EDUCATION SECRETARY LOBBIES FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL TAX BREAKS


17 August 2018

Commenting on reports that Education Secretary John Swinney lobbied Finance Secretary Derek Mackay for tax breaks for private schools in his constituency, Labour Education spokesperson Iain Gray said:

"People across Scotland will be bemused that John Swinney, the Finance Secretary who hammered budgets for local schools, is now lobbying for tax breaks for private schools as Education Secretary.

"Local councils seen £1.5billion of cuts under the SNP government - they need help to fund local schools properly, not for the government to suggest they fund tax breaks for private schools.

"The hypocrisy of this will anger parents and teachers across the country.

"This looks like another error of judgment from John Swinney, who was supposed to be a safe pair of hands at education but has repeatedly dropped the ball."




NO-DEAL TORY BREXIT WOULD BE 'CATASTROPHIC' FOR NHS - BMA

17 August 2018

A no-deal Tory Brexit would be “catastrophic” for our NHS, the BMA has warned.

The leading medical association has outlined serious concerns about staffing, reciprocal healthcare and the supply of medicines if Theresa May fails to strike a deal.

In a bombshell report, the BMA state:

Delays for diagnosis and treatment with the UK out of EURATOM.

Major disruption caused for almost one million patients receiving treatment for rare diseases as the UK would be excluded from the European Rare Disease Network.

No reciprocal healthcare agreements could see 190,000 UK state pensioners who live in the EU return home for treatment costing between £500 million and £1 billion per year.

Fewer medical staff able to be recruited into the NHS from EU already during a staffing crisis.

It’s clear that a Tory no-deal Brexit would damage our NHS, our economy and our country.

Labour has been clear that we will guarantee the rights and status of existing EU and EEA nationals, but we will also ensure our NHS and care sector can recruit the staff needed to care for our sick and elderly now and in the future.

Only a Brexit deal that meets Labour’s six key tests will protect our NHS, the Tories simply can’t be trusted to safeguard our health service.

Commenting on the report, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“Theresa May’s mantra that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ looks increasingly out of touch with reality.

“This report by our leading medical association makes clear that a no-deal Tory Brexit will damage our NHS, damage patIent care and cost our health service money.

“It’s time for the Tories to take Britain back from the cliff edge and start working towards a deal that protects our country, not a disorderly exit which will clearly harm it.

“This is why Labour has set out six key tests which would ensure any Brexit deal protects workers’ rights, gives the UK the same benefits we enjoy as members of the Single Market and allows for a migration system which works in the interests of the economy.

“Labour created the NHS and only Labour can be trusted to give our health service a brighter future.”




BREXIT TALKS BETWEEN UK AND SCOTTISH GOVERNMENTS MUST BE TRANSPARENT - LAIRD

17 August 2018

Lesley Laird MP has called on Scottish Secretary David Mundell to reveal his next steps for devolution as the clock ticks down to Brexit.

The move by the Shadow Scottish Secretary follows the publication of a damning report by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee which criticised Westminster’s lack of consultation with devolved governments in advance of the publication of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

“Earlier consultation could have possibly avoided much of the acrimony that was created between the UK Government and the devolved Governments,” the report stated.

In a letter to Mr Mundell, Laird called for reform of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) and requested a breakdown of work already completed on the devolved 24 areas of common framework.

Laird also requested confirmation of all scheduled meetings between UK and Scottish Government ministers leading up to the UK’s exit from the EU on March 29 next year.

Lesley said:

“Last month’s report confirmed the incompetence of the UK Government’s handling of the devolution aspects of Brexit but, incredibly, we still know precious little about what steps are being taken now to repair this shambles.

“We’re fast running out of time and these 24 frameworks clearly need to be resolved. It’s essential we – the people of Scotland - know what work has been completed on these already and when that will be announced.

“It’s not good enough for parties to simply stagger from meeting to meeting, there needs to be a consistent series of JMC meetings between now and March. The clock’s ticking and yet where is the impetus?

“This report told Westminster it needed to do much, much better. So, the question I’m asking David Mundell is this: what are you going to do much, much better?”




RIP-OFF RAIL FARE RISE TO COST SCOTS HUNDREDS OF POUNDS


15 August 2018 Commuters across Scotland are set to pay hundreds of pounds more for their annual season tickets due to a rip-off rail fare rise.

Analysis by Scottish Labour shows some season ticket passes are set to increase by more than £100, with an annual Lockerbie-Edinburgh fare now costing an eye watering £5,250.

Key rip-off fare rises include :

Glasgow-Edinburgh, up £126 to £4,082.

Dundee-Edinburgh, up £137 to £4,449.

Scottish Labour say it is simply unfair for commuters to have to pay more for a service plagued by delays, cancellations and stop-skipping.

Only Labour will bring our railways into public hands and ensure fares are fair for working people.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth, said:

“This rail fare rise is unwanted, unwelcome and unnecessary.

“It is simply wrong for commuters to have to pay more for train services which are plagued by delays, cancellations and stop-skipping.

“Thousands of working people may now be priced out from travelling on Scotland’s railways.

“Across the country this fare rise will cripple commuters, with annual season tickets on some routes now costing well in excess of £4,000.

“It’s high time working people stopped having to pay such excessive fares to simply line the pockets of private companies.

“Only Labour is fighting for publicly owned railways which will serve the many, not just the few.”




SWINNEY 'IN DENIAL' OVER STANDARDISED TESTING


UP TO 14,000 WORKING SCOTS COULD FACE SANCTIONS UNDER UNIVERSAL CREDIT 14 August 2018 Labour has called for the Tory government to ‘pause and fix’ Universal Credit as new figures reveal that four in 10 working people on the benefit are being told to seek more work.

New figures released today shows that in Scotland there are now more than 107,000 people on Universal Credit.

Of that figure, 37,000 are in work with 14,000 working ‘with requirements.’

This means that the person is making less than the equivalent of the national minimum wage at full time hours each week.

The rules around Universal Credit means that these people are forced to increase their income – either with a second job, more hours our a higher paid job – or face cuts to universal credit.

Labour said the figures showed the system was flawed, with over 10 per cent of Scots who are on universal credit and in work facing sanctions, and called on the UK government to pause and fix universal credit.

