10 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims
  • Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook
  • Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring
  • SNP burn through ScotWind cash in record time
  • McArthur responds to opposition to assisted dying bill

Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims

After tireless campaigning by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, the Government in the House of Lords has tabled an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill that ensures non-disclosure agreements preventing victims from disclosing information to the police or other bodies (including confidential support services) cannot be legally enforced.

Responding to the tabling of this amendment, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The Liberal Democrats have long been campaigning to end the deeply damaging practice of non-disclosure agreements. This amendment is a welcome move that will help victims to access the support they need.

But while this is a step in the right direction, the Government is not going far enough in giving victims their voice back.

We need a complete ban of NDAs in cases of sexual misconduct, harassment and bullying to ensure that no victim is silenced.

Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook

Responding to the news that assaulting a shop worker will be made a separate criminal offence in England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

For too long, the Conservative Government have been sitting on their hands while hardworking shopkeepers are left to face the brunt of the shoplifting epidemic alone.

As the majority of shoplifting cases go unsolved, the Conservatives has repeatedly failed to get even the basics right of tackling this issue – something their new gimmicks won’t change.

It is now vital the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary invest in proper community policing and ensure all shoplifting thefts are investigated.

The government is currently letting organised criminal gangs off the hook and leaving shopkeepers hugely vulnerable.

Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called on the SNP and Greens to get tough with Scottish Water as it was revealed that in three local authorities there is no monitoring of sewage dumping at all and in ten more local authorities just one or two sites are monitored.

Across Scotland there were 21,660 sewage dumps in 2023, however in Dundee, East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh there is no data on how much sewage is being dumped as no sewage outflows in these local authorities are monitored.

In a further 10 local authorities (Angus, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, Orkney, Shetland, South Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire) there are only one or two overflow points where sewage dumping is being monitored.

Previously, Scottish Liberal Democrats had uncovered data on the number of public complaints about sewage dumping, which revealed there were 262 complaints about sewage being dumped between 2022 and 2023 in Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have announced plans for a Clean Water Act which would see:

  • Scotland’s Victorian sewage network updated;
  • Every sewage dump monitored and published with binding targets for their reduction;
  • A blue flag system for Scotland’s rivers;
  • A complete ban on the release of sewage in protected areas such as bathing waters.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

Across Scotland we know there were more than 21,000 sewage spills last year but that is likely to be a significant underestimate because only a tiny proportion of the network is monitored. People are being kept in the dark about the true scale of the problem.

I was shocked when I found out that no monitoring was taking place in Edinburgh and other local authorities across Scotland. Local people and campaign groups have seen it happening and the filthy consequences. They deserve to know how often sewage is being pumped into our rivers and waterways.

To make matters worse, while our waterways are destroyed, customers are facing huge price rises from the government-owned water company and its executives are pocketing bumper bonuses.

SNP and Green ministers must stop being spin doctors for these outdated sewage standards and get tough with the government-owned water company.

To turn the tide on this scandal, Scottish Liberal Democrats have published plans for a Clean Water Act that would see vital updates to our sewage network and a clamp down on discharges.

SNP burn through ScotWind cash in record time

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today accused the SNP of burning through money generated by the sale of Scotland’s sea bed for energy generation in record time, as the Finance Secretary conceded that more than 80% of the cash from 10 year option fees had been spent within just three years.

In response to parliamentary questions from Mr Cole-Hamilton, Finance Secretary Shona Robison has confirmed that the Scottish Government are expecting to have spent £606m of the initial £756m ScotWind cash for 10-year option fees by the end of year 3. At the current rate of spending, they will burn through the last £150m in year 4 (2025/26).

Ms Robison also confirmed that the government aren’t expecting further income from the project until Year 10.

Responding, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

The Scottish Government sold Scotland’s prized sea bed on the cheap and now it looks like all the money will soon be gone.

For years nationalist politicians have sulked that we should be like Norway with their vast oil fund but the first chance they get to kickstart something similar, they burn through the money in record time.

Perhaps this is deliberate. The SNP’s political prospects are declining so they only care about the short-term. They would rather use all the cash to paper over their financial mismanagement instead of leaving money for anyone else after the next election.

McArthur responds to opposition to assisted dying bill

Responding to the letter to MSPs co-ordinated by opponents of assisted dying, Liam McArthur MSP said:

Our current laws on assisted dying are failing too many terminally ill Scots at the end of life.

I appreciate that some are concerned about a slippery slope but my bill is extremely clear about the specific and limited circumstances it will give terminally ill adults the choice they need.

This bill contains robust safeguards, similar to those which have been safely and successfully introduced in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States where they continue to enjoy strong public support. Indeed where a terminal illness and mental capacity model similar to mine has been introduced there has never been a loosening of the eligibility criteria.

To be clear, disability itself would not be grounds for accessing assisted under the provisions of my bill. Any individual would have to have an advanced, progressive terminal illness and capacity to access this choice.

Moreover polling suggests strong support for assisted dying laws amongst people with disabilities, at roughly the same level as in the general population.

As parliament begins its scrutiny of my bill, however, I will continue to engage with charities, organisations and my fellow MSPs to understand their perspectives on this important issue and hopefully allay any concerns.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases and Scotland.
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