Daily roundup: Scottish Labour, 5 April

labour3Scottish Labour yesterday described the Tories plans for elected police Commissioners as ‘a recipe for more red tape for Scottish police’.

The Scottish Conservatives today outlined their policy of replacing police boards with an elected commissioner that would produce more political interference with policing in Scotland.

Labour’s Justice spokesman Richard Baker said:

“While Labour is talking about keeping police officers on the front line by cutting red tape and bureaucracy the Tories want to create a whole new sphere of political interference. The Tories are no longer a party of law and order as their decision dump their support for minimum mandatory sentences for knife criminals and move to massively slash police numbers in England shows.

“The Tories are bringing in elected police commissioners in England and sacking tens of thousands of police at the same time. They simply cannot be trusted.”

The SNP also attracted criticism from Scottish Labour yesterday, over “four broken promises” to carers in their 2007 manifesto.

Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour Deputy Leader, said:

“Carers are the unsung heroes of Scotland, selflessly looking after others and supporting Scots. People across the political divide support the great work of carers.

“But sadly the SNP’s promises today have been overshadowed by their broken promises to carers.

“In the last four years, they had £34 million to spend on respite care because of the decisions made by Labour at Westminster, but refused to pass the money on to carers. At the last election the SNP made four specific promises to carers – all broken.

“Maybe their catalogue of broken promises is why the SNP have refrained from announcing any new policy until today.”

The four manifesto promises to which Mr Lamont refers are:

  • “all parents and carers having the right to request flexible working” – SNP 2007 Manifesto, page 49
  • “Work to expand kinship care where possible and expand family group conferencing to the whole country” – SNP 2007 Manifesto, page 50

    This was later clarified by SNP ministers to mean a £119 a week payment to kinship carers by 2008. By October 2010, these payments were not being made in large numbers of local authorities. Some councils make no payments, whilst others are as low as £23.
  • “additional funding to provide dedicated services for young carers” – SNP 2007 Manifesto, page 39The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Mapping of services to young carers in Scotland 2009, found that “the research highlighted a ‘patchwork’ of service provision to young carers across the 32 local authority areas in Scotland and an uneven distribution of services within areas. The majority of the dedicated services are delivered by voluntary sector organisations and many rely on short-term charitable funding sources. The sustainability of many of the services is under threat.
  • “by 2011 carers in greatest need will have a guaranteed annual entitlement to breaks from caring” – SNP 2007 Manifesto, page 39The SNP did not include this matter in the concordat with local authorities, and has been unable to resolve the impasse to make this happen.