The Scottish government today set out its new Programme for Government. Some key points relevant to the Citizens Advice network in Scotland and its clients are:
Publication of the Social Security Charter due this parliamentary year. Social Security Scotland, the new agency, will deliver its first payments this month (through the Carer’s Allowance Supplement), and in 2019 the first payments of the Young Carer Grant will be made. Payments from the Best Start Grant will be made from this Christmas. The government will also establish the Scottish Commission on Social Security to scrutinise the new system.
The government’s joint commitment with COSLA to remove burial and cremation fees for those aged under 18 will be implemented by the end of 2018.
£1m investment in Affordable Credit Fund, working with the Carnegie UK Trust to reduce the ‘poverty premium’ that low-income households often have to pay.
£600m investment for all homes to have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2021.
A bill will be introduced to establish a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency, and a Rural Economy Action Plan will be developed, with measures to increase the numbers living and working in rural Scotland, and to improve connectivity to encourage innovative delivery of public services. Work on a crofting bill will be brought forward, and a national islands plan will be prepared in the year ahead.
An additional £2 million of funding will be provided to tackle food insecurity among children.
The government will establish a new statutory consumer body.
The government will roll out the electrification of Scotland’s roads with 1500 new charge points and £20 million to help people and businesses switch to electric vehicles.
They will also aim to reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint with 500 new ultra-low emission vehicles in the public sector and over 100 new green buses.
Ministers will report on our progress later this year and publish the first Annual Report on our Strategy in early 2019.
Publicly-owned Energy company:
The government will continue to work to deliver a publicly-owned not-for-profit energy company by 2021 to support our efforts to tackle fuel poverty, and will consult on their preferred model later this year.