Business Education Mental Health

Non-domestic Rates Relief Extended

Extra money for mental health, education and tackling poverty.

Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined today.

It is one of a series of measures proposed by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending.

The move builds on the three month rates relief extension announced in the Scottish Budget and will be taken forward provided the Scottish Government receives the funding already assumed from the UK Budget on 3 March, and that requisite funds are available to maintain existing support into 2021-22.

Newspapers will also continue to benefit from 100% relief for a further 12 months, while charitable rates relief will not be removed from mainstream independent schools until 1 April 2022 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Other extra spending in 2021-22 arising from the latest consequentials includes:

  • £120 million for mental health
  • £120 million for affordable housing
  • £100 million to support people on low incomes
  • £60 million for schools to help pupils catch-up on missed education
  • £60 million for NHS recovery
  • £45 million for heat decarbonisation, energy efficiency and fuel poverty
  • £21.5 million for Scottish Enterprise

Separately, local authorities will receive an extra £275 million in the current financial year to address COVID-19 pressures, while a further £40 million is being made available to support the safe reopening of schools.

Ms Forbes said:

“When I presented our budget last month I guaranteed to extend non-domestic rates relief further if I was given the necessary resources. I can now deliver on that promise, providing the UK Budget in March delivers the funding we require.

“The other measures I am proposing today, including further support for hospitals, schools and local government and measures to tackle climate change, build on our priorities to ensure a robust recovery for our economy and public services.

“This welcome additional consequential funding was confirmed to us yesterday and I wanted give early notice to parliament and provide clarity to businesses.

“We are still in the throes of a national emergency and it is important Parliament works together to respond. I will continue to work with all parties to help deliver a budget for the nation fit for these times.”


A copy of the Finance Secretary’s Budget Update statement to the Scottish Parliament is available online.

Last month’s Scottish Budget 2021-22 estimated how much consequential funding would flow from the delayed UK Budget on 3 March, with £500 million assumed to be provided.

Carers Mental Health

Driving Change in the ‘Care System’

Launch of The Promise Partnership Fund.

Care-experienced young people will be at the heart of a £4 million fund to help improve the lives of those in or on the edges of care.

The Promise Partnership Fund will help organisations to implement changes so they can better support children, young people and families who need it.

Private, public and third sector organisations can apply and care-experienced young people will assist in the final funding decisions.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“The Promise Partnership Fund is an important step towards keeping The Promise to bring transformational changes to the lives of children, young people and families in or on the edges care.

“We have already seen many partners take the principles of the Promise to the heart of their organisations. This initial funding towards keeping the Promise will help organisations to make the changes that are necessary to improve holistic family support, so that families are listened to and get the support where they need it, when they need it and for as long as they need it.

“It is absolutely right that care-experienced young people and families will be at the heart of The Promise Partnership Fund decision-making process.”

Fiona Duncan, Chair of The Promise, said:

“Despite a difficult year, it is clear that organisations and individuals all across Scotland recognise their responsibility to and are working towards Keeping their Promise to children and families. The Promise Partnership is an important step towards helping change happen right now and in the future.”


The CORRA foundation is administering the fund and details on eligibility and how to apply are on their website.  Applications will close on 1 March.

Carers Coronavirus Mental Health Social Security

Helping Vulnerable Young People Through COVID-19

Almost £1 million to support people into work.

Funding to help more vulnerable young people across Scotland into work has been announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Part of the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, the £986,702 investment will provide specialist pre-employment support for an additional 1,300 16 and 17-year-olds.

Two existing programmes delivered in partnership with the third sector – Our Future Now and Discovering Your Potential – will provide the support.

Ms Hyslop said:

“This pandemic continues to hit us hard – especially our young people who are facing fewer opportunities, and even more so for those who are vulnerable and have recently left school.

“As part of our national mission to create jobs, and through our Young Person’s Guarantee, we must all work together to help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the coronavirus (COVID-19) storm.

