FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon will try and regain the political initiative this week when she informs MSPs of her Government's legislative programme for the upcoming year.

Sturgeon, whose Government has been rocked by the sexual harassment allegations made against Alex Salmond, will attempt to get on the front foot by making announcements on the economy, mental health, and social security.

She is expected to say that the continued uncertainty caused by Brexit must not derail the Scottish Government’s focus on improving public services, and making Scotland a fairer and more prosperous nation.

Ahead of the launch on Tuesday, the First Minister said:

“Over the past year we have once again delivered significant improvements for the people of Scotland.

“Last year’s Programme for Government contained radical and ambitious policies which have been widely praised both in Scotland and beyond our shores. Now is the time to build on those ambitions.

“Our relentless focus on building a sustainable economy is ensuring that Scotland’s economy is going in the right direction – with Scottish growth and productivity rising faster the UK.

“We have seen major infrastructure programmes delivered, including the Queensferry Crossing which recently passed its first anniversary, and I intend to set out plans to increase this investment in the years ahead."

She added: “Our £1 billion deal with councils will almost double early learning and childcare hours from 2020, to a total of 1,140 per year.

“We passed the Domestic Abuse Bill to tackle harmful, coercive and controlling behaviour in relationships in Scotland.

“We introduced a new income tax system that makes tax more progressive.

“More than 900,000 homes have been connected to fibre broadband and we will now take the next steps on the way to delivering 100%superfast broadband.

She also said: “The Programme for Government I unveil this week will build on the ambitious policies unveiled last year, as well as unveiling a raft of new announcements, and 12 new Bills, which we will progress over the coming months.

“Brexit heightens the importance of everything else we are doing as a Government. The people of Scotland did not vote to leave the European Union, but in this parliamentary year we are set to be taken out of the EU against our will – with continuing uncertainty around our future relationship with the world’s largest trading block, which is around eight times larger than the UK market alone.

“In the face of this uncertainty, we have to intensify our focus on improving the wealth and the wellbeing of communities across Scotland while continuing to argue the case for a common sense approach to Brexit – for continued membership of the single market and customs union.”