Programme for Government 2015 to 2016

Programme for Government 2015-16, setting out the legislation for the coming year.

Foreword By The First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon

Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP
First Minister of Scotland

The Programme for Government that we are publishing today builds on a strong record of achievement - it sets out actions for the coming year and a clear vision for the coming decade.

At its centre is a commitment to introduce an Improvement Framework for schools, to help us drive up attainment in all schools, and to close the attainment gap. We aim to ensure that children in all parts of Scotland - whether in our least or our most affluent areas - have a fair chance to flourish.

That ambition encapsulates the themes which run through this document. We want to create a fairer and more prosperous nation, in which opportunities are open to everyone and where because of that, everyone is able to contribute their talent, skill and commitment.

We will make Scotland the best place in the UK to do business - not through a race to the bottom, but by focusing on innovation, skills and productivity.

We will create a fairer country. We will promote a proper living wage, fair work and use new powers to improve the welfare system, mitigating some of the worst impacts of the UK Government's cuts.

And as part of our work to achieve those aims, we will begin the next phase of public service reform - for example by making our unified police service more responsive to the needs of local communities, and transforming primary health care.

The Programme also sets out the legislation we will introduce over the coming year. We will introduce a bill to tackle Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm. The Burial and Cremation Bill will meet public concerns, and implement the recommendations of Lord Bonomy's Report on Infant Cremation. The Private Tenancies Bill provides tenants with protection against excessive rent rises, while also giving clear rights and safeguards to landlords.

And the Programme sets out how we intend to use the additional powers which are due to come to the Scottish Parliament. We will take the first steps to delivery of a new social security system and abolish the bedroom tax as soon as we have the power to do so. We will reduce Air Passenger Duty - boosting connectivity and supporting businesses. And we will abolish fees for employment tribunals - ensuring that employees have a fair opportunity to have their case heard.

Finally, the Programme for Government sets out our approach to government. I am committed to leading the most accessible Government this country has ever had and I want to ensure that we build on the sense of engagement and enthusiasm that we saw - from both sides of the debate - during last year's referendum. So we will help people to have a bigger say in the decisions that affect them most. During the next year we will consult on legislation to give greater power to our island communities, and invest in our Empowering Communities Fund.

Overall, this Programme for Government demonstrates how enduring values - a belief in enterprise, a faith in the importance of education, a commitment to fairness, equality and solidarity, and a passion for democratic engagement - are being applied to make Scotland a fairer and more prosperous country. It shows how this Government intends to achieve our vision for Scotland's future.

Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP
First Minister of Scotland


Email: Cabinet Secretariat,

Back to top