Scot Lib Dems call for accountability over Covid spending

Scottish Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson John Ferry has today called for proper safeguards to be put in place to ensure that the Government correctly identify what is and isn’t Covid-spending, as a new briefing 'Tracking the impact of Covid-19 on Scotland's public finances' published by Audit Scotland warned that “transparency around what is classed as Covid-19 spending across government portfolios remains challenging in a fast-moving and unpredictable environment”

Mr Ferry said:

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No Scottish shipyard on shortlist for Islay ferries

Responding to reports that new CalMac Islay ferries will not be built in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie said:

"It is a damning indictment of the Scottish Government's utter failure to secure high tech, high wage jobs that there is no shipyard in Scotland on this shortlist.

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Scot Lib Dems will oppose cynical social care power grab

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today used a debate on the future of social care to confirm that his party will oppose a “cynical power grab” on the part of the Scottish Government and stand up for local authorities and local communities against centralising SNP ministers.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“It is cynical for this government to brand their proposal a National Care Service because it is, in fact a ministerial takeover of social care. It's a branding exercise deliberately designed to make it sound like our most treasured national institution, the National Health Service but that is where the similarity ends.

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First Minister running out of experts to misrepresent over vaccine passports

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today pressed the First Minister over calls from experts and events industry leaders to shelve plans for Covid ID cards - experts who the First Minister had previously quoted.

Mr Cole-Hamilton raised the concerns of events industry leader Geoff Ellis, who in a conversation today told Mr Cole-Hamilton:  

“The policy of passporting creates many problems for the Scottish economy. Who is excluded? How is it to be regulated? Where is the app? Does it work? Surely we cannot rely on stewards using their personal smart phones to check validity?"  

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Cole-Hamilton writes to parliament bosses over right to protest at heart of Scottish democracy

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today written to members of the Corporate Body of the Scottish Parliament over plans to restrict the right to protest outside the parliament and expand police powers to remove demonstrators.

From 1 October 2021 The Scottish Parliament will be added to the sites covered by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 in Scotland (SOCPA). The only other sites to which this currently apploes in Scotland are those related to nuclear materials. The maximum penalty for breaching the legislation is a £5,000 fine or a year in jail.

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Cole-Hamilton: 722 suspected drug deaths is all too raw

Speaking after official statistics show there were 722 suspected drug deaths during the first half of 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“It is devastating to learn that 722 people had their life cut short by drugs in the first few months of this year alone. This will be a painful day for the hundreds of families for whom this news will feel all too raw.

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Health Secretary’s inaction “scarring” NHS staff

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has warned today that sustained pressure on A&E departments across Scotland will have a “scarring” effect, demoralising a whole generation of qualified professionals to the extent that many are likely to leave the service.

The SNP target to see patients within four hours of attending A&E has been breached for more than 6,000 people a week in each of the last five weeks. This number has more than tripled in recent months, increasing from 2,086 in the last week of 2020 to 6,915 in the week beginning 5 September 2021, the most recent week of data.

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1 in 20 patients in pain wait a year for treatment

Scottish Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today urged "compassion and urgent treatment for patients in pain" as new figures revealed that 1 in 20 patients referred for chronic pain have to wait over a year for treatment.

The figures published by Public Health Scotland reveal that during the quarter ending 30 June 2021 112 patients, or 5.4% of the total number who presented, waited a year or more to be seen. 250 patients waited between 24 and 51 weeks during the same period. 

Chronic Pain Services are measured as part of the 18 Weeks Referral to Treatment Standard.

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Sturgeon's conference speech is either cynical or paranoid

Responding to Nicola Sturgeon's speech to SNP conference and her claims that the UK is seeking to “damage” Scotland and “by making us poorer, they’ll say we can’t afford to be independent”, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

"This speech from the SNP leader is either desperately cynical or deeply paranoid.

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230,000 operations lost but SNP choose to focus on independence

As the SNP devote their time to pushing independence at their annual conference, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has revealed new analysis showing that in the seventeen months since the pandemic began more than 230,000 operations were cancelled and called on the SNP to demonstrate that they care about the nation's health as much as they care about the nation's borders.

Analysis conducted by Scottish Liberal Democrats reveals that between March 2020 – July 2021, a 17-month period, 251,508 operations were conducted. Analysis of previous years reveals that the between 2016 and 2019, the average number of operations conducted was 485,208. This means that 233,700 operations have been lost to Covid.

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