More major surgery needed to fix hate crime bill

Speaking as the Scottish Parliament debates the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

"Hate crime for all protected characteristics is on the rise. And while the culture shift required to reverse this ugly tide will take time, our police, prosecutors and courts need the tools to deal with it when and where it occurs.

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Cole-Hamilton: "Nothing inevitable" about drug-related deaths

Responding to the news that 1,264 people died of drug-related deaths in 2019, an increase of 6% and the highest number since records began, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP stated: 

"This news is tragic and will make for a difficult day for all those who lost a loved one last year. Lives are being lost on an unprecedented and unparalleled scale, and each of these people deserved better. There was nothing inevitable about their passing.

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Childcare entitlement deadline pushed to August 2021

Responding to the announcement that the statutory duty to deliver 1140 hours of funded ELC will not come into effect until August 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:

"The pandemic has disrupted all aspects of our lives but this government cannot use it as an excuse to kick the can down the road on major commitments. There will be no recovery without properly funded and supported childcare.

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Mass community testing could catch tens of thousands of unsuspecting infected Scots

Speaking ahead of the publication of data from trials of asymptomatic community testing, preliminary results of which revealed that 3% of those tested (426 people) returned a positive test, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"These preliminary results from across the central belt suggest that there may be tens of thousands of unsuspecting people currently with the virus.

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Auditor General warns Scottish policing is not financially sustainable

Responding to a new report from the Auditor General which warns that Scottish policing is "not financially sustainable", Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

“Since the SNP's botched centralisation, the national force has been consistently in the red.

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Rennie: TUI should be grounded

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today questioned how travel firm TUI are continuing to fly passengers out of Glasgow airport, while the site remains in tier 3 restrictions.

The firm are currently advertising Christmas deals, despite evidence this week that international travel in the summer contributed to the second wave of covid deaths.

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Rennie: Gordon Brown convention role is significant development

Speaking after reports that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is set to lead a UK constitutional convention initiative, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie said:

“To have the heft of the former Prime Minister and Chancellor behind this important initiative to reform the United Kingdom is a significant development.

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McArthur: Much work to do on Hate Crime Bill “riddled with problems”

Commenting following publication of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee’s Stage 1 report on the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP commented: 

“The bill presented to parliament by the Scottish Government was riddled with problems. Vague language, blurred boundaries and inadequate protections for freedom of expression led to serious and legitimate concerns being voiced by almost every group with an interest in the bill.

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More ambition needed on deferred nursery places

Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has called on the Scottish Government to bring forward more ambitious legislation to secure the rights of parents who want to defer their child starting school.

Following the campaign run by ‘Give them Time’, the Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd agreed on the need for legislation to guarantee funded ELC for August to December-born children who defer starting school, however legislation presented this week would only introduce this entitlement from August 2023.

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Rennie: Working constructively with government delivers funds for businesses

Following the announcement of new funds for business by the Finance Secretary, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie said that working constructively with government ministers has delivered results.

New sectoral funds worth £185million were announced for self catering, B&Bs, travel agencies, coach tour operators, taxi drivers and hospitality businesses.

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