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Programme for Scotland
First Minister Alex Salmond today set out the Scottish Government's programme for the coming year.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, the FM outlined the Government's priorities contained in the document 'Towards a More Successful Scotland'.
Mr Salmond said that action - both legislative and non-legislative - would build on the efforts of the past year in protecting and creating jobs, supporting communities and investing in the education, skills and industries for Scotland's recovery and future success.
The 13 proposed bills include plans to tackle alcohol misuse, allow for the construction of a vital new Forth Crossing, end the right-to-buy for all new social housing, and pave the way for a referendum to allow the people of Scotland a free and fair choice on the country's constitutional future.
The FM said:
"Economic recovery is central to our programme for the year ahead. We are determined - in all we do - to support jobs and communities across the country in these tough economic times, building on our strong record of delivering for the people of Scotland.
"With £500 million being cut from the Scottish Budget by the UK Government next year, the circumstances in which we operate will become more trying.
"But none of this diminishes our determination or ambition for Scotland. Over the past year we have implemented an Economic Recovery Plan to support 15,000 jobs. We have outlined a £35 billion infrastructure investment over the next decade, and we have accelerated £350 million of capital spending to support jobs and projects across Scotland.
"This year's programme focuses on many of the fundamental challenges we face as a society, as well as raising the ambitions of the people of Scotland. Our plans will see us make sure that opportunity is shared throughout society and in all corners of our nation so that no one, and no part of the country, is left behind.
"This year will see us bring forward a number of important bills which, with Parliament's support, will make it easier for all of Scotland to grow and flourish in the future.
"The Forth Crossing Bill will enable us to deliver a once in a generation infrastructure project that is crucial to our economic future.
"Social housing provides a secure and sustainable alternative to home ownership for 600,000 households in Scotland. Our Housing Bill will safeguard that housing for future generations by ending the right-to-buy for all new-supply social housing.
"Alcohol misuse costs Scotland £2.25 billion a year in extra services and lost productivity - nearly one-tenth of Scotland's annual budget. A Bill to Tackle Alcohol Misuse will introduce innovative measures to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm, with a minimum pricing policy at its cornerstone.
"And just as we are working to earn the trust of the people, we also have trust in the people of Scotland's desire for a more modern partnership with the other nations on these Isles. We believe in giving the people that choice, in a referendum on Scotland's constitutional future.
"We will be asking Parliament to show the same trust in the people by supporting our Referendum Bill. Independence is the key to unlocking Scotland's full potential and giving our nation the best opportunity for prosperity. Independence is at the very heart of our nation's future success, and giving Scotland the chance to choose the economic levers that come with independence has never been more relevant or urgent.
"Our Programme builds on the many achievements of our first two years. From 1,000 additional police officers in our communities - achieving a record high of 17,278 - to helping 1,500 households getting on the housing ladder through the shared equity scheme; and putting Scotland at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change through our Climate Change Act, we are delivering on our commitments to the Scottish people."
The full list of proposed bills is:
- Alcohol Bill
- Budget Bill
- Children's Hearings Bill
- Crofting Reform Bill
- Debt and Family Homes Bill
- Debtor Protection Bill
- Forth Crossing Bill
- Historic Environment (Amendment) Bill
- Housing Bill
- Legal Services Bill
- Patients' Rights Bill
- Referendum Bill
- Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill