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  1. Nicola Sturgeon outlines Scottish government's plans
  2. Holyrood hears legislative programme for next 12 months
  3. Twelve bills planned at Scottish Parliament
  4. The first minister pledges radical programme on land reform
  5. 20% of university entrants should come from most deprived backgrounds
  6. Ms Sturgeon aims to create 'open, accessible and de-centralising' government
  7. Labour's Jackie Baillie: 'Government judged on results, not rhetoric'

Live Reporting

By Thomas McGuigan, Graham Fraser and Louise Sayers

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

Graham Fraser

BBC Scotland

That is all for our coverage of the government's legislative programme.

Join us again on the live blog from 08:00 tomorrow, as the Smith Commission unveils its recommendations for further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Equal Scotland

Glenn Campbell

BBC Scotland news

In some ways, it is the non-legislative measures that are more interesting - many of them aimed at making Scotland a more equal country.

For instance, the First Minister says having appointed a cabinet with a 50-50 male/female gender balance - she intends to pursue that with companies and public bodies in the hope they can achieve a similar balance by 2020.

She wants to expand use of the living wage beyond the public sector into the private sector. She is also talking about changing access to higher education, so that over a period of time there are 20% of those students in university education from the 20% of the most poor communities of Scotland.

Those are, generally, more long-term aspirations but ones she put a great deal of stress upon.

'Land grab'

James Cook

Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

The Conservatives' Alex Fergusson is accusing the SNP of Big Brother behaviour and a land-grab.

Unison reaction

Mike Kirby, the Scottish Secretary of Unison, welcomed Nicola Sturgeon's statement.

He said: "We welcome her commitment to protect public services and to increase NHS funding, her commitment to the living wage and to mitigate the problems of welfare reform, her commitment to put gender equality and women's rights at the heart of her government, and to increase childcare."

Brian's Blog

Brian Taylor

Political editor, Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon said in advance - not least at the SNP conference - that her aim was to balance the search for social justice with pursuing economic growth.

Nicola Sturgeon
Getty Images

She said again today in presenting her programme for government that she wanted to achieve "participation, prosperity and fairness".

Perhaps inevitably, it is the rhetoric about fairness and distribution which comes to the fore. That is partly because it is more eye-catching and ear-grabbing to talk about helping the poor than to calibrate business rates.

Read Brian Taylor's full blog.

E-cigarette ban?

Glenn Campbell

BBC Scotland news

There were 12 bills in total for the year ahead. One of the other interesting ones is the public health legislation that is proposed.

It is likely to require the national health services and social care services to own up when things go wrong - when patients and others in their care are ill-treated or harmed.

I think it will also lead to a ban on under 18s purchasing e-cigarettes.

Land Reform - Analysis

Glenn Campbell

BBC Scotland news

The First Minister promised radical land reform, although I don't think it will be nearly as radical as the government's review group was recommending.

For instance, they said there should be a legal limit on the amount of land that any one person could own privately. Instead the government says it will give ministers powers to intervene where the extent of land ownership or the actions of a land owner is preventing sustainable development.

They are also going to make shooting and deerstalking estates pay business rates, from which they have been exempt for the last couple of decades.

Findlay slams Sturgeon's plans

Scottish Labour leadership candidate Neil Findlay MSP has described Nicola Sturgeon's programme for government a "shameful disregard for democracy". Mr Findlay is angry that the SNP leader has no plans to introduce his Lobbying Transparency Bill.

Neil Findlay

The MSP said: "The work that my staff and I put in to the proposals was widely respected by members from all parties and gained support from MSPs including John Wilson MSP, Alex Johnstone MSP, Tavish Scott MSP, Margo MacDonald MSP and Patrick Harvie MSP.

"I had the expectation that after the SNP government took control of my bill that they would bring it forward in this parliamentary session. It now looks like the Scottish Government has no intention to do so. Considering the wide-spread support from elected members it is nothing short of a shameful disregard for democracy."

The Bill proposed the introduction of a register of the activity of lobbyists who lobby MSPs, ministers and public officials.

Gameskeepers on Land Reform

Following the announcement on plans for a Land Reform Bill, a spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: "It is highly important, when considering land reform that Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish Government should see it as a duty to protect jobs of rural workers in fragile areas.

