Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has given his backing to the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, hailing the ambitious plan as “good news for Renfrewshire.”
Mr Mackay, who also serves as Scotland’s Finance Secretary, believes the announcements made by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will benefit all local people.
The First Minister outlined the Government’s priorities to Parliament on Tuesday, 5th September 2017, with an Education Bill taking centre stage in the legislative programme, with major reforms also taking place in health and justice, as well as a review of local democracy.
Plans for a Scottish National Investment Bank and action to phase out the need for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 were also revealed.
Other measures within the Programme for Government include:
- support for key business sectors including low carbon, screen, manufacturing and financial technology
- extending free personal care to all those under 65 who need it, known as ‘Frank’s Law’
- rolling out new social security powers as part of a package of measures to tackle inequality, child poverty, end rough sleeping, reduce drug deaths and provide free sanitary protection to students in school, college and university
- extending the presumption against short prison sentences to 12 months to break the cycle of offending and encourage the greater use of more effective community sentences
- record investment in the NHS and a pledge to lift the public sector pay cap for NHS and other public sector workers
- doubling the provision of free childcare
- Improving public health with action on air quality, increased investment in active travel and measures to restrict the advertising of fatty and sugary food and drink
- a discussion paper on the use of income tax in Scotland to support public services
Derek Mackay MSP said: “This is the most ambitious plan ever to be brought forward by a Scottish Government, and one which I believe will benefit all of Renfrewshire.
“It has been a successful ten years in Government for the SNP, however, after a decade in office it is important that we continue to redouble our efforts and refresh the agenda to meet modern challenges.
“The Programme for Government which we have brought forward is good news for Renfrewshire and includes legislation which will benefit local people for decades to come, with announcements on active travel, extending free personal care and changes to the way in which our local schools are run.
“Creating a new criminal offence of drug driving, which will come into force in 2019, will help tackle this increasing threat and make Renfrewshire’s roads safer for all.
“Measures announced to restrict the marketing of foods high in fat, sugar or salt will see Scotland take the lead on this ever growing issue. A ban will go a long way in our battle against obesity, particularly in young people, and it is encouraging to see people such as Jamie Oliver back these plans.
“We have also been very clear that public sector workers deserve a fairer pay deal, and I am pleased that from next year public sector pay in Scotland will no longer be restricted by the current 1% pay cap. We will look to deliver a pay policy that is both affordable and recognises the real life circumstances of our hard working public sector workers.
“I have been pleased, but not surprised, by the positive reaction from stakeholders to the programme announced with Friends of the Earth hailing it the “greenest ever programme for government”.
“The policies and legislation set out are bold and ambitious, and I look forward to playing my part in delivering changes which will improve local people’s day to day for years to come.”