Scottish Labour Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin said:

“The government has to pause and fix universal credit, as these figures show the system is not fit for purpose. “Up to 14,000 Scots could face sanctions on universal credit because they aren’t earning enough.

“That isn’t the fault of working people – that’s the fault of a broken economy which sees wages stagnant, a prevalence of zero hours contracts and a soaring cost of living.

“A Labour government would end insecure work and deliver a real living wage of £10 per hour.”




CALLS FOR EDUCATION COMMITTEE TO PROBE FALLS IN ATTAINMENT


13 August 2018



Holyrood’s Education Committee must launch an investigation into exam results, Labour said today.

Labour Education spokesperson Iain Gray makes the call in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper , urging Education Secretary John Swinney to ask the Committee to investigate.

Iain Gray also outlines the mounting failures in the education brief, supposedly the SNP's top priority, including:

- Huge cuts to school and college budgets

- The ongoing controversy around standardised testing in primary schools

- Questions over how the government handled concerns over the ‘Yammer’ social media app in schools

- Growing discontent from overworked and underpaid teachers, with the looming possibility of industrial action

- The mishandling of the Education Bill

- The 'fiasco' around the attempts to appoint Gillian Martin as Minister for Universities and Colleges

The full text of Iain Gray's article is below:

In the coming weeks school children begin returning to school, re-energised by six weeks or so of holiday, spent for the lucky ones, without a care in the world.

Not so John Swinney, the Education Secretary charged with improving those schools and raising the attainment of those pupils.

His summer “holidays” have been marked by one bad story after another.

The Parliamentary term had already ended on a humiliating note, with evidence of new tests reducing five year olds to tears, the curriculum narrowing, and finally, the shelving of the SNP’s “flagship” Education Bill, the very symbol of the Government’s “defining mission” to improve schools and raise attainment. Mr Swinney had spent two years on this Bill, but had failed to garner any support for measures which seemed designed more to undermine local authorities and centralise control of schools into his own hands than to empower schools as he claimed.

In a Parliament which he had realised would not vote for his Bill, the Education Secretary ditched it, claiming that this would speed up the reforms it contained. No-one was fooled.

It then emerged that the Government’s International Education Advisers had advised Mr Swinney not to legislate, in a report which went on to warn that his reforms could lead to more marketisation of education, as had happened in England.

The final week fiasco was not yet over, though, as Mr Swinney found himself without a Minister for Universities and Colleges when Gillian Martin was sacked before her appointment could even be formalised. With Parliament in recess, the vacancy has stretched to two months.

If Mr Swinney thought recess would bring relief, he was wrong, initially thanks to a series of Freedom of Information requests. The first of these revealed his department’s attempts to “doctor” the Education Advisers’ report to suggest great progress where none had been demonstrated.

Then, more damagingly, the revelation that the Cabinet Secretary had been told directly that a pilot of Yammer, Education Scotland’s social media platform for schools, had seen a pornographic image uploaded and possibly viewed by children, yet he allowed the project to go live nonetheless. It seems likely the intervening weeks will not stop Parliament wanting some answers on this astonishing decision as soon as we return.

Finally, the Government was forced to publish some 170 pages of a submission to them, from teachers, on their experience of those “standardised tests” in P1. The evidence of distress and upset for four and five-year-old children sitting tests which many teachers believed to be pointless was overwhelming. The Education Secretary’s response, that the tests should be “fun” was, in contrast, underwhelming.

If Mr Swinney was by now hankering for his halcyon days as Finance Secretary, he could find no solace there. This week Labour published independent research showing that spending in schools is now £400m less per year than it was in 2010. Meanwhile, colleges have seen their budgets slashed by 10% in 10 years.

Of course for most of those years of cuts to education, the purse strings were in the hands of, Mr Swinney. The Education Secretary’s attempt to dismiss cuts to schools as due to falling pupil numbers was not just weak, it was wrong. There are more pupils in our schools now than there were in 2010. The cuts are worse than they look, not better.

Then came the exam results. Attainment fell at both National and Higher level, for the third year, in what is now a trend. Worst of all, attainment in National exams is now 33.8% lower than it was in the Standard Grades they replaced. Some subjects, such as Modern Languages, have fallen even further off a cliff edge.

So, it has been a long hot summer in more ways than one for Mr Swinney, and the new school year is unlikely to bring relief.

Pupils return to schools which have 700 unfilled teacher vacancies, while the teachers we have are close now to strike action, tired of seeing their salaries eroded year on year – some 20% less than they were when the SNP came to power.

It is just over two years since Nicola Sturgeon declared that raising attainment was her government’s “defining mission”, and that there was “no better person” than John Swinney to deliver it. In fact, rather than proving to be a safe pair of hands, he has fumbled the ball on education time and again.

New school, and Parliamentary years are traditionally seen as a fresh start. If the Education Secretary wants that, he has to come to Parliament and explain his decision to allow Yammer to go ahead. He must drop, once and for all, that unloved, unnecessary Education Bill and its centralising reforms. He should end the testing of P1s, and go back to the drawing board on standardised tests generally.

He should ask the Education Committee to launch an investigation into those worrying trends in exam results, and if he will not, they should investigate anyway.

He should quickly agree a restorative pay rise with the teaching unions, to make the profession attractive again, and to avoid damaging industrial action no-one wants to see in our schools.

But above all he, and the First Minister, should commit to putting their money where their mouth is on education and restoring those cuts to schools and colleges in the next budget. Thousands of pupils did do very well in those exams, and that is testament to their hard work and their teachers, with the support of parents and carers.

They deserve a Government which backs them with the resources they need rather than warm words.




SWINNEY 'IN DENIAL' OVER STANDARDISED TESTING


13 August 2018



Commenting on reports in the Herald that sixty per cent of parents had a negative view of standardised testing, as the EIS calls for them to be scrapped for primary one pupils, Labour Education Spokesperson Iain Gray said:

“John Swinney is in complete denial about standardised testing, as he defends them in the face of opposition from parents, pupils, teachers and trade unions.

“These tests have been flawed from the very start. Delivered late, £2 million over budget and have led to weeks of valuable teaching time lost.

