Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 1st December 2020.

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The First Minister:

First, it is important for me to reiterate—and Gillian Martin would agree with this—that it is not anybody’s fault when cases rise in an area. This is an infectious virus, and we all know what we can do, individually and collectively, to try to keep it under control. However, I do not think that we should conclude that there are different prevalence rates in different areas because people in some areas try harder than those in others to stick with the restrictions.

Gillian Martin raised good questions about the role of local government in our decision making. Local government is represented on the national incident management team and the four harms group; the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers attend both those forums as observers. Those meetings discuss the identification of emerging risks across different parts of the country, as highlighted by our suite of indicators and other research. They also consider different means and methods to manage those risks more proactively.

The Deputy First Minister spoke to Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council yesterday, and we will have detailed discussions with them this week about Covid rates in their communities.

All local authority chief executives receive daily updates of the indicators that are produced by Scottish Government analytical officials at the same time as the updates are sent to directors of public health. Ministers look at the same information on a daily basis.