Categories
Coronavirus Education Social Security Universities

Support for Students in Hardship

£30 million of additional funding.

Students experiencing hardship as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be supported by £20 million of Scottish Government funding.

A further £10 million has also been allocated to universities and colleges for income lost in providing rent rebates.

To complement the additional £30 million, the Scottish Funding Council is also repurposing £5 million of student support funding towards discretionary funding for FE students in the college sector.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“The impact of the pandemic on students has been significant. Not only has there been disruption to their education, we know that many students face financial difficulties with accommodation, associated costs or challenges in getting jobs. This additional £20 million will help to alleviate the financial pressure and stress facing many of our students.

“We are also supporting institutions, many of which have lost revenue by giving students rent refunds or rebates, with an additional £10 million.

“This announcement builds on the £37 million package of support the Scottish Government has already provided to support students during the pandemic.”

Matt Crilly, President of NUS Scotland, said:

“NUS Scotland welcomes this crucial support from the Scottish Government at a time when students are struggling. We know many of the traditional sources of student income have been decimated during the pandemic, so it is a relief to know there will be additional funding for those experiencing hardship.

“This support is essential in helping Scotland uphold its commitment to fair access to education. While Scotland has made important advances in recent years towards widening access to further and higher education, the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities and threatens to erode this progress. This funding helps ensure we are not only supporting students from all backgrounds into education, but also helping them stay in education.”

Shona Struthers, chief executive officer of Colleges Scotland, said:

“We welcome any additional funding to support college students across Scotland at this incredibly difficult time. Many of our students are learning from home and with additional financial hardship caused by the pandemic – we are sure that the much-needed additional funds from Scottish Government will prove beneficial to students during this lockdown period. Colleges Scotland will work on behalf of the sector to highlight ongoing challenges.”

Background

Details on how this £20 million assistance for students will be distributed will be confirmed shortly.

More information on the support available for students is available online.

Categories
Business Coronavirus

Supporting the Wedding Sector

Increased fund to go live this week.

A £25 million fund to support the wedding sector and its supply chain will open to applications this week.

In recognition of the ongoing challenges faced by the sector, a further £10 million has been added to the £15 million announced in December.

Launching on Thursday (28 January) the fund will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 for eligible businesses in the sector impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including wedding venues, photographers, caterers and suppliers.

The fund will be managed regionally by Scotland’s three enterprise agencies – South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Finance Minister Kate Forbes said:

“This £25 million fund will ensure one-off grants of up to £25,000 reach eligible business as quickly as possible and there is no equivalent fund in other parts of the UK.

“The pandemic has had a severe impact on Scotland’s wedding sector, and we know that the current restrictions, while entirely necessary in our fight against COVID-19, continue to take their toll on the sector. I’d encourage all those who think they are eligible to find out more about applying – we want to help as many businesses survive this pandemic as we can.

“We have allocated over £3 billion to help businesses since the start of this pandemic. However, we know it can never compensate for the unprecedented affect this has had on business. We will continue to work with the resources available to us to protect businesses and build a stronger recovery for Scotland.”

The Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance’s (SWIA) Co-Founder Caroline Inchyra said:

“On behalf of the Scottish wedding industry, we are delighted that the sector has secured £25 million funding from the Scottish Government.

“We must thank the Scottish Government for recognising the wedding industry as a vital sector in the Scottish economy, and the enterprise agencies for working with us to ensure this fund has as much impact as possible.

“This funding will give renewed hope to the many businesses who have been unable to operate in a viable way for almost a year.

“The SWIA looks forward to a continued positive working relationship with Scottish Government as the wedding industry navigates a path through the most difficult trading conditions this highly resilient sector has ever faced.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) said:

“At this extremely difficult time, all three enterprise agencies are pleased to be working with the Scottish Government to offer support through the Scottish Wedding Industry Fund.

“This fund aims to support those businesses whose main income comes from the wedding sector. The industry supports a significant number of jobs, with over 26,000 weddings and civil partnerships taking place in Scotland in 2019.

“The wedding industry is particularly vital to the South of Scotland, which in 2019 hosted almost 5,000 ceremonies – more than 18% of the national total – and in Gretna Green has one of the most iconic wedding locations in the world.

“This is one of the most challenging times any of us has ever faced but all three enterprise agencies are fully committed to supporting as many local businesses as possible in to survive this pandemic and hopefully look forward to a brighter future.”

Background:

Visit Find Business Support for more information.

Businesses must be in one of the following sectors;

  • Venues
  • Videographers
  • Photographers
  • Marquee Hire (includes tipi)
  • Wedding Attire
  • Florists & Event Stylists
  • Caterers
  • Cakes
  • Transport (not including taxis)
  • Event Supplies (Cater hire, decorative items)
  • Hairdressers & Make-up Artists (Non-mobile)
  • Entertainment (Band, DJ, Piper, String Quartet)
  • Jewellery Designers/Makers/Sellers
  • Wedding Exhibitions/Events
  • Wedding Publications or Listing Sites
  • Celebrants
  • Wedding Stationery
  • Other Specialist Niche Suppliers (Photo Booth, Event nannies, event planners etc)
Categories
Carers Coronavirus Health

Extra Funding to Support Unpaid Carers

Additional £750,000 investment will help people take a break from caring roles.

An investment of £750,000 in local carer centres will increase support for unpaid carers of all ages, helping them to take a break from caring and access other much-needed help.

This recognises some of the challenges faced by unpaid carers, with many regular sources of support having stopped or moved online due to the pandemic.

It also comes in response to concerns about increasing pressure on carers – particularly while many traditional respite breaks are restricted or unavailable.

The funding will allow local carer centres to react flexibly to the needs of carers in their areas. Feedback from national and local carer representatives suggests there is a demand for extending existing services such as befriending, counselling or online support groups, as well as offering additional grants for carers which can be used for expenditure such as leisure equipment, hobbies or entertainment subscriptions.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Unpaid carers play a vital role in society but without the right support, caring relationships can break down, which can result additional health or social care support being needed for the cared for person, their carer, or both.