“They do nothing to help teachers close the attainment gap and are driving children to tears. It’s time to scrap these tests for primary one pupils. John Swinney would be making a grave mistake to press on the face of such mounting opposition.”




RICHARD LEONARD : REVIEW STUDENT CAP TO WIDEN ACCESS


10 August 2018



The Scottish government should review the cap on funded student places with a view to lifting the level to widen access to university, Richard Leonard will say today (Friday).

Places for Scottish and EU students’ are ‘capped’ by the Scottish government. Because their fees are covered by the public purse. This limits the amount of places available.

Mr Leonard's call follows Edinburgh University this week announcing that it would give all of its ‘clearing’ places to students from the poorest backgrounds.

The Scottish Labour leader will also seek assurances that the Scottish government will not seek to claw back funding as a result of EU students falling out of the cap after Brexit, saying the commitment would ensure greater continuity and stability for universities.

Speaking before a visit to Edinburgh University, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“Edinburgh University is to be commended for its moves to attempt to widen access – now Scotland’s universities need support from the Scottish government around the student places cap.

“Education is critical to realise our full potential. When it fails, it isn’t just the individual that is held back, but all of us. A government that claims education is the priority should be raising the cap on student places.

“The SNP must also commit now to extend the cap post-Brexit.

“Investing in education is vital for our long term economy and society. Labour would make the richest pay their fair share to ensure that education is open to all, and that there are fewer barriers to university access.”




Comment on Scottish Trends analysis of the Growth Commission


9 August 2018



Commenting on the Scottish Trends analysis of the SNP's Growth Commission, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard MSP said:

“This report confirms yet again that the SNP’s plans for an independent Scotland would result in austerity cuts that not even George Osborne would have dared to impose.

“The weight of independent, academic evidence demolishing the SNP’s cuts commission is growing greater by the day.

“If the SNP’s proposals were put into practice Scotland’s already under pressure public services would be devastated, with spending slashed on the NHS, schools, and on other vital services

“For Nicola Sturgeon this is a price worth paying.

"The only change she is fighting for is for the lowering of one flag to be replaced by the hoisting of another.

“It is now clear that it is only Labour that it is fighting for real change for Scotland and the ending of austerity.”




WOMEN AND GIRLS COMPLETING APPRENTICESHIPS FALLS BY 11 PERCENT


9 August 2018



The number of women and girls completing apprenticeships in Scotland has fallen in the last four years, new analysis from Scottish Labour reveals.

Just under 8,000 women completed apprenticeships in 2017/18. This was the lowest level since 2011/12 when the data series commenced.

Female apprentices completing their training has fallen by 11 per cent in the last four years.

In 2013-14 just under 9,000 women and girls completed an apprenticeship in Scotland. The figures for the last financial year, 2017-18, show there has been a fall of over 1,000 to just under 8,000.

On top of the overall figure for Scotland, 20 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have seen a fall in female apprenticeship achievements in the last year.

Labour Shadow Education Minister Mary Fee said:

“These figures should be a real cause for concern, we should be taking every step possible to ensure opportunities for women, instead we have seen a drop of 1,000 completions in the last four years.

“We need to know why there has been a fall and invest more in getting women into STEM apprenticeships in particular.

“One factor might be the rising cost of living, with some apprentices simply not being able to afford to finish their scheme.

"The government should launch an investigation into this as a matter of priority.”




STAGGERING FALL IN ATTAINMENT UNDER THE SNP


7 August 2018



Attainment in level 3, 4 and 5 exams has dropped a ‘staggering’ 34 per cent since the SNP government introduced the new National exams.

Writing in the Herald this morning, Professor Jim Scott of Dundee University revealed the figures following this year’s exam results.

In 2014 the National exams replaced the well-established Standard Grades, at the same levels on Scotland’s qualifications framework.

The result has been an astonishing fall in attainment.

In 2013 pupils passed 60,000 Standard Grades at level 3, compared to 16,138 'National 3' passes in 2018.

Overall attainment at standard grade equivalent level was down by 33.8 per cent.

Labour said the analysis was a damning indictment of the SNP government’s implementation of the new curriculum and their general management of education

Labour Education spokesperson Iain Gray said:

"This is a simply staggering fall in attainment that should blow away any sense of complacency in the SNP government, and finally get ministers to wake up and realise that botched reforms and years of cuts have harmed our schools.

"This drop seems to be driven by a narrowing of our curriculum - fewer young people studying fewer subjects, and that is simply down to course availability and a lack of teachers in the first place.

"It highlights the complete mess the SNP has made of the supposed ‘top priority’ in education.

"Reversing this mess will take time and energy but it can be done - starting with finally ending the cuts to schools and delivering a fair deal for our teachers."




A&E TARGET MISSED FOR 11 MONTHS


7 August 2018



The SNP’s A&E waiting time standard has been missed for 11 months in a row.

Official figures published today show 95 per cent of patients have not been admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours from Emergency Departments across Scotland at any point since July 2017.

Meanwhile the figures also show that 42,375 bed days were lost in June this year to delayed discharge – an increase of eight per cent compared to the same month in 2017.

That means 248,246 bed days have been lost to delayed discharge so far in 2018.

The figures, provided by ISD Scotland, also show that so far in 2018 more than a quarter of cancelled operations were scrapped due to capacity or non-clinical reasons.

Scottish Labour said the figures showed the scale of the challenge for new SNP Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman MSP – and urged the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in our health service.

Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“For almost a year, thousands of patients across Scotland have had to wait more than four hours to be seen at A&E wards.

“That is unacceptable – and so is the huge increase in bed blocking due to delayed discharge, up eight per cent on last year, meaning there are already almost 250,000 bed days lost since the start of 2018.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of fixing our NHS.

“These successive missed targets are down to years of mismanagement of our most important public service by the SNP Government.

“It is now clear new SNP Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman MSP faces a monumental challenge if she is to even start undoing some of the failings of her predecessors.

“A good place to start would be to follow Labour’s lead and use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to properly fund our NHS to ensure it works for the many, not the few.”




