RICHARD LOCHHEAD HAS hailed the Scottish Government legislative programme for the forthcoming year as “great news for communities in Moray”.
The MSP was commenting after the details of 16 bills were announced earlier this week – including a commitment to remove the public sector pay cap, seen as a major boost for local employees in schools, hospitals and other public agencies.
Environmental campaigners have described the programme as the ‘greenest in the history of the Scottish Parliament’, with ambitious plans to phase out the need for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 and the introduction of a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and cans, something that Mr Lochhead has long championed and campaigned for.
The programme also includes action to tackle poverty and transform education, the rolling out of new social security powers to tackle inequality and child poverty and record investment in the NHS.
Mr Lochhead said: “This week the First Minister unveiled an ambitious and wide-ranging agenda for the year ahead with proposals to make Scotland fit for the future.
“This bold programme has the capacity to change our communities and our country for the better and many of the Scottish Government’s plans will be of real benefit to Moray.
“I’m particularly pleased that the SNP Government has committed to removing the public sector pay cap which will no doubt be welcomed by the thousands of public sector workers in Moray. Those who deliver our much-valued local services do a phenomenal job and are a key part of our communities, and as their local MSP I certainly feel that they deserve the pay cap to be removed.”
The deposit return scheme was of particular interest to the MSP, who added: “I’m delighted and very proud that a deposit and return scheme for drinks containers will be introduced in Scotland – the first part of the UK to make such a commitment, and something I have been campaigning for as have many others.
“This will help tackle litter in our communities in Moray and Scotland and improve recycling as well as help clean up our beaches and reduce plastics in our seas that harms marine wildlife, which I know will be welcomed by many people locally.
“All in all, this programme for government is a hugely exciting one and is great news for people living in Moray, for our public services and for our environment.”