Sturgeon announces extra £50m to help care sector

The First Minister said the social care sector was 'under immense pressure' as a result of Covid-19.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

Nicola Sturgeon has announced an extra £50m is being made available to help the care sector deal with coronavirus.

She also used her daily briefing to reveal there will be further funding for a scheme set up to help small businesses.

The First Minister said the social care sector was “under immense pressure” as a result of Covid-19.

She insisted the Scottish Government was “working hard to support the sector in every way we can”, with increased testing in care homes and supplies of personal protective equipment for them as well.

ADVERT

Announcing the extra cash, she said this would “help meet extra costs in the care sector that have been incurred as a result of Covid-19”.

Money will go to all 32 of Scotland’s councils, to cover both care homes and care at home services.

“It will help to ensure that care services around the country can cope with the immense pressures that they are facing at this time,” she said. 

Sturgeon also said there would be £31m to extend eligibility for the small business grant scheme.

ADVERT

This will apply to those properties eligible for charitable or sports rate relief, with the FM saying: “Charities occupying these properties can now receive small business grants.”

Organisations can receive £10,000 for their first property and £7500 for any subsequent properties they own.

“We know many charities which run small premises, like day centres, offices or workshops have been really hard hit by a loss of revenue during the pandemic,” Sturgeon said.

“Many of these charities, which include providers of health and care services, are still providing vital support to those who need it.

“So extending the small business grant scheme is one way in which we can help them at a time when the help they provide is more important than ever.” 

During the briefing Sturgeon also revealed another 50 people have died with Covid-19 in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

It takes the death toll of confirmed coronavirus cases to 1912, but including suspected Covid-19 deaths the total is 3136.

ADVERT

The number of people who have tested positive for the virus in Scotland is up 136 in the last 24 hours to stand at 13,763.

A total of 1618 people are in hospital overall with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

Patients in intensive care either with the virus or believed to have the virus have increased by one to 81.

More on:

Scotland records 15 deaths and 1456 new Covid cases

The Scottish Government has confirmed its latest daily figures.

Andrew Milligan via Getty Images

Another 15 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland, as the country recorded 1456 new cases.

A total of 500 of the new cases are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 393 in Lanarkshire, 198 in Lothian and 116 in Ayrshire and Arran.

The First Minister said the high number is likely due to a “catch-up” because of a delay in recorded figures over the last few days.

There are 824 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 70 in 24 hours.

ADVERT

Of these patients, 69 are in intensive care, a rise of eight.

The death toll under the measure of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days has risen to 2625.

Pubs and restaurants set for Covid restrictions update

Nicola Sturgeon said a decision on measures will be made after a Wednesday morning cabinet meeting.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

The First Minister will update the country on restrictions for the hospitality sector on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon said a decision on measures put in place to curb a rise in Covid cases will be made after a cabinet meeting.

Pubs and restaurants have been closed in the central belt, while elsewhere they have a curfew of 6pm and cannot sell alcohol indoors.

In health boards where premises have not been ordered to close, outdoor hospitality venues can serve alcohol until 10pm.

ADVERT

The restrictions are due to last until October 25 and were previously described as a “hammer blow” to the sector, which has taken a hit during the pandemic.

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink said: “We all want to suppress the virus, but there is no getting away from the fact that this is a hammer blow to Scotland’s hospitality sector and the businesses that rely on it.”

He said, while the measures may be short-term, they are “targeted at businesses that are barely clinging on to survival.”

Sturgeon said on Tuesday: “I will be saying more tomorrow about the hospitality restrictions and I will be doing that after the cabinet meets tomorrow morning to take stock of the situation and decide on our next steps.”

ADVERT

The First Minister also urged eligible businesses to apply for a £20m grant fund to support those impacted by the new measures.

She said: “I would encourage all eligible businesses to apply.

“By sticking to the new restrictions and either closing your business if you’re in the central belt, or operating it under restrictions if you’re in the rest of the country, you’re helping us to tackle Covid and helping us to stop it spreading so fast, and it’s really important that we help you to do that.”

