The Scottish Government's Response
The Fairer Scotland conversation has already informed the Scottish Government's thinking in many ways. It helped develop our ideas ahead of the election and was reflected in the first Programme for Government published in September. New economic and fairness priorities have already been set out for the new government:
- the First Minister has said that 'the Scottish Government has a plan... to build a more prosperous nation with a dynamic, sustainable and inclusive economy, with public services that put people's needs first, and where every individual has true equality of opportunity';
- a consultation on the first Scottish Social Security Bill, which will make a big difference
to how social security is delivered in Scotland, was launched in July; and,
- in August, we launched a consultation on a Child Poverty Bill, which contains proposals for ambitious income targets for eradicating child poverty by 2030.
While the Fairer Scotland conversations have had the strongest influence on this plan, other sources have also been very useful. The commitments in the plan reflect: our ambitions set out in our Economic and Labour Market strategies to develop a more dynamic, sustainable and inclusive economy; the thinking of the independent Fair Work Convention and its framework; 'Shifting the Curve' (January 2016) 3 , the report by the Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality; and 'Dignity: Ending Hunger Together in Scotland' 4 , the report of the Independent Working Group on Food Poverty. We will respond to the Group's recommendations following the publication of this report. We said that we would implement the Independent Advisor's report in full and we will do so: our response to all the advisor's recommendations is set out in detail in Annex B.
In proposing 50 actions for a fairer Scotland, the Scottish Government is working to meet its wider equality, human rights and sustainable development goal obligations. Bold, positive measures are needed to achieve equality for all and we have outlined some of the specific actions we are taking here. The Action Plan also responds to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report 'Is Scotland Fairer' (February 2016), which sets out a number of key challenges for Scotland to address.
Finally, we have looked to the Poverty and Fairness Commissions that have been set up by local authorities - and have read their reports with great interest. Some of the pledges included in the plan build on the work of these commissions.
All these inputs - and more - have helped shape thinking for this report.