‘Mental health crisis is not on the horizon, it’s already here’

STV News has been hearing from some of those whose lives have been affected during coronavirus pandemic.

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Over the past year we have become used to hearing about the physical toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the emotional impact on many has also been profound, causing a huge surge in the number of people who are struggling with their mental ill health.

Recent research by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) found more than half of those surveyed with existing mental health problems felt it had worsened during the pandemic.

More than a quarter said their specialist treatment or care had stopped entirely during this time, and Covid led to a reported 55% drop in referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

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So with warnings that a crisis is not just on the horizon, it’s already with us, what should the next Scottish Government’s priorities be when it comes to mental health?

STV News has been hearing from some of those whose lives have been affected by psychological illness.

‘I didn’t want to go through this’

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Long-Covid: Sarah MacDougall said more support is needed.

April 23, 2020, is a day etched in Sarah MacDougall’s mind. 

With nursing staff by her side, she took her first tentative steps outside after surviving coronavirus.

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The care home worker from Inverness knew she was lucky to be alive.

But her mental, as well as her physical battle, was only just beginning.

Sarah, 43, was put in a coma and placed on a ventilator after contracting the virus.

She pulled through, but now suffers from long-Covid and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now the counselling she accessed through her work is about to end.

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Hospital: Ms MacDougall survived coronavirus.

Speaking to STV News, Ms MacDougall said: “It’s the tears, the anger, it’s in your head ‘what did I do to deserve this?’”

Ms MacDougall still walks with a frame due to nerve damage in her foot and leg, and has been unable to return to the job she loves.

‘I’m trying to deal with it, but more support would go a long way.’

Sarah MacDougall
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She wants the next government to set up a specialist support group for long-Covid sufferers.

“It’s as simple as someone saying, ‘yes you’re feeling like this, yes you’re traumatised,” she said.

“I didn’t want to go through this. I’m trying to deal with it, but more support would go a long way.

“I don’t think that’s asking for too much. It’s very hard.”

‘There needs to be an education package to combat stigma’

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Support: Emma Strathdee has received a lot of help from family and friends.

Every morning Emma Strathdee puts on her walking boots and heads for Bennachie.

She’s scaling the hill in Aberdeenshire for 28 days to raise money for SAMH.

There’s passion and purpose behind her pursuit.

Ms Strathdee, 38, has suffered from depression since she was in her early 20s. 

She became an expert at hiding it from those around her, but during lockdown it intensified, becoming so severe that on two occasions she tried to take her own life.

Ms Strathdee says she’s had little support since leaving hospital, and has been told it could be up to a year before she can see a psychologist.

She told STV News: “More money needs to be put into the NHS.

“It should have been put in a long, long time ago – so that we can have more psychologists, more psychiatrists, even just more GPs that can speak to people about their mental health.

“There also needs to be an education package of some sort that the teachers can dish out from primary one, right the way through.

“Because there’s not the education, that’s where the stigma comes in – it’s still not an accepted illness.”

‘I tried to take my own life and I live with the guilt of that on my family every day.’

Emma Strathdee

Ms Strathdee says her family and friends have been a huge help, but outside support is needed.

She added: “I tried to take my own life and I live with the guilt of that on my family every day.

“Why should they have to suffer that when I could have had help a long time ago? And it’s not just me, it’s thousands of people.”

‘Quite simply, we need boots on the ground’

STV News
Tragedy: Greg McHugh took his own life in 2016.

Steve McHugh wishes his son had felt able to talk.

Greg was a fun-loving, popular young man.

He was in his final year studying chemistry at university with a bright future ahead of him.

But instead of celebrating with his fellow graduates, Greg’s first-class honours degree had to be awarded posthumously.

Greg took his own life in 2016. He was 21.

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Family: Steve McHugh said it will ‘never be the same’ following Greg’s death.

Mr McHugh believes young people’s mental health must be the next government’s priority.

He told STV News: “We need to have in the community what you might call medical triage centres, so that young people, when they call in for support, they don’t have to go on a waiting list to see their GP.

“They can go on to receive a mental health evaluation, from which they can then be signposted to counsellors or others as necessary.”

‘I think Greg felt he didn’t deserve to live and that people would be better off without him, but if only he’d known how devastated so many people were, and how much love so many people had for him, I think the outcome would have been different.’