Meanwhile, a new tiered system of lockdown restrictions will come into force in Scotland on Monday, November 2, if approved at Holyrood next week, Sturgeon added.

She said: “As part of that we will be considering, of course, whether there are parts of the country that need tougher restrictions than those in place in the central belt right now, or whether there are parts of the country that might be able to have less tough restrictions.

“We need to assess that on the basis of the up to date data.”

Drink-driver who killed schoolboy in car crash jailed

Kanad Basi was almost twice the drink-drive limit and had taken cocaine and ecstasy when he lost control of his BMW.

Police Scotland via Police Scotland
Kanad Basi has been jailed following the death of Jack Frame (pictured).

A drink-driver who killed a schoolboy in a crash has been jailed for four years and eight months.

Kanad Basi was almost twice the drink-drive limit and had also taken cocaine and ecstasy when he lost control of his BMW.

His 16-year-old passenger, Jack Frame, died after the motor ploughed into a tree in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, on February 10, 2019.

Two other teenagers in the car also suffered serious injuries – one of whom Basi shoved into the front seat of the car following the smash.

ADVERT

The 22-year-old waiter was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Basi had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Lord Mulholland told him: “You were under the influence of alcohol and further intoxicated by two class A drugs.

Basi pushed injured Ellie Plenderleith to the front of the car after the crash.

“You will have to live with what you done for the rest of your life.

ADVERT

“You have delivered a life sentence to Jack Frame’s family by your dangerous driving.

“They have shown dignity and human spirit in the face of the misery that you have inflicted upon them.”

Basi will also be banned from the road for 12 years and four months.

The court heard how Basilisks had driven to a party in his BMW coupe before the crash.

A number of people at the event asked to go for a drive in the car and three drove off with him around 2am.

Basi soon lost control at a bend and initially mounted a grass verge.

Prosecutor Jane Farquharson QC: “He collided with a wire fence and struck a tree in the grounds of a golf club.

ADVERT

“Jack Frame was thrown forward and trapped within the front passenger side of the vehicle. 

“His head was wedged underneath the glove box area.”

Joiner Aiden O’Donnell, 18, was also badly hurt including suffering a fractured skull and two broken legs. He had to learn to walk again and has been unable to work since the crash.

Sandwich shop worker Eleanor Plenderleith, 19 was knocked unconscious. The 19-year-old had a punctured lung, lacerated liver, broken ribs and a fractured chest bone. A metal plate had to be inserted into her left upper arm. 

Basi suffered a broken wrist. His DNA and blood were found on the driver’s airbag.

The prosecutor added: “Neither passenger has any recollection about the incident itself or what happened thereafter.

“In the immediate aftermath, Basi removed his seat belt and climbed into the rear of the vehicle pushing passenger Eleanor Plenderleith into the front.

“She was found unconscious with her legs in the rear seating area and her head facing down into the driver’s footwell.”

The court heard that Basi used Aiden’s phone to call 999 and during that conversation claimed he was the driver.

However, later sitting in the back of an ambulance he was asked by police if he was the driver and replied: “I can’t remember now, but give me half an hour or so and I might remember. 

“I woke up in the back with my friend Aiden and pulled the girl over the front. There were only four in the car.”

‘We feel angry and devastated at the outcome today – only getting four years and eight months in jail will not deter anyone from doing the same thing.’

Family of Jack Frame

A breath test showed Basi had an alcohol count of 37. The legal limit is 22. A blood sample taken from him showed the presence of cocaine and ecstasy.

Lord Mulholland said the jail term would have been seven years, but for the guilty plea.

In a statement released through Digby Brown Solicitors, the Frame family said: “We feel angry and devastated at the outcome today – only getting four years and eight months in jail will not deter anyone from doing the same thing.

“Kanad tried to blame Ellie which was incredibly unfair and this accident resulted in Jack’s death and serious injury to both Aidan and Ellie.

“This outcome has not given us any type of justice after what has a been a long process for us.

“We would like to thank all our friends and family for all the support and love given to us during this difficult time but we would now appreciate some time to grieve.”


