Programme for Government 2023 to 2024

Focuses on equality, opportunity and community.

Greener, Fairer Scotland

Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights

Patrick Harvie MSP

Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

Lorna Slater MSP

The Bute House Agreement is about doing politics differently, working together to build a better Scotland and to rise to the challenges of the climate and nature emergencies.

As Green Ministers we are proud of the benefits that this collaborative approach to politics and governance is bringing to the people of Scotland. After two years of the Bute House Agreement those benefits are increasingly clear. Over 650,000 young people in Scotland are already enjoying free bus travel. Households are benefiting from one of the most generous grants in the UK to improve their homes and cut their emissions. And our record investment in cycling and walking infrastructure, recycling services, and restoring our natural environment is improving communities and lives across Scotland.

The Agreement also stands as a contrast to the polarised and often toxic politics seen elsewhere; two parties working together where they share common ground while respecting their differences, providing stable government and taking forward the progressive policies that are the hallmark of responsible government.

The First Minister’s Policy Prospectus in April cemented a shared policy programme for this parliamentary term that is led by five key priorities:

  • Ensure that Scotland leads the way in tackling the climate emergency – in how we heat our homes, travel day-to-day and use our land.
  • Embed fairness in how workplaces are managed, how the housing market works, and in how some of the most marginalised people in our society are treated.
  • Reverse decades of damage to the natural world on land and sea by helping nature fight back.
  • Reshape the way decisions are made – setting out a new relationship with Local Government and offering new opportunities for communities to control their own futures.
  • Build an economy which harnesses the enormous potential which Scotland has in natural resources, skills and talents.

These priorities and the policies within the shared policy programme run throughout this Programme for Government and, within our own portfolios, we will continue to lead on the delivery of a wide range of key policies, including:

  • Accelerate the transition towards a circular economy through the Circular Economy Bill and Recycling Improvement Fund, which will improve recycling and reuse services across Scotland.
  • Publish a new biodiversity strategy and delivery plan, and support Scotland’s precious wildlife and habitats through our Nature Restoration Fund.
  • Consult on draft proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill to accelerate the transition to zero carbon homes as a significant part of a new draft climate plan.
  • Create more opportunities to acquire the green skills that our economy and workers need to thrive and transition to net zero, supported by an updated Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan.
  • Build on our commitment for a New Deal for Tenants, with a new Housing Bill to continue reform of the rented sector and introduce long term rent controls.

As Green Ministers we will also work with colleagues across government and with our wider Green MSP group on key issues that cut across this Programme for Government. Critically, this includes the development of the forthcoming draft climate plan, our work to tackle poverty and inequality, and continuing to outline the case for Scottish independence through the Building a New Scotland prospectus series. It also includes many other policy priorities this government is taking forward: safer access to abortion services, action on the blight of single-use vapes, supporting community-led rural housing, continuing to deliver a progressive tax system, further extending free school meals and addressing costs of the school day, piloting the removal of peak-time fares on the railways, restoring ancient and native woodlands, defending the rights of marginalised people facing hate and discrimination, and many of the other priorities running through this document.

The Bute House Agreement and this Programme for Government demonstrate the value of two parties working together: showing leadership on climate and nature, building a fairer Scotland, and demonstrating that grown‑up, collaborative politics is where government should be.



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