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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