Every policy must be sense-checked against the climate emergency

The Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrat joint autumn conference has today called on their respective governments to rapidly accelerate decarbonisation and sense check all future policy commitments in light of the climate and nature emergencies.

The conference called for:

  • Rapidly accelerating the decarbonisation of those sectors that have recorded little or no progress towards achieving emissions reduction targets since 1990.
  • Establishing routemaps with milestones for these sectors to ensure that each plays their full part in achieving targets for net zero.
  • Sense check all future policy commitments in light of the climate and nature emergencies, and in recognition of the gravity and urgency of the situations.
  • The Scottish and Welsh governments to commit to these objectives ahead of COP26.

Scottish Liberal Democrat net zero spokesperson and COP26 observing delegate, Sanne Dijkstra-Downie said:

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Scot Lib Dems bid to end drug deaths epidemic

The Scottish Liberal Democrat autumn conference today endorsed measures designed to help bring an end to Scotland’s drug deaths epidemic, amid fears that Scotland isn’t on course to reduce the number of people dying.

Conference also championed Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton’s request to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to send a taskforce of global experts on drug mortality to help get this public health disaster under control.

Commenting after the motion passed, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

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Lib Dems call for new measures to end violence against women

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called for new measures to prevent violence against women and girls in an Emergency Motion passed during the party’s Autumn conference.

During the debate, party members called for a suite of actions, including:

 

  • An NHS-style public awareness campaign to build public understanding of the drivers behind violence against women;
  • An extended Independent Review of Equality Matters in policing as recommended by Dame Elish Angiolini, to include a review of police vetting processes and consideration of misogynistic behaviour;
  • New training for those working in education and frontline in public authorities;
  • Recognition of misogyny as a hate crime.

 

The party also reaffirmed its call for a new Commission to look at ways of preventing men’s violence against women and girls in all its forms, to report within one year in order to ensure a co-ordinated approach across all levels of government.

Commenting following the debate, Liberal Democrat MP and former police officer Wendy Chamberlain commented:

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Scot Lib Dems commit to oppose centralisation of social care services

The Scottish Liberal Democrat autumn conference has today voted to oppose the SNP’s ministerial takeover of care services and establish a new fiscal framework to ensure local authorities receive a fair share of Scottish Government resources. 

The proposals will form part of the party’s offer to voters at the forthcoming local authority elections in May 2022. 

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Rennie: The government should reject Thatcherite national testing

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today (October 7th) pressed the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Shirley Ann Somerville to replace Scotland’s national testing regime, the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs), following the recommendation of the OECD in its report, Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: Into the Future.

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Rennie: Government should stop collecting 'useless' SNSAs data

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today (October 6th) challenged the Education Secretary to accept the recommendation on stopping the use of Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs ) for national monitoring to collect “useless data”. At the Education and Young People’s Committee this morning he challenged Shirley Ann Somerville to agree with the OECD and stop using the assessments for national monitoring.

Mr Rennie said:

“The OECD report states “the purpose and usefulness of SNSAs are already being questioned.” And yet it is still being used.

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Wishart presses the government on effective measures to protect women from harassment and violence.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, Beatrice Wishart has today (October 5th) pressed the Scottish Government on what measures public sector agencies, including the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, and the Crown Office, will take to increase efforts to ensure women are protected from harassment and violence.

Ms Wishart cited guidance from the WHO states “Despite the fact that violence has always been present, the world does not have to accept it as an inevitable part of the human condition”, and urged the Justice Secretary to take forward the Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals for a Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women.

Ms Wishart said:

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Lib Dems call for an overhaul to the 'broken' Fatal Accident Inquiry system

Responding to a study into deaths in custody in Scotland over the past 15 years, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have again called for an overhaul to the "broken" Fatal Accident Inquiry system. 

The study by the University of Glasgow into FAIs of 196 deaths in custody from 2005 to 2019 has raised "serious questions about the role played by the Crown in providing adequate scrutiny of these deaths".

According to the study, the average number of deaths in Scottish prisons per year between 2016 to 2019 has increased to 32 deaths, and "suicides are normalised, and seen as regrettable but inevitable”.

It also reveals a number of significant failures to Fatal Accident Inquiries with 40% of cases taking more than three years to complete and on 94% of instances no recommendations were made on how to improve practice. The report states that "not a single FAI in the case of a woman dying in prison made a finding identifying any precautions, defects or recommendations."

Liam McArthur, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson, said:

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Rennie: SNP has lost its way on education

Responding to today's (October 5th) publication of the education recovery report, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP said:

“This is the same old, same old plans reheated by an SNP government that has lost its way on education. The poverty related attainment gap is as wide as ever and the SNP have run out of ideas on how to close it.  The pandemic hit young people hard so you would expect the government to step up the support rather than just repackaging the same policies in a shiny new document.

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Lib Dems call for 'reinvigorated' cervical screening awareness campaign

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called for a “reinvigorated” cervical screening awareness campaign after new statistics confirmed that “uptake has declined in recent years”.

The number of tests processed in 2020/21 was half the normal rate, “at least in part due to the pausing of the screening programme in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The figures, published by Public Health Scotland, also follow on from the public health scandal that has seen women wrongfully excluded from the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme, which has so far been linked to the deaths of three women, triggering a review of 200,000 medical records.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

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