“This funding will enable carer centres to decide how best to promptly meet local need. It is designed to ensure more unpaid carers – including young carers – can benefit from a much-needed break and emotional support.”

On behalf of Scotland’s National Carer Organisations, Don Williamson, Chief Executive of Shared Care Scotland, said:

“COVID-19 has made life hugely challenging for unpaid carers, many of whom are struggling on with little or no opportunity to have any breaks from their caring. We therefore very much welcome this additional funding from Scottish Government which will go towards increasing the capacity of local carer services so they can provide support to more carers, including with accessing breaks, to help them over the particularly difficult winter months.”

Categories
Coronavirus Health

Independent Hospitals to Support Elective Care

Additional capacity to ensure urgent treatment continues.

Five independent hospitals are supporting NHS Scotland with elective care from this week, to ensure clinically urgent patients can continue to be seen and treated.

This additional support comes on top of the extra capacity already being provided by NHS Golden Jubilee and NHS Louisa Jordan for a number of elective treatments and outpatient appointments.

Following arrangements set out in the NHS Winter Preparedness Plan, the private sector hospitals will primarily support planned urgent care and cancer treatment, including breast surgery, urology, and gynaecology.

This will allow those who require planned urgent elective care to continue to be seen and treated, enabling health boards to concentrate on the front line response to COVID-19 and A&E services.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“The additional capacity provided by the independent sector, NHS Golden Jubilee and NHS Louisa Jordan is very welcome, and I am extremely grateful to all staff involved for their continued hard work.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with Health Boards to ensure those requiring urgent elective and vital cancer care can be seen as quickly and safely as possible.

“Even as we expand our vaccination and testing programmes, the number of COVID patients within our hospitals remains very high – so it is absolutely vital that people continue to stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.”

Background:

NHS Winter Preparedness Plan 2020-21

As of Monday 18 January, the independent hospitals that will support NHS capacity are:

  • Albyn NHS Grampian
  • Kings Park NHS Fife, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Tayside
  • Nuffield NHS Lanarkshire
  • Spire NHS Lothian
  • Ross Hall NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

More than 10,000 procedures have been performed at NHS Golden Jubilee since services recommenced in July, across orthopaedics, ophthalmology, heart and lung surgery, endoscopy and diagnostic imaging, including:

  • Over 5,000 cardiothoracic and cardiology procedures – both planned and emergency
  • 1,516 orthopaedic patients
  • 2,114 ophthalmology patients (cataracts)
  • 1422 endoscopies
  • In addition, the recently opened NHS Golden Jubilee Eye Centre will perform more than 18,000 procedures each year

NHS Golden Jubilee has also carried out 565 urgent cancer operations to support the NHSScotland recovery plan.

NHS Louisa Jordan has been working with four NHS Boards to provide over 19,000 outpatient appointments across 14 specialties. These include orthopaedics, diagnostic imaging such as CT scanning and general x-ray, dermatology, oral medicine, plastics, rheumatology, breast clinics and occupational health services.

Over 19,000 NHS and social care staff have been vaccinated at the site, including 5,000 on Saturday.

Over 5,200 individuals from NHS Boards, the Royal College, Universities and Colleges have also been trained using the healthcare facilities and simulations on site.

Categories
Coronavirus Health Public Health

Strengthening Lockdown Restrictions

Measures to maximise the impact of lockdown.

Further measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and limit non-essential contact will be introduced this weekend.

Nobody who lives in a Level 4 area should leave or remain outside their home except for essential purposes.

Working from home arrangements will be strengthened through updated statutory guidance. Working from home should now be the default position for all businesses and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should be asked to go to the workplace.

From Saturday non-essential click and collect retail services will be prohibited in Level 4 areas and further changes will be put in place to how services open for essential purposes operate. Timeslots will be required for collection and people should not enter a store to collect an item. Businesses providing takeaway food will also operate on a ‘non-entry’ basis only, meaning customers cannot enter the premises when placing or collecting orders.

Restrictions banning the consumption of alcohol in public places will also be introduced.

In a statement to Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious.

“We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers – this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.

“Both individually and collectively, these additional measures – in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread – will help our essential efforts to suppress it.

“At this critical and dangerous moment, please: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”

Background

The new regulations apply to all parts of Scotland currently in lockdown and will come into effect at 00.01 on Saturday

Read the Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay at home guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister’s statement 13 January 2021 – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Click and Collect services offered by essential retailers can continue but will be suspended across retail other than for:

  • clothing and footwear stores
  • homeware stores
  • garden centres/plant nurseries
  • baby equipment shops
  • electrical goods (including repairs)
  • key cutting and shoe repair shops
  • bookstores
Categories
Children Coronavirus Education

Extra Remote Learning Funding for Schools

More teachers, digital devices and support for families.

A new package of £45 million will help local authorities to provide support to schools and families as they deal with the challenges of remote learning during lockdown, Education Secretary John Swinney confirmed today.

Councils may use the funding – sufficient to fund 2,000 additional teachers – for purposes including recruitment of additional staff, additional digital devices or to provide additional family support. This is on top of £160 million already committed for education recovery since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total additional support provided to more than £200 million since the start of the pandemic. Private and third sector day care of children settings will also receive almost £4 million in temporary financial support.

Mr Swinney has also asked HM Inspectors of Education to commence with a national review of the quality and effectiveness of remote learning across the country with the first report published next Friday, 22 January.

We will ensure all appropriate mitigations are in place to support a safe return including enhancing our testing programme in schools. We expect that pilots of two different testing models – one using in-school testing with Lateral Flow Devices (LFD), and another involving at-home testing using PCR tests – will begin in a small number of schools from next week.

Mr Swinney said:

“I appreciate only too well the additional burden home learning is placing on many of our children and their families. After the last period of school building closures we commissioned an Equity Audit, published today, to better understand the impact on children’s learning and health and wellbeing, particularly disadvantaged pupils.

“Since the start of the pandemic our funding has led to an additional 1,400 teachers and over 200 support staff being appointed. The new funding can be used to recruit further staff – which might include teachers, classroom assistants, administrative staff, home/school link workers or other support workers – as well as the resources that families and schools need to support home learning, including additional digital devices where there is any remaining unmet need, and other home learning resources.