Steve McHugh

Mr McHugh stressed the need for action, not just words.

He said: “Boots on the ground – quite simply, we need boots on the ground.

“That’s what must happen if we are going to address this.”

Mr McHugh now wants to help prevent others from the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.

He said: “I think Greg felt he didn’t deserve to live and that people would be better off without him, but if only he’d known how devastated so many people were, and how much love so many people had for him, I think the outcome would have been different.

“It will never be the same for me and my family. You adapt, but it doesn’t go back to what it was before. It’s a different level of normality.

“It’s so sad that at 21-years-old you’ve got your whole live to look forward to, and now you’re just left thinking what might have been really.”

‘Some don’t go to their doctor because they don’t feel welcomed’

STV News
Man On: Jason Moore is now a director of the mental health charity.

A year ago the Man On Inverclyde group had six people on WhatsApp.

Now the mental health charity has more than 100 members.  

For Jason Moore it’s been a huge support. In March 2020, the 22-year-old from Greenock tried to take his own life.

Man On was founded by one of Mr Moore’s friends who felt there was a lack of help and wanted to make a difference.

Mr Moore has benefited from the group so much he’s now become heavily involved with the organisation and is one of its directors.

But he says the onus shouldn’t just be on the voluntary sector to step in when times are tough.

He told STV News: “Through Man On we got a private therapist, so I got access to counselling that way. But we had to source it ourselves, it wasn’t through the NHS.

“I think there needs to be more education for doctors. I know a lot of people who don’t go because they don’t feel welcomed – they get the same treatment all the time.

“You would like to see the GPs have more of an education about mental health and go into more conversation and details.

“I also think we need more education in schools, to inform people about speaking out and dealing with emotions.”

‘There’s a sense of worry because you’re hearing of kids of like 12 who are struggling. And that’s really quite terrifying.’

Jason Moore

Man On helps people with a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions and family problems.

Mr Moore added: “We do everything we can at Man On, but it shouldn’t be up to us to kind of play a vigilante kind of role.

“There should be more available, through the NHS and the doctors.”

Mr Moore says he worries about the rising number of young people now needing help.

He added: “There’s a sense of worry because you’re hearing of kids of like 12 who are struggling. And that’s really quite terrifying.”

‘It feels like on the ground we’re firefighting all the time really’

STV News
Experts: Dr Sadia Mohammed and Dr Saman Khan.

Dr Saman Khan and Dr Sadia Mohammed are Glasgow-based psychiatrists who treat children and teenagers with mental health problems.

Alongside their day jobs, they’ve launched their own YouTube channel – Gupshup with Dr Sadia & Dr Saman – to raise awareness of mental health issues among Scotland’s Urdu-speaking communities.

When it comes to young people’s mental health, they say there’s demand like never before with urgent referrals amid the pandemic reportedly pushing the waiting list back to around 18 months.

Dr Khan told STV News: “Specifically amongst ethnic minorities, I think the stigma is a lot more. 

“Unfortunately, we don’t see enough ethnic minorities. We don’t see the same number of presentations reflecting the percentage of population that we have.”

“It feels like on the ground we’re firefighting all the time really,” added Dr Mohammed.

“There’s just been so much mental distress.”

‘We’re also seeing so many acute presentations of suicidal children and young people – people in acute distress.’

Dr Sadia Mohammed

The doctors said lockdown has had a “really significant impact” on children and young people.

Dr Mohammed said: “We’ve seen increased rates of referrals of all psychiatric disorders.

“There’s been an exponential rise in acute and routine referrals for eating disorders.

“We’re also seeing so many acute presentations of suicidal children and young people – people in acute distress.”

She added that before the pandemic around one in every nine young people would be expected to have a mental health disorder. That’s now increased to one in six.

“As we get over the pandemic, there’s going to be a lot more hitting our doors that hasn’t arrived yet,” said Dr Mohammed.

“There’s a really significant rise in mental health problems that are going to come our way.

“We really need a lot more funding. And not just funding that’s short-term, temporary for the next year or so – we needed sustainable funding.”

What are the parties pledging?

The Scottish Conservatives say they’ll increase the share of health funding on mental health to 10% by the end of the next parliament and develop a self-harm prevention strategy.

