Sturgeon’s ‘national mission’ to create new, green jobs in wake of Covid-19

The Scottish Government is on a “national mission” to create new fairer, green jobs as part of the country’s recovery from coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister will use Tuesday’s programme for government to set out what she sees as the “necessary steps to rebuild an economy that is stronger, fairer and more sustainable”.

Her key statement to MSPs will set out what Bills the Scottish Government will bring forward before next May’s Holyrood elections.

The legislative programme will be dominated by coronavirus and the response to it, with Ms Sturgeon insisting that suppressing the virus is “the single most important thing that we, as a nation, can do”.

The programme for government, which will be unveiled to MSPs this afternoon, will include investment in plans for a youth guarantee for unemployed young people, as well as a programme to help people retrain for new areas for the economy, such as low carbon industries. There will also be specific investment announced in green jobs and skills.

Speaking ahead of the statement, Ms Sturgeon said that when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the Scottish Government had “acted decisively to save lives, protect people’s jobs and insulate our communities from the worst ravages of this illness”.

The First Minister added: “Suppressing the virus is the single most important thing that we, as a nation, can do to allow our economy to continue to open up safely and that has to be our immediate priority.

“Looking ahead, I am determined that we take the necessary steps to rebuild an economy that is stronger, fairer and more sustainable.

“That is why we are making it our national mission to create new, green jobs across Scotland with fair pay and good conditions.”

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Ms Sturgeon continued: “Equipping people with skills for the future to keep them in work or get back into employment will be critical. From our young people entering the job market for the first time to older workers who need to retrain, we will make sure that no one is left behind.

“We have already announced £100 million investment in employment and skills as part of our wider economic recovery package and this Programme for Government will set out our next steps on this journey.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “Scottish Labour has been warning for months that we need a quality jobs guarantee scheme in place before the furlough scheme ends – or we risk unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1980s.

“We welcome and support the creation of new jobs in green industries – but workers don’t need promises of ‘jam tomorrow’, they need an assurance they will not be thrown on the dole queues next month.

“Workers and families across Scotland fear for their futures.

“The First Minister now has the opportunity to relieve those fears by guaranteeing not just jobs but quality jobs to all workers who will be adversely affected by this crisis.”