FMQs; Snap Election And NHS The Main Talking Points

First Minister’s Questions took place today on the back of the Westminster government on Tuesday voting in support of a December 12th general election.

 

With MSPs off parliamentary duty last week, there was much to catch up on. Interim Scottish Conservatives leader Jackson Carlaw opened the questioning, citing Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that Labour would allow a second Scottish Independence referendum if he became Prime Minister to suggest an alliance between Labour and SNP.

 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon replied that whether it was Labour or the Conservatives ended up in power in a December election, the Westminster system is “broken” and that only the SNP would allow Scotland the power to decide its future.

Image result for nicola sturgeon holyrood

 

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard asked the First Minister about the NHS, looking back to 2013 when the SNP said they wanted to make NHS workplaces “a great place to work.” He quoted a recent audit that said the NHS in Scotland is “running too hot, with too much pressure on staff” and said that around a quarter of staff sick hours are being taken up by stress-related absences.

 

The First Minister replied by stating that her government had increased NHS staffing by 13,000, more than a 10% increase. She also pointed out a 6% health budget increase in the last five years and said that if at the last Scottish election Labour had come into power, the NHS budget would be £758 million less than it is now.

 

Co-Leader of the Green party Alison Johnstone used her question to bring up short let controls for properties in Scotland. This has been a hot topic in Edinburgh recently, with an increase in landlords choosing short term lets being linked to a housing shortage. Johnstone asked the First Minister to put a timeline on when controls on short term letting would be put in place, with the First minister replying that she aimed to have proposals in place at the beginning of next year. Johnstone cited a 2017 short term letting control proposal that the SNP blocked, but Sturgeon insisted that it was important for constituencies to be able to decide if controls were necessary on their own rather than enforcing a “one size fits all” blanket ban.

 

As we head towards a snap election and Brexit continues to rumble on, the tense atmosphere visible at Holyrood today will only continue.

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