Children's rights bill must be fast tracked to Scottish Parliament

Responding to the UK Government’s statement on the children’s rights bill, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and ex-convenor of the Children's Services coalition Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Now that it is clear what changes must be made to this bill, I want to see it back in front of the Scottish Parliament at the next available opportunity.

"This bill is an opportunity to offer new hope to the young people of Scotland. It is utterly shameful that Nicola Sturgeon and co chose to hijack it as an opportunity to stir up grudge and grievance.

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UK Government lets Scotland down over carbon capture facility

Responding to the comments made on this morning's Good Morning Scotland by Sir Ian Wood calling for the UK Government to rethink its decision not to build a new carbon capture facility in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat climate emergency spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

“Boris Johnson's Conservative government has let Scotland down once again. Investment in projects such as carbon capture and storage would help the North East move away from its reliance on oil and gas as we begin to decarbonise the UK energy system. It should have been at the top of the pile.

“Carbon capture and storage was championed by the Liberal Democrats in Government but the Tories axed £1bn from the project in 2015. Now they have set things back even further.

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Rennie reveals permanent teaching posts plummeting even before pandemic

Figures released by the Scottish Government show that the share of post-probationary teachers able to find permanent positions has declined in each year since 2017/18.

The latest statistics, at primary level 2019/20 for example, reveal that fewer than 1 in 3 of 'year one' primary teachers were able to secure a permanent job. This is down from 58% in 2016/17. Permanent positions at 'year one' secondary level have also fallen by 10% over the same period. Temporary contracts overtook permanent ones for ‘year ones’ for the first time in 2019/20.

The decline of permanent jobs has been widely reported among newly qualified teachers this year. Willie Rennie MSP launched a petition with over 1,400 signatures, after dozens of concerned teachers in North East Fife were told that they had no job to go back to, only hours before the end of term. This was despite expectations that most new teachers would be offered positions for 2021/22 following an interview process in March.

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Lib Dems demand mental health investment in deprived communities

Scottish Liberal Democrat mental health spokesperson and practitioner Jane Alliston has today said that a new report into mental health and wellbeing shows the need for rapid and dramatic investment in mental health, particularly in Scotland's most deprived communities.

The Public Health Scotland’s report Rapid evidence review of the socioeconomic determinants of mental wellbeing, published today highlights that: 

  • “measures of socioeconomic position appear to be important factors for mental wellbeing, and the association is likely to be underestimated in a high proportion of existing studies”.
  • "Mental illness is distributed along a socioeconomic gradient, with a higher risk of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety among the most socioeconomically disadvantaged compared with the least disadvantaged”

 

Ms Alliston said:

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Delays to vaccine programme being snuck out

Responding to reports that the timeline for over 50s to get booster vaccinations has been pushed back from October to mid-November, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"The Scottish Government are sneaking out changes to the vaccination program under the radar. We know that caseloads are still far too high so there can be no excuses for these delays. The Health Secretary needs to tell the public what steps he will take to speed up this rollout.

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Health Secretary must make A&E crisis a personal priority

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today called on the Health Secretary to make fixing the NHS workforce crisis a “personal priority”.

A&E waiting times remain at record breaking levels, with the number of people being seen within the four-hour target time remaining at 71.3%, the same as last week.

The number of people this represents increased slightly, with 7,264 people waiting more than four hours, 1,871 people waiting more than eight hours and 612 people waiting more than twelve.

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Covid ID cards set a dangerous precedent and should be abolished

Speaking as the enforcement of Covid ID cards comes into force, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has warned that the cards set a dangerous precedent and should be abolished.

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Cole-Hamilton proposes new Climate Emergency Communities Fund

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today proposed a new Climate Emergency Communities Fund to prepare and protect people across Scotland already being affected by extreme weather including flooding.

It is the next instalment of the new Scottish Liberal Democrat leader’s plan New Hope for the Climate Emergency, and comes as a report from the UK Environment Agency warns that adapting to the “inevitable impacts” of the climate emergency is necessary to save lives.  

The fund could be worth £75 million extra per year to communities – doubling the Scottish Government’s existing commitment to flooding and coastal erosion.

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Wishart calls for mental health support for baby loss

As Baby Loss Awareness Week draws to a close, Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart has called on the Scottish Government to step up the mental health support available for those who experience baby loss.

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Wishart launches petition for new hospital

Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart has launched an online petition for a new hospital for Shetland. Highlighting the 1950s design, little opportunity to achieve the modern hospital requirements of today and future-proofing island requirements, Ms Wishart is asking for Shetland residents to show the Scottish Government the strength of support for a new hospital.

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