The Covid-19 Recovery Committee will face the challenge of striking a fair balance between its short- and medium- to long-term responsibilities. The short-term responsibilities include the scrutiny of Covid related primary and secondary legislation, as well as the overall government’s strategic framework to respond to Covid and, significantly, any changes to lockdown policy restrictions. In addition, the committee may want to scrutinise the government’s two monthly reports on the operation of powers under the two Scottish Coronavirus Acts and the UK Coronavirus Act 2020. It is worth noting that there is a backlog in terms of scrutinising these reports, as the committee’s predecessor did not have an opportunity to look at the sixth and seventh reports, published on the 14 April and 9 of June, respectively. Finally, the Covid-19 Recovery Committee will make a critical contribution to the scrutiny of the extension of these emergency measures for further six months in March 2022, under provisions contained in the forthcoming Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill. The committee may want to launch an inquiry into Scottish coronavirus emergency legislation to gather views from the public and other relevant stakeholders on the government’s statement of reasons, and hold oral evidence sessions to question the Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery. We call the committee’s attention to the significant body of evidence gathered by its predecessor in its “Covid-19 legislation: next steps” inquiry, which remains available at yourviews website, which represent a valuable resource to inform the committee’s short-term work. Secondly, in terms of the medium- and long-term responsibilities, the committee may want to scrutinise closely the government’s recovery plan. This plan is likely to address a wide range of issues concerning the social, political and economic consequences of the pandemic. While the economic recovery plan may be an important aspect of this plan, the committee may want to pay special attention to the impact that the pandemic has had on pre-existing inequalities in our society. These inequalities have been thrown into sharp relief, and sadly deepened, by the pandemic. Regarding this body of work, we call the committee’s attention to the valuable report by the Equalities and Human Rights Committee’s on the impact of COVID-19 on equalities and human rights, which provides key insights about the human rights’ dimension of the pandemic.
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