The Scottish Government’s new Programme for Government 2017/18 has been welcomed by local MSP Stuart McMillan. An ambitious programme, the Scottish Government plans to introduce 16 new bills ranging from tackling Climate Change to reforming the planning sector and removing the 1% pay cap on public sector workers.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced this bold legislative programme while speaking during the first parliamentary debate of the session following the Scottish Parliament’s summer recess. On top of dealing with the ramifications of Brexit and the Universal Credit roll out, the Scottish Government is pushing forward with delivering for the people of Scotland across many key areas, while carrying forward 10 bills from the previous session.
Speaking following the first day of the three day debate on the Government’s legislative programme, Greenock and Inverclyde MSP said, “I very much welcome this bold and ambitious Programme for Government. A subject which I have been very close to and raised on numerous occasions, most recently during First Minister’s Questions in February, is the issue of drug driving. After receiving an assurance form the First Minister that her government would legislate in this area, I am delighted that it has featured in today’s programme.
‘In 2014, the Scottish Government prioritised introducing a lower drink drive limit to help save lives on our roads. This year, subject to the UK Government commencing the relevant enabling legislation, it will introduce secondary legislation for a new drug driving offence, which would come into force in 2019, once training and necessary technical approvals for testing equipment are in place. When the new offence is in force, alongside the lower drink drive limit, Scotland will have the most stringent drink and drug driving laws in the UK.
‘This Programme for Government, which will legislate on climate change, planning, safe staffing within the NHS workforce, while also ending the 1% public pay sector freeze, will build upon the Scottish Government’s achievements over the past 10 years. Just yesterday, we saw the official opening of the Queensferry Crossing, delivered under budget which has been a key infrastructure project by this Government, sustaining thousands of jobs over the past 6 years.
‘I am also pleased that the Government will introduce ‘Frank’s Law’ – meaning free personal care would be extended to those under the age of 65 who have dementia and other degenerative conditions. Showing that we can right grievous wrongs, a new law will be introduce to automatically pardon anyone convicted of homosexual offences in the past. Further, the Government will continue to reform the education system in Scotland, with plans including the transfer of significant new powers to head teachers.
‘I am proud of this SNP Scottish Government’s achievements over the past 10 years and look forward to working on many of the new bills as they pass through the Scottish Parliament’s committees. To find out about more about the full legislative programme, please visit: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/09/8468/3.