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Child poverty and domestic abuse bills stand out in SNP plan for year

ALLEVIATING child poverty and tackling domestic abuse are two focuses of the Scottish Government for the next year, Nicola Sturgeon announced earlier in the week.

The Child Poverty Bill and the Domestic Abuse Bill are two of the most important to me, when the First Minister gave her statement on the programme of government for 2016/17.

On the Child Poverty Bill, Nicola said: “Presiding officer, we understand that our work to ensure equality in education must extend well beyond the gates of our nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

“That’s why the new Child Poverty Bill is arguably the most important piece of legislation we will introduce this year. This Bill will establish Scotland as the only part of the UK with statutory income targets on child poverty.

“It will also be backed by real action. For example, our new Best Start grant will provide financial support to low income parents when their child is born, when they start nursery and again when they start school.

“And over the coming year, I am proud to say we will also introduce the Baby Box – offering essential items such as clothing, bedding and books for all new-born babies.

“Our overall aim is clear. From the moment parents receive their baby box, right through to when young adults go to college or university, into apprenticeships and jobs, supporting children and families is at the heart of this government’s priorities. We want to ensure that every young person can fulfil their potential, because that’s the only way in which Scotland can fulfil its potential.”

And on domestic abuse, Nicola said: “Finally, the Domestic Abuse Bill will ensure that our law is able to deal with the true nature and severity of domestic abuse. At the moment, physical abuse can be prosecuted, but it is often more challenging to prosecute psychological abuse.

“The new bill will therefore ensure that coercive and controlling behaviour can be dealt with more effectively. It will also help to shape public attitudes by explicitly acknowledging that psychological abuse is unacceptable and criminal.

“The bill is an important signal of our determination to tackle domestic abuse in all its forms. It will therefore make an important contribution to our aim of achieving true gender equality.”

These are transcripts from the whole speech Nicola Sturgeon gave, and the full statement can be found online at:…

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