Nicola Sturgeon has promised her Government “will keep doing everything we can” for the most vulnerable people in the country in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
In a new year message to the people of Scotland, the First Minister said the Scottish Government would make tackling poverty the priority.
She also stressed that, despite challenges being faced by people across the country, there was still “much to look forward to in the year ahead”.
“As we look ahead now to 2023, I can promise you that the Scottish Government will keep doing everything we can for those who need it most right now – while also looking to the longer term with optimism and resolve,” she said.
“We will prioritise resources to tackle poverty – especially child poverty.”
She added: “We will also do everything we can to support our precious public services, helping the NHS, in particular, recover from the pandemic and get services back on track.
“We will work hard to reap the massive economic benefits of our efforts to tackle climate change and help save the planet for those who come after us.”
Ms Sturgeon also reflected on how the pandemic impacted people’s lives, adding: “Thinking back to Hogmanay last year – and indeed the year before that – we’re reminded of just how far we have come, from the very darkest days of the pandemic.
“That progress is thanks to the extraordinary efforts of health service workers, of everyone who worked so hard to deliver the vaccine programme, and, of course, to all those who came forward to be vaccinated and boosted.
“As a result of all of that, and so much more besides, many of us will be looking forward to our first full Hogmanay celebrations in three years.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack reflected on the life of the Queen, who died in September, saying: “I know, as the year ends, people across Scotland will join me in reflecting on her life, in once again saying thank you and in wishing our new King, Charles III, a long, happy and successful reign.”
He also predicted that, under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt “we will achieve the sustainable economic growth we need”, adding: “The need for Scotland’s two Governments to work together on shared challenges and real priorities has never been more pressing.
“There is much to be done but, by working together, we can ensure that Scotland, as part of a strong United Kingdom, has a bright future.”
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross also reflected on the pandemic, saying “people across Scotland will be able to ring in the new year with their friends and family in the traditional loud and lively fashion”.
“As festivities take place across the country, I’d like to express my thanks to all the key workers who are not celebrating but are, instead, working to keep the country safe this Hogmanay,” he added.
Mr Ross went on to say that, despite the cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine, “I fully believe that Scotland can overcome any trials it faces to thrive in 2023”.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said families this year have experienced “considerable anxiety” but added “our communities – as always – have come together and done their best to tackle these hardships head-on”.
“I am determined that next year can be a better one for all of those struggling – a year filled with empathy, unity and hope,” he added.
“Let’s deliver the change that we want to see.
“So, from our family to yours, I hope the new year brings you peace, love, health, happiness and success.”
Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater used their new year message to lay out the work they have done in Government and thanking party staff and campaigners.
“We could never have done it without the collective voices of all our campaigners and supporters who helped elect us to where we are, and it is those same voices that drive us forward still, on so many issues,” the leaders said.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Whatever comes next, as we move into the new year, I want to remind all Scots that we are strong and resilient.
“As a nation we have faced challenges before, and we will overcome them again.
“Let us embrace the opportunities that the new year brings for reforming the UK and setting it on a new path towards a better, brighter future for all.”