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Unions, charities and environmental campaigners call on Sturgeon to deliver 'radical recovery plan'

TRADE unions, charities and environmental campaigners have written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon demanding a radical recovery plan for a “fairer and greener Scotland.”

Eighty organisations from different sectors have laid out a list of demands to Ms Sturgeon, which they say would lead the response to the coronavirus pandemic and put people before profit. 

The groups, which include Unison, Friends of the Earth and the Poverty Alliance, say a return to pre-virus “business as usual” is both unrealistic and unwanted.

Policy proposals in the document are designed to address inequality, health, environmental and other social issues. 

The letter argues that the Scottish government should expand public ownership of public services and boost investment in health and social care, as well as social housing. 

The First Minister has also been urged to redistribute wealth to protect marginalised groups and provide significant additional funds to ensure environmental targets are met. 

Lilian Macer, convenor of Unison Scotland, said: “Public services and the workers in them have demonstrated their value during this crisis. 

“In the recovery phase we must ensure that the services they provide are protected for the future and that they are rewarded better for the jobs they do all of the time and not just in a crisis. 

“The future must provide justice for these workers.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Caroline Rance added: “We have a chance to transform our society and economy in a way that puts people and the planet first. 

“The Scottish government’s recovery plan must lay the foundations for a fairer, greener future.

"We need huge public investment in good, green jobs and a just transition to a zero carbon economy. 

“By ensuring that Scotland does its fair share of international climate action we can help mitigate the devastation of unchecked climate breakdown.”

The group has requested a meeting with the First Minister to discuss how Scotland can realise a truly just and green recovery.

As well as additional funding and economic changes, the authors have also demanded a “strengthening of democracy” in Scotland, and a proactive offer of “solidarity across borders.”

Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisation’s Zarina Ahmad said: “International solidarity is paramount to tackling inequalities with an international coronavirus and climate emergency response being recognised and supported.”

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