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Speaking after today's education committee meeting, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson and Shetland MSP Tavish Scott sharply criticised the Scottish Government for refusing to provide any details of any organisations who support its plans to centralise control of Highlands & Islands Enterprise.
Scottish Liberal Democrat rural spokesperson, Mike Rumbles MSP today called for an inquiry into the recent bungle over CAP payments after it was announced by the Rural Economy Secretary that farmers have been let down by another payment blunder.
A letter addressed to Holyrood's Rural Economy and Connectivity committee revealed that 166 businesses have been overpaid through the government's cash advance loan scheme. Farmers who were overpaid will be given 30 days to pay back the money, which amounts to £746,000. In a separate letter to the Public Audit Committee on the same issue, it was revealed that £1.35 million was being clawed back due to duplicate payments being made.
Commenting on Kezia Dugdale's speech to IPPR, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:
"A new set of constitutional arrangements to replace the treaties of union was exactly what was proposed by Lord Campbells commission on Federalism in 2012. It is good to see momentum building for this and hope that Kezia will work to convince those in her party that this is the best option."
Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP used today's debate on 'Supporting Scotland's Renewables' to demand action from both of Scotland's governments.
Under the Coalition government, between 2010 and 2015, Britain's renewable power capacity trebled, with over £40bn invested into onshore and offshore wind farms, solar and biomass. However, Energy and Climate Change secretary Amber Rudd has announced sweeping cuts in support for renewables while also creating real uncertainty for island-based and marine renewables.
Speaking after the Deputy First Minister delivered a statement to parliament on the PISA figures which showed Scottish educational performance declining, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP said:
"The Scottish Government cannot shy away from its responsibility over the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.
Scottish Liberal Democrats health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called for more support for those living with diabetes and obesity after new figures released today showed that the number of people living with the conditions had reached record levels.
Between 2014 and 2015, the number of people living with diabetes has risen from 276,430 to 284,122, an increase of 3%, while the figures for type 2 diabetes show an increase from 244,050 to 250,881. In 2015, 65% of adults aged 16 and over were overweight, including 29% who were obese.
Following the publication of figures showing nursing and midwifery vacancies increased 2.7% in the last quarter to 2634.5, with over 800 posts lying vacant for over 3 months, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:
"As winter hits, our NHS needs to be equipped to look after people and health boards need support to be able to fill these vacancies.
Scottish Liberal Democrats to act decisively in tackling fuel poverty after new statistics showed 750,000 households were suffering fuel poverty in 2015, despite a fall compared to 2014.
Official statistics today showed the rate of fuel poverty fell by 4% between 2014 and 2015, but this still left 748,000 households in fuel poverty and 203,000 homes in extreme fuel poverty. The Scottish Government recently admitted its missed its target to eradicate fuel poverty by November 2016.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, has called on the Scottish Government to deliver a step change in mental health at the upcoming budget after new statistics showed hundreds of children requiring mental health care waited longer than the Scottish Government's guarantee.
PISA stats demonstrate need for tough questions on a decade of SNP Government responsibility for Scottish education says Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP.
Statistics published by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that Scotland's performance in science, maths and reading was average among OECD countries in 2015. In the previous PISA survey in 2012, Scotland was above average in reading and science.