“The quality and effectiveness of remote learning across the country will be reviewed by HM Inspectors of Education. A programme of ‘national overviews’, will commence immediately and last for the duration of remote learning. These will seek to identify what is working well and where further improvement is required. These overviews will be published weekly to ensure they are available for everyone to learn and build from, starting week ending 22 January.

“I am aware that remaining open for very small numbers of children creates pressure for some childcare providers, and I can therefore confirm we will make temporary financial support of up to £3.8 million available for each four week period of restrictions to day care of children providers and childminding settings caring for 12 or more children who remain open for vulnerable and keyworker children during these restrictions. We will confirm details as soon as possible.

“If the evidence tells us we can get some pupils back safely, we will do that, and we will ensure the package of mitigations in schools remains robust and tailored to the circumstances we face. As part of that work, we expect that pilots of two different testing models – one using in-school testing with Lateral Flow Devices, and another involving at-home testing using PCR tests – will begin in a small number of schools from next week, helping to inform options for wider rollout.

“I am grateful to our hardworking, dedicated teaching professionals for their intense work to plan, organise and deliver learning. The virus will be beaten, and schools will return fully to intensify our efforts to achieve excellence and equity for all of Scotland’s children.”

Background

Advice and support for parents and carers is available at the Parent Club.

The Equity Audit is available here.

Further information on the support for private and third sector childcare providers is available here.

Categories
Social Security

New Scottish Benefits Help Families

Report shows positive impact of Best Start Grant payments.

Scotland’s least well-off families have seen a marked increase in their income from three Scottish Government benefits, according to an evaluation published today.

The evaluation of the three Best Start Grant payments shows that families on the lowest incomes were able to buy essential items for their children as a result of these new benefits.

Best Start Grant is available to families on low incomes as their children reach certain key stages. They are able to access this whether in or out of work as long as they get one of eight qualifying benefits or tax credits available through the Department for Work and Pensions or HMRC.

People receiving the payments said that the money helped them stop getting into debt or having to cut down on other essential household spending, such food and bills. People were able to use the money to help buy essential items for their children like cots and prams, as well as to arrange days out for their family or to buy books and clothing.

The most common qualifying benefit among recipients was Child Tax Credit (57,055), followed by Universal Credit (44,810), Working Tax Credit (23,560), and Income Support (18,030). Other qualifying benefits include Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit.

Parents and carers in and out of work who get benefits or tax credits are being encouraged to check if they are eligible and apply.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Our full Best Start Grant package has been in place since June 2019. I’m delighted that just a year and a half later that we are already getting feedback that this money is making a real difference to people’s lives.

“We continue to work hard to make sure that everyone accesses the support they are entitled to. I often hear families say that they don’t think that they can access this support because they are working. I’m glad to see so many families who are in work and on low incomes getting this extra boost. And I know that more families than ever are accessing benefits and this is important additional help for you too.

“I would urge anyone who gets a benefit or tax credits to check if you are eligible for these payments and to apply. And those eligible for Best Start Grant are now able to apply for the £10 per week Scottish Child Payment that will start in February 2021. Parents and carers can make sure they are getting everything they are entitled to by talking to the Money Talk team. This service and the Best Start Grant payments are there to help families maximise their income and to support efforts to tackle child poverty.”

Paula, from Forfar who received the Best Start Grant Early Years Payment for her daughter, Arwen 3 said:

“I work 12 hours a week as a treasurer for our local church but because I also receive Universal Credit due to being on my own with two children, I qualified for the Best Start Grant Early Years Payment.“It was easy and straightforward to apply online and money was paid direct into my bank account once the application was completed.

“I am very good at planning ahead and budgeting for uniforms or school shoes or normal shoes or just clothes and jackets, that kind of thing, so to receive that extra money was just a nice thing for the family and for us to spend time together.

“We received the payment during the summer holidays which was a great bonus, it let us have the opportunity to go away for a couple of family day trips to places like the safari park.”

During the course of the evaluation research, a recipient of Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment said:

“I didn’t apply until after she was born because I just thought I’ll not get it. Because you do kind of think ‘och no I’m not going to, I’ll never get that’ and luckily when the baby was born I spoke to my friends a wee bit more and I was like ‘do you know what. I will’. What’s the harm. You pay your taxes all your life and work really hard so why shouldn’t you get something back?” *

Background

  • read the full interim evaluation report:  Interim Evaluation of Best Start Grant
  • Interim Evaluation of Best Start Grant: Annex B: Qualitative Research
  • parents and carers aged 18/19 do not need to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit if they are dependent on someone else, i.e. they are named on their parent or carer’s benefit claim. Parents and carers under the age of 18 do not need to be on any payments or benefits to qualify for Best Start Grant
  • Best start Grant is three payments to help families at key stages in a child’s life
  • Pregnancy and Baby Payment was launched Dec 2018
  • Early Learning Payment launched in April 2019
  • School Age Payment was launched in June 2019
  • *quote sourced from p. 42 of the Qualitative Research supporting the evaluation (link above)
  • people can find eligibility criteria and apply online at mygov.scot or by calling 0800 182 2222
  • families can get financial advice from the Money Talk Teams at moneytalkteam.org.uk or by calling 0800 085 7145
Categories
Business Coronavirus

Extending Support For Hospitality, Retail And Leisure

January grants top-up announced.

A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of:

  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000

In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up.

For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on 25 January.

Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.

Ms Forbes said:

“Since the start of the pandemic Scottish Government support for business and the economy has reached almost £3 billion – more than a third of our total coronavirus (COVID-19) funding, demonstrating our commitment to provide as much help as we possibly can to our businesses.

“As promised, this additional support for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses will be available this month, in some cases doubling or tripling the amount of support we are providing. Applications are open now and payment will be made this month.

“Crucially this essential funding will also help to close the gaps in UK wide support for these impacted sectors and our one-off support for larger hospitality premises of £25,000 is considerably more generous than the £9,000 grant on offer in England.

