Section 7: Renew – Adjusting to a New Normal of Living with the Virus
- We will rebuild Scotland’s economy, overcoming inequality and advancing human wellbeing.
- We will work with Scotland’s communities to build cohesion and mutual support.
- We will work with and learn from governments around the world as we learn to live with the virus.
We have seen an unprecedented response from the people of Scotland. We have seen communities and businesses support each other like never before. Our "Scotland Cares" campaign has had a tremendous response and we thank each and every person who has registered an interest so far. Our volunteers will have important roles to play in the weeks and months to come, as we support our communities. Our voluntary sector has provided much needed support.
Despite the terrible impact of the virus, these responses are hopeful signs and a basis upon which to build toward a new future. We face a major challenge in navigating the uncertainties that the virus has created and rebuilding our economy and public services. But we want to go beyond rebuilding, and look to the social and economic reforms necessary to achieve the best future for Scotland.
Before this crisis we were focussed on our mission of making Scotland a greener, fairer and more prosperous country and this has not changed. But the place from where we are starting has.
The pandemic has changed the way societies and economies across the world operate and Scotland is no different. In some ways this has driven forward changes that we have already been pursuing such as using online tools to reduce the need for travel. In others it has meant radical action to change how we use our NHS or to tackle social problems such as homelessness.
It has taught us about the art of the possible under the most demanding circumstances – with the Louisa Jordan hospital providing a fantastic example of that.
We must take these lessons into how we recover from this crisis. The austerity driven response to the 2008 financial crash did not work and worsened the inequality that was part of its cause; we must not repeat those mistakes. Inequality is also worsening the outcomes for those people impacted by the coronavirus. Our younger people deserve a fairer and more secure economic future.
Our focus must be on how we support our people to adapt to the new world that lies ahead of them. This means giving them the skills to respond to the inevitable changes in the labour market. It means helping businesses deal with the transition out of this crisis by changing their business models and practices with an eye to the markets that will grow in the future. It means investing to enhance the security and resilience of our economy.
Our public services will also have to change to help our people recover from this shock and also to harness the kindness and compassion that has poured from people up and down the country.
We must also look outwards. Billions of people have faced the same challenges that we do now and will find their own innovative and inspiring ways to recover. We will engage with, learn from and collaborate with other countries, including in Europe and with the group of Wellbeing Economy Governments with whom we share values and purpose. And we will continue to support our international development partner countries.
We have seen an unprecedented response from the people of Scotland to an unprecedented challenge. It has been innovative and compassionate. It is up to us how we move through this crisis and come out of the other side. This document sets out the basis on which we will act, based on common values, principles and the best scientific knowledge. When things come apart, there is always the opportunity to put them back together differently. We can work together to design the Scotland we want to emerge from this crisis.