Categories
Business Carers Children Education

Increased Support for Childminders

Payments will support business sustainability.

Grants of £750 are being paid to all registered childminders in Scotland in order to secure the sustainability of their businesses.

Funding of more than £3.2 million has been made available to ensure that all childminders registered with the Care Inspectorate will receive the flat-rate payment.

While up to £1 million had been planned for need-assessed grants, additional resource has been invested to ensure payments can be made to all registered childminders. This will simplify and speed up the process, ensuring the money reaches those that need it as quickly as possible.

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said:

“Childminders are a vital and valued part of our childcare sector, providing high quality care and learning in a safe and nurturing environment.

“Just as many other childcare providers have experienced financial pressures as a result of the pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on them, childminders too have raised genuine concern about the future sustainability of their businesses.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to increase the funding available to support the profession, and by simplifying the process we will be able to get the funds to those who need them more quickly.”

Background

Information about support for the childcare sector

Childminding Action Plan

Categories
Social Security

Young People Helped with Costs of New Job

695 helped in first four months of new scheme

The Scottish Government has paid out more than £190,000 to eligible young people to help with the costs of starting a new job.

A total of 695 successful applications were made for the new Job Start Payment from its launch on 17 August 2020 to 31 December 2020.

The one-off payment of £250, or the higher rate of £400 if the recipient is the main carer of any children, is available to 16 to 24-year-olds who have been offered a job after being out of work for at least six months and are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“From travel costs to buying new work clothes, or childcare, we know there can often be expenses involved with starting a job. Our new Job Start Payment is designed to support young people with those costs as they move into work.

“At a time when we know young people are disproportionately impacted by the economic impact of the pandemic, this support will be more important than ever for those who are starting a new job after a period of unemployment. I want to encourage anyone eligible to apply for this extra financial support.”

Background

  • Job Start Payment is paid to 16 to 24-year-olds who have been on certain benefits for six months or more to help with the costs of starting a job
  • applicants need to have been out of paid work for at least six months running up to the day they were offered the job
  • to be eligible, people need to have been getting either Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the date of their job offer
  • young people who are care leavers will be eligible until their 26th birthday and do not have to meet the six months requirement for unemployment or receipt of a qualifying benefit
  • clients need to have been offered a job and expect to work at least 12 hours a week, averaged over a four-week period. They can apply for Job Start Payment up to three months after the date they were offered their job
  • clients can find pre-application advice which includes eligibility and award amounts, and apply at mygov.scot/job-start-payment/who-can-apply/
  • clients can choose to apply online, via a paper application form or by requesting a call back from one a specially trained advisors working within the dedicated Job Start Payment support team by calling 0800 182 2222
Categories
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.”

Background

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.

Categories
Business Coronavirus

More Business Support Now Live

£60 million for newly self-employed, close contact businesses and driving instructors.

Two funds to support people whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic are now open to applications

Grants will be available for mobile and home-based close contact service businesses – such as make-up artists and hairdressers – as well as registered driving instructors.

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, which paid out more than £11 million in vital support last year, will also re-open for a second round.

Both funds will provide £4,000 grants to successful applicants. Full eligibility details are available online.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“These new funds will support harder to reach businesses and newly self-employed people across Scotland as we continue to focus our efforts on helping those who are not captured by UK Government schemes.

“We’ve committed more than £3 billion to support businesses and protect jobs during the pandemic and I would encourage all those affected to check what support is available to help them through such a challenging time.”

Background

Full information on the Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Services Fund and the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

Statistics published last week showed £244 million was paid to businesses through three funds in January alone.

COVID-19 advice and funding information is available via the Find Business Support website.

Categories
Children Coronavirus Social Security

Dundee Benefits from £100 COVID Winter Payments

£542,200 PAID TO FAMILIES IN DUNDEE CITY FROM SCOTTISH WINTER HARDSHIP FUND

5,422 FAMILIES RECEIVE £100 WINTER PAYMENT

5,422 families in Dundee City have received a £100 COVID winter hardship payment to support them through one of the most difficult winters in living memory.

New figures show that the SNP Government provided support to thousands in each of Scotland’s local authorities – with more than £14million paid out to families in December.

In Dundee City £542,200 was paid out to 5,422 families.