The SNP want to increase investment in mental health by at least 25% and ensure GP practices have a dedicated mental wellbeing worker.

Scottish Labour want to set up mental health A&Es in every health board and develop a ten-year suicide prevention plan. 

The Scottish Liberal Democrats want to train more mental health specialists and double the number of people training on counsellor courses.

The Scottish Greens want to allocate 10% of frontline health spend to mental health by 2026.

The party said it will also ensure everyone can access mental health support at their local GP practice with specialist mental health workers. 

The Greens will also invest an additional £161m into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services by 2026, and double the budget for community mental wellbeing services for children and young people to £30m.

The party will also increase focus on prevention, with better access to remedies like cognitive behavioural therapy and social prescribing.

Rally held in George Square to highlight Glasgow ‘waste crisis’

A day of action was held on Saturday.

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There are calls for the recruitment of 100 new road sweepers and 100 new refuse collectors.

Bags of rubbish have been dumped outside of Glasgow City Council as part of a day of action calling for more investment to tackle the city’s “waste crisis”.

Campaigners from the GMB Union and Living Rent held a rally in George Square on Saturday.

They have called for the recruitment of 100 new road sweepers and 100 new refuse collectors, as well as the reduction of agency staff to less than 5%.

They are also calling for an end to the bulk uplift charge and the re-introduction of back court teams.

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The rubbish dumped in George Square was collected by action teams from different streets and backcourts in Govanhill, Govan, Partick and Dennistoun, as evidence of what they say is the council’s “neglect”.

People gather in George Square as part of the rally. (STV News)

Living Rent Dennistoun branch Chair Caroline Robertson insisted that cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.

She said: “As COP26 approaches and the eyes of the world are on Glasgow, communities in the east end need to make GCC clean up its act and invest in more clenny workers to keep our streets clean.

“GCC ‘sprucing up’ Glasgow and passing responsibility for street cleaning onto communities to impress tourist heads of state is utterly insulting.”

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Robertson added: “Clenny workers have been essential before the pandemic, during and will continue to be. They’re fighting an uphill battle to keep streets clean.

“Cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.

“This isn’t just Glasgow City Council’s problem. If the money isn’t there, then the Scottish Government needs to ensure it is. Glasgow’s MSPs can’t be allowed to pass the buck.”


Where can I go as Glasgow roads start closing for COP26?

Everything you need to know about travelling around Glasgow during the UN climate conference.

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Parts of Glasgow will start locking down on Saturday ahead of the COP26 United Nations climate conference.

The summit is being held at the Scottish Event Campus on the banks of the River Clyde from October 31 to November 12.

But residents and commuters are being warned to expect delays across the city from this weekend.

So, where are you allowed to go as COP26 takes over Glasgow?

Road closures

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The scale of the event in Glasgow is unprecedented and the council has warned people that roads will be “extremely busy”.

The city’s motorway network – including the M8, M77 and M74 – are all at risk of major congestion.

And the Clydeside Expressway, which normally sees around 100,000 vehicles each day, will be closed between Partick and Anderston from October 23 to November 15.

Official alternative routes involve drivers using some of the busiest roads in the city by going through the Clyde Tunnel, parallel to the Expressway on Dumbarton Road and Argyle Street, or Great Western Road, through Charing Cross.

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Stobcross Road, which runs between the Expressway and the SEC, has already been closed due to works, and will not open again until November 21.

Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
Red shows areas at risk of congestion with roads expected to be significantly busier than usual on the first day of the conference.

Pressure is expected to be diverted on to the A739 Clyde Tunnel, which runs north to south under the river, as well as Paisley Road West, Great Western Road and Dumbarton Road.

The disruption from COP26 comes on top of traffic chaos already being caused by the ongoing repairs to the M8 Woodside Viaduct north of the city centre.

Get Ready Glasgow via Glasgow City Council
Alternate routes for the COP26 road closures from October 23 until November 15.

