Covid-19 (Programme for Government)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd March 2022.

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Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

5. That always seems to happen just before I get up. Thank you, Presiding Officer. It is duly noted.

To ask the Scottish Government what resource impact Covid-19 has had on the timetabling and delivery of legislation and other proposals set out in its programme for government. (S6O-00792)

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

It used to happen to me as well when Christine Grahame was in the chair.

The programme for government, which was published in September 2021, sets out the Government’s priority of leading Scotland safely through the pandemic. All programme for government commitments are monitored, including delivery of the legislative programme. That ensures that any delivery risks are highlighted early, and mitigations are put in place.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

The enduring pandemic has, rightly, caused the Government to divert attention and resources from those plans in order to keep people safe and protect the national health service. Will the minister share whether funds have had to be diverted from other budgets to support the efforts to combat Covid-19? If that is the case, what is the ballpark figure, if he can share that with us? Does he share my view that Opposition parties should take cognisance of the scale of the effort and the cost that have been involved in getting us to this stage of the pandemic when asking questions about delays to policies—and, indeed, when asking for additional funding?

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

As always, I agree with much of what Ms Grahame says. Our spring budget revision last month confirmed that our total Covid-19 allocation since the pandemic began exceeds the United Kingdom Government Covid funding that was received by about £300 million, with the additional amount being made up from our central reserves and reprioritisation.

Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative

In discussing the issues that have not had prominence because of Covid and other matters, the business minister will know that the Scottish Conservatives have asked on a weekly basis for a statement about maternity services in Moray. I have also tried to get urgent questions on that. It was in the Scottish National Party’s manifesto to restore a full consultant-led maternity service in Moray. Can we have a statement or will the Scottish Government lead a debate on its response to the independent inquiry into and report on maternity services? We have now had a case of a Moray mum, Alexandra Naylor, giving birth in a lay-by. Can we have time in the chamber to debate this crucial issue so that no more Moray mums have to give birth, or fear giving birth, in a lay-by?

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

As always, I say to the member that there is a process in place in Parliament that we work within. The member’s business manager comes to the Parliamentary Bureau every week and we negotiate and come to a decision on what will be put forward. Only this week, we said that we would look at that very issue, and I will contact his business manager in the normal manner.