The Programme for Government for 2021-22 has been announced. This sets out the Scottish Government’s legislative programme and other administrative actions for this parliamentary year. This briefing highlights the issues likely to have the greatest impact on UNISON members.
The most pressing priority is recovery from COVID. A Recovery Strategy and a Recovery Bill focused on the hardest hit will be produced in the first year of Parliament. The promised COVID recovery strategy will “outline a shared vision with local government.” However, other than a commitment to a human-rights based approach there are few details as to what this will involve.
Legislation to reform social care and introduce a National Care Service is promised by June 2022. This will be accompanied by a 25% spending increase. However the Care Service that is being proposed will not itself deliver care. The Programme also announces the intention to increase frontline health spend each year so that it is at least £2.5 billion higher by 2026-27. Mental health spending is to increase by 25% over the course of this parliament.
In total fifteen bills are proposed, 12 of these new. Some continue arrangements put in place during the pandemic. With the exception of the Coronavirus Recovery Bill and the National Care Service Bill, they do not have public services as their focus. Some such as Gender Recognition and Good Food Nation are in line with UNISON policies and priorities.