“I’d encourage all eligible businesses to apply through their local authority if they have not done so already. Of course we are acutely aware that this support can never compensate for the full impact on business, but we must work within the resources that are available to us, and we continue to respond to the evolving economic challenges arising from the pandemic.”

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said:

“Shops and high streets across Scotland have been left reeling by coronavirus. These enhanced cash grants for retail business are a financial lifeline which will help non-essential stores through the current phase of being unable to open and trade.

“There isn’t a taxpayer-funded support scheme which can replace the potential losses of store closures, so it is very encouraging that the Finance Secretary has listened and responded positively.”

Background:

  • larger hospitality businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,001 or more
  • smaller hospitality businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,000 or less
  • larger retail and leisure businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,001
  • smaller retail and leisure businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,000 or less

For more information visit Find Business Support 

Categories
Children Coronavirus Education Public Health

Remote Learning For Schools

Guidance for teachers and families published.

Guidance for teachers and families to support remote learning in schools has been published by Education Scotland.

It has been created in partnership through the Education Recovery Group and sets out a shared understanding of the key principles of remote learning, the support and resources available for teachers and families and what children and young people are entitled to.

This is in addition to remote learning guidance already produced by local authorities for schools to plan and prepare.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Our national e-learning offer, launched in June 2020, is already strengthening the remote and e-learning option available to schools. All authorities and schools in Scotland are already able to access to live, recorded and supported learning resources, while more than 50,000 devices such as laptops have been distributed to children and young people to help with remote learning.

“I am grateful for the huge amount of work that has already been done to prepare for next week and more is being done in order to continuously improve the national remote learning offer. This guidance sets out a range of entitlements for children and young people during the period of remote learning. It highlights the importance of achieving an appropriate balance of live learning and independent activity and an entitlement to ongoing dialogue, reflection and feedback with teachers.”

Background

Read the guidance.

Categories
Children Coronavirus

40,000 Baby Boxes delivered

Support for new parents.

More than 40,000 Baby Boxes have been delivered to expectant parents this year.

It brings the total number delivered since the start of the scheme in August 2017 to 163,397.

The most recent available figures indicate that around 93% of expectant parents are taking up the opportunity to receive a Baby Box.

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said:

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has been challenging for all of us, and particularly so for expectant parents and new mums and dads. Face-to-face support from family and friends has had to be restricted for safety reasons and the pandemic has added to financial worries for many families.

“Supporting new parents this year especially has been vital. The Baby Box, which ensures that every family with a newborn has access to essential items, is part of our commitment to giving every child the best start in life.”

Jackie Tolland, Chief Executive of Parent Network Scotland, said:

“Having been involved in the Baby Box since its inception, I am really pleased that the feedback has been positive. We need to do everything we can as a country to ensure that all children receive the opportunity to have the best start in life.”

Background

Each box contains a large number of essential items for parents and babies, including a selection of clothes from newborn up to the age of six months, a digital thermometer, and bath towel. The box itself comes with a mattress and can be used as a safe sleep space.

Find out more at Parent Club Scotland 

Categories
Coronavirus Energy

Action to tackle climate change

Measures to stop non-biodegradable waste heading to landfill.

Plans to ban all non-household biodegradable waste from entering landfill by 2025 have been set out in the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan update.

A ban on household biodegradable waste being sent to landfill is already in place and the Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032 commits to consulting on extending this to cover business and non-municipal waste.

The proposals are part of a package of measures aiming to reduce food waste by one third by 2025 and recycle 70% of all waste by 2025.

Key initiatives include:

  • restrictions on the supply of specified single use plastic items, which are currently being consulted on
  • a proposed charge on single use disposable beverage cups
  • legislation to increase the carrier bag minimum charge from 5p to 10p next year
  • consultations in 2021 on electronic waste tracking, a mandatory national food waste reduction target and the mandatory reporting of Scotland’s food surplus and waste by food businesses
  • the establishment of a £70 million fund to improve local authority recycling collection infrastructure

Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Our commitment to tackling the twin-crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is unwavering and is central to our green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is clear that by transitioning to a circular economy and sending less waste to landfill, we will reap both environmental and financial rewards.

“For example, research has shown that 10,000 tonnes of waste can create 296 jobs in repair and reuse or 36 jobs in recycling compared to just six jobs in landfill or one job in incineration.

“Emissions in the waste sector are currently around 1.9 megatonnes per year. We have made good progress in reducing this but we can do better.

“By taking simple steps, such as cutting down on food waste or choosing reusable rather than single use, individuals as well as manufacturers and companies, can all do our bit to move away from Scotland’s throwaway culture, help reduce our contribution to climate change and build a more circular economy.”

In line with the EU Commission’s Circular Economy Package, a consultation will look at requirements to separately collect garden waste by 2023 and textiles and hazardous elements of household waste by 2025.

In addition, extra funding will be available to double the number of landfill gas capture sites from 12 to 24 by 2025 in a bid to harness the energy generated from landfill and maximise circular economy opportunities.

Background

The  Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032 update is available to view on the Scottish government website.

Categories
Coronavirus

Scotland’s Pathway to Net Zero

DUNDEE CITY WEST MSP BACKS “AMBITIOUS” STEPS TO TACKLE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

SNP DELIVERING FOR DUNDEE CITY WHILE WESTMINSTER IN CHAOS

SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick has welcomed the announcement of more than 100 ambitious new policies and proposals to support Scotland’s green recovery and help deliver a just transition to net zero.

They form part of the Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032, which has been updated to reflect the world’s most ambitious climate targets as enshrined in Scotland’s Climate Change Act 2019.

The Plan includes:

  • additional funding of £120 million for zero emission buses to accelerate the decarbonisation of Scotland’s bus fleet and support the Scottish supply chain.
  • £50 million to support the creation of Active Freeways to provide sustainable transport links between our towns and cities
  • £50 million to transform vacant and derelict land, ensuring that this land is utilised for maximum environmental and community benefit
  • phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030
  • creating 1 million zero-emission homes by 2030

MSP for Dundee City West Constituency, Joe FitzPatrick said:

“As a country, we face a huge challenge in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, but the climate emergency has not gone away – and it must be absolutely central to our recovery from this COVID crisis.

