SNP shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss MP, Glasgow Central
“As the SNP shadow chancellor and as we head into 2021 after an incredibly difficult year, I will keep pushing Rishi Sunak to make the £20 boost to Universal Credit permanent – instead of scrapping it in April as planned – to help struggling families in the aftermath of Covid-19. I will also continue to call for that support to be extended to legacy benefits. It is wrong those on legacy benefits, who are mostly carers and sick or disabled people, have not been given equivalent support.
“Another key priority will be to continue making the case for targeted fiscal stimulus of at least £98 billion to fuel the economy, and for the UK Government to devolve the powers and funds the Scottish Parliament needs to deliver a tailored response in Scotland. By withholding these powers and funds, the Scottish Parliament is tackling this unprecedented economic crisis with one hand tied behind its back.
“My third priority will be to keep fighting for the cruel two-child cap, with its associated rape clause, to be scrapped for good. The policy – condemned by the UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and anti-poverty campaigners across Scotland and the UK – has affected millions of children and pushed thousands of families into poverty amidst a global pandemic.
“Research reveals it has a disproportionate effect on women and those from BAME communities, and has influenced women’s decisions on whether to have an abortion. There is no place for a wicked policy like this in today’s society and it’s disgraceful that the UK Government continues to be wedded to it in the face of mounting criticism.”
Labour’s shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray MP, Edinburgh South
“This has been a difficult year, but we can look forward to 2021 with optimism. There are the big issues of post-Covid and post-Brexit recoveries to prioritise. However, beyond that we have a real opportunity to harness the new community togetherness founded during the pandemic.
“If there is any silver lining from 2020, it is that residents, communities, businesses, churches and local organisations have come together like never before to assist those most in need.
“This coming year we should prioritise harnessing that community spirit to bring together people to help resolve shared problems and issues. I want to focus on that as togetherness can improve local communities in everything from infrastructure and development to loneliness and isolation.
“Another priority has to be education. Young people have borne the brunt of the past 12 months. From nurseries to universities, it has been the experiences and education of young people that have been damaged.
“I know education is the single biggest investment we can make in social mobility and the economy. We need to finally cut the attainment gap, invest in our schools and teachers, give childcare support to parents and ensure our students can get back to being the scientists, engineers, artists, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs of the future. Narrowing that generation gap should be a priority for all of us.
“One thing is for sure. It will take something for 2021 to be worse than 2020. Here’s hoping for a great new year for all.”
Conservative MP John Lamont, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
“2020 is not a year we will look back on fondly, but I have higher hopes for 2021 and New Year is the right time to look forward.
“Our first priority must be to get the Covid vaccines rolled out, so we can protect the vulnerable and start getting our lives back to normal. Beyond that, here are my five political resolutions for the next 12 months:
1) Protect jobs. For families, the security of a regular wage is irreplaceable. I will press all levels of government to work together to protect jobs and create new opportunities;
2) Rebuild our economy. It is vital we repair the economic damage caused by Covid. A great way to do that is by investing in infrastructure, so I will work to ensure the UK Government’s Union Connectivity Review delivers for Scotland;
3) Boost trade. Another way to get us firing on all cylinders again is by expanding the markets for our goods and services. The UK is now in charge of its own trade policy for the first time in decades and I want Scottish exports to be front and centre;
4) Strengthen connectivity. Covid has shown us the potential of home working, but rural areas risk being left behind with inadequate broadband. 2021 must be the year we finally sort it;
5) Say no to indyref2. As we face all these challenges, the very last thing Scotland needs is yet more constitutional wrangling. We should make 2021 the year we all pull together.”
Lib Dem Treasury Spokesman Christine Jardine MP, Edinburgh West
“It seems like only yesterday that I was looking forward to 2020. Whatever I was anticipating, it certainly wasn't what we have endured. Perhaps I shouldn't tempt fate this year, but then again this December, more than any other, we need to have hope for the next 12 months.
“We all, of course, want to see an end to the coronavirus crisis. But beyond that I would want to see both of our governments focus sharply on the economy above all else.
“We have now endured a decade of constitutional wrangling over our position in the UK and the EU and are suffering an economic downturn that demands the combined effort of our four nations and the strength of the exchequer to combat.
“Perhaps the words of Bill Clinton have never been so appropriate as an answer to the question about what will be important next year - ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.
“It certainly is the economy and it is on the strength of that on which the survival of many of our local and national businesses will depend.
“Our ability to improve our education, which has been so undermined over the past 13 years, and maintain the NHS, which has been even more important in the recent crisis, will also need growth to provide the investment that is critical to their future. So I suppose that is it in two words - the economy.
“Let's put aside constitutional wrangling and focus on the one thing that we all need and which will make a difference to all of our futures and mean that 2021 can be the year we start to recover.