Iain Gray's message at Christmas

24 December 2008


On my first Christmas as leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament and I would like to wish all Scots a Merry Christmas.

The season of goodwill is not only a time for family and friends.
It is also a time to look out for those less fortunate: the poor, the sick, the elderly, the homeless and people with disabilities.

But this is something we, as politicians, must concentrate on every day of year.

Labour's core values focus on exactly this.
We believe in working together for a caring, fair society where we look out for each other, protect the vulnerable, work towards ending child poverty and give a hand up to those who need it.

Labour is about protecting public services that ensure we have a first-class health service free at the point of use, where education is always a priority and the economy is secure and stable so business can operate successfully.

However this Christmas many of us may be facing the New Year with some apprehension.
The events of the last few months have had a global impact.

Labour has not stood by.
We have taken decisive action.
We stepped in to save Scottish financial sector by investing £37bn in banks.
Another £2bn has been put into the pockets and purses of Scots to stimulate the Scottish economy. Interest rates and VAT have been cut and protection put in place for those with mortgage difficulties.

Most people appreciate we are all in this together.
Labour has played its part and will continue to do so to protect jobs and services.

There are tough times ahead but with right spirit, right attitude and right policies we can get through 2009 together.

Meanwhile a special thanks from all of us should go to the unsung heroes over the Festive Season.
Those who will keep our hospitals, ambulance and fire services running and will be policing our streets.
True public servants, working hard to ensure a safe and happy Christmas for us all.