Staff flu jabs suspended due to ‘unprecedented demand’

NHS Ayrshire and Arran looking to procure additonal supplies after being unable to cope with requests.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
NHS Ayrshire & Arran has suspended staff flu jabs.

A health board has suspended flu vaccinations for its staff due to “unprecedented demand”.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran is looking to procure additional supplies of the vaccine after being unable to cope with requests at the start of its annual winter campaign.

Sarah Leslie, human resources director at the health board, said this year’s flu vaccination programme is “more important than ever to protect population health this autumn and winter” during the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “This year there has been an unprecedented demand from staff for the flu vaccine and many staff across health and social care have engaged positively, opting to be vaccinated at the start of our campaign.

“As a result, NHS Ayrshire and Arran is currently revising our forecast for demand, and has temporarily paused some aspects of the staff vaccine programme.

“We are working closely with National Procurement to understand when additional supplies may be available in order to plan the next phase of the programme which will run until February 2021.”

ADVERT

Elsewhere, NHS Grampian has also vowed to resolve the issues affecting its flu vaccine programme within the next ten days.

As well as running out of vaccine at a number of centres, would-be patients also received their letters on the day or after their scheduled appointment.

The health board said it was working to overcome the issues affecting the system and offered reassurance that all those eligible will receive their flu jab.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We know NHS Scotland boards have seen increased and earlier demand this year for the vaccine from eligible groups, including health and social care staff.

“Boards are responsible for delivering the vaccine this year including managing their allocated vaccine supply in line with demand within their areas.  

“The Scottish Government has procured sufficient vaccine to vaccinate all those who have been invited to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, in line with uptake planning assumptions of 2.4 million people, and we are working closely with National Services Scotland to ensure that Boards can access this stock as required.”

ADVERT

Earlier this month, health secretary Jeane Freeman said technical “glitches” may occur in Scotland’s flu vaccine programme this winter as more people are expected to receive the jab.

Priority is being given to those most vulnerable from the illness and from Covid-19, with ministers and health officials hoping to avoid people being infected with both at the same time.

Anyone over 55 – along with frontline social care workers – will be offered the flu vaccination this year in a bid to protect more people during the pandemic.

Glasgow Girl’s journey from asylum seeker to MSP bid

Roza Salih, a former asylum seeker who helped run a campaign to save a friend from deportation, is hoping to be an MSP.

Roza Salih via Roza Salih
Roza Salih: Glasgow Girls campaigner hoping to secure candidacy.

When she first arrived in Glasgow as a frightened, confused and extremely cold 12-year-old, Roza Salih had no idea she was at the beginning of a journey that would see her go from schoolgirl campaigner to a potential MSP in less than 20 years. 

It all started on a wet and windy late October night back in 2001, when she was bundled out the back of a van and left standing on the damp, grey concrete in front of high-rise flats in an area that couldn’t have seemed any further from home if it had been on Mars.

Unable to speak a word of English, she had just fled from war-torn Kurdistan where a family member had been brutally murdered.

But less than four years later she was part a group of high school friends known as the ‘Glasgow Girls’ who led a successful campaign to stop their friend and fellow Drumchapel High School pupil Agnesa Murselaj being deported.

ADVERT

It was an inspirational story that made national headlines, changed laws and was immortalised on television and stage. 

Now 15 years later, the 31-year-old politics graduate is hoping the experience will hold her in good stead as she seeks nomination to be the SNP candidate for Clydebank and Milngavie in next May’s Holyrood elections. 

Recalling her first experience of Glasgow she said: “My first thought was ‘it’s so cold here’ and we weren’t used to it because back in our country it is like 40C. So the weather was something different. I was thinking ‘what are we doing here?’.”

With no money and no local knowledge they were handed food tokens from the Home Office and left to find their own way around.

ADVERT

Feeling constantly helpless and lost, even small details such as finding the nearest supermarket, then one that would accept the tokens, became an arduous task as the family struggled to find their feet in the area.

Glasgow Girls: Amal, Emma, Jennifer, Agnesa and Roza.
(Picture: Glasgow Girls/Facebook, Johnny McLaughlin)

She said: “Life was very hard for me as a teenager, life is really hard for everyone when they are a teenager I think, but for me there were extra barriers, like I couldn’t speak the language properly or express myself and I think that was the biggest challenge for me.