SCOTLAND’S SCHOOLS HAMMERED BY TORY AUSTERITY


6 August 2018



The SNP has failed to protect Scotland’s schools from Tory austerity, Labour said today, as new analysis reveals an over £400million cut to Scotland’s schools since 2010.

Independent analysis commissioned by Scottish Labour has revealed that spending on schools has been cut by 7.5 per cent in real terms since 2010.

The research, conducted by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) shows that local authority education spending has fallen from £5.3 billion in 2009/10 to £4.9 billion in 2017/18.

Crucially, the figures for 2017/18 include the Government’s Pupil Equity Funding, which isn’t supposed to be used to replace existing provision.

Labour said the figures showed the SNP failed to protect key public services from Tory austerity, and that only a Labour government willing to make the richest pay their fair share would deliver the investment education needs.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education Iain Gray said:

“Education is what empowers us all to realise our full potential. When it fails, it isn’t just the individual that is held back, but all of us. Protecting education spending should have been a priority for the SNP when the Tories came to power – instead there has been more than £400million worth of cuts since 2010.

“No wonder we are seeing soaring class sizes, overworked teachers and a stubborn attainment gap between the richest and poorest pupils.

"No amount of sloganeering from the Nationalists can hide the fact that they have not stood up for Scotland’s schools.

“Labour would take a different path, making the richest pay their fair share so we can invest in our schools and deliver a better deal for teachers, parents and pupils.”




TEN PER CENT CUT TO COLLEGE FUNDING UNDER THE SNP


5 August 2018



The SNP has cut college budgets by almost £75million in real terms since taking power in 2007, new analysis from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre has revealed.

The figures reveal a £74.7 million cut to combined capital and resource budgets for Scotland’s colleges, a 10.1 per cent cut in funding.

Since 2007 the capital budget for Scotland’s colleges has fallen by £29.1 million, meanwhile resource funding - the day to day spending – has fallen by £45.6million.

Labour said the failure to fund further education properly was closing off opportunities for a range of people – from working class school leavers to people seeking to build their skills base later in life.

The Government has been without a dedicated minister in charge of colleges since the SNP was forced to sack Gillian Martin from the role before she was even appointed, due to previous transphobic and racist comments she made.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education Iain Gray said:

“The SNP claimed that education was their ‘top priority’ but further education is bottom of the pile – without a dedicated minister in Government and having been hammered by 11 years of brutal cuts.

“A real terms cut of £75 million to Scotland’s colleges will have cut off opportunities for thousands of working class young people and people seeking to learn new skills later in life. It is a disgraceful record from the Nationalists.

“Colleges should be ladders of opportunity for people, engaging with schools, universities and employers to deliver opportunity for all. Instead they have become the whipping boy of successive education budgets.

“This cannot go on. Labour would make the richest pay their fair share to invest in education so everyone has the skills they need to get on in life.”




Comment on Trussell Trust figures on food bank use


3 August 2018



Responding to the Trussell Trust has reported a 20 per cent increase in the number of food packages it was handing out between summer 2016 and 2017, Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of Poverty and Inequality Elaine Smith said:

“It’s nothing short of a scandal that food bank use for children is increasing while the top 1 per cent in Scotland own more than the bottom 50 per cent put together.

“These shock figures must send a clear message to governments in Holyrood and Westminster - it is time to make the ending of poverty the priority.

“The SNP government must now finally back calls from Labour to use the powers and increase child benefit, lifting 30,000 children out of poverty.

“With the cost of housing pushing thousands into poverty, Richard Leonard has outlined Scottish Labour’s vision to end the housing crisis; by building more homes for social rent, ensuring affordable rents and reforming the private rented sector.

“In North Lanarkshire, the Labour run council has introduced a free school meal program to run every day of year. That’s the kind of services we need from councils who could do even more if they had not been hammered by £1.5bn in cuts by the SNP.

“Eight years of Tory austerity and SNP complacency has led to this. A UK Labour government would raise the minimum wage to £10 per hour and fix our broken energy market to tackle the cost of living.

“Only Labour has outlined an alternative for our country, making the richest pay their fair share and poverty proofing our policies to ensure a fairer Scotland.”




Comment on the latest population figures for Scotland


1 August 2018



Commenting on the latest population figures, Scottish Labour's Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

"These figures reveal yet again the challenges Scotland faces in terms of an ageing population.

"While more people living longer is a good thing, it will also put a greater strain on public services, particularly health and social care which are already under pressure.

“Also evident is the impact of Scotland’s health inequalities, with people from the most deprived areas facing shorter life expectancies and experiencing a greater burden of disease.

"That is why it is vital we use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to seriously tackle poverty and inequality, as well as invest in our lifeline services now to ensure they have the resources needed to deal with continually increasing demand.

"And, given Scotland's increasing reliance on migration, it is also why it is essential we secure a Brexit deal that respects the rights of those EU citizens who live and work in Scotland."




VIOLENT CRIME ON THE RISE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS


1 August 2018



The number of violent crimes in Scotland has risen to its highest level since 2012/13.

Scottish Government figures show there were 7,164 violent crimes in Scotland last year, compared to 6,737 in 2015/16.

Despite a dramatic fall in recent years, thanks in part to the work of the pioneering Violence Reduction Unit, the number of violent crimes has risen sharply, with a jump of 14 per cent in the past two years.

The increase has also been matched by a fall in the proportion of the crimes solved by Police Scotland – falling from 84 per cent to 77 per cent.

Recent research also suggests that violent crime is linked to poverty, inequality, alcohol and experience of violence itself.

The figures come after Sheriff Marie Smart suggested Scotland was suffering a knife crime “epidemic”.

Scottish Labour said the figures reinforced concerns about SNP cuts to frontline policing, as well as the continuing impact of SNP and Tory austerity.

Scottish Labour’s Justice spokesperson Daniel Johnson MSP said:

“These are worrying figures that will concern people across Scotland.

“This is just one way to measure crime, but it does appear to suggest that recent progress on reducing violent crime may be stalling.

“Over the long term, violent crime in Scotland has fallen sharply. However, we cannot be complacent.

“With violent crime rising to its highest level for five years, it is clear SNP cuts to frontline policing are putting the public at greater risk.

“With more of these incidents than ever in Police Scotland’s history, it is no surprise that the proportion of crimes being solved is falling.

