People Key To Plans, Sturgeon Says

Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to put people at the centre of her plans for the next year of government.

The First Minister will announce the Scottish Government's legislative programme for 2014/15 at Holyrood today.

The new programme will focus on helping to create "a society based on prosperity, participation and fairness'', she said.

The proposals are also expected to include ways that people can become more involved in the decisions that affect their lives.

Speaking ahead of the statement, the First Minister said: "People across Scotland have been engaged, inspired and empowered by politics like never before.

"We know that most people had a view on what they wanted for their country during the referendum - and we still want to know what you want for your country now.

"That's why today I will set out how this Government will do things differently and how we want to put people at the heart of our plans.

"That means, where we can, we will listen to the people and take decisions after hearing what they have to say.

"We want this to be the most open and accessible government that Scotland has ever had.

"We want to create a society based on prosperity, participation and fairness. So, we are going to do things that make it easier for everyone to get on in life.''

She added: "Making sure that everyone can do better in life will help make Scotland a fairer place to live and work, but it will also make it a more prosperous place too.

"We want everyone's help to make Scotland a better country - and we want to hear your ideas.

"We are all in the business of making Scotland a better place to live and work, and together we can build a fairer and more prosperous country.''

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called on Ms Sturgeon to use her first Scottish Government programme to address mental health.

He said: "If we are to create opportunity for all, the new First Minister must use her first programme for Government to set out a new agenda on mental health.

"We need a new law to ensure equality between mental health and physical health in our NHS. People in England already have that equality, so we deserve it in Scotland too.

"The Scottish Government has a duty to change attitudes, to reduce the stigma and to guarantee that people with mental illness are treated equally to those with physical illness.''

The Royal College of Nursing in Scotland urged the Government to bring forward policies to address health inequalities.

Director Theresa Fyffe said: "We have no doubt that the new First Minister is serious about tackling Scotland's inequalities and we now ask her to support our call to put in place policies - and funding - to make inequalities in health a thing of the past.''

After her statement to Parliament, Ms Sturgeon will this evening take part in a Facebook Q&A with members of the public.

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