“There was also the hardship of not having any money, the discrimination we faced and even things like going to supermarkets. 

“Some supermarket workers wouldn’t accept our tokens or wouldn’t know what they are and we would have to explain in front of a queue of people in broken English where they were from and that we didn’t have any money for food.

“We all used to hate it, but I would always stay strong for my family and say ‘I’ll do it’ especially when my English was improving. Because I could see my mum was a bit embarrassed handing over the vouchers.”

They didn’t have much, but one thing those arriving in the north side of Glasgow on that wet and windy October night would be thankful for was a community of new neighbours who welcomed them with open arms. 

Roza is now looking to give back by representing the area she now calls home in the Scottish Parliament. 

ADVERT

She said: “Life was hard for us and it took us time to get to know the community but people were very welcoming, we were blown away how quickly the Scottish people welcomed me to this country, like literally there were people campaigning for me to stay in this country and I will always be grateful for that.”

It was when Roza started school that she started to find her feet as a well-respected and popular pupil, known for standing up for others and helping fellow asylum seekers integrate. 

She: “I loved school, it was the best thing for me, I made friends instantly and it finally integrated me into the community.

“I am still in contact with most of the people from school today.

“Even some of the ones who were nasty to me or said racist things to me or didn’t accept who I was as an asylum seeker, they have come to me recently and apologised and that kind of gave me closure with that. 

“It’s nice of someone to admit and realise when they were wrong and it was really nice for me to hear that after all those years.

“I think at the time they just never realised why I was there or what an asylum seeker was, they never knew that, and I just think when they grew up they must have thought about it and reflected on it. 

“When I was running for council in the area they approached me and said sorry for things they had said in the past and told me they were voting for me and wished me good luck.”

Milngavie: Roza at the town’s clock.
(Roza Salih/Facebook)

When Roza’s close friend was detained and threatened with deportation following a raid, the then 15-year-old knew she had to take action.

Reminiscing on the campaign, she said: “It was brilliant, when you are a teenager and you are holding politicians to account it seems really big now, but we didn’t really think of it like that at the time, we just saw it as campaigning for a friend and doing what we had to do. 

“It was just teenagers fighting for their friend really.

“Thinking back now it all seems so much bigger than what we thought at the time.

“We did so much without even thinking about it, we were meeting at four in the morning at the flats campaigning and telling people to come out and help stop the raids telling them ‘we need to help our friend, this is not right’. 

“What happened with the Glasgow Girls situation was the catalyst for me.

 “I think that is why I am now involved in politics, because I felt that it was so important to my life and how it impacted on so many things.

“I have been campaigning since I was 15 and feel like I won’t be silent and if someone comes to speak to me about an issue then I will take action on it.

“My story is a real story and I have lived my life through hardship and I have gone through so many things.

“We need more people with different life experiences and from different communities around the table as you have to be the voice for so many people.”

Among other things, Roza feels strongly that asylum seekers should be allowed to work and pay into the system while waiting on a decision.

She says throughout the next parliament the coronavirus recovery will be the main priority and making sure local areas are well represented in any discussions over that.

If she is elected, as well as working closely with the local community, she wants to help bring more tourism to Clydebank and Milngavie by promoting the area’s West Highland Way and Roman Baths in Bearsden North.

Third ‘safe’ drugs site coming to Glasgow within weeks

An activist is challenging the law by running drug consumption sites in Glasgow.

STV

An activist who’s challenging the law by running two drug consumption sites in Glasgow hopes to have a third location within weeks.  

Peter Krykant has been operating a weekly service from a converted minibus and a tent in parts of Glasgow with problem drug use.

Volunteers have overseen 47 injections in the last eight weeks.

The Scottish Government supports the idea of safe consumption rooms, but calls for a trial have been rejected by its UK counterparts, who control drug policy.

ADVERT


Extra cash for free school meals during holidays

The cash will be used to fund free school meals over Christmas, the February break and Easter.

