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Sturgeon's statement

Recovery to be focus of FM’s legislative programme

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon: preparing for the new normal

First minister Nicola Sturgeon will announce her administration’s legislative agenda for the rest of the parliamentary session today with the focus on laying the groundwork for rebuilding the economy.

Ms Sturgeon has already said that it is unlikely the country will go back to “how things were” any time soon and that she will set out a programme for government markedly different to any previous statement. It will deal with the “new normal” of restricted movement and lower output.

Scotland is now in a “deep recession” with GDP plummeting by an unprecedented 19.7% in the second quarter of this year. The latest forecast from KPMG, also published today, suggests output this year will weaken further than earlier predictions suggested.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We have an opportunity, not simply to go back to how things were, but to address many of the deep-seated challenges our country faces.

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“The programme for government 2020-21 will be based on our determination to recover from this virus and deliver a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland for everyone.”

It comes even while the Scottish Government remains in the thick of the public health battle against the virus, with 88 new cases reported on Saturday – the second highest daily total since May. There were 160 more on Saturday and 123 on Sunday.

Ms Sturgeon emphasised the importance of continuing “to keep the virus under control”. She warned that if the figures continue rising Scotland may end up in a second lockdown.

She admitted at her daily briefing that she feels “a greater sense of anxiety today” than at any time “probably for the last couple of months” because of the rising cases of COVID-19.

Over the weekend she acknowledged that businesses and individuals “have made extraordinary sacrifices to tackle this pandemic together.

“In every community in Scotland people have shown incredible resilience, compassion and skill to provide everything from the most advanced intensive care, to simple acts of kindness.

“That is why it’s so important for us to continue to keep the virus under control.

“At the same time we must also look to the future, to think about how we can help people, businesses and communities recover from this pandemic.

“We cannot, and should not, let this virus define our futures.”

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