Rennie on the M9 statement: Ministers must apologise

Speaking ahead of the Ministerial Statement, due to be heard in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, on the tragic M9 crash where John Yuill and Lamara Bell lost their lives six years ago, Willie Rennie MSP said:

“The Scottish Government have a lot to answer for tomorrow.  

“Ministers drove through a rushed centralisation of Scotland’s police service, paying little heed to the concerns of those on the ground. It was evident in yesterday’s judgement that those decisions had consequences.

“Police Scotland were clear that the call handling system in place between 1 April 2013 and 1 March 2016 wasn’t up to the job. That is because centralisation forced experienced staff away from the frontline, to disastrous effect.

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Cole-Hamilton urges emergency recruitment drive to fix broken test and protect system

Responding to today’s Scottish Parliament update from the First Minister, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged an emergency recruitment drive to fix the broken Test and Protect system.

Today 5,810 new cases of Covid were reported, 82 more Covid positive people were admitted in intensive care yesterday, and 17 people lost their lives to the virus.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

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Scotland needs new hope, not a new white paper

Responding to the publication of the Programme for Government 2021-22, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole Hamilton MSP said:

“The pages of this programme do not contain hope for a better future for young people, patients or the climate. Instead, it is old hype, reheated and rebadged.

“For the fourth year in a row, Scottish Liberal Democrats have listened to the First Minister promising to bring down waiting times for mental health services. Each year the waits for children, young people and adults increase.

“The further details on a national care service show that term is disingenuous. It is a ministerial power grab.

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Auditor General highlights decade of SNP overpromising and under-delivering

Commenting in response to a blog published by Audit Scotland, where the Auditor General Stephen Boyle reports a “mismatch” in SNP policy delivery, explaining that “audit work consistently shows a major implementation gap between policy ambitions and delivery on the ground”, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:  

“Stephen Boyle’s scathing assessment just about sums up the SNP’s fourteen years in power: over a decade of overpromising and under-delivering.

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Rennie on M9 crash: 'Political decisions have consequences'

Responding to the news that Police Scotland have admitted “corporate criminal liability” for the M9 crash in 2015, Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie MSP, who has sought answers for the past six years, said:

“Political decisions have consequences. This is one of the darkest.

“The Scottish Government were cavalier about their centralisation of the police, rushing it through despite all the warnings. Experienced staff were replaced with officers from the frontline who didn’t know how the call handling systems worked.

“Six years after John Yuill and Lamara Bell died, Police Scotland now accept that from the very date that forces merged, failures in the call handling system created an unacceptable and long-lasting risk to the public. That ended in tragedy.

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Deploy the Army to get food onto shelves and avoid Christmas chaos

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to send in the Army to deliver food to supermarkets, as immigration chaos fuels a growing shortage of lorry drivers.

The country has endured a summer of shortage chaos with empty supermarket shelves, restaurant food shortages, and even delays to flu jabs. 

The call from the Liberal Democrats comes as the Road Haulage Association warns of a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers and the CBI have recently said there could be up to 2 years of Labour shortages.

The Lib Dems have slammed the Government’s new immigration system, implemented in the middle of the Covid pandemic, which makes it impossible for employers to recruit lorry drivers, care workers and other key workers from overseas.

The call from the Liberal Democrats comes as the Road Haulage Association warns of a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers and the CBI have recently said there could be up to 2 years of Labour shortages.

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Cole-Hamilton: Ironclad plan needed to eradicate mental health waits

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today said the Scottish Government must show it has “an ironclad plan” to bring down mental health waits after new statistics showed 2,138 children waiting over a year for mental health treatment.

Quarterly Public Health Scotland statistics also show 5,000 adults waiting over a year.

The 18 week treatment target was missed for more than 1 in 4 children and young people (27.4%) while 17.3% of adults weren’t seen on time.

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

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Scottish Liberal Democrats submit Urgent Question on A&E 'meltdown'

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today requested an Urgent Question be heard in the Scottish Parliament in response to record breaking waits in A&E departments for the fourth consecutive week.

In the week ending 29 August 2021, 7,105 people waited longer than four hours to be processed after attending A&E, breaching the SNP’s waiting times target for 25.8% of patients.

In NHS Forth Valley, almost half of patients (43%) waited longer than four hours to be seen.

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

“The situation in emergency departments is desperate. Hospitals are under insurmountable and unprecedented pressure. People are suffering as a result.  

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Cole-Hamilton: Whistle-blower accounts show contact tracing 'meltdown'

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today called for an “emergency recruitment drive” for contact tracers, as whistle-blower reports reveal that Test and Protect are being forced to close cases before contact has been made because the service is under such strain.

This follows Scottish Liberal Democrat research that found positive cases waiting up to a week before being interviewed in the midst of the summer peak. Case numbers are now significantly higher, breaching 7,000 a day last week.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

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Plea for Greens to stand up to SNP on Covid ID cards

“Don’t get pushed around,” Rennie appeals to party’s MSPs.

The former Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has appealed to the parliament’s seven Green MSPs not to get pushed around by the SNP on the covid ID cards vote in the Scottish Parliament next week.

The plea from Willie Rennie comes following Patrick Harvie’s repeated refusal to say how he would vote despite being a strong critic of the measure only a few weeks ago.

Willie Rennie said:

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