Alex Salmond confirms final engagements

Alex Salmond will spend his final weeks as First Minister promoting education and political engagement for young people. Picture: Getty
Alex Salmond will spend his final weeks as First Minister promoting education and political engagement for young people. Picture: Getty
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ALEX Salmond will spend his final six weeks as First Minister promoting education and political engagement for young people, he has announced.

Mr Salmond, who has faced opposition criticism for delaying the Scottish Government’s legislative programme until after the election of his successor, has released a programme of engagements for his last six weeks in office.

They include a democratic initiative with Young Scot to hail the involvement and engagement of Scotland’s young people during the referendum process, and a school visit to promote the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future building programme.

The First Minister will also attend an engagement to mark Scotland’s commitment to free education and celebrate the contribution of its universities and colleges.

And he will make an appearance on an STV Appeal programme being screened live on Thursday night.

Announcements on Scotland’s renewable energy potential and sporting legacy in the wake of the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup are also expected in the coming weeks.

Mr Salmond said: “Over the last seven years the Scottish Government have delivered key policies which have made a real difference to people’s lives, and over the next six weeks I will be undertaking a series of engagements to help build on some of these key achievements.

“Our school building programme has been extraordinarily successful, providing the best learning environment for thousands of children by delivering new schools across Scotland despite Westminster austerity cuts.

“Scotland is an extraordinarily resource-rich country, and with the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament we have ensured that over half of our electricity is produced from renewables, and we are well on our way to making this 100 per cent by 2020 - a process which has helped lay the foundations to reindustrialise Scotland.

“But the single biggest achievement is the Scottish Government’s abolition of tuition fees. This has restored Scotland’s long tradition of education being based on ability to learn - not the ability to pay - and I know that this policy is safe in the hands of all future SNP First Ministers.

“We entrusted young people with the vote during the referendum and that proved to be the right thing to do. Now we have a duty to maintain that momentum and ensure we capture the enthusiasm of our young people to be involved in the democratic process going forward.

“The STV Appeal has been an annual event which I have been proud to be part of and which the Scottish Government has been proud to support with match-funding since its inception three years ago.

“I am looking forward to meeting many ordinary Scots over the next few weeks and speaking to those who are experiencing the effectiveness of our Government’s policies.

“One of the highlights however will be a celebration to mark the success of the annual Christmas card auction which has benefited charities to the tune of over £148,000 across the country over the years. We will be auctioning the inspirational original artwork by renowned artist Peter Howson which featured on last year’s card and I would hope that once again the commendable generosity of supporters will benefit this year’s charities.”