“These two dedicated programmes, delivered in partnership with the third sector, will allow us to help even more young people access the support they need to build their confidence and develop valuable skills that employers require.”


Vulnerable young people are defined as those with multiple barriers to employment. This includes:

  • young people at risk of not being in education, employment, or training
  • young carers
  • young care-experienced people
  • young people with disabilities
  • young people with previous convictions
  • young homeless people
  • young people mental health issues
  • young refugees

Further information regarding the Young Person’s Guarantee can be found here.

Inspiring Scotland (who deliver Our Future Now) will receive funding of £500,702.

For further information please contact

The Young Person’s Consortium, which includes Barnardo’s, Action for Children, and The Princes Trust, deliver Discovering Your Potential. They will receive funding of £486,000.

For further information please contact

Children Coronavirus Education Health Mental Health

Physical and Emotional Welfare of Children

COVID support for teachers.

Hundreds of teachers who are new in post, or working in pastoral or child protection roles, are to be offered support to manage the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Scotland and the General Teaching Council for Scotland have partnered with social enterprise organisation KnowYouMore who will provide coaches for the new online one-to-one sessions. Sessions are already being offered to headteachers as part of a support package funded by the Scottish Government in 2020.

The new programme now includes support for more than 500 teachers in their first four years of post-probation to discuss any personal or professional pressures they are facing as a result of delivering remote learning.

Education Secretary John Swinney, said:

“COVID-19 has placed unprecedented strain on school staff and none more so than those who have pastoral care and child protection responsibilities ensuring the emotional welfare of our children and young people as we recover from the pandemic.

“The teacher support package I announced last year will complement the existing professional training and support already taking place for staff in schools across Scotland. Teachers need to be part of a supportive online community and have the space to stop and think about issues that are causing concern.”

Gayle Gorman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Education Scotland Chief Executive, said:

“Education Scotland is fully committed to ensuring the education workforce feel supported and I’m delighted this next phase of our coaching and mentoring offer is available more widely.

“We have found that it really benefits teachers to know there is someone with a listening ear who are there for them. Our 1:1 coaching and mentoring sessions for Headteachers have proved a really popular way of supporting their wellbeing and now the offer is also open to post probation teachers, teachers new to role and those with pastoral responsibilities. I would encourage more practitioners to sign up.”

Ken Muir, Chief Executive, of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, said:

“GTC Scotland is pleased to be working with our partners in education to deliver this important coaching to support hard-pressed teachers who are doing all they can to maintain quality learning in challenging circumstances. In addition to this coaching, GTC Scotland itself has invested heavily in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of education professionals and will continue to do so throughout the pandemic.”


In September, 2020, the Scottish Government offered school staff new support as part of a £1.5 million funding package to help manage additional pressures as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Community Environment Health Mental Health

City MSPs Welcome Regeneration Funding


Dundee’s SNP MSPs Joe FitzPatrick and Shona Robison have welcomed funding to support the Camperdown Community Growing Hub in Dundee through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF).

Schemes around Scotland are to receive a share of £25 million from the RCGF – including the Camperdown Community Growing Hub in Dundee, which will receive £899,305.

The RCGF will support 1,220 jobs and as well as thousands of training places by refurbishing and bringing back into use 26 empty buildings to provide space for community enterprises.

Joe FitzPatrick MSP (Dundee City West constituency) said:

“The Camperdown Community Growing Hub will be a fantastic initiative that will provide vital support for people across Dundee, so I am delighted to see that the SNP Government will be providing this extra funding.

“This project has the potential to help local people to eat more healthily, tackle food poverty, as well as support people with mental health issues.”

Shona Robison MSP (Dundee City East constituency) said:

“The SNP Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund has been vital in supporting community-led regeneration projects and has invested more than £200 million since 2014.

“As we look towards our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, this investment in our communities will be vital.