“We need continued action to ensure crime rates fall, and that includes making sure police officers are properly resourced.

“But there are also broader questions the SNP government should be asking about the kind of conditions – social exclusion, poverty, and direct experience of violence - that may have led to an increase in recorded crimes such as serious assault.”




RAILWAY UNIONS UNITE TO TELL NEW TRANSPORT MINISTER TO HALT POLICE MERGER


24 July 2018



The UK's three largest railway unions have united to tell the new SNP Transport minister to dump the unwanted plans to merge the British Transport Police with Police Scotland.

The RMT, TSSA and ASLEF have joined Labour in calling on Michael Matheson to re-think the proposal and come back to the negotiation table with the workers.

As Justice Secretary, Mr Matheson did not listen to police officers on the issue and gave the green light to former transport minister Humza Yousaf to drive through the changes.

It’s now time for him to listen to railway workers from across the industry.

Labour will continue to fight for safe, publicly owned railways that serve the many, not just the few.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth, said:

“Labour has consistently opposed this merger as it is unwanted, unnecessary and uncosted.

“The gravity of the situation is underlined by this coming together of three separate transport unions, all pleading with the new SNP Transport Minister Michael Matheson to pause and re-think this plan.

"As Justice Secretary, Mr Matheson backed the merger and allowed Humza Yousaf to try and drive through these changes.

“The summer recess gives Mr Matheson the opportunity to chart a different course for Scotland’s railways once he returns to Holyrood in his new role.

“Labour hopes that he listens to British Transport Police officers, and the rest of the industry, and bins this divisive policy.

“Only Labour is fighting for safe, publicly owned railways that serve the many, not just the few.”




Comment on Teacher's Pay


24 July 2018



Commenting on reports that talks on teachers' pay have broken down, Scottish Labour's Education spokesperson Iain Gray MSP said:

"These are deeply troubling reports.

"No one wants to see strike action - but the reality is Scotland's teachers have been treated appallingly by this out of touch SNP government that claims education is its number one priority.

"SNP education secretary John Swinney must now be the only person in Scotland who thinks you can close the attainment gap with overworked and underpaid teachers - and his obstinance is taking Scotland's schools to the brink.

"Labour is the only party that believes in asking the richest to pay their fair share so we can invest in our schools and give teachers the support they deserve."




REPORT CONFIRMS SNP’S CUTS COMMISSION MEANS ‘INCREASING AUSTERITY’


22 July 2018



The SNP’s Cuts Commission report would mean ‘increasing austerity’ to the devastation of Scottish public services, a new report has confirmed.

Under Nicola Sturgeon’s austerity plans, an independent Scotland would slash spending on the NHS, schools and police services in a bid to paper over the country’s financial black hole.

If the plans were implemented over the last decade a further £60 billion of cuts would have taken place, a doubling-down of the brutal austerity cuts imposed by the Tories in recent years.

The report from the These Islands think-tank is the latest in a series of papers to confirm that the Nationalists’ plans for separation would lock Scotland into a never-ending cycle of spending cuts.

It’s now clear that Labour is the party proposing to end austerity and deliver the real change that many Scots are looking for.

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Lesley Laird, said:

“It is now abundantly clear that the SNP’s plans for an independent Scotland would result in austerity cuts that not even George Osborne would have dared to implement.

“If these proposals were put into practice Scotland’s already under pressure public services would be devastated, with spending slashed on the NHS, schools, and on other vital areas.

“For Nicola Sturgeon this is a price worth paying. The only change she is fighting for is for the lowering of one flag to be replaced by another.

“It’s now clear that it is only Labour that it is fighting for real change for Scotland and the ending of austerity.

“The next Labour governments at Holyrood and Westminster will deliver real change with policies to increase child benefit to raise children out of the indignity of poverty and implement a real £10 per hour Living Wage to ensure that our economy works for everyone.

“Only Labour is fighting to build a Scotland that works for the many, not the few.”




LABOUR PROPOSE NEW ‘BUS PASS LAW’ TO PROTECT CITIZENS’ RIGHTS


20 July 2018



Scottish Labour will enshrine in law the right of all over 60s to a free bus pass, the party’s transport spokesperson has confirmed.

Colin Smyth will put forward a host of amendments when parliament returns from recess to radically overhaul the Transport Bill to give Scotland a public transport system that works for the many, not just the few.

The bus pass is under threat with SNP ministers recently conducting a consultation on raising the qualifying age and have chosen not to rule out the move.

Under Labour’s plans, the right of all over 60s to a free bus pass would be written explicitly into law with the qualifying age of 60 put into legislation to give it increased protection.

Labour also wants to see free bus travel extended to others including modern apprentices and companions traveling with disabled children.

It was a devolved Labour-led government that introduced the free bus pass for the over 60s and Labour will continue to defend their right to have one.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth, said: “The free bus pass for over 60s was one of many great achievements of Scottish Labour governments.

“Sadly, the scheme is now under threat with SNP ministers refusing the rule out increasing the age citizens can qualify for a pass in a bid to try and save money.

“Ordinary people in their 60s should not be paying the price of Tory austerity because the SNP refuse to use the powers of the parliament to fund our services properly.

“That is why Labour will table amendments which would enshrine the qualifying age for older people into law if passed by Parliament.

“Labour will continue to fight for a publicly owned transport system that works for the many, not just the few.”




ALMOST 50 INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS DELAYED OR OVER BUDGET IN SCOTLAND


20 July 2018



Almost 50 major infrastructure projects are delayed or over budget in Scotland, Scottish Labour can reveal.

Analysis by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) shows 15 major projects have gone over budget between November 2016 and March 2018.

The analysis also shows that 30 projects have had their completion date changed to a later date over the same period.

That means that, of the 49 projects for which estimated budgets and completion dates are given, 45 of them are over budget, delayed, or both.

Some of the projects highlighted in the research include the Gorbals Health Centre - running £5million over budget and five months late – and the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, which cost £13million more than expected.

Other projects include the NHS Orkney New Hospital and Healthcare Facilities, which are almost £10million over budget and delayed by five months.

Scottish Labour said the scale of delays and spiralling costs strengthened the case for a review of public procurement.

