FORMER first minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked her first question at FMQs since stepping down as SNP leader.

Standing up at Holyrood on Thursday, Sturgeon asked her successor Humza Yousaf to commit to continued funding of family support to ensure the keeping of The Promise. 

The former SNP leader requested that the Scottish Government continue to fund the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund (WFWF) in order to meet the commitments of The Promise.

In 2016, during her time as first minister, Sturgeon committed to The Promise.

It seeks to ensure that all children growing up in Scotland are “loved, safe, respected and realise their full potential”.

She also announced an Independent Care Review, which documents problems within Scotland’s care system and suggests how the government can invest in change.

The WFWF seeks to reduce the need to crisis intervention for families by funding local support services to invest in early intervention and prevention.

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Under Sturgeon, the Scottish Government committed to £500 million of funding for the WFWF until 2026.

However, the former first minister sought assurances from Yousaf that it would continue under his leadership.

She said: “Does the First Minister agree that to keep the promise the significant progress that has already been made does need to continue and now intensify?

“In particular, does he agree that the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund is absolutely essential to provide the funding to transform services so that families are better supported and fewer young people then need to enter care in the first place.

“And to that end, will he give a commitment that this fund will be delivered in full and that it will be fully invested to improve the lives of the young people present and future to whom that promise has been made.”

The National: Humza Yousaf applauded Nicola Sturgeon's work on The PromiseHumza Yousaf applauded Nicola Sturgeon's work on The Promise (Image: Pa)

Yousaf replied: “First and foremost can I recognise that there frankly would not be a Promise if it wasn’t for the efforts of the former first minister.”

Many MSPs then applauded Yousaf’s praise of Sturgeon. 

He continued: “And I think Nicola Sturgeon would be the first to say that there would be no promise if it wasn’t for the efforts of young care experienced people.

“So, I want to pay tribute to them for the impact that they have had on all of us – not just on government but I suspect every single member of the Scottish Parliament who has engaged with care-experienced young people and care-experienced people more generally will have been impacted.

“I have had the pleasure of engaging with a number of care-experienced people in my time as First Minister and before. Most recently hosting them in Bute House for a Christmas party, which was not just great fun but actually gave me the opportunity to hear from them directly on the improvements we had to make.

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“To answer Nicola Sturgeon’s question directly, the whole family wellbeing fund is of course an essential component for us in terms of keeping The Promise.

“And despite the very challenging Autumn Statement, despite the continued cuts over a number of years to our budget, we have prioritised £50 million for the fund in the 2024/25 budget.

“As I said, even in the face of significant financial constraints, reflecting our priority and the importance that we attach to keeping the promise.”

It comes after Sturgeon expressed concerns that her flagship plan to improve the care system were not on track due to “vested interests” pushing back against reforms and called on the SNP to do more.