Members in attendance (by virtual conference):
- John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery (Scottish Government) (Chair)
- Jackie Baillie MSP (Scottish Labour)
- Beatrice Wishart MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
- Murdo Fraser MSP (Scottish Conservatives)
- Patrick Harvie MSP (Scottish Greens)
A number of Scottish Government officials also attended the meeting.
Item 1: Welcome and minutes of the last meeting
The Chair welcomed members to the Group’s fifth meeting and gave a special welcome to Beatrice Wishart attending the group for the first time, replacing Alex Cole-Hamilton.
Members were invited to contact the Deputy First Minister’s office if they had any comments on the minutes of the previous meeting.
Item 2: Covid recovery – public and stakeholder engagement
The Chief Social Policy Adviser, Professor Tannahill, delivered a presentation summarising the extensive engagement that had been carried out over the past 18 months about what sort of Covid recovery people want to see and how people want recovery to be delivered. The emerging themes from the analysis of the engagement is supporting the development of the Covid Recovery Strategy.
In response to the presentation, a range of issues were discussed, including:
- The wider impact of Covid; and the groups that have been disproportionality affected. In particular the health and wellbeing of children and young people due to a higher proportion of their lives had been affected by the pandemic.
- Differences and commonalities in the demographics of responses – with social cohesion and equality aspects coming out as strongly important across all groups.
- The potential economic impact of the end of the furlough scheme and wider labour market considerations.
- Future resilience of public services learning from the pandemic was important.
- Need to take the opportunity to build upon the public service improvements and new ways of working that people value as a result of the pandemic.
- The different phases of recovery; where we are now and how this pandemic differs to the recovery of a one day or short term event.
The Deputy First Minister thanked members for their feedback and welcomed further discussions with members and their colleagues directly.
Item 3: Focus and timing of the next meeting
It was agreed that the next meeting would consider an update on the previous information shared by the Chief Economic Adviser and discuss what the end of furlough will mean for the workforce, the position on labour market shortages and a discussion about employability and skill interventions.
- Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery
The Deputy First Minister asked officials to canvas Group Members to seek a suitable date for the next meeting.
Item 4: AOB
No other business was raised.
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