Scottish Government must be scrutinised over 'confusing' Covid decisions - Ian Murray

Today we will officially find out which Covid tier Edinburgh has been attributed.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 7:00 am
Decisions on areas moving through the tier system will be based on 'judgment' says Nicola Sturgeon

Given all the leaks in recent days, we can expect to find ourselves in tier three – confusingly that’s the fourth highest level of restrictions under the Scottish

Government’s latest policy.

That’s not the same as tier three in England because the Scottish and UK Governments won’t work together to get the same system. And despite an improving picture in Edinburgh with infection rates at the levels seen in tier two areas, we’re likely to be in the same bracket as Glasgow, where cases are many multiples higher.

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But there is no criteria for how areas such as Edinburgh are placed in a tier and can move between tiers. Confused? You should be.

Yet we’re told by the First Minister it will be her ‘judgement’ that decides. Well let’s examine that judgement a little.

Yesterday, a report revealed that 113 hospital patients who had tested positive for coronavirus had been discharged into care homes. And over 3,000 were moved to care homes without being tested.

This was done at the SNP’s behest as part of its policy to empty hospitals. It was a judgement that cost lives.

Yesterday, the First Minister was clearly irritated by journalists asking legitimate questions about this scandal. She’s even denied knowing.

I doubt she would be so confrontational if faced with the relatives in touch with me who lost loved ones as a result.

The decision to move patients with COVID-19 into care homes was reckless and SNP ministers must be held to account.

The First Minister’s judgement must also be examined when she simply asserts ‘Test and Protect is working’. It isn’t otherwise we wouldn’t need more restrictions.

We were promised that up to 2,000 staff would participate in contact tracing activity, but the numbers fell well short – and this month work was privatised in a desperate attempt to fix the crisis.

And the less said about the Scottish Government’s messaging on Christmas the better.

People were told to prepare for a ‘digital Christmas’ and then the government attacked journalists when this was reported verbatim to the public.

There must be an urgent four nation Xmas plan put in place to ensure a co- ordinated approach.

We all know the health of the nation is paramount but so too is the mental health of society, and the PM and FM must call a truce and work together to try and find a solution.

Before we reach Christmas, we have what would normally be the most important period of the year for many Edinburgh businesses.

It’s critical for the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors, as well as people who rely on these industries such as taxi drivers.

There has been no recognition of the knock-on impact of the closures, and cabbies in particular who have been left with few customers but spiralling costs. If Christmas is indeed cancelled more support will be required.

To date, the SNP has short-changed businesses which have been forced to close, and the Tories have short-changed the self-employed.

Businesses are going bust and residents are making huge sacrifices while fearing for their livelihoods, but aren’t trusted with the data.

Edinburgh residents and businesses deserve better but too few Edinburgh politicians don’t dare scrutinise the government.