The payment, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was made available to families who were in receipt of free school meals and was paid from 30th November to the start of the winter school holidays.

Commenting, SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick said:

“With the Scottish Government rolling out the Scottish Child Payment and supporting hundreds of thousands of families across Scotland with the £100 COVID winter hardship payment, the SNP is making a real difference to people’s lives and lifting children out of poverty.

“This has been an incredibly difficult time for families in Dundee City who may have faced lost earnings, increased food bills and cold weather. The £100 winter payment will hopefully have eased the financial strain many have been facing.

“In contrast to the Tories at Westminster, the SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can to ensure kids who receive free school meals do not go hungry.

“Alongside introducing the Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant and Best Food Grants, this SNP Government is committed to supporting children, whereas the Tories are planning to slash Universal Credit and get rid of the £20 uplift when families need it most.

“The only way Scotland can escape Westminster austerity and build a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect is by becoming an independent country.”

Categories
Children Coronavirus Social Security

New Scottish Child Payment

Payments to start from late February.

More than 77,000 Scottish Child Payment applications have been received since Social Security Scotland started taking applications on 9 November.

The new benefit, which is unique to Scotland, will give qualifying parents and carers £40 every four weeks for each child under six.

The benefit starts today, meaning that Social Security Scotland is now able to do final eligibility checks and start issuing decisions.

The first decisions and payments will arrive from later this month.

Parents and carers who have not yet applied and have a child under six are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to get the maximum amount of money they are entitled to.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“This is a fantastic response to our new payment. Today marks the day that parents and carers will become eligible for Scottish Child Payment. We’ve had a great response and this is a very large number of applications. It will take time to work through these applications and I’d like to ask families for their patience while we work as quickly as we can to process these.

“The Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK. Announced in late June 2019 the new payment has been achieved at great speed.

“In 2021-22 we will invest £3.6 billion in social security payments supporting carers, young people, and low income families including £68 million for this new payment. Significantly more families are now relying on benefits due to the pandemic – some perhaps for the first time. Scottish Child Payment will help lift children in Scotland out of poverty.

“We are proactively promoting this payment and we have written to everyone on the Universal Credit and HMRC tax credit databases who may be eligible to invite them to apply. .

“Covid-19 restrictions continue to put additional pressure on parents and carers and I recognise how busy families are. But I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who hasn’t yet applied, to take ten minutes to get their application in – it’s vital that people get the money they are entitled to.”

Scottish Child Payment has been introduced ahead of schedule for children under six by building on the existing infrastructure for Best Start Grant payments. The payment is planned to be fully rolled out to children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022. This is subject to data on qualifying benefits being received from the DWP to enable Social Security Scotland to make top-up payments.

Background

  • Application numbers are the latest figures available and correct as of Sunday 7 February.
  • People, who supplied their mobile number, will be kept up to date on the progress of their application by text.
  • People who apply from Tuesday 16 February will have their payment calculated from the day that they apply.
  • Scottish Fiscal Commission reviewed their forecasts in January 2021 to reflect how many families were taking up qualifying benefits from the DWP. The total figure of children forecast to be eligible for Scottish Child Payment in 2020-21 was revised slightly down to 173,000. The total number of households changed to 138,000.
  • Social Security Scotland delivers a number of benefits for families. This includes Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment and Best Start Foods. Applications can be made for Scottish Child Payment and all of these using a single straightforward form.
  • Scottish Child Payment together with the three Best Start Grant payments and Best Start Foods could give families on low incomes up to £5,200 by the time their first child turns six.
  • People can apply by visiting mygov.scot/benefits or calling 0800 182 2222.
  • Scottish Child Payment is a new benefit and it is in addition to the UK wide Child Benefit.
  • To get advice on what benefits may be available parents and carers can access free, confidential advice through Money Talk Team. Visit Parentclub.scot to find out more.
Categories
Community Coronavirus Health Public Health

Vaccine Programme Exceeds Expectations

786,427 people have received first dose.

A total of 786,427 people have now received their first Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination in Scotland, including 93% of over-80s living in the community.

Some 99% of older adult care home residents have received a first dose, along with 89% of staff in older adult care homes. A total of 272,365 frontline health and social care workers have also been vaccinated, exceeding the initial target of 230,000 staff provided by health boards.

