownership is lower and levels of walking tend to be higher.

The National Collections provide free access to the collections for the public. This enables participation for those on low incomes, of whom women, disabled people and some minority ethnic groups are disproportionately represented.

Our public sector pay policy, published alongside the Draft Budget, is aimed at being fair and affordable, targeting support at the lowest paid, many of whom are women, and maintaining our commitment to the Living Wage.


Email: Paul Tyrer

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