COP26 road closures in full

  • Congress Road, closed from 6am, October 10, until 6am, November 17.
  • Congress Way, Finnieston Quay, Tunnel Street, Stobcross Road (section parallel to A814) and Castlebank Street, subject to lane restrictions and closures between October 17 and 23, with full closure from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 21.
  • Clyde Arc (Squinty Bridge) and Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 23 until 6am on November 15. The roads will be open to service buses only.
  • Finnieston Street, from Houldsworth Street to Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 15. Local Access southbound will be maintained until October 28.
  • Clydeside Expressway, from Partick Interchange to Anderston (Junction 19), closed from 9pm on October 23, until 6am on November 15.
  • Minerva Street and West Greenhill Place, closed from 6am on October 28, until 6am on November 13, with local access to private carparks maintained.
Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
COP26 Road Closures: SEC and Finnieston
Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
COP26 Road Closures: Partick and Transport Museum
Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
COP26 Road Closures: Anderston and M8

Can I still ride my bike?

Cycling is encouraged during the summit, but pedestrian and cycle routes around the SEC will be affected, with campaigners arguing that the closures go against the ethos of the conference.

Glasgow City Council has suspended public access around the venue – the site covering Finnieston and Pacific Quay, Millennium and Bells bridges and a number of paths will be out of bounds from October 21 to November 19.

Access will banned from the following routes:

  • C93E (Millennium Bridge)
  • C93F (Bells Bridge)
  • Part of C93 (Clyde Walkway (North) between Beith Way and Finnieston Street)
  • Part of C93A (between Finnieston Quay and Minerva Street)
  • C93C (between the Riverside Museum and Stobcross Road)
  • Part of C109 (Clyde Walkway (South) at Pacific Quay)
  • Part of C54A (Expressway Overbridge at Anderston)
  • Part of C54B (M8 Overbridge at Anderston)
  • River Kelvin ‘Core Path on Water’ at Kelvin Harbour

Will public transport be running?

The conference will be disrupted by rail strikes after members of the RMT union backed industrial action.

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ScotRail workers will strike from November 1 to 12 amid a dispute over pay and conditions.

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RMT members on the Caledonian Sleeper service, which is run by Serco, will also strike from October 31 to November 2 and from November 11 to 13.

Sunday train services in Scotland have been crippled for months as workers protest over pay and conditions.

Are tourist attractions open?

Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s culture and leisure venues, is closing six sites to “minimise disruption” during COP26.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Transport Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art will be closed throughout the conference.

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum


Kelvin Hall will also be closed from October 28 to November 1 and Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls and Tennis Centre will also be shut from October 31 to November 2.


People urged to stay away from A&E unless condition ‘life-threatening’

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has made the call as health boards across the country face continued pressure due to Covid.

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NHSGGC: The health board is urging people to stay away from A&E unless their condition is 'life-threatening'.

A top doctor at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is urging people to stay away from A&E unless their “condition is life-threatening”.

The call comes as the Covid pandemic continues to put NHS boards across the country under massive pressure.

Earlier this week, NHS Lanarkshire moved to its highest risk level – dubbed ‘code black’ – which has seen the health board postpone scheduled hospital treatments, including some cancer procedures.

NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Borders and NHS Grampian recently requested help from the armed forces. Soldiers are also providing support to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

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On Saturday, NHSGGC said that over a seven-day period, 32% of the people who attended Queen Elizabeth University Hospital’s emergency department did so with “minor injuries and issues” including sprained ankles, lower back pain, cut fingers and bruising.

Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for NHSGGC, said: “We want to thank all of our staff for their continuing commitment to our patients, their families and their colleagues during this unprecedented time.

“Unfortunately, our emergency departments are still seeing people who do not need to be there, with minor ailments such as dental pain, urinary tract infections, sore throats of less than one day, period pain, cuts and scrapes.

“Attending A&E with these minor conditions not only adds to the pressure facing our staff but also impacts on waiting times.

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“We would urge everyone that, unless their condition is life-threatening, they should not attend an emergency department.”

Those in any doubt over who they should contact are being urged to call NHS 24 on 111.

Dr Davidson added: “If necessary you will be given an onward referral to our Flow Navigation Centre Team, who will call you back and undertake a virtual consultation.

“This can be undertaken in your own home and may mean the condition can be treated without you leaving home.

“Should you need to attend an emergency department, the team will instruct you to do so.

“Our partner GP surgeries across the board area are open, and the GP out-of-hours service for urgent problems, over the weekend, can also be accessed by calling 111.

“Pharmacies also have expert knowledge and can advise on minor ailments, or give simple healthcare advice.

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“I would like to thank members of the public who have continued to use 111 to access the correct care for their support and understanding during what continues to be a challenging time for everyone.”