"Should it make land reform an ideological vehicle to punish landowners on sporting estates, the real affect will be to sacrifice the jobs of working people such as gamekeepers, stalkers and land and river ghillies, and their families, who will be the first people to suffer if investments are withdrawn and taken elsewhere.

"As has been shown recently with the Isle of Gigha, public money doesn't always mean things are easy or futures necessarily sustainable. There has to be an acknowledgement that some rural business models already deliver successfully in the public interest.

"We welcome greater accountability of land ownership and trust this will also extend to charities and government agencies, who are sizeable landowners in Scotland."

'Landowners make worthwhile contribution'

Mr Johnston's statement added: "Sporting estates are too readily singled out in a negative light when in fact they are businesses that make a key contribution to rural tourism, local employment and the environment. The announcement that business rates exemption is to be scrapped for sporting estates does not take in account the current voluntary payments made for river and deer management.

"The perception that sporting estates do not pay their dues is not accurate. Estate businesses, whose activities generally extend beyond sporting, pay business rates and other taxes where they are due. Exemptions were put in place to support the industry in the same way that the Scottish Government is taking steps to support sectors such as construction.

"The government says it wants radical reform and that is an ambition it has stated many times. We believe it is time for a modern debate on land reform which recognises that both private and community land ownership make very worthwhile contributions to Scotland. So much more can be achieved by taking a more constructive and collaborative approach rather the negative rhetoric that is the case to date."

Holyrood legislative programme - Your Views

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Bruce, Perth: SNP land reform: is this another attack on No voters?

Land reform reaction

David Johnston, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, an organisation of private landowners, said: "The reality is that the land is already an asset for the many and landowners of all types and sizes are already delivering a huge range of public benefit and we can provide even more.

"We would've hoped that the first minister would've recognised in her speech the substantial social, economic and environmental contribution of land-based businesses and estates.

"Indeed landowners, regardless of scale, are heavily involved in activities that support the policy objectives of the Scottish government including areas such as renewable energy, agriculture, housing and tourism."

Reaction: Scottish Retail Consortium

Reacting to Nicola Sturgeon's legislative plans, the Scottish Retail Consortium's David Lonsdale said: "The first minister's programme for government contains a number of useful and welcome measures on areas such as modern apprenticeships, literacy and numeracy, and boosting home ownership.

"The retail industry is Scotland's largest private sector employer, providing 257,000 jobs, and any alternatives to council tax which place an administrative burden on, or have cost implications for, employers would be a concern."

'Effective performance' from first minister

Brian Taylor

Political editor, Scotland

It was an effective performance: well presented and substantial. Much, too, for Parliament to be getting on with under current powers.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Getty Images

Ms Sturgeon speculated how much more could be done with enhanced powers. But that is a topic for tomorrow and the Smith Commission...

Land reform

Christian Allard MSP, in the debate on the government's legislative programme, said: "For the many north east constituents I represent in rural Scotland, land reform is very much about social justice."

Christian Allard

He added: "There is a burning desire across rural Scotland to build more prosperous and fairer communities. Access to land is what our young farmers want to stay in their communities."

Reaction: Cosla president David O'Neill

"Two things to say about this afternoon's announcement. Firstly, we wanted a productive partnership with the new first minister and with today's announcement I am delighted to say that we have obviously secured that.

"Secondly, we have said for a while now that the council tax needs to be looked at and we wanted change in relation to the fiscal empowerment of local government.

"Our involvement with this Commission gives us the ideal opportunity to progress some of our own thinking in both of these areas."

Reaction: Scottish Labour

Scottish Labour believe Nicola Sturgeon's first Programme for Government is a "missed opportunity" to cut inequality.

The party's shadow spokesperson for Social Justice Jackie Bailie said: "Those under 65, living at home, increasingly have to contribute a higher proportion of their benefits towards care costs.

"This care tax is a tax on the most vulnerable members of our communities. It's a tax we can and should abolish.

"That takes action, not warm words and that is the basis on which the Scottish government will be judged. If they truly believe in social justice, they will cut inequality, not public services."

Labour Jackie Bailie speaking

Commenting on the living wage, Ms Bailie said, "We believe the Scottish government should promote better pay with a living wage strategy and a living wage unit. In 2014 alone the SNP voted against the living wage no fewer than five times.

