Overtime bill for nurses exposes SNP's workforce chaos

More than £26 million was paid in overtime to nurses and midwives last year, as the NHS buckles under the impact of SNP mismanagement.

Staff shortages in hospitals across the country have forced thousands of staff to put in extra hours, costing the NHS an additional £500,000 a week.

SNP merger of Police Scotland and BTP delayed

The controversial move to bring the British Transport Police under the control of Scotland’s single force has been delayed.

The SNP wants Police Scotland to take control of transport policing north of the border, despite BTP officers and other experts warning against the move.

The merger was initially planned to take place in April 2019, but the Scottish Government today announced that will now be put back.

Make St John's a paediatric teaching hospital to halt downgrades

A major Central Belt hospital should be given teaching accreditation for paediatrics to help safeguard its future, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

The children’s ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston has been closed to 24/7 admissions since last summer, amid fears of a gradual downgrading of the whole hospital.

Its future will be debated in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday), with opposition MSPs uniting to call for the unit to be fully reopened.

SNP confirms broken promise with tax hike

The SNP has rubber-stamped its own broken promise on tax, after it officially changed the rates north of the border.

With the help of the Greens, the nationalist government signed off the new tax band system which will reinforce Scotland’s reputation as the highest-taxed part of the UK.

This is despite pledging on dozens of occasions not to increase income tax on hardworking Scots.

Economy under SNP continues to lag behind developed world

On the day before the Income Tax Rate Resolution is debated in the Scottish Parliament, statistics published by the OECD have confirmed that the Scottish economy continues to fall behind the rest of the developed world.

The independent Scottish Fiscal Commission has forecast Scottish GDP growth of just 0.2 per cent in Q4 2017. This compares to GDP growth in the OECD of 0.6 per cent for the same period.

This means that the Scottish economy is only growing at a third of the rate of the OECD as a whole, a third of the rate of the EU and less than half the rate of the UK as a whole.

Childcare availability worse for poorest families under SNP

Figures compiled from the Care Inspectorate; Early Learning and Childcare Statistics, show that childcare availability for poorer families has decreased while for more affluent families it is increasing.
The SNP has committed to making childcare provisions available and equal to all.
However, these figures show that the recent expansion of childcare provision has primarily benefitted the most affluent, and has actually become slightly less available for the most deprived families.

Ruth Davidson visits Afghanistan

Ruth Davidson has visited Afghanistan during parliamentary recess to highlight the remarkable work of a Scots-based charity leading the world in mine clearance. 

The Scottish Conservative leader spent four days in Kabul at the invitation of the Dumfriesshire based HALO Trust - now the world’s largest humanitarian mine clearance operation.

During her visit, the Trust handed control of 95 million square metres of land in western Afghanistan back to the local government – following a ten year long operation to remove landmines and unexploded debris from the area.

Productivity in Scotland under SNP lowest since 2009

Figures released today by the Scottish Government have shown that Scotland’s productivity (output per hour worked) has dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years.

The Labour Productivity Statistics for the July-September 2017 Quarter show that Scotland’s trend based productivity has dropped to its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2009.

Conservatives Ensure West Lothian Council Budget is Set

Following today's special Full Council Meeting, a budget has been set for West Lothian.

A spokesman for West Lothian Conservatives stated, "The Conservative Councillors on West Lothian are pleased to announce that a budget has been agreed. In particular, we are delighted that the proposed cuts to the Ability Centre and Eliburn Support Centre, local bus subsidies and the removal of funding for instrumental music provision have been reversed. A budget with these in would not have had the support of the West Lothian Conservative Councillors."

Action needed to avoid politicisation of civil service

Scottish Conservatives have called for action to be taken to ensure that the Scottish civil service remains impartial.
Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron has written to the Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, calling for an end to the ‘slow erosion of robust attitudes to impartiality and objectivity’.
It comes after it was revealed this week that John Swinney personally intervened in the content of FOI releases, and that Special Advisers routinely screen Freedom of Information requests for political content.