FM's statement

Yousaf targets poverty and ‘wellbeing’ economy

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf: ‘we need a bold approach’

New First Minister Humza Yousaf today said he will set out how he intends to eradicate poverty and create a “wellbeing” economy in a statement to parliament after the Easter recess.

Mr Yousaf held the first meeting with his cabinet at Bute House and called for a “bold approach to delivering for Scotland.”

He said he wants “genuine collaboration” with the public, other stakeholders and opposition parties.

But his plans for tackling poverty are expected to include a new tax band aimed at middle-to-higher earners which is likely to meet some resistance.

There is also speculation that he will demand that the deposit return scheme for recycling drinks containers will be paused, a decision that would be welcomed by some retailers and producers, but will infuriate those firms which have spent millions on physical infrastructure, labelling and staff recruitment to prepare for its introduction in August.

Mr Yousaf, the Deputy First Minister and Minister for Local Government Empowerment met with the President of local authority umbrella group COSLA this afternoon to discuss a range of issues around council budgets.

Following the Cabinet meeting Mr Yousaf said: “I was pleased to welcome new and returning Cabinet members to our first meeting this morning. I was clear to them that I want Cabinet to be a forum for open and honest discussion.

“We all look forward to reaching out to stakeholders, the business community, opposition parties and the wider public in a spirit of genuine collaboration.

“This government has a strong track of taking forward ambitious and radical policies and reforms over the last few years, against a backdrop of austerity, economic uncertainty and of course the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under my leadership the Ministerial team have been tasked with taking a bold approach to how we govern – not just in addressing the challenges facing the people of Scotland, but also maximising the opportunities of our many strengths.

“Our key priorities will include eradicating poverty and delivering a wellbeing economy underpinned by sustainable public services.

“I will set out more detail to parliament following Easter recess – but in the next couple of weeks, Cabinet members will be busy getting down to work on the immediate issues in their portfolios.”

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