New Lord Advocate should prescribe "treatment, not imprisonment" for drug misuse

Scottish Liberal Democrats will this week use a debate on Scotland's drugs deaths crisis to urge the new Lord Advocate to prioritise the prevention of drug deaths through new guidance to pave the way for more people misusing drugs to get the treatment and support they need, instead of a destructive experience of the criminal justice system.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out their intention to table an amendment later this week in a bid to secure fresh legal guidance.

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Scot Gov must deliver bursary for new intake of paramedics

Scottish Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur MSP has today told the Scottish Government to “put its money where its mouth is” and ensure student paramedics are not left out of pocket ahead of the introduction of a new bursary.

Mr McArthur, who led efforts on the Pay Student Paramedics campaign in the Scottish Parliament, has called on the Scottish Government to ensure the bursary is in place for the new term start, or commit to backdating payments to cover any absence.

The bursary would offer paramedics support similar to the kind student nurses and midwives receive, and has been the subject of the ongoing Pay Student Paramedics campaign. Despite earlier resistance, a commitment to introduce this bursary featured in the SNP manifesto.

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Hate crimes rise in almost every category

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today called on public figures to “show that differences and debate can exist without hatred”, as new figures from the Crown Office showed that hate crimes have risen in almost every category over the past twelve months. 

The Crown Office report published today notes: 

  • The total number of charges containing at least one element of hate crime increased to 5,525 in 2020-21, 4% more than 2019-20.  
  • Racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime. In total 3,285 charges relating to race crime were reported in 2020-21, an increase of 6% compared to 2019-20.  
  • Sexual orientation aggravated crime is the second most commonly reported type of hate crime. The number of charges reported increased by 5% in 2020-21 to 1,580. With the exception of 2014-Hate crimes rise in almost every category
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Wishart urges new Education Secretary to get on top of casual contracts and exams chaos

Responding to today's EIS conference at which members accused the Education Secretary of "passing the buck" for the alternative certification model and General Secretary Larry Flanagan's call to "end the scandal of 1 in 10 teachers on temporary contracts or worse, zero hours supply lists", Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:

"We can only be grateful for the impossible task teachers have carried out during the pandemic, but any teacher will tell you that long hours and a lack of support has been a problem for years.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats want to immediately see every qualified teacher guaranteed a job to end the casualisation of the workforce and deliver smaller class sizes. It's ludicrous that thousands are on short-term and zero hours contracts.

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The SNP must treat teachers with respect and decency

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today pressed the First Minister over the growth in short-term teaching contracts, and how many of the 3,500 teaching and classroom assistant posts that the Scottish Government has committed to creating will be given permanent contracts.

Mr Rennie said:

“The First Minister is happy to take the credit for new teachers and teaching posts, but she is nowhere to be seen when their terms and conditions turn out to be shoddy.

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Carmichael backs Scottish food and drink producers call for government engagement on trade

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has voiced support today for a letter sent by 14 Scottish food and drink businesses calling on the International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to engage more with industry on issues relating to EU trade and potential trade deals with Australia and other countries.

The letter, signed by organisations including Scotland Food and Drink, the NFU Scotland and the Scottish Crofting Federation, voices support for greater trading opportunities but raises concerns about the risks to local businesses if greater collaboration and understanding is not reached.

Mr Carmichael said:

 

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Lib Dems call for covid tests to be mailed to every household attending EURO 2020

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called on the Scottish Government to work with football authorities and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to ensure that every household attending games at Hampden and at the Glasgow fanzone is mailed lateral flow tests.

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Cole-Hamilton calls for plan to drive down waiting times as A&E attendance rises

Responding to today's A&E figures which who the highest number of Scots attend an A&E department since February 2020, of whom 85.7.% were seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, well below the Scottish Government target of 95%, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

"The burden on A&E services is only going to rise as more of society opens up again.

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Rennie: Teachers have been disrespected and abandoned

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today warned that teachers have been disrespected and abandoned after the publication of a new open letter highlighting damaging job instability in teaching.

The letter was sent by the Temporary and Supply Teachers in Scotland group, which has over 2,000 members, and highlighted the proliferation of short-term contracts and a lack of job opportunities driving qualified teachers away from the profession.

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New: 1 in 4 Scots are carers

New research by Liberal Democrats/Savanta has shown that 25 per cent of adults in Scotland self-identify as someone who has unpaid caring responsibilities for a family member or friend due to illness

In further research commissioned for Carers Week (7 -11 June),  a Carers UK survey revealed 72 per cent of unpaid carers in Scotland have not been able to have a break since the Coronavirus pandemic began. 

Commenting on the research Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie said: 

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