Wishart welcomes Pride

Shetland’s MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart, has today welcomed LGBT+ Pride month and reaffirmed her commitment to championing equality for those who identify as LGBT+.  

Annually June is celebrated by LGBT+ people and allies across the country and throughout the summer events will take place to celebrate LGBT+ contributions to society.

LGBT+ people are more likely to suffer from poor mental health and crime, as well as being more likely to earn less than their heterosexual counterparts. Scottish Liberal Democrats continue to campaign for LGBT+ equality and for an end to the harmful practice of sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapy, still legal across the UK.

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Delivery charges scandal exposed in House of Commons

Liberal Democrat MP, Jamie Stone, is today leading a debate in the House of Commons about delivery charges in the Highlands and Islands. He is calling on the UK and Scottish Government to stop ‘playing blame games’ and act to end unfair delivery charges.

Postcodes in the Highlands and Islands face 21% higher postal charges on average compared to South Western Scotland and are 31% less likely to have access to home delivery services from online retailers compared to Eastern Scotland.

The average price for a large parcel in the Highlands and Islands is £60.25. By contrast, the average price in South Western Scotland is £48.57. The Highlands and Islands also have an ‘average delivery availability probability’ of 85% for standard door to door deliveries, compared with averages of at least 99% in the rest of Scotland.

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Cole-Hamilton sets out plans for school meals, mental health and fuel poverty ahead of poverty debate

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Scottish Parliament debate on Tackling Poverty and Building a Fairer Country, Alex Cole-Hamilton has challenged the new SNP Social Justice Secretary to put constitutional grievances aside as he highlighted the attainment gap, mental health and insecure housing as three key areas in which the government could act immediately to tackle poverty. 

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: 

“I was dismayed to see that the first act of the minister in charge of tackling poverty in Scotland was to prioritise picking a fight with Westminster. 

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Cole-Hamilton calls for walk in centres as Edinburgh case rate doubles

Responding to new figures showing that over the past week the case rate in Edinburgh has increased from 65.9 to 134.3 per 100,000 and reports of outbreaks in a further four high schools today, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"What these figures show is that while the vaccine programme is holding back another wave of deaths, the virus is still spreading. The increase in the rate here in Edinburgh is alarming, and speeding up the vaccine rollout by offering a walk-in centre makes sense.

"For months I have pressed the Scottish Government about how NHS Lothian can be supported to speed up jabs. This week we finally saw military personnel deployed but these are few in number and are arriving late in the day.

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Lib Dems to offer Parliament chance to trigger FAI reform

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur has today announced that his party will use this Thursday’s forthcoming justice debate to offer Parliament the chance to trigger reform of the Fatal Accident Inquiry system. 

Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for inquiries to be removed from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service altogether. The party says that a new system of checks and balances is needed to add impetus to the process, like coroners do in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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New analysis shows 210,000 operations lost to Covid

New Scottish Liberal Democrat analysis has shown that 210,000 scheduled operations have now been lost to the pandemic and the party has warned that it will need "every ounce" of the government's energy to power through the backlog and end painful waits for patients.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

"These new statistics show the scale of the covid's impact. NHS staff have worked around the clock to protect people from the virus. However, the loss of routine procedures means people are in pain and can't get on with life.

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Rennie: SNP using poverty to stir constitutional arguments

Responding to Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison’s letter to party leaders ahead of the forthcoming Scottish Parliament debate ‘Tackling poverty and building a fairer country’ on 8 June, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

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Time for real reform of secretive SQA

Responding to the news that the Scottish Government will look at reform of the SQA and Education Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP commented:

“Scottish Liberal Democrats won a landmark vote in February to reform the SQA and Education Scotland and declare they aren't fit for purpose. John Swinney tried but failed to shout us down, backed by every single SNP member.

"Today’s announcement is a small step in the right direction but we need more details of the reform remit and timeline before the summer recess.

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McArthur reveals police withdrew support for workforce mental health research

During First Minister's Questions this afternoon, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP revealed the police withdrew its backing for a flagship mental health research programme and he challenged the First Minister to improve support for officers in the face of shattering survey results.

On Tuesday it was revealed that 29% of police officers are experiencing moderate burnout, and a further 16% are enduring high levels.

At FMQs, Mr McArthur said:

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Wishart: 'Nightmare' means no excuses left for dodging SQA overhaul

Responding to the latest statement on exams, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP commented:

"There is stress, uncertainty, and assessment after assessment with no study leave. Pupils have told me they've got 16 assessments this week and it's a nightmare for teachers too.

"Liberal Democrats have called for the reform of the SQA for years. There are no excuses left.

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