Scottish Labour’s Economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie MSP said:

“The scale of these delays and the spiralling costs seriously calls into question the SNP’s handling of major infrastructure projects.

“The fact that so many projects are over budget, delayed, or both is unacceptable – and, given financial and timescale details are only available for 49 out of 87 projects, this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

“We already know the SNP government is putting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money for public projects in the hands of private companies – and these figures show that people in Scotland are not getting value for money.

“There needs to be a wholescale review of public procurement in Scotland, including spending on major infrastructure projects.

“People in Scotland deserve better than a policy that lines the pockets of shareholders only to leave important works delayed and over budget.”




SNP ABSTAIN ON LABOUR BID TO DEFEND DEVOLUTION



17 July 2018

The SNP today failed to defend the devolution settlement by abstaining on Labour's New Clause 4 amendment to the Trade Bill.

Labour’s amendment would have ensured that there was no "power grab" on devolved areas from UK Government ministers in any future trade deals and that the Governments from the devolved nations would have to consent to any proposals on devolved issues.

Labour said that the SNP's failure to support this amendment while trying to push their own New Clause 20 and Amendment 25 exposed their real agenda of undermining the devolution settlement.

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Lesley Laird, said: "The SNP could have ensured that the devolved administrations were defended by supporting Labour's amendment, but their amendments were simply a spoiling tactic to frustrate negotiations and further their quest for independence.

"The SNP are only ever interested in what is best for the SNP and this was shown up today. They could have voted with Labour to land a blow on a weakened Tory government and defend devolution. But instead of partnering with Labour to improve legislation the SNP left the field and gave the Tories an open goal.

"At every stage Labour MPs have sought to protect devolution and force a constructive way through the mess of the Tories' handling of the Brexit process.

"But at every opportunity the SNP have used the smokescreen of parliamentary amendments to undermine the settled will of the Scottish people. The SNP have used every vote as a veiled attempt to frustrate progress. All of this towards their ultimate goal of narrow separatism."




SCOTS DO 115 MILLION HOURS OF UNPAID OVERTIME A YEAR



17 July 2018

Workers in Scotland do 115 million hours of unpaid overtime a year, new figures released from Scottish Labour have revealed.

Analysis of the 2017 Annual Population Survey by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) estimates that, on average, Scots do 7.7 hours of unpaid overtime per week.

If these figures are taken to be representative of the year as a whole, they would imply a total of 115million hours of unpaid overtime in the year.

Labour said the figures revealed structural problems in the economy and effectively cut the wages of working class people in Scotland.

Scottish Labour’s Economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie MSP said:

“These figures reveal that we desperately need to rebalance our economy so that it works for people, rather than just people working for the economy.

“This overtime effectively represents a cut to the wages of working people across Scotland. It also reveals how desperately understaffed some of or our key public services are.

“We should be looking to strengthen the working time directive by ending the opt out.

“Instead under the SNP and the Tories, workers are doing more hours on unpaid overtime while the incomes of the richest soar.

“That is not an economy working for the many, it is one rewarding a privileged few.”




GENDER PAY GAP REVEALED: WOMEN MORE THAN £70,000 WORSE OFF THAN MEN



16 July 2018

Women in Scotland will earn more than £70,000 less over their lifetime than men because of the gender pay gap, new analysis from Labour has revealed.

Fresh analysis by Labour shows that in every age group women earn less than men on average.

Over the course of a woman's working life this amounts to £73,620 less on average.

Labour has a plan to close the gender pay gap, including:

- Introducing a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing – so that all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work

- Introducing a £10 real Living Wage

- Ensuring that more businesses publish pay ratios

- Introducing gender audits of all policy and legislation for its impact on women before implementation.

Scottish Labour’s Economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie MSP said:

“It is shameful that under the SNP and the Tories women in Scotland could earn £73,620 less than men on average well into their careers. "Closing the gender pay gap isn’t just a question of fairness – it is essential for our economy.

"There is so much more to do to shatter the glass ceiling for women.

"Only Labour will take the radical steps to close the pay gap for good, like a real living wage and forcing companies to publish pay ratios.

"If a company thinks a woman is worth a lower wage than a man then under Labour we’ll force them to admit it.

“This gross inequality is wrong and is holding Scotland’s economy back - it must be tackled by the SNP and the Tories as a matter of urgency.”






COMMENT ON BI-FAB JOB LOSSES


12 July 2018

Scottish Labour's Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jackie Baillie, said:

“This a dark day for the Scottish economy.

“BiFab workers are highly skilled and the Scottish Government should be doing everything it can to protect these jobs - but instead these skills are at a real risk of being lost for good.

“Protecting BiFab’s workforce should have been at the top of SNP minister Derek Mackay’s in tray, but despite the Scottish Government having a stake in BiFab, he’s already failing workers and communities.

“Derek Mackay must immediately outline what steps he will take to ensure that these jobs are protected and what prospects lie ahead for future contracts.”


 

FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO COPE AMID RISING SCHOOL UNIFORM COSTS


12 July 2018

FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO COPE AMID RISING SCHOOL UNIFORM COSTS Commenting on the Education Committee’s report into poverty-proofing schools, Scottish Labour's Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Iain Gray, said:

"The rising costs of school uniforms and trips leaves far too many families struggling to cope.

"It is important that schools and local authorities take this into consideration and make a concerted effort to drive down prices as much as possible.

"The committee's report also lays bare the devastating impact of the loss of free school meals during holiday periods. Some children are sometimes left to go hungry as their families are forced to choose between heating and eating.

"Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council's groundbreaking initiative to feed children through school holidays was rightly recognised as a way to tackle poverty.”




REGRESSIVE COUNCIL TAX HITS THE POOREST THE HARDEST


12 July 2018

Council tax payers in lower bands pay a larger proportion of the value of their home compared to those in more expensive properties.

Analysis by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) shows that a band A household pays 1.4 per cent of their property value in council tax.

At the top end of the scale, a band H property only pays 0.4 per cent of its value in council tax.

Labour said the figures underlined that the council tax is regressive and should be scrapped and replaced.

