Tomorrow marks the start of the new decade and The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has put climate change right at the heart of her message.

Ms Sturgeon said: “As we celebrate the start of 2020 and a new decade, we look forward to a year in which Scotland will be at the centre of international attention.

“In November, the United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow will attract more than 30,000 people from around the world.

“Hopefully that summit will lead to progress in tackling the most important issue that the world faces. And it will give Scotland a chance to show that we are leading by example – not just by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions but by doing so in a way that helps to build a fairer, healthier and happier society.

“The Glasgow summit comes near the end of what will be a historic year. Against the wishes of most people in Scotland we will leave the European Union at the end of January. That will I know be a source of deep regret for many of us.

“In the year ahead the Scottish Government will do everything we can to mitigate the worst impacts of Brexit. We will provide support and reassurance for the EU citizens who have done us the honour of choosing to make Scotland their home. And we will work to ensure that people in Scotland have the chance to determine our own future – by deciding whether we wish to become an independent country.

“In all of this we will continue to ensure that Scotland remains an open, outward looking and welcoming society.

“Next autumn we will deliver a major increase in childcare provision – meaning that all three and four-year-olds, and two-year-olds from poorer families, will be able to receive 1140 hours of free childcare each year. That’s a vital part of our plans to make Scotland the best country in the world in which to grow up.

“It’s just one of the ways in which the decisions and actions we are taking now will benefit Scotland well into the future. And it’s just one of the reasons why – for all of the challenges we face – we should feel able to look forward to 2020 with optimism.

“So wherever you are – whether you’re here in Scotland, or further afield – I hope you all have a wonderful Hogmanay and a great New Year. And I wish all of you all the very best for a fantastic 2020.”

Nicola Sturgeon during the 2019 General Election campaign PHOTO ©2019 The Edinburgh Reporter