This week, following the opening of new mass vaccination centres, including the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Aberdeen’s P&J LIVE at TECA, there has been a 49% increase in the number of vaccinations carried out compared with the previous week.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Scotland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is now delivering ahead of our expectations, thanks to the enormous efforts of our vaccination teams. I would like to thank everyone who is working tirelessly to make this a success, and also every individual who has taken up their offer of a vaccine.

“Our aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible with both their first and second doses. The vaccine deployment plan was predicated on an uptake of at least 80% in each cohort – though so far we are significantly exceeding that for care home residents and staff, frontline healthcare staff, and over 80-year-olds in the community. If you are aged over 80 but have not yet received your invite, you should contact your GP surgery so they can assist.

“We hope to see a significant drop in the disease due to the vaccination programme, however this will take a number of months to evaluate fully. In the shorter term, we are monitoring the uptake rate but we also have a comprehensive surveillance system in place to monitor outcome of vaccine efficacy and disease reduction.

“Each health board is working hard to get the vaccine into people’s arms as quickly as possible, and everyone eligible will be offered the vaccine as we work our way through the priority groups.”

Background:

Uptake rates for the COVID-19 vaccine so far are higher than the flu vaccine programme in 2019-20 and 2020-21, which was 79% for those aged over 65 in 2020.

Our deployment plan sets out our plan for how we will roll out vaccinations in Scotland to vaccinate 4.5 million people.

Categories
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.”

Background

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.

Categories
Business

Scotland’s Vision for Trade

Economic, social and climate ambitions at heart of approach.

The blueprint for how Scotland will do business around the globe has been published by Trade Minister Ivan McKee.

Scotland’s Vision for Trade sets out five principles which will guide all future decisions on international trade: Inclusive Growth, Wellbeing, Sustainability, Net Zero and Good Governance.

These principles will be used to address key trade challenges facing our economy, people and the planet.

The Scottish Government will partner with businesses which share these principles and work to improve their trading environment, promoting fair work and a just transition to net zero.

To support this, the Scottish Government is also calling on the UK Government to:

  • protect the NHS – which the UK Government must make a red line in any trade negotiation
  • make compliance with fundamental human rights and the Paris Climate Agreement absolute limits for the initiation of FTA negotiations
  • prioritise building on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU to uphold high standards, for example through Mutual Recognition Agreements for key goods sectors

Mr McKee said:

“Scotland’s Vision for Trade sets out our stall for the future and is clear about the kind of country we want to be. How we trade is as important as what we trade and our values-based approach will guide how we do business around the world and ensure that people, businesses and other governments know who we are and what we represent as a nation.

“But this trade vision is much more than just a statement of our guiding principles. It identifies 11 key global trade challenges and how Scotland will use the levers at our disposal to respond in practical terms now and in the future, and articulates how we will assess our progress on meeting these challenges on an annual basis.

“This publication comes during an unprecedented period of disruption and uncertainty. The pandemic continues to impact our health and wellbeing, our businesses and the economy. At the same time, the UK Government’s last minute Brexit deal, which takes Scotland out of the world’s largest Single Market and Customs Union, will be hugely damaging for our country and our economy.

“In this challenging context, trade is all the more important as a means to deliver sustainable, inclusive growth and contribute to a wellbeing economy.

“Despite our consistent and powerful case for a formal and comprehensive role for devolved administrations in all stages of the development of future UK trade arrangements, we have been frustrated by a lack of meaningful engagement by the UK Government. To conduct a successful trade policy a broader range of tools is needed, so our Vision for Trade also asks that the UK Government use all levers at their disposal to support Scotland’s economy, people and the planet.”

Background:

Read Scotland’s Trade Vision

Scotland’s five trade principles are: Inclusive Growth, Wellbeing, Sustainability, Net Zero and Good Governance. These have been be applied to 11 of today’s biggest trade challenges affecting Scotland’s economy, people and the planet, including:

  • influencing the trading environment
  • digital trade
  • winners and losers from international trade
  • supporting public services through trade
  • balancing cost, value and protections for consumers
  • climate, nature and trade
  • multilateral trading system and dispute settlement
  • Scotland’s role as a trading partner

In line with our Programme for Government commitment, we will ensure that our trade support for the Oil and Gas sector will be conditional on measures assisting the sustainable energy transition.

