Carmichael: Scottish Conservatives are smoke and mirrors

Responding to Douglas Ross’ speech to the Scottish Conservative conference, Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign chair Alistair Carmichael said:

“The Scottish Conservatives are all smoke and mirrors. Douglas Ross is proposing a new retraining scheme mostly funded by just shuffling around money from existing programs.

“The Scottish Conservatives have already disposed of one leader for the crime of not being Ruth Davidson. If this is the best Douglas Ross can do perhaps, they should start planning for another 90th minute substitution.

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Nolan: Invest in broadband and housing to tackle Highland depopulation

Responding to the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Population Taskforce’s National Population Strategy, Molly Nolan, Spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross said:

“Scotland faces a number of demographic challenges, particularly in the Highlands. Poor access to the critical infrastructure that people and businesses need to thrive like fast broadband and accessible housing makes life harder for those who want to stay.  

“The pandemic made it abundantly clear that a fast and accessible internet connection is crucial for those living in the Highlands. It can no longer be seen as something that’s just nice to have.

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Scottish Liberal Democrats launch Education Bounce Back plan

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today launched their Education Bounce Back plan designed to make every hour spent in school count for more. This will be achieved through unprecedented new entitlements for pupils and staff and extra resources in every school.

The party's plan will introduce for this August:

  • A teacher job guarantee
  • More pupil support assistants
  • Expansion of outdoor learning and increased provision of residential outdoor education
  • Investment in local grassroots activities and sports with new funded entitlements for children and young people to use over the holidays
  • A new programme of extra supported study for S4-S6 guided by the judgement of class teachers
  • A legal right for families to both defer P1 and have it replaced with early learning and childcare
  • The enhanced Pupil Equity Funding won by Scottish Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Budget.
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Rennie responds to "insult" of secret education report

Responding to the news that the Scottish Government will give MSPs alone a confidential OECD "summary of draft preliminary findings" on Scottish education, on the condition it isn't made public, cited or quoted, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie commented:

"This is an insult to the people of the country that they can't be trusted with a 7-page summary of preliminary recommendations.

"People will draw their own conclusions that the SNP are not prepared for their record on education to be judged at the election. This is a summary of fraction of a report, in a private library, under lock and key.

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Brexit trade & GDP: Livelihoods are being ruined

Responding to ONS figures showing UK goods exports to the European Union fell by 40.7% and the UK economy has shrunk by 2.9%, Treasury Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, Christine Jardine MP, said:

“These figures are disastrous. Businesses, jobs and livelihoods are being ruined and this botched, unnecessary Brexit deal just makes everything worse.

"The Chancellor needs to come up with the long-awaited long-term strategy now. We need the big and bold action to save our economy. The budget was a missed opportunity and time is fast running out to save our economy before its too late. The Government cannot continue to blame this on the pandemic. The blame lies solely at their door."

 

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Chamberlain reflects on her work as an officer dealing with sexual offences in International Women’s Day speech

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife Wendy Chamberlain has today used her speech in Parliament’s International Women’s Day debate to call for action to address domestic abuse and misogyny and reflect on her own experiences as a police officer dealing with sexual offences. 

Ms Chamberlain said: 

“International Women’s Day is supposed to be a celebration. But even before the last 24 hours, given, for example the progress of the Scottish Parliament’s enquiries into the handling of harassment complaints, and more generally the notably more negative impact of the pandemic on women across so many areas of their lives, it didn’t feel like something worth celebrating. 

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Rennie criticises FM's record: Lots of selfies, no new jobs

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today challenged the First Minister over her party's mishandling of a series of major government investments and pressed her over thousands of jobs promised for the Lochaber aluminium smelter in Scotland.

On the situation in Lochaber, Mr Rennie said:

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Reid: SNP have left the Highlands & Islands in the digital dark ages

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today said that the SNP have left the Highlands and Islands in the digital dark ages and called for community managers based in rural and remote areas to be put in charge of identifying and implementing local solutions to forgotten communities, as the Scottish Government published what it branded a refreshed digital strategy.

The 2016 SNP manifesto committed to deliver superfast broadband (R100) to every home and business by 2021. This has comprehensively failed, with ministers refusing to discuss completion dates. A December 2020 report logged an average download speed of 2.06Mbps in Glen Shiel. That is 134 times slower than Scotland’s fastest street.

At the forthcoming election Scottish Liberal Democrats will champion employing community managers to identify and implement local solutions to forgotten communities and priority investment for catch up zones in areas like the Highlands & Islands.

Rural broadband spokesperson and lead candidate for the Highlands and Islands, Alan Reid said:

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Lib Dems to back vote of no confidence in Deputy FM

Speaking ahead of a vote of no confidence in the Deputy First Minister, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

“I am sure many reasonable people will find it surprising that Patrick Harvie condones the behaviour of John Swinney.  It gives the SNP permission to disrespect the parliament all day long. How can we get to the truth of how the government let women down if the committee is deprived of essential information?” 

ENDS

 

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Wishart led historic debate on raising starting age for formal schooling

Scottish Liberal Democrats education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has today led the first parliamentary debate on raising the starting age for formal schooling.

It is part of the party’s long-term plan to make Scottish education the best again. It followed on from Willie Rennie setting out at the weekend steps that Scottish Liberal Democrats would take in time for August to help education bounce back, including guaranteeing a job for every trained teacher to cut class sizes and provide more support. 

Ms Wishart said: 

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