Green Recovery Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th February 2021.

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Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government welcomes the debate and the work of the committee because, collectively, we face significant challenges both in the years ahead and in the here and now. Currently, we are collaborating across Scotland and beyond to save lives and livelihoods in the face of the global pandemic.

At the same time, and in the same manner, we must increasingly collaborate to tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and to deliver a green and just recovery. We need a collective response, following the pandemic, that builds on the progress to date in tackling the twin challenges of the climate emergency and biodiversity loss, while enhancing prosperity and wellbeing for all.

The pandemic, of course, continues to be hugely challenging for us all. Many people have had their livelihoods impacted and, tragically, many have lost loved ones. However, as the First Minister often says, there are brighter days ahead. At some point, we will be beyond the current crisis, looking back at this time and reflecting on what we have lived through together, what we have learned and how we, as a society, recovered from the impact of the coronavirus.

As has been emphasised, as we come out of the pandemic we have an important opportunity to design a better future and to arrange things differently. We in the Scottish Government are committed to achieving that. We want a green recovery that creates job opportunities, grows Scottish businesses and regional economies, and delivers wellbeing outcomes for all, as well as tackling the climate emergency as a key and all-inclusive priority, as I said.

In the spring, we moved quickly to seek advice on shaping a green recovery from the Climate Change Committee and the just transition commission, and we established an advisory group on sustainable and renewable recovery. The advice that was received contributed to our work to lay the foundations now for a green recovery.

Since then, we have followed a whole-Government approach. In the first instance, that has been done through measures such as our £62 million energy transition fund and the £38 million that we spent on pop-up active-travel infrastructure. Our programme for government focused on good green jobs, and measures such as our £1.6 billion of investment in heat and energy efficiency and our £100 million green jobs fund will make a difference. More recently, we have published the climate change plan update and the budget proposals, all of which are centred on green recovery.