“The hub at Camperdown will help to tackle inequalities, enable people to develop vital skills, and provide a facility that allows local people to grow healthy food for themselves and others, whilst simultaneously helping to reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint.”

* Photo shows view from City Road Allotments.

Carers Coronavirus Mental Health

Supporting Health and Social Care Staff

Key workers are using National Wellbeing Hub.

More than 53,000 health and social care staff have received psychological support from the National Wellbeing Hub since it was launched in May.

Established during the first phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the hub supports all health and social care workers, including unpaid carers, who need help due to COVID-19, alongside a new 24/7 National Wellbeing helpline.

The hub helps people facing challenging situations at home or at work and includes digital programmes designed to help manage stress and reduce anxiety.

Trained practitioners at NHS24 offer callers to the helpline a compassionate and empathic listening service based on the principles of psychological first aid, as well as advice, signposting and onward referral to local services if required.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“We are all deeply grateful for the continued hard work, commitment and professionalism of those working in health and social care services. With a second phase of COVID-19 and additional winter pressures, I know our frontline workers continue to face increased anxiety and fatigue due to the unprecedented public health challenge we continue to face.

“The Hub has already helped more than 53,000 people and I hope all health and social services workers in hospitals and in the community make use of the high quality resources and advice available on managing stress and anxiety, fatigue, sleep, relaxation and exercise. For those who need one-on-one support, our wellbeing support line continues to provide around the clock help.

“I would also encourage everyone, especially those who receive health and social care support, to remember the challenges facing key workers and continue to thank them for their incredible work.

“We are continuing to monitor the impact of the pandemic on our valued workforce and will do our best to ensure that appropriate support services are put in place to help them.”

To access the helpline, health and social care staff should dial 0800 111 4191.


The National Wellbeing Hub is designed to be the first point of contact for all employed health and social care staff but also for their families, as well as unpaid carers and volunteers looking for support.

The wellbeing helpline is a confidential service for staff. There are no automatic notifications to GPs or employers and onward referral is only with the caller’s consent. Trained practitioners provide a compassionate listening service and psychological first aid to callers. They provide a range of support including directing people to resources available through the National Wellbeing Hub. If needed, and with a caller’s agreement, they can also refer people on to local staff support services.

Community Safety Coronavirus Health Mental Health Public Health

Cautious Approach To Christmas

Joint agreement on festive period but there are still risks, warns First Minister.

The Scottish Government has agreed a cautious and limited relaxation of the rules on household meetings to support people over the Christmas period.

A maximum of three households are to be able to meet in a “bubble” during a short window of time across the festive period.

Households will be able to travel between local authorities and between the four nations during December 23 and 27 to form a bubble, and must only join one bubble.

The five-day period provides time for travel, and for those who may have to work over Christmas. Households are not required to use all five days and should keep visits to no more than one or two days if possible.

Confirming the plans, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it is clear that there is a risk inherent in any relaxation of the restrictions and asked everyone to consider very carefully whether the opportunity to mix for a few days is necessary given the risk of spreading the virus.

She said:

“We know that for some, contact with friends and family is crucial during this time as isolation and loneliness can hit people especially hard over the Christmas period. The “bubble” approach aims to reduce this impact.

“But we must be clear, there cannot be any further relaxation of measures for Hogmanay. Even this short relaxation will give the virus a chance to spread. Our priority is to suppress transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the risk to the vulnerable and those who have spent so long shielding – and that involves abiding by the rules.

“Just because you can mix with others indoors over this time, that doesn’t mean you have to. If you choose to stick with the rules as they are, then you will be continuing the hard work to beat this virus and prevent its spread.”

