Programme for Government 2023-24 launched

Date: 5th September 2023
Category: General measures of implementation, Policy and strategy

'Programme for Scottish Government 2023-24' text in the middle. At the bottom there is a speech bubble and a child with a lock to symbolise protection. Two stroke lines at the top and bottom. At the top '#ScotPfG'

The Scottish Government has published its official plans for 2023-24. Key themes include addressing poverty, childcare and education.

Commitments include:

Human rights in law

  • Bring back the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill for Reconsideration stage (note this is a repeat of the commitment in last year's Programme for Government).
  • Introduce the new Human Rights Bill to the Scottish Parliament before the end of the parliamentary year.
  • Consult on a new mainstreaming strategy, to embed human rights and equality throughout government and the public sector.

Child poverty

  • Invest £405 million in the Scottish Child Payment, currently set at £25 per child per week.
  • Support people with the cost of living by increasing the Scottish Child Payment and all disability and carers benefits in line with inflation.
  • Introduce a Housing Bill that will set out new duties aimed at the prevention of homelessness.
  • Continue to support schools to address the poverty-related attainment gap, including through investment in the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
  • Support reductions in the cost of the school day by funding the removal of core curriculum charges and continue to uplift the school clothing grant by inflation in 2024-25.
  • Work with COSLA to prepare schools for expansion of universal free school meals to P6 and P7 pupils during 2026, starting with those in receipt of the Scottish Child Payment.

Early learning and childcare

  • Develop local infrastructure to provide childcare from nine months to the end of primary school in certain communities within six local authority areas.
  • Develop and test a new digital service that enables parents/carers to choose and manage childcare more effectively and in accordance with their needs.
  • Begin work to phase in expanded national offer for families with two-year-olds, focused on those who will benefit most.
  • Recruit 1000 new childminders by the end of the current parliament.
  • Increase the minimum wage for staff delivering funded early learning and childcare to at least £12/hour from April 2024.
  • Promote flexible working from day one of employment to help parents/carers manage work and caring responsibilities.


  • Put the voices of children and young people at the heart of reform of education and skills bodies.
  • Introduce a new Education Bill.
  • Take action to close the attainment gap, including for children with additional support needs.
  • Promote implementation of an anti-racist, decolonised curriculum.
  • Widen access to university.


  • Continue to fund 320 additional staff in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) over the next five years.
  • Take action to reduce vaping amongst children and young people, including consulting on the sale of disposable, singe use vapes.

Children in need of special protection and support

  • Invest £1 million in the statutory Guardianship Scotland service in 2023-24 to support vulnerable children who have arrived in Scotland alone.
  • End placement of under-18s in Young Offenders Institutions by the end of 2024 and expand investment in alternatives to custody for children.
  • Launch Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinders in autumn 2023
  • Establish a Cabinet Sub-Committee to drive forward change required by Care Experienced children and families.
  • Launch a consultation on the support for Care Experienced young people when they become adults

Read the full Programme for Government 2023-24 here.

Read the First Minister's accompanying speech here.