|31 December 2015|

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has used her 2016 New Year message to hail Scotland’s ‘can-do’ culture and set out enterprise and innovative public services as priorities for the forthcoming twelve months.

In a message filmed at the Kelpies in Falkirk, the first minister previews 2016 as Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, highlighting Scotland’s pioneering record in areas such as healthcare, informatics and entrepreneurship.

Ms Sturgeon uses the message to outline Scottish government support for ambitious companies as well as innovative ways of delivering public services to equip them for the future, resolving to make 2016 “a year of optimism and ambition”.

She said: “Throughout 2016, we will welcome people from all over the world to events in Scotland which celebrate our nation’s reputation for creativity and invention. And we will show that Scotland’s strengths in those areas aren’t just a symbol of our past – they continue to this day.

“We pioneered the industrial revolution. Now we’re a world leader in low carbon technologies. We have a long tradition in medicine and life sciences – from the development of anaesthetics and the discovery of penicillin, through to the creation of beta-blockers and the cloning of dolly the sheep. Today, the excellence of our research in medicine and life sciences is recognised internationally.

“People from Scotland invented some of the key communications technologies of the twentieth century, like the television and the telephone. Now we are a vibrant and growing hub for successful new tech companies, and known for our strengths in areas like video games and informatics.

“The spirit that helped to build our reputation for innovation and which still thrives today, is one we must now harness to build our future.

“So, in 2016 and the years ahead, we will give strong support to the enterprise and innovation that will boost our productivity, increase our economic growth and create the skilled jobs we need for the future. Indeed, a commitment to innovation is one of the Scottish Government’s biggest priorities.

“We’re also determined to encourage entrepreneurship and help ambitious companies to grow. But our success won’t come just from entrepreneurs or scientists. I want to see a can-do culture define us as a country on every level.

“And so in 2016, as well as supporting new business, we will also be innovative in how we equip our public services for the future.

“We intend to further improve our healthcare system, for example by transforming primary care; we will support our older population through the integration of health and social care; and we’ll pilot new approaches in our schools to improve opportunities for all of our children, regardless of their background.

“In everything we do, we want to provide people with the help and support they need to succeed. We want people to have the confidence and belief to realise their potential and achieve their dreams.

“In 2016, we will celebrate a proud part of our history – our track record of invention and innovation – while continuing to support and encourage the entrepreneurs and innovators of the future; we will also step up our work to build a fairer and more prosperous country.

“That’s something well worth looking forward to. So let’s resolve to make 2016 a year of optimism and ambition. A year when we remind ourselves of our past achievements, but focus more on building an even better future. Let’s make it a year defined not by what we can’t do, but by what we can.

“Let’s make sure that in 2016, we keep our country moving forward.

“Wherever you are – in Scotland or overseas; with family and friends, or at work – I’d like to wish each and every one of you all the very best for a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year.”