Scottish Tory Suggests Scotland Adopts Failing UK Woodland Strategy

"In Holyrood on Tuesday, Maurice Golden (SCAUP) asked the Scottish Government whether the Forestry Commission’s new Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a model that it would consider for use in Scotland? Fergus Ewing replied straightaway that the Woodland Carbon Guarantee has been designed to help address the relatively high costs of woodland creation in many parts of England, which have been identified as a significant barrier to the achievement of England’s planting targets. These costs are not reflected in Scotland, where 84% of all new UK woodland was established in 2018-19."

Fewer Scottish Doctors Retiring Early

"In Holyrood on Tuesday: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking in response is to reports that doctors are retiring before reaching the state pension age because of overwork. He’d asked almost the same question, also devoid of any evidence, in April, but it got media attention. We were able to write: An anonymous Freedom of Information request has revealed today that contrary to Cole-Hamilton’s predictions last April, fewer GPs are retiring early. See this..."

5 Reasons Why Scotland Would Thrive As An Independent Nation (Updated)


Scotland is home to a unique combination of assets with which to build a prosperous and wealthy nation. Medium-sized European nations such as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are among the most prosperous countries in the world, well ahead of the UK. Scotland shares many similar economic features with these countries, highlighting the immense growth potential of Scotland. There are 5 vital contributors to growth and development in a country. These include natural resources, a skilled population, access to trading markets, well-functioning products and sectors to trade with, and a supportive financial services system. Scotland possesses all of these in abundance, suggesting the country’s capability to boost its economic growth."

Fall In Scottish Teacher Vacancies

"Advertised vacancies for permanent primary teacher roles have dropped by more than half since last year, from 204 to 88, according to new data. Meanwhile, local councils have advertised 224 fewer permanent teacher vacancies for primary and secondary schools combined compared to the same time last year. There are currently 24 899 primary teachers in Scotland so that’s a vacancy rate of 0.35%."

NHS Scotland 15% Better Than NHS England In October

In October 2019, NHS Scotland’s A&E departments treated 85.6% of patients within 4 hours. https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Emergency-Care/Publications/2019-11-19/Summary-Weekly/index.asp In October 2019, NHS England’s Type 1 A&E departments treated 74.5% of patients within 4 hours. https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/ae-attendances-and-emergency-admissions-2019-20/ Only Type 1 departments, consultant-led with full resuscitation, are comparable.

Pension Option To Retain NHS Scotland Staff

"An interim policy on pensions is to be put in place by the Scottish Government to support the retention of experienced NHS Scotland staff. Pensions are a power reserved to the UK Government.The Scottish Government state:

The interim policy will operate while we await the outcome of the current UK Government consultation into further pension flexibilities and the outcome of HM Treasury’s review of the impact of the Annual Allowance taper on public sector pension schemes. 

The option to be made available is to allow eligible NHS Scotland staff to  get their employer pension contributions paid to them as part of their basic pay. Currently they face additional tax liabilities."

Conservative Mismanagement Of The (English) NHS

"The news https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50397856') last week that the delays and target failures in the NHS are substantially worse than ever before is regrettably, unsurprising.  Dr Rachel Clarke has pointed out that since the Conservatives have been in government, surgical waiting lists have soared to 4.4 million; district nurses have been culled by 50%; 15,000 hospital beds have been closed and cancer waits are the worst on record. The NHS is now short of 43,000 nurses & 10,000 doctors. And we aren’t training enough of either to keep any sort of lid on natural wastage. Conservative government has, on an ideological basis, simply refused to invest. They have frozen pay for years, abolished the nursing bursary and put a cap on visas for foreign workers at a time when EU migrants are just going home."

UN Praises Scottish Government Efforts On Refugee Children

"Extracts from the (UN) report: Law and policy setting out the provision of guardianship services across the UK is varied. The service is most developed in Scotland, where the Scottish Government has fully funded the Scottish Guardianship Service for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and child victims of trafficking since 2013, managed and delivered by the Scottish Refugee Council and Aberlour Child Care Trust. The Scottish Guardianship Service supports young people by helping them navigate the immigration and welfare processes. Unaccompanied and separated children in Scotland should be referred to the Scottish Guardianship Service and, in many cases, this will be done by the LA. An evaluation highlighted the benefits of this scheme and which has so far been widely praised for its inclusion of all unaccompanied and separated children within its remit.

In 2015 the Scottish Parliament legislated to place guardianship on a statutory footing under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015. Section 11 of the Act places an obligation on Scottish Ministers to provide a guardian not just to children and young people who have been identified as victims of trafficking but who may be or who are vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking and where no person in the UK has “parental rights and responsibilities” towards that child.

In England and Wales, in contrast, there is no formal scheme, nor any legal obligation to provide a guardian. Instead, it is considered that the requirement that a child is supported by a responsible adult, or special representative, can be satisfied by assigning the child a social worker."

A Tale Of Two Governments

"With a general election on the way, focusing on Brexit and independence, there will be a blizzard of claims about government records. Therefore, we have compared and contrasted the two governments, the UK Conservatives and SNP in Scotland, in a number of significant areas. It is hugely important to be aware of some of the key figures and outcomes of the UK Government so we have looked the last nine years of both SNP (in Scotland) and Conservative rule for the UK overall. By assessing these results alongside the spending and policies of the Scottish government an interesting comparison can be made."

Billionaires Don't Add Up

"In short, billionaires indicate by their very existence that the market isn’t working. That democracy is deficient. That the economy is failing. That money is flowing upwards. And that billionaires aren’t working. They are never ‘wealth creators’ and always wealth extractors. They work to their own advantage and to the disadvantage of the rest of us. That’s not Marxism or Trotskyism. It’s logic. If we had somehow designed a system of water supply to deliver a few thousand times the normal quantity of water to just 100 odd domestic locations in the country we would probably consider carefully whether the original design was in fact, correct. Why doesn’t Emma Barnett – or, indeed anyone else at the BBC – ever think similarly about the economy?"