“Scotland has made significant progress in tackling climate change and building a greener economy, but we know there is still work to be done and the SNP Government is determined to learn lessons from this extraordinary year.

“Scotland is already a world-leader on tackling the climate crisis and delivering green energy. By contrast, Westminster has wasted years obsessing over nuclear power, with a complete lack of ambition over the energy technologies of the future.

“Climate change is without doubt the single biggest challenge we face, and the updated Climate Change Plan will help us achieve our contribution to combatting climate change, grow Dundee’s economy and productivity, and improve the wellbeing of everyone who lives here.”

Background

The updated Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032 is available to view on the Scottish Government website together with the draft Public Engagement Strategy.

Categories
Coronavirus Energy Social Security

Help for households facing fuel poverty

HELP FOR households facing fuel poverty as a result of the pandemic has been launched in the city.

The Fuel Well Dundee Programme will support people on a low income whether they are in or out of work, on reduced incomes as a result of Covid-19, or are already experiencing fuel poverty.

People may have heating systems or home insulation that is inadequate and causing high energy bills or are struggling with other financial or coronavirus related issues.

John Alexander leader of Dundee City Council said:

“Winter is a difficult time for many people as they have some really tough financial choices to make as the temperature drops.

“This has been made so much worse this year by the effects on households of the pandemic, including reduced incomes or increased costs as a result of working from home.

“That’s why the council and its partners have created Fuel Well Dundee to discuss with people what types of support are available to help them with their specific fuel poverty needs.”

The scheme can help with top up payments of between £40 and £100 if certain criteria are met, as well as short, medium and longer-term support from fuel advisers and welfare rights advisers.

This can include other areas of financial inclusion including energy advice, a benefits check and debt advice; where appropriate, consideration of referral for Discretionary Hardship Payments or to the council’s Hardship fund; and crisis grants and community care grants advice.

Gabriel Calvert from local charity Making Dundee Home said

“The service is fast and the staff are very supportive. The money provided allows people to stay warm, cook and take care of themselves.“Hopefully the additional support provided will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Run by Dundee City Council and SCARF (Part of the Home Energy Scotland network) the Fuel Well Dundee Programme can either be accessed directly at https://dundeecity-self.achieveservice.com/service/Fuel_Well_Dundee(link is external) or through referral by a partner organisation

Categories
Coronavirus Health Public Health

Investment for Cancer Services

New Action Plan for the recovery and redesign of cancer care.

A planned investment of up to £114.5 million will ensure cancer patients continue to have equitable access to care in NHS Scotland regardless of where they live.

The Cancer Recovery Plan will improve patients’ experience of care, and will roll-out innovative treatments – many of which have been expedited by the pandemic – to improve cancer services.

A total of 68 actions will be driven forward across five themes to both redesign cancer services and increase NHS Scotland’s overall resilience to any future rises in coronavirus (COVID-19) prevalence.

The actions will be rolled out before March 2023 and will include:

  • two new Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres, established within the existing NHS infrastructure by Spring 2021
  • a programme of “Prehabilitation” helping patients prepare for treatment
  • a single point of contact for cancer patients to support them throughout their diagnosis and treatment
  • a resource dedicated to the national oversight of clinical management guidelines

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:“Patients are at the heart of this plan and their safety and that of our NHS staff will continue to be our priority.

“I would like to thank healthcare staff, the Scottish Cancer Coalition and other partners for their contributions to the plan and their continued help in supporting cancer patients.

“Throughout the pandemic NHS Scotland has remained open, continuing to provide emergency and urgent cancer care , as well as maintaining COVID-19 capacity and resilience.

“Many innovative approaches adopted during the COVID-19 response will be maintained as part of the Cancer Recovery Plan, including the use of video technology, national approaches to prioritisation, innovative diagnostic techniques, timely triaging, and quicker decision making in regards to new treatment options.

“The Plan will continue the momentum of these approaches to service improvement and re-design, ensuring cancer patients have access to the best available treatment and care across Scotland.”

Chair of the Scottish Cancer Coalition and Head of External Affairs for Scotland at Bowel Cancer UK Claire Donaghy said:“Every member of the Scottish Cancer Coalition has seen first-hand the significant impact COVID-19 has had on cancer services in Scotland, and we are pleased that ‘Recovery and Redesign: An action plan for cancer services’ has been published.

“The Scottish Government clearly recognises the crucial role the third sector has in supporting cancer patients, and we welcomed the opportunity to input into the development of the plan.

“NHS Scotland continues to face unprecedented pressures, and we hope that the 68 identified actions will help to ensure the delivery of improved cancer services and patient outcomes.”

Background

The 68 actions in the plan will focus on five themes: Patient & Family Support, Detection & Diagnosis, Treatment, Workforce and Governance & System Support.

The Cancer Recovery Plan will be delivered with oversight from the National Cancer Recovery Group, co-chaired by Professor Aileen Keel and NHS Tayside Chief Executive Grant Archibald, and is aligned to the NHS Remobilise, Recover and Re-design Framework. It has taken into account the views and experiences of patients and their families and those of a number of stakeholders, from the Scottish Cancer Coalition, including Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, to the Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce.

Re-mobilise, Recover, Re-design, The Framework for NHS Scotland 

COVID-19: Scotland’s route map for transitioning through and out of the crisis

More detail on Health Boards mobilisation plans

Framework for recovery of cancer surgery

Categories
Energy Housing

Housing Standards To Cut Climate Change Emissions

Views sought on proposed rules requiring zero emissions heating systems in all new build homes.

The Scottish Government has today published a consultation asking for views on the proposed New Build Heat Standard.

The new rules would mean all new build homes must have heating that produces zero direct greenhouse gas emissions, helping to meet climate change targets.

The measures aim to ensure that heating systems in all new buildings given consent from 2024 are zero-emissions, in line with the recommendation from the UK Committee on Climate Change that this is achieved from 2025 at the latest.

