Covid-19 Fiscal Implications

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour

If I might just continue, Presiding Officer.

COSLA’s leadership is absolutely clear that the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis will make the existing situation even harder. As Jackie Baillie mentioned, the previous funding cuts meant that councils were already having to make difficult decisions. As we come out of the crisis, we will have to look at how we might support the sectors that are critical to our economy, our society and the next generation.

The Scottish Government can do much more. The Scottish Government budget is a lot bigger than the local authority budget and more can be done to scrutinise where resources can come from.

Just before we started the debate, the environment secretary dropped hints in the latest climate statement that there might be more investment. What transformation of investment will we see in our local economies that can come from other Scottish Government investment? We need to look at our communities, at tackling fuel poverty, and at building community heat networks. That is vital if we are going to see jobs created, carbon emissions reduced and our local economies regenerated.

To repeat Alex Rowley’s point, where will we see the Scottish Government using its influence now? If we are going to get massive offshore wind contracts, will they be built in Scotland?