Improving our health will be Nicola Sturgeon’s goal as SNP outline priorities for coming year

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

IMPROVING the health of the nation with a clampdown on booze and fast food advertising will form the centrepiece of the Scottish Government’s new legislative programme.

Nicola Sturgeon will this week unveil her SNP administration’s priorities for the year ahead as Holyrood returns after the summer break.

Among the plans to be unveiled in the first few weeks are a new anti-obesity strategy and a fresh action plan to “change Scotland’s relationship with alcohol”.

Banning outdoor alcohol and junk food adverts, such as on buses or by the roadside, is under consideration, as is a clampdown on multi-buy promotions for unhealthy foods.

SNP strategists are pitching the range of initiatives to tackle Scotland’s health problems as “in the same ball park” as the controversial bid to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

Other Bills expected include plans to allow gay men, convicted of same-sex offences before laws against homosexuality were dropped, to receive full pardons. And a Bill to shake up the bus industry to allow greater public involvement, as first revealed by The Sunday Post, is also expected to feature.

Miss Sturgeon said her government will bring in more legislation this term than at any point since devolution, with 27 bills being taken forward.

She said: “This programme for government sets out a bold and forward-looking economic vision – sending a clear message to our people, businesses, schools, colleges and universities, and to the wider world: Scotland’s ambition is to be the inventor and the producer, not just a consumer, of the innovations that will shape the lives of our children and grandchildren.”

The First Minister added: “Of course, Brexit will continue to provide the backdrop to much that we do over the next year. We will take whatever steps we can to protect our economy from the damage leaving the EU will do.

“Over the next few months, we will also set out the case for further extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament in areas such as immigration, social security, employment rights and trade – and highlight where additional powers would enable us to better achieve the ambitions in this programme.”

The new diet and obesity programme is expected to outline measures to tackle the problem that two thirds (65%) of adults in Scotland are overweight.

It is expected the Scottish Government will renew efforts to get the UK Government to ban junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed.

Supreme Court judges are currently considering an appeal against the Scottish Government’s move to introduce minimum pricing of alcohol.

However, SNP ministers are keen to continue with the drive to lower alcohol consumption regardless of this outcome and a new strategy to change Scots’ relationship with booze is being finalised.

Those familiar with the plan have told The Sunday Post that a push to have the prominence of alcohol in everyday life will be a part of the strategy.

This could feature a clampdown on alcohol advertising in streets, parks, on public transport and in sports grounds.