The consultation sets out a range of outcomes for the standard to achieve, including ensuring new homes and non-residential buildings are affordable to heat, supporting the delivery of a continued supply of high quality homes, and offer opportunities for retraining and upskilling workers to install zero emissions heating systems.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“The pace of decarbonising Scotland’s domestic and non-domestic buildings has to increase significantly to achieve our targets on climate change. The New Build Heat Standard will be an important contribution to this to ensure emissions from heating and cooling our buildings fall close to zero.

“We want to combine the action we need to meet the challenge of the climate emergency with our ambition to provide affordable, warm homes. We are seeking views from stakeholders on the most effective way to introduce this Standard to ensure it is deliverable and fit for purpose.”

Professor Lynne Sullivan OBE – A an expert in zero carbon buildings and Chair of the Good Homes Alliance, who co-chaired the New Build Heat Standard working group – said:“We recognised the priority for new buildings to achieve higher efficiency and be ready for zero emissions heating sources, in line with Scotland’s world-leading climate commitments.

“We welcome the consultation on new homes, and believe the targets are achievable with existing technologies at scale. Delivery will unlock long-term economic benefits as well as future-proof Scottish homes.”

Background

The consultation can be found via this link:  New Build Heat Standard – Scoping Consultation – Scottish Government – Citizen Space

New Build Heat Standard Working Group

To support the development of the New Build Heat Standard, an external working group was established to provide advice and expertise to the Scottish Government – and this was instrumental during the drafting of this Scoping Consultation. The group, which features representation across a wide-variety of interests and areas, is co-chaired by respected zero carbon buildings expert, Professor Lynne Sullivan OBE.

Zero Emissions from Heat

Our Scoping Consultation sets out our proposals that any installed heating system (both in terms of a building’s main and any other fixed heating system) would produce no direct greenhouse gas emissions at the point of use. This is to regulate direct emissions that the building owner has control over: emissions from any heating systems contained within a new building.

As part of this consultation process, we are welcoming evidence on how heating technologies could be considered compliant with a ‘zero emissions’ standard.

We have set out our view that heat generated by electricity or by heat networks would produce zero direct emissions at point of use. We recognise that there are other technologies that could produce zero direct emissions, or very nearly zero direct emissions, and are seeking evidence on these. Any approach taken would be kept under review as further evidence on these technologies develops.

Affordable Housing Supply Programme

The Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme continues to support affordable housing providers who wish to install zero emissions heating systems at point of use in their homes. We are evaluating a number of current and pipeline affordable housing projects with these systems, which collectively comprise approximately 900 affordable homes, with the findings from the evaluation making an important contribution to the development of the 2024 Standard.

Affordable Housing Supply Programme

The Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme continues to support affordable housing providers who wish to install zero emissions heating systems at point of use in their homes.  We are evaluating a number of current and pipeline affordable housing projects with these systems, which collectively comprise approximately 900 affordable homes, with the findings from the evaluation making an important contribution to the development of the 2024 Standard.

Categories
Public Health

Blood Donor Criteria Updated

Fairer risk assessment to be implemented.

Changes to the questions asked of blood donors will ensure more gay and bisexual men are able to donate blood in the future.

Currently, men are not able to donate blood in the UK if they have had sex with another man in the past three months, in line with previous expert advice.

New recommendations, which the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) is satisfied will continue to ensure blood safety, mean men will no longer be automatically barred from giving blood if they have had sex with another man in the last three months. Instead, everyone will be given a more individual risk assessment, which will involve all potential donors being asked a few additional questions about their sexual behaviours.

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) will ensure there is information available for donors to explain the reasons for the changes and to give reassurance that all information provided by donors is kept strictly in confidence.

The changes follow recommendations by the specialist steering group for Assessment of Individualised Risk (FAIR) made up of leading medical and academic experts and LGBTI+ groups.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“I welcome the recommendations of the FAIR group, which will enable a more individualised risk assessment approach to blood donor safety checks while continuing to ensure the safe supply of blood to patients.

“We are committed to equality and inclusion, and these changes will ensure a fairer and more up to date assessment of risk is applied to both men and women to identify whether donors may be at risk of a blood-borne virus infection.

“I am pleased to announce SNBTS expects to be able to implement these changes by summer 2021. They will be working to prepare their systems and staff for these changes and will also be working to raise awareness of the changes with existing and potential donors in advance.”

SNBTS Director Craig Spalding said:

“We are proud to have been involved in the work that has been undertaken to enable the Scottish Government to make an informed decision on reviewing and changing donor eligibility requirements.

“Donor eligibility based on personal risk assessments, rather than on broader demographic information such as sexuality, is a welcome change.

“We are grateful for all the donors of Scotland and are looking forward to welcoming a broader cross section of the population, in particular those men who have sex with men who will be able to donate blood under the new criteria.”

Background

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service will adopt the recommendations of the FAIR steering group with the details due to be published shortly by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

The changes will mean that men who have sex with men (MSM) will not be automatically deferred if they have had sex with another man within the past three months.

More information about the FAIR Report will be made available on the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

Categories
Coronavirus Health Public Health

First Vaccinations in Care Homes

90 year old former carer receives her initial dose.

The first vaccinations in care homes in Scotland have taken place.

90 year old Annie Innes was the first care home resident in the country to receive the vaccine. Annie worked as a carer for over 14 years and has been living at the the Abercorn House Care home in Hamilton for six months.

Staff from NHS Lanarkshire administered vaccines to 52 residents as the roll-out of the vaccination programme continued. Second to receive her first dose at the care home was former bar tender 82 year old Margaret Keating who has been a resident at Abercorn House for just over a year.

Those issuing the vaccines became the first to get their initial doses on Tuesday 8 December.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“I want to thank all those involved in the roll-out of the vaccination programme. It has been a challenge to get the Pfizer vaccine into care homes because of transport and storage requirements but I am delighted to see Mrs Innes become the first care home resident to receive her vaccine and I wish her many more years of good health.

“Throughout the pandemic our priority has been to save lives and keep people safe. Vaccines give us a vital additional layer of protection we haven’t had until now.

“As more vaccines become available over the coming months we will be able to continue to extend the roll-out, but initially we are focussing on residents in care homes for older adults and their carers, as we know that older adults in care homes are at the highest risk of severe disease and death from COVID.”

