Care, climate, Covid-19 and the choices the Scottish Parliament must make

Image of the Cover of Care, Climate and Covid-19 report

Oxfam Scotland’s vision is of a world without poverty, one served by a wellbeing economy in which everyone’s basic needs are met within safe environmental limits.

The COVID-19 pandemic is making this harder to achieve but it remains possible, if we act together. We have reached an historic moment for change: an opportunity to use ideas, old and new, to build a fairer, more resilient and sustainable society. The choice we make – to break with the past or to reinforce the old ways − will be with us for generations.

That’s why today, Oxfam Scotland is publishing a new paper: Care, climate and Covid-19: building a wellbeing economy for Scotland.

It acknowledges that COVID-19 creates major new challenges for the Scottish Parliament, both now, and after the election in May 2021, with rapid economic and societal changes underway.

Reflecting devolved powers, our paper identifies four linked priorities for the Scottish Parliament:

  • delivering a wellbeing economy while leaving no-one behind;
  • the better valuing of – and investing in – all forms of care work;
  • tackling the climate crisis; and
  • caring for people in poverty and humanitarian crisis globally.

Read a summary of our key asks here:

Progress in each area is integral to the creation, for current and future generations, of a wellbeing economy. We must simultaneously care for people – in Scotland and around the world – while also caring for our shared planet.

Yet, even before COVID-19, many people in Scotland were already walking a financial tight-rope due to the failure to match positive statements of intent with action to tackle persistent and high levels of poverty and economic inequality. They now find the rope burning below their feet: financial pressures have deepened, food insecurity has surged, and unpaid caring responsibilities have escalated.

As a globally responsible nation, Scotland must also care for people in poverty and crisis around the world. We need to support sustainable international development, alleviate suffering, and offer a place of dignified sanctuary. Where the Scottish Parliament has the power, it should act boldly; where it does not, it should be a powerful advocate for change.

To care for people, we must also care for the planet. Right now, people’s homes and lives are being destroyed by a climate crisis created by the ‘haves’ which hits the ‘have nots’ hardest. In 2021, Scotland has a one-off chance to influence global climate action when UN talks are held in Glasgow. The Scottish Parliament – and all parts of our society – must do more to help limit global heating below 1.5°C while ramping up support to those suffering the most.

While this paper primarily looks towards the next Scottish Parliament, if ever there was a time to build a fairer and more resilient society, it is now, in the jaws of an historic global crisis.

The Scottish Parliament faces an era-defining moment of choice: it must choose to care for people and our planet.

Read Care, climate and Covid-19: building a wellbeing economy for Scotland here: