First Minister’s New Year message

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has given her New Year Message to the nation.

She said: “One of the things we should be proud of, at Hogmanay, is the number of people from around the world who come to Scotland to see in the New Year.

“They come in part because of Scotland’s reputation for offering a warm welcome for all. That’s a reputation we should cherish. And it’s one which will endure, regardless of the changes we may see in 2019.

“In the year ahead, the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to protect Scotland’s place at the heart of Europe. However, whatever the outcome of Brexit, Scotland will always offer a warm welcome to the world. In fact, our reputation for being an open, warm-hearted, hospitable country has never been more important.

“I want to make that especially clear to the hundreds of thousands of nationals from other European Union countries, who have done us the honour of choosing Scotland as their home. I know that this is a deeply uncertain time for you. But I also want you to know that your contribution to our national life – to our economy, communities and society – is hugely valued. You will always be welcome here.

“Of course, 2019 will not simply be about Brexit. We will also keep on with the day to day business of government.

We will redouble our efforts to support and invest in our key public services - such as the NHS and our education system.

“We will continue our expansion of childcare, and press ahead with our new Scottish system of social security - making life fairer and helping those most in need. And we will take action to support business and the economy, while also showing global leadership in tackling climate change – undoubtedly the greatest challenge currently facing the world.

“Through all of this, we will help to make Scotland a greener, fairer and more prosperous country. We will create a better society for everyone who lives here.

“When I look back on 2018, some of my favourite moments were from events to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People. The intelligence, energy and kindness of our young people are an inspiration. They provide a constant reminder of Scotland’s immense potential as a nation. In everything the Scottish Government does in 2019, we will seek to realise and unlock that potential.

“So I believe there is much to look forward to in the year ahead. Wherever you are – whether you’re here in Scotland or further afield; with family and friends, or at work – I hope you have a wonderful Hogmanay and a great 2019. And I wish all of you, a very happy new year.”