Just in time for the weekend, here’s a look at the top 10 political must-reads from the last week:
1. Douglas Ross reveals ’emotional’ journey tailing pregnant wife in 65-mile ambulance dash
The Scottish Conservative leader became a dad for the second time this week but as reporter Adele Merson learned, the birth of his new son was a dramatic affair involving a blue-light ambulance dash from Elgin to Aberdeen – a journey that highlights the lack of maternity services in Moray with women being forced to go to Inverness or Aberdeen to give birth most cases. Read Adele’s exclusive story here.
2. Would Scottish independence ‘turbocharge the economy and boost wages’?
Scotland faces a “productivity crisis” following the pandemic if Holyrood remains tied to Westminster, the SNP have claimed. As our Westminster correspondent Dan O’Donoghue reported this week, the SNP’s businesses spokesman, Stephen Flynn, has argued that Westminster austerity and Brexit have suffocated growth since the 2008 financial crisis and warned that without independence workers and businesses will suffer further. Read more here.
3. ‘Huge failing’: Scottish Government and Tories row over new Covid surge and easing restrictions
The Scottish Government and the opposition are – predictably – at odds over a recent surge in coronavirus cases and whether or not lockdown restrictions should be eased, with the Scottish Conservatives critical of the Trace and Protect system. The row comes as alarming new World Health Organisation figures show Scotland has some of the worst Covid hotspots in Europe. Read the full story here.
4. Lockdown leads to cut in £10billion debt Scottish councils owe Treasury
It’s being described as one of the few positives that have happened during the Covid pandemic. Scottish councils managed to slash £275 million from their £10 billion debts to the Treasury last year as work on major projects ground to a halt during the pandemic. As Calum Ross reports, official data shows that most local authorities were able to cut the amount they owed in outstanding loans, with the total falling for the first time in five years, as borrowing for building schemes was put on hold because of lockdown. Read his full story here.
5. Scottish Labour calls for troops on the streets to fight Covid surge
Scottish Labour is urging the government to put military personnel on the streets to help fight the latest surge in coronavirus cases and make sure everyone who wants to be vaccinated can get a jab – even going door to door if need be. The calls come amid a worrying surge in cases across the country, although overall the number of new coronavirus cases in Scotland fell below 3,000 for the first time in a week. Read more here.
6. Humza Yousaf refuses to commit to meeting with NHS Tayside dosing scandal patients
Scotland’s new health secretary has refused to commit to a meeting with members of an NHS Tayside cancer care support group to discuss the region’s struggling services in the wake of a chemotherapy dosing scandal. As Derek Healey reports, Mr Yousaf is the second consecutive SNP health secretary, after his predecessor Jeane Freeman, who has failed to meet with patients following revelations in 2019 about nearly 200 women given lower than standard doses of the treatment. Read the story here.
7. Scots mums back legal challenge to change Down’s syndrome abortion law
A group of Scots mums have thrown their support behind a woman with Down’s syndrome who is taking the UK Government to court over a law which allows the abortion of babies with the condition up until birth. Heidi Crowter, from Coventry, has brought the legal action against the Department of Health and Social Care because she believes the law is “downright discrimination”. Several mums across the north-east, whose children have the condition, have backed the 26-year-old, saying the law as it stands “demeans those” with Down’s syndrome. Click here to read our full reporting.
8. Scottish Government “looking very seriously” at self-isolation rules for school children
Scotland’s Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville says the Scottish Government is “looking seriously” at changing isolation rules for school children. Currently if one child tests positive for coronavirus everyone in their bubble, often an entire class, needs to go into self-isolation for 10 days. However as reporter Rachel Amery writes, the Scottish Government is looking to follow the UK Government in stopping this practice. Read more here.
9. Brexit settled status limbo left Holocaust survivor reliving the horrors of her past
A Dundee Holocaust survivor described the experience of applying for settled status after Brexit like something from “the horrors of her past” and the process left her feeling as if “any goodness was sucked out of me like a syringe”. MP Chris Law raised the case of Irena Jendrycha, 77, who was born captive in a Nazi concentration camp in 1943. She was a mere “10 minutes” from death before American troops liberated the young girl and her mother in what Irena described as “an act of God”. And as The Courier Political Editor Paul Malik reports, despite applying for post-Brexit settled status on time, Mrs Jendrycha still does not know whether it has been successful. Read the full story at this link.
10. New review into future of Scotland’s hospital laundries
NHS chiefs have launched a fresh review into the future of Scotland’s hospital laundries after they were threatened with closure before the pandemic. Health service bosses confirmed that “all options” were being considered, but they insisted they did not expect any of the facilities to shut “at this point”. The eight laundries under review include facilities in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee and Kirkcaldy. Read more here.