Gov­ern­ment happy to be in the day job

Rutherglen Reformer - - Working For You -

As the First Min­is­ter and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment con­tinue to deal with both the eco­nomic and con­sti­tu­tional im­pact of the EU ref­er­en­dum re­sult op­po­si­tion par­ties, most of whom have no con­struc­tive so­lu­tions to of­fer, de­mand that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment “get on with the day job!”

A cur­sory glance at the work the gov­ern­ment is ac­tu­ally “get­ting on with,” even whilst par­lia­ment is in re­cess, shows these de­mands up for what they are: lazy, un­con­struc­tive, carp­ing from the side-lines.

In the past few weeks alone gov­ern­ment min­is­ters have an­nounced a raft of ini­tia­tives that will im­prove ex­ist­ing ser­vices or shape the fu­ture of both ex­ist­ing and new ser­vices over the next decade.

A thou­sand new paramedics are to be trained to work in the am­bu­lance ser­vice over the next five years. The first 200 paramedics, re­cruited from the am­bu­lance tech­ni­cian work­force, will be­gin train­ing this year, backed by Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment fund­ing. Two hun­dred new tech­ni­cians will be re­cruited to re­place them.

Not­with­stand­ing that there are more GPs per head of pop­u­la­tion in Scot­land than in Eng­land, and that we also spend more on GP ser­vices per head of pop­u­la­tion than any other part of the UK, a re­cruit­ment drive has been launched to en­cour­age more ju­nior doc­tors to con­sider the op­por­tu­ni­ties that a ca­reer in gen­eral prac­tice pro­vides. The first 100 new GP train­ing places were an­nounced two weeks ago.

The gov­ern­ment has also launched a con­sul­ta­tion on a new Child Poverty Bill. The Bill, which will be in­tro­duced next year and will form part of our over­all ap­proach to tack­ling poverty and in­equal­ity in Scot­land.

The next steps will build on the range of work the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment al­ready has un­der­way to tackle poverty and in­equal­ity in­clud­ing: our com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing the liv­ing wage; free school meals; the ex­pan­sion of funded early learn­ing and child­care; the Scot­tish At­tain­ment Chal­lenge, which will pro­vide £750mil­lion over this par­lia­men­tary ses­sion and ad­di­tional sup­port to im­prove the ed­u­ca­tional out­comes for pupils from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds.

We have also launched an open Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment con­sul­ta­tion on men­tal health ser­vices which is seek­ing views on how men­tal health ser­vices can be im­proved over the next decade. This process will seek to en­cour­age a na­tional con­ver­sa­tion in­clud­ing a fo­cus on how preven­tion and early in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices can be en­hanced, giv­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions or in­di­vid­u­als with an interest in men­tal health a di­rect op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute to a long-term men­tal health strat­egy.

Look­ing ahead, the trans­fer of some so­cial se­cu­rity pow­ers to Scot­land, (although only about 15 per cent of re­served benefits) gives us an op­por­tu­nity to start shap­ing a new Scot­tish So­cial Se­cu­rity Ser­vice.

Last week we launched a con­sul­ta­tion which will give you the chance to shape a fair, ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive sys­tem based on dig­nity and re­spect.

Peo­ple of­ten hear about gov­ern­ment con­sul­ta­tions, and think that they are for other peo­ple and not for them. That’s cer­tainly not the case – and in ar­eas as im­por­tant as men­tal health and so­cial se­cu­rity, the more we hear from peo­ple with di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence of these ser­vices, the bet­ter we can shape the sys­tem. You can get in­volved in ei­ther con­sul­ta­tion by vis­it­ing

In ad­di­tion to all of this the gov­ern­ment has an­nounced a pack­age of mea­sures to stim­u­late Scot­land’s econ­omy fol­low­ing the re­sult of the EU ref­er­en­dum. Ac­tion in­cludes bring­ing for­ward £100m gov­ern­ment spend­ing on in­fra­struc­ture. We are also pro­vid­ing fresh sup­port for busi­ness through the creation of a new Busi­ness In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice which, un­like the UK Gov­ern­ment, will pro­vide post Brexit sup­port and re­as­sur­ance to Scot­tish busi­nesses.

So, con­trary to the blink­ered snip­ing from de­trac­tors, “get­ting on with the day job” is a top pri­or­ity for the SNP Gov­ern­ment and will al­ways have a high level of fo­cus, whilst we also con­tinue to en­sure that Scot­land’s wider in­ter­ests are pro­tected.

In the past few weeks alone gov­ern­ment min­is­ters have an­nounced a raft of ini­tia­tives

Get­ting busy Nicola Stur­geon ad­dresses par­lia­ment and (in­set) Clare Haughey

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