Investment in the public sector and a wellbeing economy: our Programme for Government calls
4 Sep 2023
Ahead of the announcement of this year’s Programme for Government, Children in Scotland highlights the crucial importance of sustainable funding for the children’s sector and decisive action towards the delivery of a wellbeing economy.
Both calls are highlighted in our Manifesto 2021-2026 (click here to access).
As we begin to turn our thoughts to the winter months, when many families will face impossible choices between heating their homes and eating, we must see a Programme for Government that prioritises activity and spending, recognises the vital role the third sector plays in delivering crucial family support services, and delivers concrete steps towards a more rights-based economy that has wellbeing as a focus.
In April this year, the First Minister gave an insight into what to expect from the upcoming announcement. Humza Yousaf’s vision for leadership (click here to access) over the course of this parliament focuses on three priority areas:
- Equality: Tackling poverty and protecting people from harm
- Opportunity: A fair, green and growing economy
- Community: Prioritising our public services.
Investment in public services to protect the future for Scotland’s children
At Children in Scotland, we welcome this focused approach. In May, our Chief Executive, Dr Judith Turbyne, was invited to a session with the Finance and Public Affairs Committee to talk about effective Scottish government decision-making.
She highlighted the importance of good prioritisation to ensure that we are continuing to invest in preventative and long-term approaches. This is particularly important at the moment, because of the current economic situation.
The upcoming Programme for Government and, crucially, the Scottish Budget, must reflect this prioritisation.
Children in Scotland is pleased to see a focus on prioritising public services at the heart of the First Minister’s vision. However, the crucial role of the third sector to deliver them in a universal and targeted way often gets overlooked.
The incredible work of our members, and our activity on the Supporting the Third Sector project, demonstrates the essential contribution that charities and non-profit organisations can make in providing relationship-based family support and in children’s services planning and delivery.
In recent months, we have seen valued organisations close their doors or reduce their services because of unsustainable funding positions. This challenge is all too familiar across the third sector, and we support a recent campaign by SCVO (click here to read more), calling for fairer funding for the third sector as a cornerstone of the upcoming Programme for Government.
Decisive action urgently needed to deliver a wellbeing economy
A “fair, green and growing economy” is another key priority in Humza Yousaf’s vision.
In July, Children in Scotland was one of more than 200 charities, economists, businesses, trade unions, and academics that signed a joint letter (click here to read) urging the First Minister to take decisive action and deliver a robust plan to deliver this.
Our current economic model is broken, and the transition to a wellbeing economy is urgently required to tackle poverty, reduce inequality, and to ensure we can deliver on our climate targets. The recent introduction of a Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy is a positive step forward. However, tangible action is now needed to refocus our economic model and deliver an economy that supports everyone to live good lives and protects the health of our planet.
With the recommencement of Parliament this week, we look forward to a Programme for Government that truly prioritises the lives of children, young people and families and delivers on the First Minister’s existing commitments to tackle poverty and inequality, support communities and transform our economy.