"That takes action, not warm words and that is the basis on which the Scottish government will be judged. If they truly believe in social justice, they will cut inequality, not public services."

Tune in

Newsdrive is getting under way on BBC Radio Scotland, with further reaction to Nicola Sturgeon's legislative programme announced at Holyrood.

Listen live to the programme, from now until 18:00,


BBC Scotland's Newsdrive

Reaction from the Greens

Alison Johnstone MSP, speaking on behalf of the Scottish Greens, says her party supports the government's plans to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, the focus on tackling in-work poverty, to end the collection of debts of the non-payment of the poll tax, and human trafficking.

Ms Johnstone says what is missing from the programme is a way to deliver a step change of the energy efficiency of our homes and work places; and tackling fuel poverty.

Holyrood legislative programme

Tweet using #ScotlandLive or #ProgForGov

Andy Wightman: Listening to MSPs is fascinating but I need to take the dog for a walk. She does not care about the ScotGov's legislative programme.

Gordon Aikman: I'd rather @NicolaSturgeon outlawed care charges now, but glad commitment in #ProgforGov to legislate if need be #MND

Holyrood legislative programme
Gordon Aikman

Gordon Aikman is responsible for getting the First Minister's agreement to

examine the provision of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) care.

Lib Dems support voting plans

Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, says his party will support the government's plans to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote for the 2016 Holyrood elections, and plans to give the islands more localised power.

Voters at polling station

Reaction: Federation of Small Businesses cont.

Mr Borland continued: "Similarly, the FSB is encouraged by news that the first minister is committed to fixing the education system, ensuring that the next generation entering the labour market have the right skills for modern workplace.

"The first minister made it clear today that she expects more from the private sector. we accept that economic recovery is still to be felt in many parts of the country. However, if we are to revitalise many Scottish communities, then we need to harness, not dampen, the power of enterprise."

Reaction: Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed Nicola Sturgeon's sustained commitment to the small business bonus scheme unveiled in the First Minster's programme for government.

Colin Borland, the Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) head of external affairs in Scotland said it was "more than just a new list of proposed laws" and that it marked a shift in direction.

"Most welcome is the Scottish government's sustained commitment to the small business bonus scheme which continues to give Scottish small firms a competitive advantage over their counterparts elsewhere in the UK," Mr Borland added.

Holyrood legislative programme - Your Views

Text us using 80295

Cath: I don't understand how the Scottish government can tell people what to do with their own land? Will it depend on how much land they own? If you only have a couple of acres will you be included in this? Surely landowners will employ their own legal advisors regarding this?

Holyrood legislative programme

Tweet using #ScotlandLive or #ProgForGov

Fergie in Glasgow: Mostly love Nicola's #ProgforGov but concerned by 6 months terminally ill thing: often impossible to judge & patient may not want to know.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland: Good to hear @willie_rennie stress need to give parity to mental health treatment and physical health treatment #ProgForGov

'Could have done more'

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said where her party finds a common cause in issues like early release and extending childcare, they will work with the government.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson

She adds the SNP government has 18 months left of a five-year term with a majority "where it could have done a lot more".

Holyrood legislative programme

Tweet using #ScotlandLive or #ProgForGov

Laura Mitchell: Thumbs up to reform, community empowerment, education, the living wage, votes at 16, human trafficking bill, gender equality. #ProgForGov

Paul Cruikshank: I'll have a look at the #ProgForGov tonight - quick skim looks like "Good overall aims; slightly dodgy on the detail". #ScotGov

Scot Lim Dem's Natalie Coupar: @willie_rennie pledges support for 16 and 17 year old votes and praises Islands campaign during #indyref #progforgov

BreakingTwelve planned bills

Land Reform Bill - Banning business rates exemptions for shooting and deerstalking estates'

Community Charge Debt Bill - End collection of debts from non-payment of the poll tax

Education Bill - To give new rights to children who may have additional support needs

Higher Education Governance Bill - To ensure that the governing bodies of universities are transparent, democratic and accountable

Public Health Bill - To strengthen ability to reduce the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products and e-cigarettes and duty of candour where people have suffered from ill treatment or neglect

