Explanations for areas on borderline tiers given after fury from Aberdeen

The Scottish government has gone some way to explain why certain areas of the country are in higher levels of lockdown restrictions than the relevant public health statistics would suggest.

Aberdeen City Council have hit back following the decision to put them in level two restrictions
Aberdeen City Council have hit back following the decision to put them in level two restrictions

Deputy first minister John Swinney who was standing in for Nicola Sturgeon, was answering questions about Covid-19 at the Scottish government’s daily briefing.

Council leaders in Aberdeen had before the briefing criticised the Scottish government’s decision to put the city in level two when indicators pointed at it suiting level one.

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Councillor Douglas Lumsden, a co-leader at Aberdeen City Council labelled the decision “simply unacceptable”.

He said: “This decision by the Scottish government is simply unacceptable for the City of Aberdeen and it is disgraceful that once again Aberdeen is being treated shabbily by the Scottish government.

How South and North Lanarkshire can be in level three whilst Aberdeen remains in level two shows once again central belt bias against Aberdeen.

“It is clear that Scottish Ministers have not acted in good faith and have changed the guidance to suit Glasgow and the central belt.”

Stating the Scottish government had acted “promptly and effectively and with urgency” to tackle the pandemic, Mr Swinney repeated the First Minister’s statement that decisions were made due to early caution moving into a new system of restrictions.

He said: “I recognise entirely that there is frustration about the restrictions that are in place, not just in the North East of Scotland but in all parts of the country.

"Wherever we felt there were decisions that could have gone one or the other about levels, we have erred on the side of caution to give us just that extra bit of time and space to try to get the virus under control.

"That is very much the sentiment that has been applied in all circumstances.

“The government has given a commitment and we will follow this up that the allocation of local authorities to individual levels will be reviewed on a weekly basis.”

When pushed on the fact North and South Lanarkshire and his own constituency area of Perth and Kinross were put into levels three and two respectively despite indicators they should be in higher levels, Mr Swinney said public health advice was followed by issues such as geography were also taken into account.

He said: "The government makes these decisions collectively based on the public health advice and if we look at the various recommendations that came from the public health community those were the recommendations the government ultimately followed.

"There is a sensitive judgement about geography that obviously has to be borne in mind with some of these factors into the bargain.

"If you go back to what the First Minister said in parliament yesterday, her guidance and her advice for people in Perth and Kinross and Angus areas for example was to take extra care because of their proximity to an area of high intensity of the virus.

"We made these judgements to take into account yes the data, but also some of the more subtle factors that we have to reflect on.”

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