Firefighters called to reports of tenement blaze

The alarm was raised at around 7.30pm.

PA Media
There were no reports of any injuries.

Firefighters have been called to reports of a blaze in the west end of Glasgow.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said three fire engines and a high reach appliance went to the scene on Byres Road when the alarm was raised at around 7.30pm on Saturday.

Firefighters could be seen in flats on the first to third floors of the tenement building where they appeared to be opening windows.

An ambulance was also at the scene of the incident, which was at the junction with Havelock Street.

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There were no reports of any injuries.


Weather warning as heavy rain expected to drench parts of Scotland

The Met Office has issued a yellow alert from 9pm on Saturday through to 9am on Sunday.

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Rain: The Met Office has issued a yellow alert from 9pm on Saturday through to 9am on Sunday.

Heavy rain is expected to drench parts of Scotland this weekend.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning, with Scots urged to prepare for travel disruption and flooding.

The downpour is expected between 9pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.

Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Glasgow, Argyll and Bute, Renfrewshire and Stirling are likely to see most of the bad weather.

Met Office via Website
Saturday and Sunday: The weather warning for rain.
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The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has so far issued seven flood alerts.

Experts have warned that homes and businesses could flood due to the rainfall.

Spray and sudden flooding could also lead to difficult driving conditions.

The Met Office said: “Persistent, heavy rain may lead to some disruption, especially to travel.”

Body found in search for missing Royal Conservatoire acting student

Police recovered Timothy Chiwaula's body from the River Clyde in Glasgow on Friday.

Police Scotland
Glasgow: Police recovered Timothy Chiwaula's body from the River Clyde on Friday.

The body of a missing Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student has been found.

Timothy Chiwaula, 23, was last seen in Glasgow’s Old Shettleston Road on Monday, October 11.

Police recovered his body from the River Clyde next to Glasgow Green on Friday.

The acting student’s family has been made aware.

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On Saturday, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 4am on Friday, October 22, police were called after the body of a man was discovered in the water next to Glasgow Green.

“The deceased has been formally identified as Timothy Chiwaula who had been reported missing from the Glasgow area. His family are aware.

“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

“The media and members of the public are thanked for their support during our investigation.”

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Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, RCS Principal: “We’re absolutely devastated to hear of Tim’s death and our thoughts are with his family, his friends and all those who knew and loved him.

“Within our community, Tim was known as a young man of warmth and great potential. He will be missed very much.

“This is a close-knit community and our focus now is ensuring our students and staff are supported as we all come to terms with this terrible news.”

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Care workers protest for £15 per hour wage outside Holyrood

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said members in the care sector would 'summon the spirit of the Glasgow women’s strike'.

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Health secretary Humza Yousaf earlier this month announced a pay rise for care staff.

Care workers and the GMB trade union rallied outside the Scottish Parliament on Saturday to call for a £15 per hour wage.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf earlier this month announced a pay rise for care staff, taking the minimum remuneration to £10.02 per hour as part of the winter plan for health and social care.

But unions and opposition politicians claimed the cash boost “isn’t nearly enough”.

Addressing the crowd in Edinburgh, GMB general secretary Gary Smith said members in the care sector would “summon the spirit of the Glasgow women’s strike” – which resulted in a historic payout from the council after years of underpaying female workers.

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“Pay is the priority in tackling the growing understaffing crisis and lifting the unsustainable pressures not just in social care, but in our NHS too – that’s why we are ‘fighting for fifteen’,” he said.

“We know the prospect of wages just above £10 an hour won’t cut it, and if you want to retain and recruit the people we need then we must value this essential work properly.

“After the awful events of this pandemic and with a bleak winter ahead, the consequences of continuing to neglect these key workers should be crystal clear to everyone.

“But if Government fails to recognise this then we will summon the spirit of the Glasgow women’s strike and start organising for industrial action across the care sector.”

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Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie voiced her support for the campaign, and attended the protest with a number of her colleagues.

“The pandemic has left us in no doubt of the incredible work social care staff do day in day out, but applause doesn’t pay the bills,” she said.

“The pitiful pay deal the SNP handed to carers last year is nothing short of disgraceful.

“As staffing shortages push the sector to breaking point, a pay rise is not just the right thing to do – it is the only thing to do.

