Commenting after the Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced the cancellation of exams in Wales in 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP commented:
"The Scottish Government needs to reach out and listen to teachers. Throughout this crisis they have been creative, dedicated and have shown that they know their pupils best.
"Ministers and the SQA need to learn from their mistakes earlier in the year when they cut teachers out of the process, alongside everyone else who was warning that John Swinney's damaging exams algorithm was about to crush ambitions and penalise those from poorest backgrounds the most."
Shetland’s MSP has today secured a commitment for a Scottish Government review of the current rules on indoor contact sports including football training in the isles.
Adult indoor contact sports like football are currently not allowed in Level 1 areas like Shetland. However, as Ms Wishart highlighted during a hybrid question session in the Scottish Parliament, Shetland’s winter means outdoor pitches are often waterlogged and impossible to play on.
Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Beatrice Wishart has this morning warned the Scottish Government not to “repeat the mistakes” of students’ return by failing to prepare for people’s movements at Christmas.
Responding to questioning from Beatrice Wishart about four nations discussions on uniform Christmas restrictions, the First Minister said the devolved nations would “try to reach a common position around Christmas generally” and stated there was a commitment to “try and get as much consistency as we possibly can”.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has secured backing for a motion on economic and community development at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party Conference. Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart also spoke in favour.
The motion calls for the replacement of Highlands and Islands Enterprise with a revitalised development body, with local democratic accountability and a remit for the delivery of economic development, infrastructure construction and community empowerment.
It also calls for the creation of a new economic development agency for the North East of Scotland in this model, as well as for the Scottish Government to support regional and community decision-making at a local level and reverse its attempts to centralise economic and community development.
The Scottish Government has introduced a Strategic Framework for dealing with coronavirus.
The framework will apply from 6am on Monday 2nd November.
The framework has five levels of restrictions that will apply in local authority areas depending on coronavirus risk.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart is urging the Scottish Government to ensure it takes account of local knowledge about coronavirus risk and wider social harms, as the First Minister announces that Shetland has been placed in Level 1 of its Strategic Framework for tackling COVID-19, with additional measures restricting indoor household meetings.
Responding to questioning from Orkney MSP Liam McArthur highlighting the harms of continuing restrictions on small indoor meetings, and noting that as we approach winter outdoor gatherings or meetings in hospitality settings aren’t always possible in remote island areas, the First Minister gave assurances that the issue will be looked at ahead of the levels review on 10 November with hopes that it can be lifted.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today discussed the impact of Northlink’s decision to cancel tour group bookings for 2021 with the Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse. On 14 October Northlink told travel operators that all group bookings for 2021 had been cancelled due to concerns about the impact of Covid-19
Ms Wishart was joined on the call by Orkney MSP Liam McArthur to highlight the impact of the decision on the Islands’ tourism industry and to discuss the lack of consultation and communication with businesses, as well as the need to rebuild confidence in the sector going forward.
During the meeting, the Minister confirmed that it is a commercial decision by Northlink to provisionally cancel bookings and the decision is being reviewed on an ongoing basis. Mr Wheelhouse recognised that communication had been an issue and resolved to work with Northlink and the tourism industry to avoid similar issues in the future. The Minister also agreed to work with Tourism Secretary, Fergus Ewing, to see if support can be provided to businesses facing hardship as a result of the cancellations.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart will use a speech in Holyrood this afternoon to make clear that the “islands can’t be an afterthought” in coronavirus decision-making.
Ms Wishart will be speaking in a debate on the Scottish Government’s proposed Strategic Framework for dealing with COVID-19 which sets out five levels of restrictions that could apply to local authority areas.
A Government letter sent to COSLA yesterday indicated that Shetland could be placed in Level 1 with additional measures on “no in-home socialising”. The First Minister told Parliament that she will announce on Thursday which areas will be placed in which level before the rules come into force next Monday.
Responding to the Scottish Government’s new strategic framework, Shetland’s MSP Beatrice Wishart commented:
“It has been an extremely difficult year, with constant upheaval in every quarter. People are craving certainty, stability, and hope.
"We need a plan that can withstand what the virus throws at us, and a plan that can stand the test of time. The support for individuals and businesses needs to be sure and defined. There also needs to be meaningful engagement with the communities that will be affected.
“In that context, the framework published by the Scottish Government must now be given full and proper consideration. I will do everything I can to make sure that the views and needs of Shetlanders are properly incorporated into these plans. If people have concerns about what has been put forward, I would urge them to get in touch.”
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s decision to postpone rollout of new fire and carbon monoxide alarm regulations, after people were only alerted to the planned changes by a private company just months before the February 2021 deadline, Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said:
“The Scottish Government promised a comprehensive information campaign to ensure that people knew about the changes they would need to make to comply with the new fire alarm regulations.