The approach states:

  • a “bubble” should be formed household to household only (i.e. different people in a household should not pick their own bubble)
  • between 23 and 27 December, people can meet in an exclusive “bubble” composed of three households
  • you should stay with your “bubble” where they are hosting you and you should follow the travel advice for the level you are in (e.g. people being hosted in a level 3 area cannot go on an outing to a level 2 area)
  • within your “bubble”, you can gather in a home, an outdoor place or a place of worship
  • in all other settings – eg. hospitality, entertainment venues – those who have formed a bubble must only socialise with members of their own household
  • households deciding to form a bubble will be advised to limit social contact before and after the period of relaxation

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for festive period

Coronavirus Mental Health

Mental Health Support for Veterans

More funding for services.

Veterans across Scotland will continue to have access to a range of welfare and psychological support with more funding for mental health services.

The Scottish Government is providing Veterans First Point Scotland with more than £658,000 to continue to deliver its services in 2021-22.

The charity has a network of six regional centres across Scotland and provides essential support to veterans through peer-support delivered in person and online.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said:

“Veterans First Point Scotland has done an excellent job during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, adapting service delivery to continue to support veterans remotely as well as face-to-face.

“Not only does the charity provide an essential support service, it also actively aims to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help, by encouraging veterans to socialise with their local community and engage with their local centre.

“That’s why I am pleased that we are supporting Veterans First Point again in 2021-22 to help them continue their vital work with our veterans across Scotland.”


Veterans First Point Scotland provides a veteran-led mental health and welfare support service. The charity aims to maximise engagement with Scottish veterans and support recovery from mental health issues through welfare and psychological support.

The employment of experienced veteran Peer Support Workers who provide essential welfare and life support ensures the service continues to be veteran-led in its approach.

Veteran Peer Support Workers co-ordinate with partner organisations to provide a broad range of welfare and wellbeing support to veterans engaged with the service.

Health Mental Health

£1m Fund To Keep Care Home Residents Connected

Digital device funding to keep residents connected with their loved ones.

New funding has been announced to provide around 1,400 care homes in Scotland with digital devices to connect those receiving care with their loved ones.

The £1 million fund will enable all care homes in Scotland to access iPads to help care home residents stay connected with friends and relatives, and support the clinical management of health conditions remotely.

From today, all care homes will be able to apply for up to two iPads to support their residents through combined Scottish Government funding from the Connecting Scotland programme, which has committed £500,000 to the initiative, on top of the £500,000 allocated in the Adult Social Care Winter Preparedness plan.

This follows a pilot project that provided digital devices to six care homes in Aberdeenshire to address digital exclusion, supported by Scottish Care, the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Digital devices can never replace human interaction and we continue both to actively review what more we can do to support visiting with input from family members, carers, and clinicians and finalise our plans for routine designated visitor testing. But the pandemic has shown us that digital technology can help keep us in touch with our loved ones and provide vital access to healthcare through services such as NearMe for video consultations.

“This fund will give care home residents an additional way to keep in touch with family and friends. Staying connected will be even more important as we approach winter, and the Scottish Government is committed to doing everything we can to prepare and support care home residents and the staff who look after them.”

Dr Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care said:

“The funding which has been announced by the Cabinet Secretary will help to improve connection for many. We hope that it is the start of an increased recognition of the critical contribution of technology in the care home sector and that we will see an enhanced commitment to the appropriate use of technology and digital in social care as a whole.”

Isla Cowe, acting care home manager at Allachburn Care Home in Aboyne said:

“Many of our residents have really embraced this new technology and are delighted to be in regular contact with their loved ones. It really makes the difference to their general wellbeing and they don’t feel such a sense of loss at being unable to have the physical contact with their families at this time.

“Having the Near Me technology has proved so useful in reducing the number of people who need to visit whilst still being able to provide the same level of service that our residents and their families would expect. We recently had a consultation using this technology with the Speech and Language Therapy team, and were able to change the course of action to be taken for this particular gentleman which has proved immensely beneficial to the care that we deliver to him.”


Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up in response to coronavirus to provide digital devices and support to develop digital skills for people who are digitally excluded and on low incomes.

