HUMZA Yousaf has unveiled his new Programme for Government, outlining the bills he hopes to introduce in the coming years.

There are new bills planned on tenants’ rights, childcare, cladding and electoral reform to name some areas of the Government's focus in the year ahead.

Here are the key points at a glance…

  • Housing: This promises to be a chunky piece of legislation, covering a fair amount of ground to new rights for tenants, as well as a rent control scheme. It will also include investment for new affordable homes, cash to make empty properties into places for people to live and new powers for a premium council tax rate on second-home owners.
  • Four-day week: The Government has also promised to introduce a four-day week pilot for some lucky public sector employees. Details in the Government’s policy document are vague – it doesn’t say how many employees will participate or for how long but it does say the pilot should start before the end of the year.
  • Vape ban: The Government will seek views on an outright ban on single-use disposable vapes, amid concerns over their popularity among teenagers. 
  • Benefits: The income threshold for the Best Start foods programme will be removed, meaning 20,000 more children and pregnant mums will get cash for milk and healthy food, the First Minister announced.
  • Free school meals: Yousaf announced plans to roll out universal free school meals for children in primaries six and seven, beginning with those in receipt of the Scottish Child Payment. This means children at all years of primary school will be entitled to a free school meal.
  • Childcare: The Government wants to increase access to free childcare and is offering cash to six councils to pilot care for children between nine months and two-years-old. Workers in the sector will also be guaranteed an hourly wage of £12 under the plans. 
  • Education: Plans to replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority with a new body responsible for qualifications have also been confirmed, with a bill to create the new organisation expected within the next year. The Government also plans to create a new independent education inspectorate.
  • Cladding remediation: A major issue for people who live in buildings clad with dangerous flammable material, the Government wants to bring in new legislation it says will help them “undertake urgent measures” to remove life-endangering cladding.
  • Electoral reform: The details on this are vague but it says a new bill to reform candidacy rights will be “informed” by the Government’s consultation, which asked for views on – among other things – allowing 16-year-olds to become MSPs.
  • Land reform: The Government plans to reform land ownership laws, with a bill they say will “further empower communities” and force large holdings to deliver in “the public interest”. Ministers will also aim to modernise tenant farming and small landholding legislation.
  • Misogyny: New offences of crimes against women will be created, in line with the recommendations of a working group chaired by Helena Kennedy.
  • Miscarriage: Yousaf has pledged to improve the treatment of women and their families after a miscarriage. He committed to the creation of a certificate and memorial book of pregnancy and baby loss which was a pledge of Nicola Sturgeon’s in her final weeks as first minister. Speaking about his own experience with baby loss, the First Minister said: “I know how that sense of loss, regardless of when it happens during a pregnancy, is one that stays with you for life ... Each loss Nadia and I have suffered has been difficult, and there is no doubt in my mind that we can better support those who experience miscarriage."
  • Agriculture: The Government is also planning to replace common agricultural policy schemes with a new framework they say is focused on “high quality food production, climate mitigation and adaptation, nature protection and restoration, and wider rural development”.
  • Renewables: The Scottish Government will agree a “sector deal” with the onshore wind industry to halve the time required for consent to be obtained for projects. First Minister Yousaf said: “The Scottish Government is taking action to boost green industries with the limited powers we have."
  • A9: Procurement for the dualling of a section of the A9 has begun, Humza Yousaf has said. A similar process returned just one bid with former transport minister Jenny Gilruth claiming the offer did not represent “value for money”.