OwenPrice via Getty Images

An extra £10m funding will be made available to schools and local authorities to support free meals.

The additional cash plan was announced by social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

The scheme will be used to fund free school meals over Christmas, the February break and Easter, with reimbursements available for local authorities who provided provision over the October holiday.

Ms Somerville said: “Whilst the pandemic remains first and foremost a public health emergency, we know that it is causing increasing financial pressure for many people. 

ADVERT

“Some will have seen a sharp drop in income due to being put on furlough, having their work hours reduced or being made redundant. 

“Others may be simply finding that their money is no longer going as far as it used to. 

“Moving into the winter period, with the colder weather, support is being reduced to the job support scheme and the impact of continuing restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus, and the potential disruption of a no deal Brexit from the EU, we know that some people may be worried about how to pay for essentials, like food or fuel. 

“That’s why I’m announcing funding will be made available to local authorities to support people on low incomes. 

ADVERT

“This important investment will support around 156,000 children and young people, helping families meet the cost of meals over the school holidays.

“It will be for local authorities to decide how this support is delivered, however we continue to advocate for a cash-first approach where appropriate, giving families the choice of what food they buy and where they buy it.”

A further £28m will be handed to local authorities to deal with “financial insecurity” with councils able to decide how they spend the increase.


Scottish Government urged to increase climate justice aid

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland believes it would send a powerful message ahead of global climate talks in Glasgow next year.

Paul Souders via Getty Images
Climate change: The Scottish Government is being urged to increase its aid to the world's poorest countries.

The Scottish Government should increase its fund to help the world’s poorest countries deal with climate change, according to campaigners.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of 55 charities and campaign groups including Oxfam, say the climate justice fund has been frozen at £3m a year since 2016.

As Glasgow is hosting the United Nations climate change conference COP26 next year, they say the host nation should lead the way in helping poorer countries adapt to climate change and pay compensation for the irreversible damage caused.

It comes as Oxfam releases a report saying wealthy countries are over-reporting the true value of their climate change aid to developing countries by billions of dollars.

ADVERT

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The time is well and truly up for wealthy countries who think that it’s acceptable to respond to the global climate emergency by simply making vague vows to cut their own emissions while using creative accounting to dodge their responsibility to support the world’s poorest who did least to cause the climate crisis.

“The Scottish Government must seize the chance to show that Scotland will not abandon those being hardest hit by climate change to their fate, instead we will significantly increase the amount of financial support we give poor countries and encourage others to do likewise.

“Doing so now, well ahead of the global climate talks in Glasgow, would send a powerful message to a watching world that climate change is not just a matter of science, technology or economics, it is a matter of justice.”

In response, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “As the world continues to grapple with the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, our focus is rightly on saving lives and protecting people’s jobs.

ADVERT

“But amid these enormous challenges, the climate emergency has not gone away – far from it – and we remain absolutely committed to a green recovery and to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2045.”

She added: “Climate justice recognises that the poor and vulnerable at home and overseas are the first to be affected by climate change, and will suffer the worst, despite having done little or nothing to cause the problem.

“Our world-first climate justice fund will continue to support communities in our partner countries of Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda become more resilient to climate change.

“The powerful work done to date will help inform how we support climate justice initiatives as Scotland prepares for Glasgow to host COP26, and beyond 2021.”


Teenager stabbed in leg before hobbling to shop for help

The 18-year-old was taken to hospital for treatment after being stabbed on Monday.

The 18-year-old was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

A teenager has been stabbed on a busy Edinburgh street.

The 18-year-old was on Westfield Court when the attack took place at around 5pm on Monday.

He then hobbled to a shop on Gorgie Road with a stab wound on his leg.

Emergency services were called and he was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment.

ADVERT

Police said there was no description of the suspect as they appealed for information.

Detective sergeant Rory Legge, of Corstorphine CID, said: “This happened at a busy time of the day and we know there would’ve been a lot of traffic and people in the area.

“I would ask anyone who witnessed this incident or saw any suspicious behaviour around the Westfield Court area just before 5pm on Monday to contact us.”


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?