NICOLA Sturgeon and her opponents last night clashed over the Scottish Government’s record ahead of MSPs returning to Holyrood after the summer break this week.
The First Minister will unveil her final programme for government of the parliamentary term on Tuesday, with her plans to reform education at its heart.
With next year’s Scottish election only months away, the SNP’s opponents intend to identify shortcomings in public service policies while Sturgeon attempts to defend her government’s track record.
Sturgeon said she was “extremely proud” of what the government had achieved, citing record employment among young people and women, 1,000 extra police officers, new school buildings, reduced waiting times, free prescriptions and concessionary travel.
Sturgeon said: “As we enter the final parliamentary session of this current term, the programme for government that I unveil on Tuesday will build on our progress and set out how we will continue to deliver for people right across Scotland, making the country wealthier and fairer and protecting the public services that we all cherish.”
But Labour’s public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said Scotland was suffering from a crisis in GP recruitment, the controversies involving Police Scotland, the educational attainment gap between pupils from wealthy and poor backgrounds and the continuing problems with the rail franchise.
“It’s time for SNP ministers to put away their beach towels and roll up their sleeves, because there is a lot in the in-tray to deal with,” Baillie said.
“This summer we have seen a range of problems with public services across Scotland. It’s time for the Scottish Government to get on with the business of running the country. There’s plenty for the SNP government to deal with now that they are back to work, so let’s see some action, not just warm words.”