The Wise Group welcomes the Programme for Government (PfG) announced on 1st September by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The PfG is clearly framed as a response to the twin challenges of the economic and health challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This Programme for Government aligns well with the Wise Group’s stated purpose of lifting people out of poverty. We welcome the central thrust of the £60 million Youth Guarantee to support the cohort whose employment prospects have been most severely impacted by the fallout from Covid-19. The additional funding for apprenticeships combined with the new Job Start Grant will provide increased options to support those in our communities affected by the unprecedented circumstances they have unfortunately found themselves in.
Creating new jobs, good jobs and green jobs coupled with promoting lifelong health and wellbeing and addressing health inequalities will be fundamental to building a better, greener, healthier Scotland where no one is left behind, and citizens have increased opportunities to fulfil their potential.
We are encouraged by the stretch aim towards carbon-neutral heating which will have the additional benefit of contributing to addressing the issue of fuel poverty.
We especially welcome the commitment to eradicate digital exclusion through the commitment of an additional £23 million to provide both devices and online connection to support more digitally excluded citizens. Some of our customers have already benefited from Connecting Scotland funding and we continue to believe that a ‘perception change’ is needed in order to realise and understand the value of equipping people with the right technology and equally the risk of not doing so.
The Wise Group will continue to propose and contribute to innovative initiatives to identify ways to prevent repeat offending and manage the prison population, through more effective community based interventions.
The Wise Group and our delivery partners look forward to supporting the aims and ambitions of Scottish Government in the delivery of this programme.