Covid Scotland: Lockdowns should be approved by Parliament, says Anas Sarwar, under support framework published under plans to live with virus

Any future Covid restrictions should be “evidence based” and required to be voted in by the Scottish Parliament under a long term plan for living with the virus unveiled by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

In a document published this morning, Scottish Labour said that Scotland had been relying on emergency powers “for too long” and said that no minister should be able to impose a lockdown “without the approval of parliament”.

It said that vaccination and a “robust” contact tracing system would be at the heart of proposals to help Scotland tackle the virus long term, while it urged that the UK and Scottish Government should work together long term to agree financial support and a framework to plan measures for future outbreaks of Covid-19.

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Mr Sarwar said that the party would extend sick pay and self-isolation support, as well as guaranteeing PPE, mental health support for staff and rest facilities for all those working on the NHS front line. Social care staff would also be given a pay rise to £15 per hour.

Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar has announced Scottish Labour's plans for Scotland to live with Covid.Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar has announced Scottish Labour's plans for Scotland to live with Covid.
Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar has announced Scottish Labour's plans for Scotland to live with Covid.

Meanwhile, schools would be fitted with Hepa air filters and Scotland would share surplus vaccine supplies with the rest of the world

Mr Sarwar said: “Two years into this pandemic we should already have a system in place that builds resilience.

“We all hope the worst is behind us – but going forward any changes in these restrictions cannot be ad-hoc. That is why Scottish Labour are setting out the 10 actions that we believe must be central to our new approach to a national crisis.”

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He added: “The pandemic tore apart people’s lives. Families across Scotland have faced grief, heartbreak, and mental exhaustion. That is why we need to get serious and present a full plan to stop us from repeating the same mistakes.

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“We need a system that sets clear trigger points on what people can expect when cases rise – which lays out what financial support people will be entitled to and when. That will mean both of Scotland’s governments working together, and more honesty and transparency around data. After two years people can’t be expected to live like this any longer.”

The plan said a “risk framework” with clear rules on restrictions should be published.

“Two years on it is not sustainable for an entire country to live week to week, awaiting announcements that will shape their lives in the days to come,” the document said. “The Scottish and UK Government’s should work together, opening negotiations on an agreed framework with common risk metrics, interventions, and financial support across devolved and reserved areas.”

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It added that any new pandemic risk framework must set out the financial support that businesses will be offered by both Scottish and UK Governments, the support available for workers and how long it would take for money to reach people’s pockets.

Mr Sarwar added that Scotland would push to waive vaccine patent rights, give out Scotland’s share of surplus vaccines and use our International Development Fund to support public health across the world.

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