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by Jack Thomson
28 April 2021
Lib Dems set out plans to create Scottish Government minister for recovery role

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats (Holyrood)

Lib Dems set out plans to create Scottish Government minister for recovery role

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out proposals for a Scottish Government minister to take charge of the recovery from the pandemic.

Willie Rennie, the party's leader, believes "every minute" of the next Scottish Parliament session should focus on the climate emergency, creating jobs, mental health and education.

Under the Lib Dem plan, a 'Recovery First Secretary' would replace the deputy first minister in the government hierarchy and have responsibility for cross-government work on recovery.

The party claims the move would see civil service staff moved from planning an independence referendum and would free the First Minister to continue to lead weekly briefings and take day-to-day decisions in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rennie said: "Liberal Democrats offer a choice at this election to appoint a Recovery First Secretary with a mission to steer the health, education and jobs through to recovery. The alternative is a constitution minister under the SNP who will spend their time on plans for a divisive referendum.

"The Liberal Democrat Recovery First Secretary will use the civil service expertise currently earmarked by the SNP to write their replacement 670-page white paper on independence.

"We know that top civil servants will be used to draw up the plan for independence. They will be skilled negotiators who will have to sort out the arguments between the different factions of the nationalists about the currency, central bank and whether to re-join the EU.

"This talent should be used instead to plan a recovery that balances the needs of the health service, education and business.

"It is bad enough that the SNP spent valuable time in the last year writing their independence legislation. It will be much worse if they waste precious moments after the election on independence rather than recovery."

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