Programme for Government: Rent freeze, end of not proven and tourist tax

A rent freeze and ending the not proven verdict are among the measures set out.

Rent freeze, not proven abolished and tourist tax: Nicola Sturgeon sets out Programme for Government STV News

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out her government’s plans for the coming year in a statement at the Scottish Parliament.

The announcement was made amid a cost of living crisis and fears over rising energy bills.

Proposals to help support households with their finances were set out under a series of measures included in the Programme for Government.

Here, STV News looks at some of the key measures set out by the First Minister at Holyrood.

Rent freeze

Emergency measures will be put in place to ensure that rents will be frozen from September 6.

The freeze, along with a moratorium on evictions, is expected to remain in place until “at least” the end of March next year.

There had been calls to implement a freeze on rents to help tenants in the face of rising household bills.

Plans to bring in longer-term rent controls are already being progressed at the Scottish Parliament.

ScotRail ticket fares

Tickets for ScotRail services will be frozen until March 2023.

The train operator was taken into public ownership on April 1 this year.

An agreement between ScotRail and the Scottish Government had allowed for an increase of almost 12% from January.

Ministers, however, were urged to intervene to stop the rises going ahead.

Ending not proven

Scotland is the only European country to have a third verdict in criminal cases – the not proven verdict.

It can be used in cases where there is not sufficient evidence for a conviction, but where a person’s innocence is in doubt.

Campaigners had called for the verdict to be scrapped, having stated it is used disproportionately in rape cases.

The First Minister confirmed that the verdict will be abolished under a new Criminal Justice Bill.

Scottish Child Payment

From November 14, the payment will be increased to £25 per week, as well as being extended to those under the age of 16.

The payment was doubled from £10 per week to £20 in April this year.

Sturgeon has described the payment as “the most ambitious child poverty measures in the UK”.

Around 104,000 children currently receiving the payment will have it automatically increased to £25 per week.

Public health

Action will be taken under new legislation to restrict promotion of less healthy food and drink in Scotland.

The Government will also consult on proposals to restrict alcohol promotions.

A women’s health champion will also be appointed, as well as steps to improve women’s access to healthcare.

Justice system

A new Children’s Care and Justice Bill will end the practice of placing children under the age of 18 in young offenders’ institutions.

There will also be measures introduced to improve the way in which complaints made about the police are managed and investigated.

Legislation will be brought forward to improve the accountability and transparency of the legal complaints system.

The legal framework governing the work of charities will also be updated and strengthened under the Charities Regulation Bill.


An independent education inspectorate and a new public body that is responsible for qualifications will be established.

It was announced earlier this year that the current body, the SQA, will be scrapped by the Scottish Government.

The SQA had been in place since 1997, but has been under fire for the downgrading of grades submitted by teachers.

Tourist tax

Councils will be given the power to introduce a levy on people visiting their areas under new legislation.

It is aimed that the levy would allow local authorities to respond to local pressures.

A pledge to introduce legislation to allow local authorities to charge a tourism levy was set out by the Welsh Government last year.

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