South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has welcomed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s ambitious Programme for Government aimed at ensuring a strong economic recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Under the commitments, all young people in Scotland aged 16 to 24 will be guaranteed a job, education, apprenticeship or formal training through a new £60 million government scheme.
By this Autumn, a £100 million Green Jobs fund will be launched to help up to 10,000 people of all ages retrain for jobs in growth sectors such as renewables.
The Scottish government has also announced a new £10 million Tenant Hardship Fund, which will open later this year and offer interest-free loans to those unable to access other forms of support for their housing costs.
A comprehensive independent review of adult social care will also take place – setting out options for the creation of a National Care Service.
Welcoming the proposals, Ms Harper said:
“Coronavirus has been the greatest public health crisis in our lifetime – impacting our health, economy and our way of life.
“The SNP Scottish Government has made it its mission to create new jobs right across Dumfries and Galloway, and indeed Scotland. This is a Programme for Government that protects people’s livelihoods, guarantees opportunities for all our young people and points the way to a future with better, greener jobs as Scotland looks to becoming a net-zero country.
“We can’t simply go back to how things were – we have an opportunity to build back a fairer and better Scotland. This is why the First Minister has announced these unprecedented measures to help us reform social care, protect our young people, invest in our local economy and improve digital infrastructure – all while continuing to suppress the virus.
“As ambitious as these commitments are, the Scottish Government continues to fight Coronavirus with one hand tied behind its back. Westminster’s plans to end to the furlough scheme prematurely and crash out of the EU without a deal later this year, will be deeply damaging.
“As an independent European nation, we could do so much more. I look forward to continue to work for constituents across Dumfries and Galloway – ensuring that all benefit from this progressive, fair approach to government here in Scotland.”
Other measures include:
• Accelerating the roll-out of Community Treatment and Assessment Centres so more people can receive medical care in their community rather than going to hospital
• A Scottish Child Payment will open in 2020 with first payments to be made I February 2021
• Expanding digital access to health care to ensure more people can get the help they need
• £1.6 billion low carbon funding to secure a just transition to a net zero economy investment in heat and energy efficiency and industrial decarbonisation
• A 20 year vision for energy efficient, zero carbon housing, with access to outdoor space, transport links, digital connectivity and community services
• £500 million for infrastructure to support active travel
• Bringing 50,000 people into the digital world through the Connecting Scotland programme and creating a world class digital eco-system in Scotland
• Introducing legislation on domestic abuse protection orders and progressing legislation to improve forensic medical examinations for victims of sexual assault