Carers Bill - To give carers support and a say in the planning and delivery of services

Community Justice Bill - To transfer responsibility to 32 community planning partnerships, and consultation on domestic abuse offence and on revenge porn

Human Trafficking & Exploitation Bill - To strengthen ability to help victims and bring offenders to justice

Budget Bill

Fatal Accidents Inquiries Bill

Succession Bill

Harbours Bill

Holyrood legislative programme

Tweet using #ScotlandLive or #ProgForGov

Martin Docherty: Empowering communities fund will need volunteers and not just in the Third Sector? #ProgforGov

Anna Beck: Encouraging to hear Nicola Sturgeon's plans to lead a government which is more open, accessible and de-centralising.

Connor McKenna: @NicolaSturgeon @theSNP #ProgForGov sounds great was delighted about free care for terminally ill. Good luck. Look forward to better days.

Holyrood legislative programme


James, Glasgow: Cannot fault Nicola's ambition! Those changes will completely change Scotland. People will judge through time on her success. Sadly people will judge now, today, purely based on hatred of her party.

Change at the top

Making reference to the new cabinet, Ms Baillie says " a new era means a new cabinet... change at the top means nothing if the new faces have the same approach".

Ms Baillie then criticises the government's record on the health service.

Labour will support domestic abuse law

On the issue of domestic abuse, Ms Baillie welcomes the government's intention to legislate on this and so-called 'revenge porn'.

The Labour MSP says her party will support the government's plan.

Sturgeon's plans

Andrew Black

Political reporter, BBC Scotland

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to take action against landowners who pose a "barrier" to development.

She also said business rate exemptions for shooting and deerstalking estates would be scrapped as part of a series of "radical" land reforms.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Getty Images

Ms Sturgeon's comments came

as she outlined her government's latest plans.

She also outlined plans to revisit alternatives to council tax, which has been frozen in Scotland since 2007.

Holyrood legislative programme

Tweet using #ScotlandLive or #ProgForGov

Sancho-ho-ho: Is she taking back Berwick? RT "@BBCBreaking: Nicola Sturgeon pledges "radical" land reform for Scotland in her first legislative programme"

Callum Dougan: Jackie Baillie claims to have "ended feudalism". Tell that to the manses. #progforgov

Drew McGowan: @scottishlabour built SIX council houses - none of them on mainland Scotland! @theSNP govt champions affordable home builds #ProgForGov

'Talks left but walks right'

James Cook

Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

Scots should not have to put up with a government which "talks left but walks right," says Jackie Baillie.

Budget cuts

John Swinney, in response to Ms Baillie's speech which highlighted 70,000 fewer council workers as a result of cuts, asks on how many occasions has Labour asked him to give more money to local government in the formal budget negotiations?

He says they have never done so.

Hosie: SNP on 'side of the people'

SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie

tweets: Solid, progressive #ProgForGov from @NicolaSturgeon puts @theSNP firmly on the side of the people. Grow the economy and deliver fairness.

Labour reaction

Reacting to the first minister's legislative programme, Labour's Jackie Baillie says "business as usual" is no longer good enough for the people of Scotland.

"We must all change and that includes the Scottish government," she says.

Labour's Jackie Baillie

"Voters will rightly judge the first minister and her government on results, not rhetoric.

"They might even hold your feet to the fire on promises on social justice."

Holyrood legislative programme

Tweet using #ScotlandLive or #ProgForGov

Gary Dunion: In general, pretty encouraging. Very interested to see what will come out of the local taxation and island devolution debates. #ProgForGov

Jamie Keith: The Land Reform proposals sound like a good start, but still lots to do. #ProgForGov

Allan Faulds: Just from listening to that, seems, to someone political but not hugely good with policy, pretty solid actually. Nae bad, First Minister.

Holyrood legislative programme

Tweet using #ScotlandLive or #ProgForGov

Hazel McIver: In 2008 Swinney put out to consultation SNP's Local Income Tax plans. 6 years later looks like Sturgeon has abandoned LIT. #ProgforGov

Hayley Johnson: No mention of private sector rent reform in #progforgov in fact very little mention of housing at all.

Pilar Fernandez: Listening to FM @NicolaSturgeon #ProgForGov presenting a government program 4 Scotland very ambitious and courageous.