The next Holyrood term should make recovering from the effects of Covid-19 its focus, MSPs have agreed.
A motion submitted by Labour economy spokesman Monica Lennon, putting the focus on “rebuilding the economy for all of Scotland after the Covid-19 pandemic and addressing the structural inequalities that the pandemic has exposed in society”, was passed by MSPs by 84 votes to 34.
An amendment tabled by business minister Jamie Hepburn said that, to properly address the problems caused by the pandemic, the Scottish Parliament must be in control of employment law.
“We need a recovery that puts people first, especially all those key workers who have kept the country going and those most effected by the harms of lockdown,” Ms Lennon said.
“Scottish Labour will go into the election to put forward the case for doing things differently because Scotland has been unequal for too long.
“I’m confident we will get through the storm of Covid together but we need to enact bold change and pursue a green recovery that leaves no one behind.
“As the country heads to the polls in 64 days, the vision for reshaping our economy and society should be front and centre.
“We are determined the next parliament should be about rebuilding and reshaping the economy to build a people’s recovery that delivers fairness for all.”
Mr Hepburn, whose amendment passed by 84 votes to 33, said: “This Government will stand on its record, what we have achieved, but we will also stand on our ambitions, what more can be done.
“This Government will continue to do all we can with the powers that we have to deliver a fair, inclusive and green recovery but will also continue to campaign for more powers to be able to do ever more.”
Scottish Tory economy spokesman Maurice Golden’s amendment to the motion deleted references to “the exploitative, low-wage economy” and added calls for his party’s plans for recovery, as well as welcoming “unprecedented” support from the UK Government during the pandemic.
His amendment fell by 89 votes to 29.
Debating the motion, Mr Golden said the Scottish economy is not generally exploitative or low wage, adding: “In general terms, the reverse is true, although I do agree that a high wage, more highly skilled economy should be our aim.”
Mr Golden said the SNP amendment was “disappointing”.
He added: “Instead of saying something, anything, about their plans for a green recovery, it predictably demands more powers which they have failed to use time and time again, letting Scotland down – a sad confirmation of their true priority.”
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