We will consult with the industry on our proposal to end all Scottish Government overseas trade backing and promotion activities solely focused on fossil fuel goods and services by COP26. There will be legitimate exceptions to the withdrawal of support where it is clear that the work is essential for a fair and just energy transition, such as decommissioning.

In implementing this, we will work with industry and consider the outcome of the UK Government consultation, including aligning with UK exemptions in so far as they fall within Scottish Government trade support and promotion activities.

Categories
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.”

Background:

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 enquiries@inspiringscotland.org.uk.

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 tommy.mcdade@barnardos.org.uk.

Categories
Children Community Safety Coronavirus Education Health Public Health

New Measures to Tackle Virus

Supervised quarantine and expansion of testing as gradual schools return announced.

A series of new measures aimed at driving down coronavirus (COVID-19) rates in Scotland have been announced.

Current restrictions, including the ‘stay-at-home’ requirement, are set to remain in place until at least the end of February and schools will continue to be closed to most children for the rest of this month.

Nurseries and Primaries 1 to 3 are, however, now scheduled to return full-time on 22 February, subject to final confirmation two weeks from now that sufficient progress in tackling the virus has been achieved.

In an update to Parliament the First Minister confirmed that a managed quarantine system for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland regardless of which country they have come from will be introduced as soon as practicably possible.

In addition to guarding against the increased importation of new cases, access to testing to find cases and interrupt transmission already taking place in Scotland will be stepped up:

  • from the middle of February, routine testing of healthcare workers will be expanded to cover patient-facing primary care workers such as GPs, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists, as will testing for all patient-facing staff who work in hospices
  • from later this month, regular testing will be offered to support the return to schools and nurseries. Senior phase secondary school students, and all staff in primary, secondary and special schools, including school-based ELC staff, will be able to benefit from routine at-home testing two times a week
  • certain workplaces where the risk of transmission is greater and which provide essential or critical services, such as those within the food processing and distribution sectors and staff within emergency service control rooms, will also be supported to introduce routine workforce testing
  • targeted community testing will continue to be expanded – so that testing is available to people locally, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms
  • from mid-February tests will also be offered to all close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-enabling Test and Protect teams to identify their contacts and track, and break further, chains of transmission

In order to promote people’s ability to self-isolate when necessary, financial support will be significantly expanded to include all workers earning the Real Living Wage or less, as well as those in receipt of a council tax reduction because of low income. The £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant will also be extended to people who cannot work because someone they have caring responsibilities for is asked to self-isolate.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“As levels of the virus continue to fall in Scotland, it becomes ever more important that we stop the virus from being imported again. The threat of new variants is real and we must be ever-more vigilant.

“That is why we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

“We want to work with the UK Government to avoid travellers sidestepping restrictions and arriving in other parts of the UK before travelling to Scotland, however the most effective approach to prevent this and to stop new variants being imported is for the UK Government to introduce a compulsory quarantine for anyone travelling into the UK from overseas.

“Since we still have work to do these measures will not be introduced this week and more detail will follow shortly.

“We believe that targeted community testing can play a particularly valuable role in communities where prevalence is starting to rise rapidly which is why we have expanded our testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission.

“Lockdown is starting to slow down the virus. But we also need to pick up the pace in our vaccination programme. We are doing that and will accelerate the programme further over the next fortnight – providing that we have sufficient supplies of the vaccine – as we work towards being able to vaccinate 400,000 people a week by the end of the month. We are making rapid progress in protecting those who are most at risk from COVID-19.”

On schooling, the First Minister added:

“I am acutely aware of the pressure school closures is putting on working parents and on family life more generally.

“Our room for manoeuvre, given the current state of the pandemic, is limited. But the government is determined to use every inch of headroom we have to get children back to school.

“Based on the advice of our expert advisers, if we all agree to abide with the lockdown restrictions for a bit longer so that our progress in suppressing the virus continues, we can begin a phased, albeit gradual, return to school from 22 February.”

Background

Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay at home guidance – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Community testing schemes have already been agreed across seven local authorities, within the health board areas of Fife, Grampian and Ayrshire and Arran, with agreed community testing proposals across the majority of mainland Local Authority areas expected to be agreed by the end of the week.

