Wishart sets out catch up proposals in letter to Education Minister

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has today sent a letter to Education Secretary John Swinney urging him to introduce urgent measures to employ qualified supply teachers to provide extra support for pupils who would benefit from catch-up support and extra one-on-one learning.

Her letter comes after EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan called for “the rapid employment of supply teachers currently seeking work to provide additional support to those pupils struggling to engage with remote learning.” 

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"Chancellor must worry about people not numbers" say Lib Dems

The UK borrowed £34.1bn in December, the highest figure for that month on record.

The UK's national debt is now £2.13 trillion, worth 99.4% of GDP, a level not seen since the early 1960s.

Responding to the figures, Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Treasury, said: 

"These unprecedented borrowing figures lay bare the exceptional challenges we face this winter due to Covid-19. People are struggling and we must not leave anyone behind.

"While the vaccine offers hope we cannot lose sight of the fact that millions of people are still struggling to stay afloat. 

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Parents and teachers need to plan their lives.

Responding to comments from John Swinney that he would "ideally" like to give parents two weeks' notice before kids go back to schools but it may be less, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:

"Teachers are working flat out to give pupils the best education they can in the circumstances, but these are difficult times for families and children who are missing out on so much.

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Lib Dems call for supply teachers to be employed to provide precious support

Responding to calls from the EIS for supply teachers to be brought in to help support teachers and pupils struggling in the current remote working arrangements, Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:

“It makes no sense for qualified supply teachers to watch the crisis from the side-lines. Teachers and pupils need every help they can get. Supply teachers have valuable skills and experience, and can provide precious additional support. 

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Stone leads cross-party effort to secure free ATMs

Highlands MP, Jamie Stone, has led a group of 26 cross-party MPs calling on the Payments System Regulator (PSR) and the Government to take action on the interchange fee – allowing for ATMs up and down the country to become once again free to use.

The decision from LINK to cut the fee paid by banks to ATM providers for every cash withdrawal has passed costs usually paid by banks onto consumers, resulting in the lack of free-to-use cash machines.

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Fraud rises 65% year-on-year

Responding to new figures showing that reports of fraud were 65% higher in December 2020 as compared to December 2019, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

“For many months now, there have been consistent reports of increases in fraud. It is clear that this is a real problem.

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SNP fail to use almost 1m covid tests

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today called on the Scottish Government to put its stock of covid tests to use to help frontline workers, as he revealed that since Christmas 908,585 tests have gone unused. 

Since Christmas Scottish ministers have claimed that they are able to process 65,000 covid tests per day. However only 456,415 tests have been conducted. 

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Cole-Hamilton: Drugs policy reset long-overdue

After questioning the First Minister following a statement on drugs policy, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

"Scottish Liberal Democrats have been pleading with the Scottish Government to undertake a number of the actions announced today, particularly since its disastrous 22% cut to drug partnership budgets in 2016. 

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Biden and Harris give heart to liberals around the world

Commenting on the inauguration of Joe Biden as US President and Kamala Harris as Vice-President, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"The inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will give heart to liberals around the world.

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Rennie backs BMA calls for review of masks for medical staff

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today backed BMA calls for the Scottish Government to review mask guidance after the professional body for doctors and medical students raised concerns over the safety of staff.

His fresh call comes on the back of a briefing from BMA Scotland circulated to MSPs which notes: 

"There is a real question as to whether FFP3 masks and eye protection, rather than fluid resistant surgical masks alone, should be used in a wider range of situations. BMA Scotland will continue to ask Scottish Government to review this and to change recommendations and PPE provision where there is real doubt about the safety of patient facing staff."

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