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by Niall Christie
SCOTTISH Labour and climate campaigners have pleaded with the Scottish government to fund a fair and green recovery in its budget announcement tomorrow.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has been told that the government’s financial plans for the year must kickstart the economy and remobilise the NHS following a year of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Forbes earlier this week promised a “fair and affordable” settlement for public-sector staff, following a campaign by trade unions.
Scottish Labour has now backed campaign demands for better worker support, calling for the government to deliver on its promise of a fair deal with a £15-an-hour rate for social care workers and better pay and conditions for the NHS workforce.
“This pandemic has exposed the fragility of our economy and how much we all rely on the work done by so many,” said Scottish Labour interim leader Jackie Baillie.
“This pandemic is the greatest economic crisis we have faced in living memory – anything short of the radical proposals tabled by Scottish Labour will be a dereliction of duty.”
Environmental demands have also been set by Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland, which said that there must be investment in a green recovery that will create thousands of new jobs and cut climate emissions.
The campaign group said that £244 million should be invested in supporting workers and improving heat efficiency.
The government has also been urged to support public transport and bus manufacturing by creating a fund for local authorities and regional transport partnerships to run bus services.
FoE Scotland climate and energy campaigner Caroline Rance said: “If the Scottish government is serious about a green recovery, they’ll put public money into addressing unemployment and the climate crisis together.”
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