Adult Social Care Winter Preparedness Plan

Coronavirus Health Mental Health Public Health

Supporting Each Other During Winter

Refreshed ‘Ready Scotland’ website to help communities work together.

Communities are being encouraged to continue to support each other as the country moves into winter.

The Scottish Government’s recently refreshed Ready Scotland website ( provides a range of information for anyone looking for support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as advice on preparing for winter weather.

It also provides guidance for those who wish to help out those around them, whether on an individual basis or through volunteering with local community groups or charities.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“In any year, winter weather can be a challenge for many of us, and this year it will come while we are already managing the effects that COVID-19 is having on so many aspects of our lives.

“As we have seen in previous winters, and as we saw so clearly during our lockdown in the spring and in the months since, the strength and kindness of our communities and our desire to look out for our neighbours is one of our greatest resources.

“These support networks are no less important now than they were in the spring, especially to older, disabled and at risk people, and those who are on their own or feeling lonely. While we can’t visit each other as we might have done in previous years, a phone call or a text can go a long way, and there are a wide range of services standing ready to provide support.

“I would encourage people to continue to take time to check in with those around you and offer any help that you are able.”


Guidance on giving and finding help during the coronavirus pandemic, preparing for winter weather, and forming community groups is available on the  Ready Scotland website.

For those without digital access, coronavirus support can be sought from the National Assistance Helpline by telephoning 0800 111 4000. has a range of advice and resources, also offering practical assistance for anyone feeling low or needing to speak to someone for emotional support.

Coronavirus Mental Health

Children and Young People’s Mental Health

£15 million to help with impact of pandemic.

Funding of £15 million is being made available to respond to children and young people’s mental health issues, with a focus on those brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The funding will be distributed to local authorities to support a local response for five to 24-year-olds, their families and carers.

Of this, £11.25 million will be for services in response to the pandemic, such as support for children who are struggling emotionally due to returning to school under new restrictions.

The remaining £3.75 million will be the first instalment of an annual £15 million fund to provide new and enhanced community mental health and wellbeing services. These new services will have a focus on prevention, early intervention and the treatment of distress.

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said:

“The pandemic has been very hard for everyone, but for many children and young people it has been particularly difficult.

“Families have told us they need more support for mental and emotional distress and for their wellbeing and resilience, delivered in a community setting. By providing funding to tackle the impacts of the pandemic, alongside a separate fund to provide long term mental health and wellbeing support, we aim to deliver help where it is needed.

“This funding is in addition to supporting the recruitment of an additional 80 mental health professionals to work with children and young people, and our recent announcement of a further £3.6 million to help provide more than 80 additional counsellors in every college and university in Scotland over the next four years. We are also ensuring that every secondary school will have access to a counsellor.”

COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People Cllr Stephen McCabe said:

“The wellbeing of our children and young people is of upmost importance to local authorities and has been a particular priority in recent months due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This funding will allow local authorities to continue their work to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing needs arising as a result of the pandemic, and to implement new and enhanced services, providing early support for children and young people experiencing wellbeing issues, and their families. These actions will help ensure the best outcomes for our children and young people in the short and longer term.”


Letters have been sent to all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities inviting them to apply for a share of the funding.

A Transition and Recovery Plan, published on 8 October, outlines the Scottish Government’s response to the mental health effects of the pandemic, containing more than 100 actions.

Coronavirus Mental Health

More mental health support for health and social care staff

New helpline will provide round the clock service.

All health and social care workers in Scotland will now have access to mental health support 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a new national helpline.

The Scottish Government is funding the wellbeing helpline for those who need further psychological support, including in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This follows the success of the National Wellbeing Hub for staff launched in May.

Trained practitioners at NHS 24 will offer callers a compassionate and empathic listening service based on the principles of psychological first aid, as well as advice, signposting and onward referral to local services if required.

