‘BOLD, AMBITIOUS AND PROGRESSIVE’ VISION FOR A STRONGER SCOTLAND

SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Aileen McLeod has welcomed the First Minister’s Programme for Government as a ‘bold, ambitious and progressive’ vision for a stronger Scotland and one which will build on the SNP’s record of delivery and success in government over the last eight years. 

The programme set out by Nicola Sturgeon today puts education at the heart of the Scottish Government’s efforts to make Scotland a fairer country with the announcement of a new National Improvement Framework to tackle the gap in attainment and the introduction of new national standardised assessments.
The First Minister also set out plans to deliver further support for small and medium sized enterprises in Scotland with a new fund of £40m to provide loans of up to £100,000 and equity investment of up to £2m.
The Programme for Government also sets out a range of measures to take forward the Scottish Government’s commitment to making Scotland a fairer, more equal nation , including extending the duty on public authorities to publish information on the gender pay gap, consulting on a Social Security Bill and ensuring that kinship carers receive the same level of support as foster carers. 
Aileen said:
“I warmly welcome the Programme for Government announced today, which is a commitment to build on the SNP’s successes in government with education at the heart of the Scottish Government’s plans to make Scotland a fairer society. 
“I am encouraged by the First Minister’s relentless focus on reducing the attainment gap and today’s announcement of a new National Improvement Framework and national standardised assessments will allow us to drive further improvements in our education system, increase support for teachers and ensure young people from all backgrounds get the first-class education they deserve.
“The First Minister has always been clear that a fairer society and a strong economy go hand in hand, which is why today’s announcement of a new £40m fund to support SMEs is particularly welcome.  SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy and particularly important to Dumfries & Galloway’s economy and this new investment will build on the Scottish Government’s long-standing support through the Small Business Bonus. 
“The Programme for Government also guarantees that Kinship Carers will receive the same level of support as foster carers and sets out plans to tackle the gender pay gap, extending the duty on public authorities to publish information on pay.
“And while the powers in the Scotland Bill fall far short of what was promised in the referendum, the announcement of a consultation on a Bill to put in place the infrastructure for a new Scottish social security system is confirmation of the Scottish Government’s intention to continue to use all available powers to protect and empower people who need support, in stark contrast to the UK Government’s approach.
“Despite continued austerity from the UK Government, the SNP has a strong record of delivery and success. With this bold, ambitious and progressive vision, Nicola Sturgeon has made clear the SNP’s commitment to build on this progress, to continue to use every lever at our disposal to meet the aspirations of the people of Scotland and make our country a fairer and more prosperous place for all of our citizens.”
Notes to editors:
The full Programme for Government can be found here:

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