Protest held as advisory group publishes 25 recommendations for Scottish economy.
Campaigners have gathered outside the Scottish Government’s headquarters to demand a “fair and green” recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The socially-distanced protest, at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, saw cleaners, doctors, carers and Scottish Youth Climate Strikers assemble around a banner reading “Recovery for People and Planet”.
It comes as the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery published its report on steering the country out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the report’s 25 recommendations is a call to deliver a “green recovery” across all sectors of the Scottish economy by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The report also urges ministers to support actions that would reduce inequality and improve the wellbeing of communities across Scotland.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Today marks a key moment in starting to rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic. As the report from the Economic Advisory Group is published, it is crucial that the Scottish Government listens to the voices of key workers, and the huge number of civil society groups, who are calling for people and planet to be placed at the heart of the recovery process.
“The Scottish Government must reject a simple return to business as usual or even worse, further austerity, which would create more poverty and pollution in the pursuit of profit. Instead, we need to see public investment in creating quality, sustainable jobs, introducing a more just tax system that redistributes wealth fairly, and strengthen and expand our vital public services. Only this kind of wide-ranging transformative recovery plan will deliver the kind of fairer, greener, future that we so desperately need.”
Elle, a cleaner in Edinburgh who took part in the demonstration, said the voices of key workers “must be heard” in the discussion around recovery.
“Too often, the challenges that we face have been overlooked by Governments responding to the interest of big business - but we can’t afford to let that happen again. We’re asking the Scottish Government to deliver a recovery that puts the interests of people and planet first,” she said.
Elle added: “This pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated the inequalities that exist in society, and any recovery plan must focus on addressing these. That means prioritising adequate incomes for all over shareholder bailouts, it means strengthening workers’ rights as more people return to work, and guaranteeing that any programmes aimed at economic recovery also tackle inequality.”