Cole-Hamilton sets out priorities for parliamentary term

Speaking ahead of the return of Parliament this week, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Over the coming months I want to set out proposals that will give people new hope after the division and disarray of the past decade.

"I want to draw a sharp contrast between the priorities of the Liberal Democrats: the climate emergency, the state of the NHS and opportunities for young people, and the priorities of the nationalist coalition. 

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Cole-Hamilton: New figures show Test and Protect 'struggling desperately'

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today revealed new figures showing the strain that Scotland’s contact tracing system, Test and Protect, has been under in recent months.

New figures, obtained through Freedom of Information legislation, show that in July this year Test and Protect required 7 days to complete contact tracing interviews in the top 1% of cases.

In mid-April the worst waits for an interview averaged 47 hours. By the start of July that had increased to 172 hours.

The Scottish Government introduced a raft of changes to Test and Protect procedure “as a result of rapidly increasing case numbers”. Since June, text messages have been used as the default.

This week, as the daily Covid-19 case rate breached 5,000 for the first time, the Scottish Government announced more amendments to Test and Protect procedures to cope, alongside another recruitment drive.

Commenting, the new Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

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Cole-Hamilton comments on another record day of Covid cases and vaccine passport proposals

Commenting on today's First Minister’s Covid briefing, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“Today’s data is more than concerning. With 6,835 cases registered today and the potential for further increases ahead, it is hard to see the end of this horrific nightmare.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton announces the new Scottish Liberal Democrat spokespeople team

At the end of a busy first week as Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today unveiled his new spokespeople team and described it as “crackling with talent and ideas” to give Scotland new hope.

Mr Cole-Hamilton will remain as health spokesperson reflecting his personal commitment to help the NHS recover from the pandemic, as well as leading on the constitution and external affairs. Former leader Willie Rennie will become the party's spokesperson on education, economy and communities. Liam McArthur will lead for the party on justice and the climate emergency. Beatrice Wishart will be spokesperson for rural affairs and connectivity, as well as Deputy Convener of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee.

The full spokesperson team is as follows:

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Cole-Hamilton: Government must hit the accelerator on social security powers

Responding to the publication of the Scottish Fiscal Commission’s economic and social security forecasts today, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“The improvement in the economic forecasts is testament to the game-changing vaccines which have established a route for us to escape this crisis. However, continuing business and job support must be built around the fact some sectors will need longer to rebound. The impact of restrictions and dependence on international connections isn’t equal.

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Carmichael: Tories should put British economy above anti-immigration ideology

Responding to warnings from food and drink retailers that recent labour shortages in the food supply chain could "cancel Christmas". Home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

“The chaos and incompetence of this Government is now causing food shortages on supermarket shelves. Conservative Ministers need to get a grip.

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Cole-Hamilton highlights long covid risk as more than 5,000 covid cases reported

Responding to the announcement that Scotland has reported more than 5,000 coronavirus infections in a single day for the first time, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Breaking through 5,000 confirmed cases a day shows that this virus is still an active threat. Of these 5,000 many will be living with the consequences for months and years to come.

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Cole-Hamilton: Patients need new hope not re-packaged promises

Responding to the publication of the Scottish Government’s 26-page NHS Recovery Plan, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

“With A&E departments more stretched than ever and more than 200,000 operations lost to the pandemic, patients and NHS staff deserved more than wafer thin commitments and re-packaged promises. The government is chancing on money, redesign and technology to dig them out of a hole.

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Jardine calls on support for council to help Afghan refugees

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine has called for clarity in what support our two Governments will provide to local authorities such as Edinburgh City Council planning to welcome refugees fleeing the conflict in Afghanistan.

Edinburgh is preparing to welcome upwards of 50 refugees immediately who are fleeing the Taliban and the MP pointed out that the council will need both financial support and clarity on exactly how and how many people will need to be accommodated.

Ms Jardine described the situation as requiring “urgent clarity” after meeting the local authority.

She said: 

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Cole-Hamilton: 'Inquiry must lead to timely answers to important questions'

Responding to the Scottish Government’s announcement that the first steps will be taken towards establishing an inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

“There have been many distinctly Scottish problems during the pandemic. A distinct, judge-led inquiry is therefore essential.

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