Health and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic will be the cornerstones of this week’s programme for government, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The Scottish Government will announce its legislative agenda for the rest of the parliamentary session this week, with the First Minister saying the priority will remain tackling the pandemic and the economic recovery from its after effects.
With the virus being implicated in the deaths of as many as 4,222 Scots, according to National Records of Scotland, and the country officially in a recession after the lockdown caused a drop of 19.7% in the second quarter of this year, the First Minister said “this will not be a normal programme for government”.
The First Minister said she would take a “radical” approach to policies outlined in the annual programme, saying: “Next week, I will set out radical and wide-ranging policies not only to help Scotland through this crisis but to drive a strong recovery with a renewed focus on what matters to people across the country.
“We have an opportunity, not simply to go back to how things were, but to address many of the deep seated challenges our country faces.
“The programme for government 2020-21 will be based on our determination to recover from this virus and deliver a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland for everyone.”
While the First Minister cautioned Scots on the need to ensure that the virus remains under control, as localised outbreaks continue in Coupar Angus, Kingspark School in Dundee and Hawick, she stressed the need to look to the future at how Scotland will recover from the economic toll of the virus.
She said: “Businesses and individuals have made extraordinary sacrifices to tackle this pandemic together.
“In every community in Scotland people have shown incredible resilience, compassion and skill to provide everything from the most advanced intensive care, to simple acts of kindness.
“That is why it’s so important for us to continue to keep the virus under control.
“At the same time we must also look to the future, to think about how we can help people, businesses and communities recover from this pandemic.
“We cannot, and should not, let this virus define our futures.”