A strategy to steer Fife out of the Covid-19 pandemic and help the region recover has been set out.
Members of Fife Council’s policy and co-ordination committee have approved a range of reports with the aim of ensuring that “no-one is left behind”, redoubling efforts to tackle poverty.
Services have been asked to look to build on the way Fife has responded to the pandemic, focus on wellbeing, improving local places and tackling climate change, as well as encouraging new ways of working with communities.
Detail of what this mean in practice will unfold over the coming weeks and months, but the local authority is determined to meet the challenges head on.
Council co-leader Councillor David Ross said: “Many things have changed over the last year – how we live and work, how we use transport and access the environment around us.
“Some businesses have sadly closed forever while others have radically changed their business models.
“People who were already suffering from or are vulnerable to poverty are now worse off and many more have been put in this position.
“While there’s light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the virus, we know things won’t go back to exactly the way they were before. The ongoing effects of the pandemic will negatively impact on health, jobs and the local economy.”
Mr Ross said the council must not forget about the ongoing climate crisis and will continue to address this while tackling the effects of coronavirus.
“Although lockdown has led to a fall in carbon emissions globally, it’s not enough to prevent potential climate catastrophe,” he said.
“We must tackle the climate emergency with local action.
“The council has played a crucial role in supporting Fife’s businesses and communities through the pandemic and will continue to play a critical role in helping everyone recover.
“We must seize this opportunity to make significant changes and improvements as we head into the recovery phase – and this was an important decision making point to shape our future work.”
Fellow council co-leader Councillor David Alexander said the work outlined will be captured in a three-year scheme, in a refreshed Plan for Fife, that will come back to committee for approval in June.
“It will build on our 10-year ambitions and focus our joint work on leading economic recovery, tackling poverty and combatting climate change,” he said.
“The emphasis on these priorities will be supported by new ways of working, to make our public services sustainable and to build wealth in our communities.
“Residents and voluntary groups worked willingly together, and alongside the public sector, to help their own community and support others’ wellbeing during the pandemic.
“We’ve talked about a real, positive sense of a Team Fife and that’s what we’re aiming to build on.
“Strong local leadership will make sure solutions involve the community and reflect local priorities.
“We’ll do more to prevent food insecurity, drug and alcohol misuse, and improve mental health and wellbeing.
“And we’ll work with Fife’s key organisations and communities to keep money in the local economy, make the most of all the skills and assets available – and to make sure investments benefit local residents as much as possible.”