Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has branded Brexit ‘an act of self-sabotage which we do not understand’, as she warned it will strengthen the case for independence.
But she added: ‘Nevertheless, Brexit demands that we work in partnership with business, the third and public sectors to make sure Scotland remains an attractive location for inward investment.’
The SNP leader made the comments as she announced the Scottish government’s Programme for Government, which would include prioritising the coronavirus response.
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She said: ‘We will not simply hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.
‘We can’t afford to.
‘We must end our contribution to climate change, improve biodiversity, invest in our infrastructure, make our public services fit for the future, harness the economic and social opportunities of new technology, make homelessness history, and lift children out of poverty.
‘So, even amidst the uncertainties of a global pandemic, this is a time to be ambitious.’
Sturgeon outlined the number of changes that had quickly been made to Scotland’s public sector and economy as a result of the pandemic.
A digital consulting system for the NHS, the NHS Louisa Jordan which was built at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow, rough sleepers being taken off the street and ‘armies of volunteers and public-sector workers’ distributing necessities to the vulnerable.
‘None of us would have chosen to live through a global pandemic. We will always grieve the lives lost and never forget our separation from loved ones.
‘But we are also being reminded, every day, of the resilience of our human spirit, the power of human compassion and the ingenuity of human intellect.
‘We must harness all of that for the future.’
Sturgeon also announced plans to investigate the establishment of a national care service, following a ‘comprehensive, independent review of adult social care’.
‘The quality of adult social care is something that matters deeply to us all. This is a moment to be bold and to build a service fit for the future.
‘The National Health Service was born out of the tragedy of World War Two.
‘Let us resolve that we will build out of this Covid crisis, the lasting and positive legacy of a high quality, national care service.’
On her plans for independence she told MSPs that a new draft bill will be drawn up setting out the timing and terms for a new independence referendum, as well as the question to be asked to voters if it is given the green light by Westminster.
‘Then, at next year’s election, we will make the case for Scotland to become an independent country and seek a clear endorsement of Scotland’s right to choose our own future.’