Swinney: My Government will be ‘relentlessly focused’ on people’s priorities

The Scottish Government will be “relentlessly focussed” on the the public’s priorities, First Minister John Swinney has pledged.

Mr Swinney is to use a series of events over the course of what will be his second full week in office to show Scots how his administration will “deliver for them in the areas they care about the most”.

The new SNP leader has already made plain his determination to tackle child poverty, but he also wants the Scottish Government to be focused on the key areas of boosting economic growth, improving public services and tackling the climate emergency.

Mr Swinney is expected to outline early actions from his administration, which he has pledged will be rooted in the “moderate, centre-left tradition of Scottish politics”.

At the start of the week, Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes, who also has the economy brief in the Scottish Government, will make what is described as a major announcement on support for innovation and economic growth.

The First Minister, meanwhile, will make a range of visits over the week, with announcements expected on his four key priority areas.

It comes as Mr Swinney said his Government would seek to be “relentlessly focussed on the people’s priorities”.

He added: “In the week ahead, I will set out to the people of Scotland how I intend to deliver for them in the areas they care about the most: growing the economy and creating jobs; supporting vital public services like the NHS and schools; tackling the climate emergency and eradicating the curse of child poverty once and for all.”

John Swinney will set out some of the early ‘concrete steps’ his Government will take (Andrew Milligan/PA)
John Swinney will set out some of the early ‘concrete steps’ his Government will take (Andrew Milligan/PA)

With the SNP having been in power in Scotland for 17 years, he said the party had a “proud track record in Government”, adding that “across the country, people can see the benefits”.

The First Minister said: “Since we brought in free tuition, there has been a 31% increase in Scottish students entering university.

“The Scottish Child Payment is contributing to ensuring an estimated 100,000 children are not in poverty this year.

“There is nearly £90 billion of green investment taking place over the next three years, and since 2007, economic and productivity growth in Scotland has outpaced the rest of the UK.

“That is what SNP government at its best can achieve with a focus on the people’s priorities – and that is the approach I will ensure we deliver.”

However, he said he wanted Scots to “judge me on my actions, rather than my words” with the First Minister saying: “In the coming week, I will set out concrete steps on how we will take forward that focussed delivery.

“I know that too many people are struggling due to a cost-of-living crisis caused by UK Government incompetence, 14 years of austerity and a Brexit Scotland didn’t vote for, all while the Westminster parties use any tactic they can to distract from their failings and do everything possible to avoid discussing the real issues facing people.

“But I believe the times are far too serious for anything other than firm and decisive leadership and a relentless focus on the issues that truly matter.

“People in Scotland deserve to know that their Government is on their side – and as First Minister I will dedicate everything I have to proving exactly that.”