Douglas Ross writes for TFN ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections
In the last year, as we have been fighting the pandemic, the importance of Scotland’s charity sector has never been so clear. From charities across Scotland preparing and sending food parcels, to homelessness charities adapting their services, to neighbours doing the weekly shop for each other, the value of community and kindness has touched us all.
Local and national charities are often the heartbeat of the community and we want to tap into the expertise and local knowledge of charities so that we can better serve communities across the country. We want to partner and invest in organisations who know the needs of both their geographical community but also the people they serve, whether they are homeless, struggling with addiction, struggling with a physical or mental health condition, victims of crimes or unable to put food on the table.
Communities are at the heart of the Scottish Conservatives’ plans to rebuild Scotland as we start our recovery from the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve pledged to deliver 40,000 homes for social rent in the next five years and announced that we will introduce a communities bill to parliament that will support these homes to be close to the services needed for a thriving community.
We want our local schools restored so that every child has a chance to succeed in life, so we have pledged 3,000 new teachers who will be placed across the country and we would extend free school meals to all primary school pupils. We want to kickstart the economy and get people into work, so we will introduce a £500 skills programme - Retrain to Rebuild - for every worker in Scotland. We have also pledged to introduce a local policing bill and a new victims’ bill so that we can better protect local communities and put victims at the heart of the justice system.
We are serious about rebuilding Scotland. We want the next Scottish Parliament to be 100% focussed on Scotland’s recovery, not divided once again by the prospect of a reckless referendum in the early part of the next parliament. Part of being serious about rebuilding Scotland is understanding the value of a thriving charity sector and we are committed to making sure that it is cultivated so that it can continue to serve the people of Scotland in need of it most.
So thank you, for all the work you do to make Scotland a better, safer, more inclusive, more hopeful and a kinder society and we pledge to continue to work with you, on a local and national level, to best serve the people of Scotland in the most need.
Douglas Ross is leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.