Categories
Community Health Social Security

More Help With Free Personal and Nursing Care

Savings for people with dementia and other care needs.

Adults who pay for their residential care in Scotland will be better off from April as a result of a change to the rates of allowances they receive for personal and nursing care.

Those who ‘self-fund’ their residential care receive an allowance in recognition of their personal and nursing care costs.

Regulations laid in Parliament will raise these allowances by 7.5 per cent, well above the normal annual increase, in recognition of the increasing cost of providing care, particularly for people with dementia.

The change is backed by an additional £10.1m in Local Authority funding to cover the increases.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“I am pleased to confirm that we will increase the allowances paid to people who are paying self-funder rates for their residential care by 7.5%.

“Care home costs have been rising above inflation for a number of years and this is an important step towards to bringing the rates closer to the actual cost of personal and nursing care.

“The Independent Review of Adult Social Care will be published later this week and in responding to its recommendations there will be opportunities to consider wider reforms to the way residential care is funded and delivered, to ensure the highest standards of care and wellbeing for people who use adult social care, and support for their families, carers and the workforce.”

Background

The Scottish Government has legislated to ensure that adults of any age, no matter their condition, capital or income, who are assessed by their local authority as needing personal care, are entitled to receive this without charge.

Free nursing care is similar and has been available to all who are assessed as requiring nursing care services, without charge.

People resident in care homes who have capital above the higher Capital Limit (currently £28,500) are known as self-funders. Local Authorities make payments to cover the personal care (currently at £180 per week) and nursing care (currently at £81 per week) part of self-funder care home fees. These are paid directly to the residential care provider on a weekly basis.

Under the normal inflationary measure used to calculate allowances, these payments would have increased by 1.94% this year. This year’s increases are shown in the table below.

Year Personal Care Nursing Care Annual Increase

1 April 2019 £177 £80 1.57%

1 April 2020 £180 £81 1.84%

1 April 2021 £193.50 £87.10 7.5%

Categories
Business Community Coronavirus Environment

Budget to Support Net-Zero Transformation

Record funding to deliver Scotland’s green recovery.

The Scottish Government will invest a record £1.9 billion in tackling climate change and creating good, green jobs in 2021/22.

Delivery of a ground-breaking £1.6 billion investment to transform heat and energy efficiency of buildings will get under way, directly supporting up to 5,000 jobs and tackling fuel poverty while rapidly accelerating the decarbonisation of an area which makes up a quarter of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Other highlights include delivering the first wave of the £2 billion Low Carbon Fund, including, in the first year alone, £14 million for the Green Jobs Fund. The heat in buildings budget will increase by £30 million to £213.4 million, while spending in forestry has been increased by £26.9 million to £121.2 million.

Further investment will support the delivery of major, multi-year commitments, including:

  • a £250 million peatland restoration programme
  • £120 million for zero-emission buses
  • over £500 million for Active Travel
  • £70 million to improve waste and recycling infrastructure
  • over £500 million for bus priority infrastructure.

To ensure Scotland realises the full benefits of COP26 in Glasgow, £8 million will be targeted to showcase the country’s global leadership in tackling climate change, accelerate climate goals both domestically and globally, and develop Scotland’s international influence whilst attracting green investment and innovation. An ongoing commitment to support countries most affected by the climate emergency will be met with £3 million for international climate justice.

Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“This is a Budget which rightly focuses on tackling the COVID-19 crisis and supporting our people, health service and economy in the immediate term, but it also lays the foundations to rebuild a fairer, stronger, and greener Scotland.

“Our commitment to tackling the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss is unwavering and this cross-government investment ensures we support the transformational change required to become net-zero by 2045 – doing so in a way that protects our environment, creates good, green jobs and ensures no-one is left behind.

“Our commitment to ensuring Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19 is green has been prioritised despite the significant financial challenges of COVID-19, delays to the UK Budget, the UK Government Spending Review worsening our capital position and key powers remaining reserved to Westminster.

“2021 is a vital year for climate action and COP26 in Glasgow puts Scotland at the centre of a global to protect our people and planet. This Budget enhances Scotland’s role as an international climate leader, backing up the world’s toughest climate target framework with on-the-ground delivery.”