The party highlighted the figures as part of its ‘summer of socialism’ campaign, which this week is focusing on income inequality and the cost of living.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of poverty and inequality Elaine Smith said:

“Labour wants to redistribute wealth and power from the richest to the poorest, because the system is not working for working class people.

“People in lower banded properties are likely to pay a higher percentage of the value of their home compared to those at the top. That isn’t fair.

“The SNP came to power promising to scrap the council tax, but after 11 years of government the tax remains in place.

“We need a new approach to taxing wealth in Scotland. That’s why Labour backs a 50p top rate of tax on the richest and believe it is time to start a debate around taxing wealth.”



ALMOST £700 PER WEEK INCOME GAP BETWEEN THE RICHEST AND POOREST HOUSEHOLDS



10 July 2018

Income inequality has widened under the Tories, new figures from Scottish Labour with a near £700 gap in weekly income between the richest and poorest households.

Analysis of household income data published by the Scottish government reveals a £698 gap in weekly household income after housing costs between the richest and poorest households.

The gap is created not just by soaring incomes for the richest households, but plunging incomes for the poorest. There has been a near 9 per cent increase in weekly income for the richest against a 4 per cent drop in income for the poorest households.

Labour said the revealed a need to rebalance the economy and redistribute wealth in our economy.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance James Kelly MSP said:

"Under the Tories and the SNP income inequality has widened, with a near £700 gap per week in income between the poorest and richest households.

“This gap has been caused by soaring incomes for the richest alongside plunging incomes for the poorest.

“We need to rebalance our economy and redistribute wealth to make it work for working class people.

“Labour would make the richest pay their fair share and introduced an industrial strategy to deliver high skill, high paid jobs for more workers in Scotland.”




MORE THAN SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE WAIT TOO LONG FOR CANCER TREATMENT IN SNP SCOTLAND


9 July 2018

More than seven thousand people have waited too long for cancer treatment under the SNP since 2011, Scottish Labour can reveal.

An analysis by the party of ISD Scotland figures shows 7,220 patients had to wait more than 62 days between being urgently referred for cancer treatment and that treatment actually starting over the last seven years.

The figures also show the problem is growing, having increased by 285 per cent between 2011/12 and 2017/18.

The analysis comes after a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times, leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour revealed the analysis ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS as part of a week that will shine a light on how the SNP is failing our health service - and outline what Labour would do differently to make our NHS fit for the future.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes - instead the SNP government is failing patients across Scotland.

“Even one person having to wait too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“The SNP's legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance – and new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman faces a mammoth task to give patients the treatment they deserve.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."




DRIVE FOR EQUALITY WILL MAKE THE NHS FIT FOR NEXT 70 YEARS

7 July 2018

Labour has said that tackling health inequalities is the key to ensure the NHS is fit for the next 70 years.

To mark the 70th birthday of the health service the party has announced that a Scottish Labour government will assess every policy for their impact on health inequalities.

These ‘health inequality assessments’ would extend to all government decisions from its budget, to policies in areas such as housing, transport, education and justice.

Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard said:

“Labour founded our NHS, based on need not ability to pay. The health service is our proudest achievement, socialism in action and Labour will always fight for it.

“On our health service’s 70th birthday, only Labour has a plan to ensure it is fit for the next 70 years. The sticking plaster solutions of the Tories and the SNP will only go so far – we need real and radical change in our society to take the pressure off of our hospitals.

“Right now in Scotland, life expectancy and quality of life has as much to do with the privilege of the postcode you are born into as anything else.

“The next Scottish Labour government will ensure a ‘health inequality assessment’ of every policy. That doesn’t just mean our health and social care policies, but all across government from our budget to housing, transport, justice and education.

“The fundamental reform our health service needs isn’t service closures – it is changing our society to work for the many, not the few.”




SARWAR OUTLINES 10 POINT ‘PRESCRIPTION’ FOR THE NHS

7 July 2018

Scottish Labour has revealed a 10-point prescription plan to ensure the National Health Service is fit for the future.

The NHS celebrated its 70th birthday this week, but services and staff are under immense strain after years of underfunding.

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, has today [Saturday] put forward plans that will ensure the NHS cannot just survive but thrive for the next 70 years.

The plans include using the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to give the health service a cash boost and ensure every school in Scotland has access to a mental health counsellor.

Labour built the NHS in 1948 and it is only Labour in 2018 that is putting forward radical plans to ensure our grandchildren have a health service that is there for the many, not just the few.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“The creation of the NHS is Labour’s proudest achievement in government. “We have had events across Scotland celebrating its 70th birthday, but we have to be honest and admit that it is a service under immense pressure and our NHS staff are overworked, undervalued and under-resourced.

“We have been exposing a decade of mismanagement by the SNP government, but we have also been developing plans outlining what we would do differently to make it fit for the next 70 years.

“Labour’s 10-point prescription plan would transform our NHS and ensure it is there for everyone who needs it.

“Our plan would deliver more resources, a stronger workforce and take head on the challenges of cancer, mental health and social care.

“It would mean a generational shift in mental health services with access to a mental health counsellor for every school and crisis mental health services. It will mean a diagnosis within 2 weeks if your GP suspects you have a cancer and dignity in retirement with a proper social care package.

“Labour built the NHS and it is only Labour that has a radical and bold plan to ensure it is fit for the future.”


Labour’s 10-point prescription for the NHS

1. Use the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to deliver more money for our NHS.

2. A health inequality assessment of every government policy to ensure a positive impact on health outcomes.

3. A credible and deliverable workforce plan. Reverse cuts to training places made by Nicola Sturgeon and delivering a meaningful pay increase and a return to collective bargaining.

4. A generational shift in mental health services with access to a mental health counsellor for every school and crisis mental health services.

5. Protection of local NHS services to stop threats to paediatric, maternity and Out of Hour services.

6. Taking the fight against Scotland’s biggest killer head on with a cancer diagnosis within 2 weeks.

7. Access to vital lifesaving medicines, so patients don’t have to share their intimate stories on the front pages of newspapers or by protesting outside Parliament in order to get the medicines they need.

8. Adequately fund local government so we can end cuts to social care budgets and the scandal of 15 minute care visits.

9. Access to free sport and a bold obesity strategy so we can prioritise prevention and promote good health and wellbeing.

