Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq

Despite concerns that elections might have to be delayed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Electoral Commission has confirmed that on the 6th of May, elections will take place. These will include local government elections in England – plus ones that were postponed in May 2020 because of the pandemic – as well as London Mayor, local Mayoral and London Assembly elections, and Welsh Parliamentary and, here in Scotland, the Scottish Parliamentary elections. These will provide electorates across the UK with their first opportunity to vote since the pandemic began last year.

But what about the other pressing issues in Scotland today? And how might political parties and the government be pushed to address such matters?

The Scottish Policy Foundation has commissioned The Buchanan Institute – Scotland’s leading student think-tank based at the University of Edinburgh – along with research teams from IPPR and Reform Scotland, to find and present innovative solutions to some of the most pressing issues that Scotland will face in the next four years. Buchanan has published the 10 Big Ideas for Scotland 2025 Policy Report, presenting their research findings.

The report highlights 10 fundamental socio-political, environmental and economic issues facing Scotland, and presents recommendations for how these issues could be addressed over the next four years. These issues are; data literacy in schools, homelessness and housing, health inequalities, renewable energy, mental health in the workplace, the processing of asylum claims, agroforestry, addressing Scotland’s railway infrastructure, the four-day working week and community cultural education.

Across this research, there are clear key themes in the issues and solutions presented; these include closing the urban-rural divide in Scotland, the support of the Net Zero 2045 objective and education reform. In their recommendations for tackling these issues, the 10 Big Ideas research team has emphasised the significance of the current legislation and highlighted the legislative gaps that could be addressed.

The Buchanan Institute and the ‘10 Big Ideas for Scotland 2025’ research team are hosting an event on Friday 26th of February, that presents these innovative policy proposals and recommendations; it is an opportunity for any students or others interested in finding out more about this SPF commissioned research project to get involved, as well as a chance for students and young people to see how they can actively engage with Scottish politics. There will be a talk from a few of the researchers and an opportunity to ask any questions you may have to initiate discussion. 

The Buchanan Institute is Scotland’s leading student think-tank, giving students the opportunity to do policy research and turn their ideas into action. As such, the Buchanan Institute is non-partisan and is open to all students at the University of Edinburgh to join.

The event described is free and will be held on zoom. To sign up please use this link. For more information, please see the 10 Big Ideas Facebook page and to find out more about the Buchanan Institute please visit our website.