Rennie and Campbell set out plans to bring our country together

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and former UK leader Menzies Campbell have today set out the party’s plans for reforming the UK and ensuring that it works for everyone. 

At the site used by the Scottish Parliament from 1999 to 2004, the leaders launched the party’s new report Bring Our Country Together, which highlights a series of recommendations for making the machinery of the UK work better. The report highlights six key steps: 

  1. Democratic reform at Westminster 
  2. A Declaration of a Federal United Kingdom: Turn the Sewel Convention into legislation 
  3. Protect the Supreme Court 
  4. Create a United Kingdom Council of Ministers 
  5. Enable shared UK-wide institutions 
  6. Creation of a Written Constitution 

Willie Rennie said: 

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Rennie marks 10,000th Covid-19 death

Responding to Scotland passing 10,000 deaths from covid-19, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:  

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Lib Dem leaders promise tax cuts to save the high street

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey have today used a visit to an Edinburgh food retailer to set out plans as part of the Scottish election campaign in which they have committed to put recovery first.

The party is unveiling bold plans to shake up the business rates system - something which is a far bigger tax burden for businesses in and around the high street than their online competitors.

Changing the charges to focus on the value of land - and crucially making this payable by the owner of the land rather than a business based there - will support small businesses.

The changes should cut the bills for most properties in and around the high street - but would see increases for developers who are ‘land banking’ sites.

Land banking is where developers speculate on buying sites which they hope will increase in value - without actually developing the site. This can lead to sites being underused or sitting empty for years.

The party believes their plans will help high street businesses compete with online retailers, as well as helping to cultivate high streets as hubs of their communities with shopping and social experiences.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto will include commitments to:

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Rennie and Davey: Vaccine passports are undercover ID cards

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey have today used a campaign stop in Edinburgh to warn that vaccine passports are undercover ID cards.

Ed Davey is expected to demand a vote in the UK Parliament on the Prime Minister’s controversial proposals. Willie Rennie will join him and urge the Scottish Government to suspend plans until MSPs can reconvene and scrutinise the plan after the election. 

Despite the recent announcement in favour, Nicola Sturgeon previously told Willie Rennie during an exchange in the Scottish Parliament that the Scottish Government “...have no plans to introduce immunity passports…”

Civil rights campaign groups such as Big Brother Watch, Liberty, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and Privacy International have also set out their opposition to vaccine passports.

Willie Rennie said:

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Salmond reduced to an apologist for the Putin regime

Speaking after an astonishing interview on BBC GMS where Alex Salmond praised Vladimir Putin and suggested his behaviour was better than Barack Obama, Alistair Carmichael MP, campaign of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said:

“Alex Salmond was once hailed as the most effective politician in Scotland but has now been reduced to an apologist for the Putin regime.

“He has been paid by the Russian state broadcaster for years and the result is his change from respected leader to spinning Russian propaganda lines.

“This is an incredibly important moment for voters.

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Rennie: Boost Scottish agriculture by cutting food miles

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today used a visit to a farm in Lauder to set out new plans for agriculture and rural communities. He wants Scottish agriculture to benefit from growing consumer awareness of food miles.

Alongside South of Scotland lead candidate Catriona Bhatia, Mr Rennie kicked off a week of proposals on the climate emergency by announcing that the party will: 

  • Work collaboratively to establish a new system of agricultural support which promotes climate-friendly farming alongside the critical work of producing food and providing rural employment.
  • Cut food miles by valuing quality seasonal Scottish produce through procurement and helping producers and processors to navigate tendering
  • Work across the UK to prevent our markets being flooded with poor quality food that undercuts the goods we produce to high environmental and animal welfare standards.
  • 'Croft proof' future agricultural support to make sure active, family farmers and crofters are properly supported.
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Rennie: Vaccine passports setting up twin-track society

Speaking in response to interviews in which Scottish ministers have said they are actively developing ideas for vaccine passports to restrict access to services, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie said:

“This is grossly unfair to the millions who have not been vaccinated yet and to those who have been advised not to take the vaccine.

“It is a massive step for the state to insist that people be vaccinated before accessing everyday services.

“People should have a chance to have a say on this major development and on my call for caution. The impact on young people and the risk of abuse are serious.

“It’s no surprise that the SNP are desperate to get their hands on a whole host more of our personal information.

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Mental health must be first priority of the recovery

As restrictions ease today and Scotland starts to reopen, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has warned of “a mountain of delays” for mental health treatment and called for action on mental health to be the first priority of the recovery. 

Using a campaign visit to a hairdresser to launch his Party’s mental health recovery plan, Mr Rennie pointed to official statistics from Public Health Scotland which show a record 1,892 children and 5,452 adults waiting more than a year for mental health treatment.

Mr Rennie declared his Party will “refresh Scotland’s mental health strategy” on “day one after the election.” It comes after the Scottish Parliament officially recognised there was a mental health crisis in a Holyrood debate brought by the Liberal Democrats. 

Due to rising concerns, the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) called for dramatically increased investment in mental health. The Scottish Liberal Democrats secured £120m increase in the budget for mental health and now want to go further.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat’s recovery plan for mental health proposes to:

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Rennie announces more health services in local communities

Ahead of receiving his covid-19 vaccination today, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie set out plans to increase the range of healthcare, diagnosis and treatment in local communities with more services delivered through pharmacies and GP surgeries.

The party says that super-specialisation and centralisation of health services has left people in remote and rural areas, such as Caithness, with long journeys to hospital for treatment and want to create new measures to encourage staff to take up posts in rural and remote areas.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto will contain proposals to:

  • embed more nurses, dieticians and physiotherapists with GPs so that people can get a wider range of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care within their community. 
  • empower pharmacists to do more prescribing, making use of secure health records. 
  • Create strong clinical networks to give peer support to professionals working in remote and rural communities.
  • Change professional education to include more training placements in rural communities to give students a taste for the benefits of the work.
  • Adapt national guidelines so that they support rural healthcare.

Willie Rennie said:

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Vaccine passports will divide the country

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie has today warned that vaccine passports could lead to "super ID cards by the back door" following First Minister's comments on being open to all possibilities including vaccine passports.

Mr Rennie said:

“This is super ID cards by the back door. Vaccine passports will divide the country, effectively make vaccination compulsory and pave the way for a permanent ID card.

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