10. Impose a cap on what private agencies can charge for a single shift so that we can reduce agency spending which has skyrocketed under this Government.






Comment on Drug-related Deaths

4 July 2018

Commenting on new figures showing drug-related deaths in Scotland have reached record levels, Scottish Labour's Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

"Scotland's drug strategy has failed.

"These are absolutely shocking figures that should be a wake-up call for the SNP government.

“The fact that drugs deaths in Scotland are two and half times the rate of the rest of the UK is particularly troubling – as is the more than 200 per cent rise in the number of women dying from drug-related causes.

“Lives have been ruined and families left to cope with grief and trauma for years to come.

"The SNP government has slashed alcohol and drug partnership funding at a time when drug deaths were hitting record levels.

"SNP ministers need to give themselves a shake and take responsibility for their actions. If you underfund vital substance misuse services people die.

"I urge the SNP Government to have the courage to take a different course to ensure this shameful record is reversed."




SNP DELAYED DISCHARGE FAILURE COST NHS £440 MILLION UNDER STURGEON

4 July 2018

The SNP government’s failure to abolish delayed discharges in the NHS has cost the health service £440 million since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, Labour has revealed.

Former SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison vowed to eliminate delayed discharges from the health service in 2015, but the only thing that has been axed since is herself.

Figures released from ISD Scotland show a total of 43,244 bed days were lost in May, meaning 205,871 have been lost so far in 2018 .

Nicola Sturgeon’s new Health Secretary Jeane Freeman must get to grips with this problem immediately, or patients will continue to suffer unnecessary stays in hospital.

Labour said years of SNP cuts to local council budgets has put social care services under significant strain leaving many hospital patients unable to access the services needed to return home.

Labour founded the National Health Service 70 years ago and the party will always fight to secure its future.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“The SNP government’s broken promise is costing Scotland millions of pounds each year, and putting an intolerable strain on NHS wards.

“Hundreds of patients each month are languishing unnecessarily in hospital beds.

“Much of the delay in discharging patients is due to social care issues and delays in care assessments – the result of the SNP government’s £1.5 billion cut to council budgets.

“Labour’s would end the cuts to our councils and deliver a National Guarantee for care workers, ensuring all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel.

“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday it is only Labour - the party that founded the health service - that has a sustainable plan for its future.




ALMOST 500 OPERATIONS CANCELLED IN MAY

4 July 2018

Almost 500 planned operations were cancelled in May because hospitals couldn’t cope, new figures reveal today.

Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 489 operations were cancelled due to issues with capacity in May.

This means 4,236 operations have been cancelled so far in 2018 due to a lack of capacity in the NHS – meaning an average of 28 cancelled operations each day this year solely because the NHS couldn’t cope.

Scottish Labour said thousands of patients are being badly let down by the SNP government and the new Health Secretary must break from the decade of mismanagement.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“Thousands of operations have been cancelled so far this year because our NHS couldn’t cope, leaving staff frustrated and patients in discomfort and pain.

“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday our health service is seriously struggling to cope with a staffing crisis created by the SNP government.

“Each of these cancelled operation leaves a patient waiting for vital treatment that hospitals have not been able to give because staff are overworked and undervalued.

“The new Health Secretary must quickly give our NHS the support it needs or she will end up dumped out of office like her predecessor.

“Only the Labour Party will use the powers of the parliament to fund our NHS to ensure Scotland has a health service that it fit for the future.”




A&E WAITING TIME TARGET MISSED FOR NINTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

4 July 2018

Scotland’s monthly interim A&E waiting time target has been missed for the ninth consecutive month, new figures show.

The SNP has an interim target of 95 per cent of patients admitted, transferred of discharged within four hours of arriving at A&E.

New figures from ISD Scotland show just 93 per cent of patients were seen within the target time.

Labour said it is time for the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to fund our NHS properly.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“For nine long months thousands of patients across Scotland have had to wait more than four hours to be seen at A&E wards.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of fixing our the NHS.

“These successive missed targets are down to years of mismanagement of our most important public service by the SNP Government.

“This week marks the 70th anniversary of the Labour Party creating the NHS, only the Labour party will use the powers of the parliament to properly fund our NHS for the future and ensure we have a health services that works for the many, not the few.”




REVEALED: HUGE COST OF LOCUM GPS

3 July 2018

The huge cost of the SNP GP crisis has been revealed today, with freedom of information requests exposing some health boards are paying up to £1,400 a day for cover.

Freedom of information responses released to Scottish Labour has revealed GPs charged as much as £1,400 per day for cover in Orkney in 2016/17, the latest year for which figures are available.

The problem is not contained to rural Scotland and the Islands however, with charges in NHS Lanarkshire as high as £1,132 per day and £885 per day in NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Two of the biggest health boards in the country – Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Lothians, were unable to provide the information.

However, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde does admit that out of hours locums are able to charge over £100 an hour.

Labour released the figure as part of a week spent campaigning on the health service, ahead of the 70th birthday of the NHS.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar said:

“The NHS is our most valued public service and Labour’s proudest achievement.

“It is utterly shocking that the SNP GP crisis has created a situation where locum costs are over a thousand pounds a day.

“The reality is the SNP has underfunded primary care for over a decade and as a result family doctors are left over stretched, overworked and under too much pressure.




MORE THAN SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE WAIT TOO LONG FOR CANCER TREATMENT IN SNP SCOTLAND

2 July 2018

More than seven thousand people have waited too long for cancer treatment under the SNP since 2011, Scottish Labour can reveal.

An analysis by the party of ISD Scotland figures shows 7,220 patients had to wait more than 62 days between being urgently referred for cancer treatment and that treatment actually starting over the last seven years.

The figures also show the problem is growing, having increased by 285 per cent between 2011/12 and 2017/18.

The analysis comes after a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times, leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour revealed the analysis ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS as part of a week that will shine a light on how the SNP is failing our health service - and outline what Labour would do differently to make our NHS fit for the future.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes - instead the SNP government is failing patients across Scotland.

“Even one person having to wait too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“The SNP's legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance – and new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman faces a mammoth task to give patients the treatment they deserve.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."



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