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 importance of the circular economy is part of our collective challenge. I will say more about that shortly.

Our draft budget, which was published at the end of January, lays the foundation for us to rebuild a fairer, stronger and greener economy and to deliver opportunities for new work and growth, as part of a just transition to net zero. If Parliament agrees the budget, the first £165 million of our low-carbon fund will be committed in the coming year. That will include £14 million for the green jobs fund, £25 million for bus priority infrastructure and £15 million for zero emission buses, alongside complementary investment in active travel, heat, peatlands, biodiversity and recycling. The budget also proposes increasing low-carbon capital investment across the Scottish Government to a record £1.9 billion. Those investments underpin our commitment to a green recovery, and again demonstrate our cross-Government approach.

In addition, we are supporting our investments through a wider package of skills support—the need for which is an issue that the committee highlighted. That includes the creation of a green workforce academy, the £25 million transition training fund and the £60 million young persons guarantee. Early adopters of the guarantee include SSE, Capgemini and NHS Lothian.

Furthermore, the climate emergency skills action plan will support people to access green jobs through advice and retraining, and through aligning the skills system with growing demand for green jobs.

Nature-based solutions will contribute to green recovery through job creation, mobilising green finance and boosting local economies. That is why we have made significant multiyear investments of £250 million over 10 years in peatland restoration and an additional £150 million in forestry over five years. Our programme for government also announced initiatives to create green jobs in the natural environment.

The circular economy represents an enormous opportunity for Scotland’s green recovery. It tackles emissions through influencing product design, manufacturing and waste and resource management, and it plays a vital part in delivering net zero. The climate change plan update sets out ambitious policies on the transition to a fully circular economy.

We have an opportunity to make this time a turning point on our journey towards net zero and the creation of a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. Today’s debate is part of that process. I highlight the important role that the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee has played. In particular, I thank the committee’s convener, Gillian Martin, for her leadership and her thoughtful remarks today. I also thank the committee as a whole for its “Green Recovery Inquiry” report, which, as I mentioned at the beginning, forms part of a continuous collective process.

I look forward to hearing other contributions and to us all working together, as a Parliament, to achieve our shared ambition, which is a green recovery that benefits the whole of Scotland.