Draft bill on Indyref2 to be set out in parliament, Sturgeon announces

The Scottish Government is to introduce legislation setting out the timings and terms for a second independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Announcing her programme for government to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said a draft Bill will set out the proposed question people will be asked in a new poll.

She said at next year’s Holyrood election she will “make the case for Scotland to become an independent country, and seek a clear endorsement of Scotland’s right to choose our own future”.

Independence campaigners in Edinburgh
Independence campaigners in Edinburgh

Announcing her legislative agenda, she said suppressing Covid-19 is “our most immediate priority – and it will remain so for some time”, but her Government would use the disruption of the pandemic to “rethink how we do things”.

Announcing a “significant enhancement to Test & Protect”, she said the Government would “launch Protect Scotland, our new proximity tracing app”.

“The app will provide an additional means of notifying and giving advice if you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive – even if you don’t know them and they don’t know you,” she said.

The NHS Louisa Jordan hospital at the SECC in Glasgow will open through winter, she said, and eligibility for the flu vaccine would be extended to “everyone over the age of 55, social care workers and those who live with shielded people”.

Ms Sturgeon said the programme “also lays foundations for the future”.

“It establishes a national mission to create new, high-quality, green jobs,” she said.

She added: “I can can confirm that central to this, and central to our programme, is a Youth Guarantee – a new partnership with Scotland’s employers, backed by £60 million of Government investment, to guarantee everyone aged 16-24 a job, a place in education or a place in training.

“We are also earmarking £10 million to help employers recruit and retain apprentices. This will include incentives to take on apprentices who have been made redundant.”

Ms Sturgeon also announced that a National Transition Training Fund will be launched in the autumn to help “10,000 people of all ages retrain for jobs in growth sectors”, and a Green Jobs Fund initially worth £100 million will be established.

“We will increase our investment in infrastructure year on year, so that by the end of the next parliament it will be £1.5 billion higher than last year,” she added.

Announcing plans for digital infrastructure, she said that by the end of 2021 an “electronic device, unlimited data, and two years of digital support and training” will be provided to 50,000 people who “would otherwise be without digital access that the rest of us take for granted”.

“This is a massive step, and will help us end the digital divide once and for all,” she said.

The First Minister said Scots “mustn’t forget that the global climate emergency is intensifying, and that it too requires urgent action”.

“Our overall investment in decarbonising heat – which will in itself be more than £1.5 billion over the next parliament – will help us improve energy efficiency, reduce fuel poverty, and ensure that in just over 20 years, heating in Scotland will no longer be a source of greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

Saying the Government would help industries become more green, she added that a Grangemouth Future Industry Board would be established “to support a Just Transition at that cluster – promoting economic activity while advancing the move to a low-carbon future”.

Addressing the “self-sabotage” of Brexit, Ms Sturgeon said leaving the EU “strengthens the case for Scotland becoming an independent country”.