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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Third sector welcomes Scottish Government plans

This news post is almost 7 years old

Examining a basic income scheme, ending the sale of new petrol cars in 2032 and £50 million to tackle child poverty have been proposed

Charities have welcomed wide-ranging new legislation which has been laid out by the Scottish Government.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined her Programme for Government this week, which details the government's plans for the coming year.

A total of 16 bills were announced in what the SNP leader has claimed is her party’s ‘most ambitious plan ever’.

Highlights for the sector include a new fund to examine the feasibility of a citizen’s basic income scheme and opposing a withdrawal from the Human Rights Act or the European Convention on Human Rights.

"After a decade in office, the First Minister herself acknowledged that it was time to inject some fresh ideas in to Scottish Government thinking," said Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) deputy chief executive Lucy McTernan. "While there are certainly some welcome steps in that direction today, we now need concrete action to back up the warm rhetoric and deliver the dynamic and radical changes we know are desperately needed to take the country forward.

“SCVO have long supported pilot schemes to explore the workings of a Citizens’ Basic Income and we welcome the establishment of a new fund to encourage local authorities to do this. This puts Scotland in a select group of pioneering countries and will give us a better understanding of how a minimum income can tackle poverty and help people contribute in different ways at different times – whether as carers, innovators or volunteers."

Legislation to be introduced includes the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans being phased out in Scotland by 2032 and a new £10 million a year fund has been proposed in a bid to end homelessness.

WWF Scotland’s Gina Hanrahan said the measures announced had put Scotland’s low carbon economy in the driving seat.

She said: “Decarbonising our transport sector in 15 years will create new jobs, cut emissions and clean up our polluted air. This announcement will help accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and sets us up to lead the technologies of the future.”

A new climate change bill will be introduced and a deposit return scheme brought in for plastic bottles.

Helen Todd, chair of Scottish Environment Link, said: “We hope that this programme for government will mark the beginning of even further bold action to make our vision for a sustainable and low carbon Scotland a reality.”

The Poverty Alliance highlighted a commitment to place the Poverty and Inequality Commission on statute, which it said would guarantee its independence but also act as a driver for policy innovation and change.

Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “There is also an urgent need to do more to address fuel poverty and homelessness, so we welcome commitments to bring forward new legislation in these areas. It is vital that real action is taken to address critical areas. ”

Homeless Action Scotland’s chief executive Gavin Yates said: “We asked before the weekend for a genuine commitment to end rough sleeping and £50m over five years certainly shows intent.

“As always the devil will be in the detail but my organisation continues to be happy to be part of a solution to end every aspect of homelessness and we will work with the Scottish Government and others to make it happen.”

The first minister said that the child poverty bill - which sets statutory targets to tackle child poverty - will also complete its parliamentary passage later this year. A £50m fund has been created to tackle child poverty and an additional £20 million will be pumped into drug and alcohol services.

John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: “It’s good to see the government look seriously at the potential impact and suitability of using powers to top up benefits, for example child benefit, to alleviate child poverty. Expert modelling suggests just a £5 a week top up to child benefit would lift 30 000 children out of poverty, and the idea has the support of children’s charities, faith groups, unions and the Children’s Commissioner amongst many others. With child poverty on the rise there is no time to lose in making this investment.”

Legislation which will pardon those convicted of same-sex offences before laws against homosexuality – dubbed the Turing Law – was also revealed.

Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “This will provide justice for gay and bi men convicted of historic offences and we are keen to see the details of these proposals and to work with Scottish Government to get the best possible solution for those affected. We are also of the view that this is a clear opportunity for the Scottish Government to make an unequivocal apology to all those affected, those convicted, and their loved ones. This would help many draw a line, once and for all, under a dark period in our history.”

Whilst appearing to back away from holding an independence referendum anytime in the near future, the first minister said she would begin to set out the case for further extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament in areas such as immigration, social security, employment rights and trade.



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almost 7 years ago
"Third sector welcomes Scottish Government plans". No, not exactly. A more accurate headline would have been "Selected sock puppets who we contacted for a quote welcome Scottish Government plans"
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Elizabeth McGlone
almost 7 years ago
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