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FM on Queen's Speech

Published: 18 May 2016 15:38

UK Government programme highlights “divergent priorities”.

Commenting on today's UK Government programme outlined in the Queen's Speech at Westminster, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

"As I have made clear, the Scottish Government is willing to work with the UK Government on areas of common interest and where we can come up with constructive solutions to problems that we both face.

"However, there are evidently areas of fundamental disagreement between us – and the legislative programme set out in The Queen's Speech today could not demonstrate more clearly the divergent priorities of the two governments.

"The recent election victory has given me a mandate to lead a government with a progressive agenda, and indeed the wider make-up of the Scottish Parliament reflects that progressive view. This approach is at odds with the programme announced today by the UK Government that remains narrowly and obsessively focused on an agenda of austerity and does little to mitigate the policy's damaging effects.

"Continued austerity is doing nothing to help the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society and I am dismayed that there is no mention at all of how the UK Government intends to ensure our social security system is fair and fit for purpose so that we can provide a basic level of help for those who need it. Indeed, all of the signals on this issue point towards yet more cuts to welfare.

The First Minister added:

"The Scottish Government is firmly opposed to Trident and its proposed renewal - but the UK Government has today confirmed that, at the same time they are pressing ahead with austerity they remain committed to spending an obscene amount of money on a new generation of nuclear weapons based in Scotland. Nothing could more starkly demonstrate the different paths of the two governments.

"The Queen's Speech also confirms that the UK Government intends to press ahead with plans to repeal the Human Rights Act. I have made clear that the Scottish Government opposes any weakening of human rights protections – not just in Scotland, but across the whole of the UK. My administration has been elected to take forward a progressive agenda - embedding human rights in everything we do, not seeking to erode safeguards which matter to everyone in society. And I have also made clear that UK legislation which attacks human rights cannot expect consent from the Scottish Parliament.

"However, I welcome the suggestion that UK ministers will work in co-operation with the devolved governments on matters of shared interest. Although we do not believe the Scotland Act has delivered in full what was agreed in the Smith Commission proposals, we welcome the additional powers and will work constructively with the UK Government to transfer them to the Scottish Parliament to allow us to use them to help improve the lives of everyone living in Scotland."