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said:

“I am deeply grateful for the hard work, commitment and professionalism of those working in health and social care services at this time of unprecedented challenge.

“The National Wellbeing Hub has had over 30,000 online visits since its launch in May and the new helpline will complement that service. Whatever your role and wherever you work, I would encourage you to make use of the many resources on the Hub, including advice on managing stress and anxiety, fatigue, sleep, relaxation and exercise.

“For those who need one-on-one support, the new mental wellbeing support line will be available around the clock to help staff access appropriate additional support.

“We are continuing to monitor the impact of the pandemic on our valued workforce and will do our best to ensure that appropriate support services are put in place to help them.”

Stephanie Phillips, Director of Service Delivery at NHS 24, said:

“NHS 24 are delighted to support our partners by offering this helpline to complement existing services. Our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners will respond with compassion and empathy to offer support whenever it’s needed. Health and social care staff look after us – this is one way in which we are looking after them.

“We know that for everyone calling us, being listened to, and knowing that someone cares, is really important in difficult times. This is just as important to our health and social care colleagues as to those they care for.”


The health and social care workforce mental wellbeing support line (0800 111 4191) will be operated by NHS 24 on a 24/7 basis from 10 am on 20 July.

Trained practitioners will provide a compassionate listening service and psychological first aid to callers. They can provide a range of support including directing people to resources available through the National Wellbeing Hub. If needed, and with a caller’s agreement, they can also refer people on to local staff support services.

The helpline is a confidential service for staff. There will be no automatic notifications to GPs or employers. Onward referral will only be with the caller’s consent.

The Scottish Government’s National Wellbeing Hub operated by PRoMIS is designed to be the first point of contact for all employed health and social care staff but also for their families, as well as unpaid carers and volunteers looking for support.

Coronavirus Mental Health

Supporting mental health

Further investment to help children and families during pandemic.

Key mental health services to support families, young people and autistic people are to receive more than £1 million additional funding.

Health Secretary Ms Freeman made the announcement today (Sunday) following 40 days of lockdown when many people have felt an effect on their mental health. The allocation of funding comprises:

• £768,000 for a relationships helpline to be delivered by The Spark counselling service
• £105,000 to support Young Scot to develop enhanced digital content and resources on mental health
• £205,000 to support 47,000 autistic people across Scotland, including funding to increase capacity at the Scottish Autism Helpline and help for the National Autistic Society to keep people in touch online during lockdown

Ms Freeman said:

“While everyone is experiencing different challenges at this time, the mental health of children, young people and families can be put under great strain.

“We appreciate that spending a lot of time together in isolation and home-working, home-schooling and juggling childcare can be really tough.

“This crisis means many people are dealing with anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger or sadness. They may feel overwhelmed and relationships can be placed under a lot of pressure.

“We want to ensure that the right help and support is in place for the mental wellbeing of our children, young people and families. This package of measures focuses on prevention and recovery, and on maintaining healthy relationships throughout the current restrictions. It follows the launch of our national campaign, Clear Your Head, last week.”


The Clear Your Head campaign highlights practical ways to look after mental health and wellbeing while continuing to stay at home – and signposts sources of help and advice.

The Spark is a third sector organisation which delivers counselling services to families across Scotland, including relationship and couples counselling and counselling for children and young people. They currently operate a Relationship Helpline on a small scale for nine hours a week. The number of the Relationship Helpline is 0808 802 2088 and this additional funding will enable the helpline to operate Monday-Thursday 9am to 9pm and Friday 9am to 4pm. 

Scotland has launched a digital resource called Mind Yer Time specifically to help children and young people learn about the healthy use of screens and social media. It supports mental and physical health online and was developed by the Scottish Youth Parliament and Children’s Parliament. In the first ten days since its launch the guide had almost 13,000 views.

The additional funding will allow the Scottish Autism Helpline to open 8am-8pm, seven days a week on 01259 222022.

Further details of the additional funding for autism support.