The Scottish Government’s 2021/22 Programme for Government, entitled “A Fairer, Greener Scotland”, was launched this afternoon.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon identified COVID-19 recovery as the main priority for the coming year, and reported that the Programme also seeks to tackle inequality, respond to the climate crisis, mitigate Brexit, establish a National Care Service, and “build an economy fit for the future”.

A £325m Place Based Investment Programme is among the highlighted commitments

The following is a list of selected Scottish Government actions and commitments highlighted in the Programme that relate to place-based regeneration and key priorities identified by the SURF network in our 2021 SURF Manifesto consultations.

The Scottish Government will:

  • “Provide at least £1.8 billion over the course of this Parliament to make our homes easier and greener to heat, and progress our commitment to decarbonise 1 million homes by 2030: We will provide increased funding this year for home energy programmes and measures to reduce poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty, and £30 million for heat and energy efficiency projects in social housing” (p7)
  • “Ensure that at least £320 million or 10% of the total transport budget goes on active travel by 2024-25, ensuring greener, cleaner and better connected communities: Informed by pilots already set up, we will start to provide free bikes to school age children who cannot afford them, make loans and grants available to get old bikes out of storage and back on roads, and develop ‘active freeways’, connecting city and town centres to outlying neighbourhoods.” (p7)
  • “Invest an additional £500 million to support the new, good and green jobs of the future, including upskilling and reskilling people to access those.” (p12)
  • “Begin work on a Minimum Income Guarantee, which would make sure that everyone in Scotland has enough money to live with dignity”. (p12)
  • “Take forward a Community Wealth Building Bill in this Parliament, helping create and protect jobs and enable greater community and third sector ownership of assets.” (p15)
  • “Revitalise local communities through development of 20-minute neighbourhoods, investment in town centres and a new focus on place – improving local services and infrastructure, and aiding our ambition to ‘live well locally’ and achieve a 20% reduction in car kilometres driven by 2030.” (p16)
  • “Start rolling out the £325 million Place Based Investment Programme, supporting community led regeneration, complemented by delivery of our new £50 million low carbon Vacant & Derelict Land Investment Programme.” (p16)
  • “Develop and take forward a new Land Reform Bill, with measures to address the concentration of land ownership in Scotland, including a public interest test. We will double the Scottish Land Fund by the end of the Parliament, supporting community ownership projects across the country.” (p16)
  • “…in parallel to reducing emissions, we will ensure adaptation to the impacts of climate change which are now a reality. Demonstrating a credible pathway to achieving the interim 2030 target and beyond, we will set out the process to deliver a draft of the next Climate Change Plan for consideration in the first half of this parliamentary session.” (p54)
  • “The upcoming National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) will define 20‑minute neighbourhoods, setting out priorities on planning our places with a new emphasis on living locally, giving life to the Place Principle, supporting public health and wellbeing, reducing inequality, and strengthening community resilience to the impacts of climate change.” (p58)
  • “Fresh Start Relief provides 100% relief for 12 months for businesses occupying certain long‑term empty properties. This ensures we incentivise non‑domestic property investment and continue to encourage businesses to reoccupy long‑term empty properties.” (p84)
  • “We have also launched a £10 million multi-year Scotland Loves Local Fund to support local people, businesses and community partnerships. £2 million is being made available this year, supporting up to 100 organisations to bring new creative projects and activity to towns and neighbourhoods – helping build local wealth and increase footfall and activity, while supporting local enterprise partnerships.” (p85)
  • “To help support the delivery of much‑needed infrastructure, development and regeneration projects in the public interest, we will reform and modernise the compulsory purchase system in Scotland, making it clearer, fairer and faster for all parties.” (p85)
  • “Key to the resilience of our communities has been the work of Scotland’s third sector. Building on the learning from the pandemic we will use our Strengthening Collaboration commitment with SCVO and COSLA to progress further a multi-year funding model.” (p98)
  • “…in September we will launch a new ‘Our Place’ website. This will provide information, tools and resources to help support the development of places and services that improve our health, prosperity, and quality of life, and protect our environment.” (p98)
  • “Key to the resilience of communities has been the action taken by communities themselves. We will build on this to ensure that resilience can be sustained as part of our recovery and renewal through our Empowering Communities Programme. The programme provides support to the hundreds of community anchor organisations across the country, enabling communities to take more control and make a difference in tackling inequalities on their own terms, shaping their own futures.” (p99)
  • “To support services which meet local needs, we will also introduce a Community Bus Fund, supporting local transport authorities to improve local public transport in their areas.” (p100)

The Programme for Government is available here.

SURF looks forward to engaging with the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament over the coming year on our network’s regeneration interests.