“Those receiving their vaccines this week will get their second doses early in the New Year. Following advice from the MHRA we are keeping 50 per cent of the stock we have back to allow this to happen,

“Of course, we won’t rely solely on the vaccine to protect our care home residents and that’s why we are also significantly accelerating the delivery of testing kits to all care homes for designated visitors.

“But vital and welcome as the vaccine is, it really matters that all of us continue to follow all the guidance and rules including FACTS. Washing our hands regularly, wearing face coverings and keeping two metres distance from others really does make a difference in keeping us and our loved ones safe and keeping pressure off the NHS so it can care for COVID patients and others who need it’s help. We’ve a few more months to go before the vaccine work has been rolled out fully so meantime, we all need to stick together as we have done so we can get through to the lives we all want to live.”

Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire nurse director Trudi Marshall, who is managing the care home vaccination programme across the whole of Lanarkshire, said:

“This programme represents the biggest logistical challenges Lanarkshire, and the country, has ever faced.

“We’ve very rapidly scaled up our vaccinator nursing workforce and carried out detailed planning, which will enable us to vaccinate 2,990 care home residents and 5,601 staff across 93 care homes. In addition, the safe transport and storage of the vaccines has also been a very complex area of work and our staff have been excellent in meeting these challenges so diligently.

“It’s important to recognise just how much work our staff have put in to the process in such a short time. Care home staff and managers also deserve praise for their fantastic co-operation and help.

“Every day we see just how hard care home staff are working to keep residents safe. In addition, they are also liaising with our Care Home Liaison team every step of the way in planning for the roll-out of the vaccines.

“We have a detailed vaccination plan in place which we are communicating to care homes. While this is a very quick moving and complex operation, we’re dedicated to ensuring they are prepared for our visits and resident and staff have consented to receiving the vaccination.

“I’d urge all eligible care home residents and staff to take-up the vaccine to protect themselves and others. I fully understand we’re all eager to get vaccinated, however I’d call for people across Lanarkshire to please be patient as we work through priority groups.”

Resident Annie Innes said:

“It’s wonderful to get the vaccine before Christmas.

“I hope it keeps me, my friends here and the staff safe and means we can get back to normal very soon.

“The nurses and the care home staff have been great with us and we are relieved to have been offered the vaccine.”

Background

Remember FACTS for a safer Scotland:

F – Face coverings

A – Avoid crowded places

C – Clean your hands regularly

T – Two metre distance

S – Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

Categories
Coronavirus Sport

£55 Million For Sport To Help Cover Lost Ticket Revenue

A £55 million emergency sports funding package to tackle lost ticket revenue during the pandemic has been announced today by Sports Minister Joe FitzPatrick.

The funding will comprise grants and low interest loans, including £30 million for Scottish Football at all levels of the game. Scottish Rugby will benefit from £20 million, alongside funding for basketball, netball, motor sport, horse racing and ice hockey, including support for ice rinks that support Scotland’s world-class curling programmes as well as recreational and professional skating. 

The package comes in addition to sportscotland’s £1.5 million COVID Recovery Support Fund. In partnership with the Scottish Government, the agency also loosened the criteria for its £32 million planned annual investment for the sports sector during the pandemic, allowing sports organisations to protect 1,600 jobs.

Mr FitzPatrick said:

“I am pleased to announce this substantial funding package, which will help to ensure those sports which have been worst affected by the loss of ticket revenue during the pandemic are able to bridge the gap in revenue until spectators are able to return safely to sports events in larger numbers.

“While restrictions on supporters at events have been vital in stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives, there can be no doubt that they have created real hardships for many sports clubs. These clubs are at the heart of our communities and, without urgent financial support, the survival of some could be in question. I’m delighted that we are able to provide significantly more support than the Barnett consequential funding received from the UK Government Sports Winter Survival package.

“I recognise that for football in particular, governing bodies, clubs and, of course, supporters themselves are desperate to see fans back as soon as possible. Sport brings great enjoyment to the many people who watch and play, and we don’t want supporters to be delayed in returning to stadiums for any longer than is absolutely necessary.”

sportscotland Chief Executive Stewart Harris said:

“This announcement is very welcome as the funding will help protect the immediate future of many clubs over the coming months.

“We will continue to work with a range of Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport and the Scottish Government to prioritise this funding to ensure the survival of the sports at the heart of our communities.

“With the roll out of the vaccine this week there is real hope that we are beginning to see our way out of this pandemic, and we need to make certain that sport is in a good place and is a prominent part of the overall recovery plan.”

Background

On 19 November the UK Government announced a £300 million rescue package for sport in England. The majority of this, £250 million, was made up of loans, with £50 million in resource funding. No support was provided to either the men’s English Premier League or the men’s English Football League. During that announcement in the House of Commons, the UK Minister for Sport confirmed that consequentials would be forthcoming from that funding package.

In April, sportscotland and the Scottish Government loosened the criteria for the planned annual investment for Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport and local partners, releasing 50 per cent of the total (£16 million). The remaining 50 per cent was released in August on similar terms. This has helped to protect more than 1,000 jobs in SGBs and a further 600 with local partners, clubs and community organisations as part of the Community Sport Hub (CSH), Direct Club Investment (DCI) and Active Schools programmes.

The full breakdown of the £55 million emergency sports fund announced today is as follows:

Scottish Football £20 million loan funding for the Scottish Premiership and £10 million in grants for all other levels outwith the Premiership – including tiers below the SPFL and women’s football    
Scottish Rugby£15 million in grants and £5 million in loan funding
Basketball£300,000 in grants
Netball£100,000 in grants
Motorsport£400,000 in grants
Ice Hockey and Ice rinks£200,000 in grants for Ice Hockey and £2 million in grants for Ice Rinks      
    Horseracing£2 million in grants
Categories
Business Coronavirus

New £185 Million Package For Scottish Businesses

COVID-19 assistance targets sectors in need.

Businesses across Scotland will benefit from a new £185 million package of targeted coronavirus (COVID-19) support.

The announcement follows discussions with business groups and sees a wide range of sectors benefiting, from taxi drivers and arts venues to travel agents and hospitality.

