Incoming PM sets immediate priorities for Reform Scotland

Scotland’s incoming first minister must take urgent action on the economy, education, zero grid and health, a leading think tank has said.

Reform Scotland has set out four immediate priorities for Nicola Sturgeon’s replacement as the SNP leadership race draws to a close.

Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes or Ash Regan will officially take office on Tuesday.

The report condemns Ms Sturgeon’s “bad relationship” with the business sector and calls for an “urgent reset” leading to economic growth.

Chris Deerin, Director of Reform Scotland, said: “A thriving business community is essential to Scotland’s well-being. It is where new jobs are created, where economic growth occurs and where tax revenue is generated.

“However, a constant complaint during Nicola Sturgeon’s tenure has been the poor relationship with the sector.

nicola sturgeon
Report said Nicola Sturgeon had a ‘bad relationship’ with business (PA)

“The next prime minister must urgently restore this relationship. They need to listen and work with the business community.”

The think tank report notes that Scotland’s current energy strategy reads “more like a wish list” than a detailed roadmap, particularly in relation to demand.

Therefore, he calls on the next prime minister to make clear the “urgency” of net zero emissions in a realistic plan.

The document also calls for the Scottish government’s proposed national care service to be scrapped and a new social insurance fund to be set up to pay for social care, aided by a 1p increase in income tax.

He says a “fundamental change” in the way Scottish education is managed is needed to improve achievement standards.

Mr Deerin urges the next prime minister to be “honest and accept that standards have fallen relative to other countries” and that “little progress” has been made in closing the achievement gap.

school kids
The report calls on the next prime minister to accept that “little progress” has been made in closing the school achievement (PA) gap.

The think tank also recommends longer term actions such as reforming the NHS but keeping it free at the point of use, reinvigorating local democracy, broadening the tax base and reforming higher education.

It also makes proposals for the development of a Scottish Statistics Authority to help contribute to long-term reform.

He suggests that better data be recorded in Scottish government portfolios to allow for better analysis of progress.

Deerin said: “The Scottish government has been too timid for too long when it comes to reform.

“We must have the courage to try different approaches, recognize that not all plans will work, that diversity of provision must be encouraged and learn from what we do.

“Data is king. A Scottish Statistics Authority can help ensure we have the data and analysis needed to assess reform.”


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