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Scottish Government to unveil final programme before 2016 election

Published 30/08/2015

Nicola Sturgeon said the programme will build on progress in public services, the economy and making Scotland fairer
Nicola Sturgeon said the programme will build on progress in public services, the economy and making Scotland fairer

The Scottish Government will outline its final programme before the 2016 Holyrood election on Tuesday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the programme, unveiled when parliament resumes after summer recess, will build on progress in public services, the economy and making Scotland fairer.

She said the "bold and ambitious" plan will also set out how ministers will use the new powers proposed in the Scotland Bill.

Scottish Labour demanded the administration address what it describes as a looming crisis in GP recruitment and the controversies surrounding Police Scotland.

The Liberal Democrats also pressed for action on policing while the Conservatives said ensuring every Scottish child can read and write should be the priority - not another independence referendum.

Ahead of the publication, Ms Sturgeon said that since 2007 the Government had overseen record levels of employment among young people and women, the construction of 55,000 affordable homes, and had protected and improved public services.

She said: "These achievements have laid down a solid foundation for a stronger Scotland, but there is more we can do. The Scottish Government will use the new powers proposed in the Scotland Bill creatively and wisely and I will begin to set out how we will go about doing so.

"As we enter the final parliamentary session of this current term, the programme for government will build on our progress and set out how we will continue to deliver for people right across Scotland, making the country wealthier and fairer and protecting the public services that we all cherish."

Labour said it was time SNP ministers got back to business.

Public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: "In the middle of the summer, the level of the SNP government's competence was questioned when we learned about delays to local capital projects like schools.

"Last week it was revealed that Scotland has been denied over £45 million in EU support for vulnerable people because the SNP Government botched the administration of the scheme.

"This week oil fell to less than 50 US dollars a barrel - prices we haven't seen since the global financial crisis. With thousands of jobs lost in Scotland already, the SNP Government need to deliver a long term strategy to reassure the industry, and commit to future, regular bulletins which focus on jobs.

"There's plenty for the SNP Government to deal with now that they are back to work, so let's see some action, not just warm words."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "The Scottish Government need to sort out the mess of Police Scotland. They need to make space in their programme for urgent changes.

"We need to return to police by consent where communities feel ownership of the police service in their area whilst pooling resources for specialist units and services.

"This will help to restore the confidence of the public and the morale of police officers and civilian staff."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson called on the Government to commit to ensuring every child leaves primary school able to read and write well.

Ms Davidson said: "We already know that the Scottish Government has been diverted away from our schools and onto the constitution over the last eight years.

"The direct consequence of that is falling literacy standards and falling levels of satisfaction with our schools.

"We need far greater focus on literacy in our teaching training colleges as well as more importance placed on it in the classroom.

"Nicola Sturgeon may want to wait for the right chance to take us back to a referendum. But Scotland can't afford to wait."

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