First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has used her New Year message to reflect on some of the achievements of the last year and to look forward to 2017.
She highlighted developments such as the introduction of the baby box, which will see every new mum in Scotland given a box of essential items for a newborn baby by summer next year, and the expansion of free early learning and childcare. By the end of this Parliament, all three and four year olds, and around a quarter of two year olds, will be eligible for more than 1100 hours a year of free early learning and care, almost double the current levels of provision.
The First Minister also pointed to infrastructure projects set for completion or further progress in 2017, including the Queensferry Crossing, finishing the electrification of the main Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line, dualling the A9, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral route, and making superfast broadband available to all households.
She said: “These are examples of how we are building a better future for communities in every part Scotland.
“We are working to safeguard the opportunities that so many people in Scotland now take for granted. We are determined that Scotland’s vote to remain in the European Union will be respected – and that people in Scotland retain as many of the benefits of EU membership as possible, including the freedom to work, travel and study in other member states.
“New year is inevitably a time when we look to the future. I’m determined to ensure that we give our children and young people – Scotland’s future – the support and care they need to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. And I’m confident that in 2017, we will make further progress towards that goal. That’s something, which is well worth looking forward to.”
She added: “So wherever you are – whether you’re here in Scotland, or further afield; whether you’re at work, spending time on your own or with your friends or family – I hope you have a wonderful Hogmanay, and a great new year. And I wish all of you all the best for 2017.”