In addition, there will be additional one-off payments to hospitality businesses in January to help them deal with the traditional post-Christmas dip in demand. These will be of £2,000 or £3,000, depending on rateable value.

The package was announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who also said she had written to the Treasury calling for Scotland to receive its share of rates relief reimbursed by supermarkets “to ensure this is spent on those areas hardest hit as part of Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19”.

Ms Forbes said:

“Today I am pleased to confirm an allocation of £185 million for new and additional business support in the new year. We have listened to businesses and this assistance will be provided on a sector-by-sector basis, targeted at those who need it most.

“We are developing grant schemes for hospitality, for the events sector, live music and cultural venues, for the arts, indoor football centres and for the food and drink sector, including £1.8 million for brewers.

“We will give £1.5 million to travelling show people ineligible for other support, while a new £19 million fund, plus a one-off grant, will help taxi drivers.

“I can also announce that further support of £60 million will be provided to the tourism sector, details of which will be developed in consultation with the industry.

“I am listening to the needs of business and we will continue to review and refine our COVID-19 support offer within the available resources.”

Specific support detailed in today’s announcement includes:

  • £15 million for the wedding sector and its supply chain, including photographers
  • one-off grants totalling £15 million for mobile close contact services, such as hairdressers
  • a £19 million fund and one-off grants for taxi drivers
  • £5 million for travel agents
  • almost £6 million for coach companies and tour operators
  • £1.5 million for visitor attractions

Background

More detail on the package will be announced in the coming days and businesses can expect to apply for all the new grant schemes in January.

Categories
Business Coronavirus

Latest COVID-19 Funding Allocations

Money for business support and vaccine programme.

More than £1.8 billion of extra funding has been allocated to tackling the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland.

It covers areas including health, transport and business support, accounting for all but £330 million of the latest consequentials generated by UK Government spending. The remainder will be used to meet further urgent demands relating to both COVID-19 and Brexit up to the end of March 2021.

The funding is detailed in a letter from Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee.

Ms Forbes said:

“From the outset, I have ensured that the money we receive is distributed as quickly as possible to where it is needed most. Our decisions have provided vital additional resources to our NHS, schools and other public services, they have kept our transport system running and provided much needed financial support for businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“To provide full transparency, I detailed earlier allocations in the summer and autumn budget revisions. This latest round will deliver measures such as the COVID-19 vaccination programme, local business support packages and free school meals over the holidays.

“The UK Treasury has indicated that this funding covers the period up to March 2021, so I have allocated £330 million as a contingency to ensure we are in a position to provide further support to health and businesses, including for issues arising from Brexit, as it is required over the coming months.

“Our limited borrowing powers mean we do not have flexibility to increase spending to meet demand and therefore must manage our expenditure – much of which is demand led so cannot be accurately calculated in advance – within the consequentials provided.”

The latest allocations include:

  • around £600 million for health and social care, wider public health initiatives and welfare support. This includes the COVID-19 vaccination programme, test and trace and the £500 bonus for health and social care workers.
  • support for business and the wider economy totalling £570 million, including funding for the strategic framework, local business support packages, the newly self-employed hardship fund and local authority discretionary business funding
  • an estimated £139 million of previously announced funding for government, bringing the overall support package to councils to more than £1 billion
  • around £500 million to support transport services and cover pandemic-related income shortfalls within organisations such as Police Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

Background

The latest COVID-19 consequentials bring the total received by the Scottish Government to £8.2 billion.

A further update on COVID-19 spending will be provided through the Spring Budget Revision in the New Year.

A copy of Ms Forbes’ letter to the Finance and Constitution Committee Convener Bruce Crawford is below.

Dear Bruce,

I am writing to update the Finance and Constitution Committee on usage and allocations to date of consequential funding received during 2020-21 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

We have drawn down and allocated this funding over the course of the year in response to what has been an exceptional and dynamic set of circumstances. I have updated Parliament on several occasions and, although a further update will be provided through the Spring Budget Revision in the New Year, I thought it would be helpful to provide further information in advance of that.

Around £6 billion of consequentials were allocated in the unprecedented Summer Budget Revision and as part of the Autumn Budget Revisions. Since then, consequentials provided have been increased to £8.2 billion.

I can confirm that thus far, further allocations have been provided as follows:

  • Around £600 million has been provided to health and social care, wider public health initiatives and welfare support. This funding supports the public health response to Covid including: vaccinations and test and trace; the £500 non-consolidated payment for health and social care staff; and the Winter Plan for Social Protection, which helps people pay for food, heating, warm clothing and shelter as well as free school meals over the school holidays and the self-isolation support grant.
  • Support for business and the wider economy of £570 million, including grants via the Strategic Framework, funding for local support packages, the newly self-employed hardship fund, digital support, Local Authority Discretionary Business Funding and remaining allocations from the £97 million support for culture and heritage.
  • Previously announced support for Local Government, relating to the estimated £90 million Lost Income Scheme as well as £49 million of additional funding confirmed to councils in September. Added to additional funding already committed, this brings the value of the overall support package to councils to more than £1 billion.
  • Around £500 million of funding to support continued provision of transport and funding for income shortfalls within our partner bodies including Police Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council, Registers of Scotland and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service in order to ensure that they can continue to deliver vital services, as well as mitigating shortfalls in devolved tax as a direct result of Covid-19.
  • Due to the nature of the Covid-19 outbreak, the potential asks for further demand led spend with regards strategic framework support for business in Scotland and additional demands on health, and the requirement that the funding provided to date will cover all costs until the end of March 2021, I have allocated £330 million of funding in order to support these asks. This is consistent with the terms of the funding guarantee provided by HM Treasury to the devolved administrations, which specified the funding was to cover the period until March 2021. This contingency is also required in order to support any additional funding requirements as a result of the end of the EU transition period.
  • The Scottish Government’s limited borrowing powers means we do not have flexibility to increase spending and therefore must manage demand-led expenditure risks within the consequentials provided.

The figures above remain a snapshot of a dynamic funding position. I will formally advise of final allocations as part of Spring Budget Revision, the last formal opportunity in the financial year to transfer budgets.

KATE FORBES