Sarwar: ‘Not acceptable to live with restrictions indefinitely’

The Scottish Labour leader called for 'trigger points' for restrictions to be set out.

Sarwar: ‘Not acceptable to live with restrictions indefinitely’ iStock
Sarwar said that the introduction of restrictions at short notice is having a 'detrimental impact'.

It will not be acceptable or tolerable for people to live with restrictions “indefinitely”, according to Anas Sarwar.

The Scottish Labour leader made the remark as he called for clear ‘trigger points’ to be set out by the Scottish and UK governments to outline the levels at which any restrictions may be needed in future.

Sarwar described the current decision making process on Covid measures as ‘ad-hoc’ and ‘not fit for purpose’.

It comes on the day that restrictions were further eased in Scotland – including an end to social distancing and table service requirements dropped for pubs and restaurants serving alcohol.

The Scottish Labour MSP spoke as he set out his party’s plan for ‘Living Well with Covid-19’, as he said that he wants to avoid any more restrictions.

“The reality is we’re almost two years into the pandemic and over that time we haven’t built the resilience in the system that we should have built – in terms of business support, resilience in terms of what’s happening in our schools, resilience in terms of what’s happening in our NHS,” he said.

“There comes a point where an ad hoc decision-making process isn’t fit for purpose anymore.”

Sarwar suggested that ongoing restrictions and the way they are introduced at short notice was having a “detrimental impact” on people’s health, mental wellbeing and businesses.”

“The only fair way going forward is to recognise that people can’t be expected to live their life like this indefinitely, it will not be acceptable, it will not be tolerable,” he said.

“So it’s time that the Scottish Government and the UK Government in partnership sets out a clear framework and clear trigger points about what levels do they have to consider restrictions, if they consider restrictions at all.

“And, if they do bring in any level of restrictions, what people can expect them to be and then what it means for businesses at every level of that, what level of business support is going to come in to protect their business, and what level what level of economic support is going to go into support independent individual workers.

“Because at the moment, the ad hoc decision-making isn’t working for anyone.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives have called for the requirement for masks to be worn in classrooms to be dropped.

The party’s education spokesman Oliver Mundell said that face masks are having a negative impact on children’s learning.

He said: “The SNP cannot keep ignoring the weight of argument against face masks in classrooms.

“Education experts are clear that face masks in classrooms have a negative impact on learning, especially for those children with extra needs, and scientific experts are in agreement that it’s safe for them to go.

“So there is no excuse for this restriction remaining in place, and Nicola Sturgeon should lift it immediately.”

He continued: “Pupils, teachers and parents are desperate for a return to normal learning after two years of disruption, so it’s time the First Minister listened to her own experts.

“With curbs being eased across the country this week, under the SNP school kids remain all but forgotten as ministers continue to drag their heels at the expense of our children’s education.”

More on