Fifty actions to achieve a fairer Scotland
£29M programme for innovative poverty measures part of Fairer Scotland Action Plan
Fifty bold and ambitious actions to achieve a fairer Scotland for everyone have been outlined in a landmark plan published today by Communities Secretary Angela Constance.
A £29 million programme, including £12.5m from the European Social Fund, is being established for communities and the third sector to design, test and deliver new approaches to tackling poverty and improving lives.
The Fairer Scotland Action Plan (FSAP) lists 50 actions to be achieved in the next 14 years under five themes of a fairer Scotland for all, an end to child poverty, a strong start for all young people, fairer working lives and a thriving third age:
- setting a target for councils to make at least 1% of their budgets available for community-designed projects
- making funds available to support disabled people running for elected office
- helping refugee families settling in Scotland under Family Reunion rules access grants as quickly as possible
- delivering 100% superfast broadband and helping low-income households reduce costs
- convening an affordable energy summit
- the first national plan for BSL
- help to promote family-friendly working
- introducing a Bill to establish domestic abuse as a specific offence.
And for the first time anywhere in the UK, the FSAP commits the Scottish Government, councils and other public bodies to a Socio-Economic Duty – assessing the impact certain policy or service changes will have on tackling poverty – which will soon go to consultation.
Already backed by specific pledges from some of Scotland’s best-known employers and third sector bodies, the plan was launched at the Prince’s Trust’s Glasgow headquarters, where Communities Secretary Angela Constance joined in a workshop with local teenagers.
Ms Constance said:
“Our ambition is for a fair, smart, inclusive Scotland with genuine equality of opportunity for everyone.
“Our Fairer Scotland Action Plan backs up that ambition with concrete action.
“It contains 50 specific steps to create a more equal society – including eradicating child poverty – and a new £29 million programme to tackle poverty.
“We are also the first in the UK to commit to making all public bodies consider how our big decisions tackle poverty, by implementing a socio-economic duty.
“In addition, some of our best-known employers are joining us in these efforts by signing pledges to do more. They see it’s not only the right thing to do but also good business.
“This is a watershed moment in Scotland and a significant milestone in our quest for equality.
“Through these bold and ambitious steps, Scotland will be a fairer, more equal country for everyone by 2030.”
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:
“The Fairer Scotland Action Plan’s new £29 million programme, which has secured £12.5m from the European Social Fund, will enable communities and the third sector to develop and deliver innovative solutions to poverty and disadvantage.
“We all know that in June, Scotland voted to remain in the EU and the Scottish Government firmly believes that membership delivers many social, economic and cultural benefits for individuals, business and communities.
“This investment from the European Structural Funds is yet another illustration of these advantages and is why maintaining our EU membership and preserving this kind of funding for the long term is a top priority.”
Allan Watt, Prince’s Trust Scotland, Director, said:
“Too many young people lose hope and leave school or college with few qualifications, low levels of confidence and low aspirations for the future. An important focus of our Fairer Scotland pledge is to help close the education attainment gap for disadvantaged young people.
“The Prince’s Trust’s new education programme, Achieve, will support those young people by giving them more chances and opportunities to change their lives.”
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive of Virgin Money, which has pledged in the plan, said:
“The publication of the Scottish Government’s “Fairer Scotland Action Plan” is a timely challenge to us all to do our bit to make Scotland a fairer place in which to live and work.
“I firmly believe that businesses as well as individuals have a key role to play in this movement. I fully support the Scottish Government for taking this positive step forward.”
Jim Sweeney MBE, YouthLink Chief Executive, said:
“YouthLink Scotland, the National Agency for Youth Work in Scotland, are delighted to support disseminate and contribute to the Action Plan for A Fairer Scotland.
“With our hundred plus member organisations and networks we will promote equality and diversity, rights and participation for the 400,000 young people involved with youth work on a regular basis.”
For more details, please see www.gov.scot/FairerScotland.
The Fairer Scotland Action Plan builds on a number steps already taken by the Scottish Government to increase equality of opportunity and tackle poverty, such as providing free school meals for all children in P1-P3; providing people with more sustainable access to affordable and healthy food; expanding funding of early learning and childcare; reducing the attainment gap in schools; promoting the living wage and delivering 50,000 affordable homes, with 35,000 for social rent, over the next 5 years. A consultation is also currently underway looking for views on benefits being devolved to Scotland, as well as how they are delivered: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/social-security/social-security-in-scotland. The Social Security consultation is looking for views on benefits being devolved to Scotland, as well as how they are delivered