The next Scottish government should have a minister dedicated to dealing with the country’s coronavirus recovery, the Liberal Democrats have said.
Leader Willie Rennie said a recovery first secretary should be part of the next administration at Holyrood.
He said the post would replace that of deputy first minister, and would mean a senior politician would be tasked specifically with working on the recovery across all spheres of government.
While the SNP look set to emerge from next week’s election as the largest party at Holyrood, Rennie said electing more Liberal Democrats would “force the government to put recovery first and ditch the wasteful independence plans”.
He insisted: “Liberal Democrats offer a choice at this election to appoint a recovery first secretary with a mission to steer the health, education and jobs through to recovery.
“The alternative is a constitution minister under the SNP who will spend their time on plans for a divisive referendum.
“The Liberal Democrat recovery first secretary will use the civil service expertise currently earmarked by the SNP to write their replacement 670-page white paper on independence.
“We know that top civil servants will be used to draw up the plan for independence. They will be skilled negotiators who will have to sort out the arguments between the different factions of the nationalists about the currency, central bank and whether to rejoin the EU.
“This talent should be used instead to plan a recovery that balances the needs of the health service, education and business.
“It is bad enough that the SNP spent valuable time in the last year writing their independence legislation. It will be much worse if they waste precious moments after the election on independence rather than recovery.”