“If the SNP are serious about building a real National Care Service, they can start by giving the workers at its heart a fair deal and paying them £15 an hour.”

The Scottish Government is consulting on a National Care Service which would bring all publicly owned adult social care services under one body – and could include other areas such as drug and alcohol care and children’s services.


Scottish Government hits out at RMT leadership after pay deal rejected

It comes after RMT confirmed that strikes during the COP26 summit will go ahead.

STV News
A pay offer of 4.7 per cent over two years, a £300 payment for COP26, and a rest day working enhancement has been made.

The Scottish Government has said it is “utterly perplexed” by the leadership of RMT over their “inability” to see that their members will lose out by being unwilling to resolve the rail dispute ahead of COP26.

It comes after the union confirmed that strikes during the UN climate summit will go ahead.

Talks were held on Friday between RMT and ScotRail, with the union accusing the train operating of “offering nothing of any consequence”.

A pay offer of 4.7% over two years, a £300 payment for COP26, and a rest day working enhancement has been made.

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However, RMT rejected the proposal without putting it before members, a move Transport Scotland described as “disappointing”.

It is understood that the deal has been accepted by ASLEF and TSSA, whilst Unite have recommended it to its members who are being balloted.

In a statement, a Scottish Government spokesperson welcomed the acceptance of the deal by the three unions, but accused RMT of letting its members down.

“For some weeks now, ScotRail has been in constructive discussion with the four Railway Trade Unions to negotiate a pay increase for 2021,” they said.

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“They have done so in good faith and with a willingness to hear unions’ concerns and seek, through collective bargaining, to reach a position acceptable to all but especially union members and all of ScotRail’s workforce.

“Three out of four unions have now accepted, or recommended acceptance, of the pay offer and two have done so by balloting their membership. That is welcomed hugely.”

They continued: “We were disappointed that the RMT rejected the offer. Having taken nearly two weeks to tell ScotRail they were rejecting the offer, ScotRail sought to return immediately to the table to focus on the area the RMT said publicly was their one remaining concern – rest day working. 

“An offer in this regard was made, the RMT undertook to consider it. We fully expected their representatives to return with a counter offer – that after all is the nature of negotiations – yet the RMT leadership rejected that offer out of hand and returned to the issue of pay.”

The spokesperson indicated that the matter can still be resolved, whilst hitting out at RMT over their stance.

They said: “We note the latest public statement by the RMT leadership; Scotrail remains ready to return to the negotiating table at any point this weekend to consider again the issue of allowances for rest day working.

“This matter can be resolved, allowing everyone who works for Scotland’s Railway to get on with preparing to welcome the world to Glasgow. 

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“We believe that’s what most of our railway employees want. We know a credible, good pay offer has been made that we think most ScotRail employees would want to accept. We hope that the RMT leadership will recognise this too.

“But at this point, we are utterly perplexed by the leadership’s inability to see that it is their members who stand to lose out, and that by its actions and unwillingness to seek meaningfully to resolve this matter, they are letting their members down.

“We don’t think anyone, including the membership of the RMT, wants to disrupt COP26 or the chance to showcase Scotland’s green, clean railway to a global audience. We hope that encompasses the RMT leadership too, although their approach to seeking resolution of matters does appear to call this into question.”

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Cat and kittens killed in flat fire as detectives launch inquiry

Officers are treating the blaze in Methil's Keir Hardie Street on Saturday morning as wilful.

© Google Maps 2020
Methil: The incident happened in Keir Hardie Street at around 4.15am on Saturday.

Detectives have launched an investigation after two kittens and a cat were killed in a flat fire.

Officers are treating the blaze in Methil, Fife, as wilful.

The incident happened in Keir Hardie Street at around 4.15am on Saturday.

Police said a 36-year-old woman left the flat at around 8pm on Friday and the property is believed to have been unoccupied after that time.

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Detective sergeant Clark Forrest, of Levenmouth CID, said: “Thankfully there were no injuries to anyone within the block of flats but the damage to the property and loss of the woman’s kittens and cat has been extremely distressing for her.

“We’re still trying to establish the full circumstances so I’m appealing to anyone who has any relevant information or witnessed anything suspicious in the early hours of Saturday morning, or perhaps the days leading up to the incident, to contact us.”

If you have any information, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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