Holyrood backs Scotland's lockdown levels amid calls for official plan for Christmas

MSPs have officially backed the Scottish government’s levelled system for lockdowns following a debate in Holyrood this afternoon.

The Scottish Parliament have backed the new tiered system to be introduced in Scotland on Monday November 2.
The Scottish Parliament have backed the new tiered system to be introduced in Scotland on Monday November 2.

The vote to note the strategic framework, a formality given the Scottish government’s plans to introduce the system from November 2, passed after the Scottish government accepted the Scottish Green and Scottish Liberal Democrat amendments calling for more testing and additional data to be published.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed at the debate that decisions on where which levels will apply will be announced on Thursday, and announced changes to planned restrictions for hospitality.

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Approval from MSPs came as the Scottish Conservatives called for more specific planning to be done for Christmas and for more consultation with businesses affected by the new restrictions.

Speaking in Holyrood, Ruth Davidson called on the Scottish government to give more detail on arrangements for Christmas and welcomed the government’s plan to work with the other four nations to work on a plan for students to return home for the holiday.

Calling for limited household socialisation across the first four tiers at Christmas, the leader of the Scottish Tories in Holyrood said such a move would limit loneliness and isolation, and improve compliance to the restrictions.

She said: "Counter-intuitively there may be a public health benefit to this because if we want people to continue working with the rules for the long-term, they shouldn’t be faced with a choice where family needs override their buy-in to compliance.

"We know once that Rubicon of knowingly and purposefully casting the rules aside is crossed, keeping adherence in all other respects becomes harder.

"It is impossible for ever seat normally taken at the family table to be filled this Christmas, but nobody should have to sit alone.”

Scottish Labour also called for more to be done for students around Christmas but criticised the lack of scrutiny available to MSPs on ongoing Covid-19 issues and the new restrictions.

Addressing MSPs, leader Richard Leonard criticised the Scottish government for slow turnarounds on testing.

He said: “Students coming to Scotland’s universities should have been tested on arrival at least once.

"Now, they should be tested before the Christmas break and on return from the Christmas break so that they can safely have a Christmas break.

"Families do want to be together for Christmas, the people of Scotland have already paid a price so everything, everything needs to be done to make sure that this can happen and we will work with the government to make sure that it does.

Mr Leonard added: “As a matter of record we were looking for a first ministerial statement today so that that First Minister could be questioned and then this parliamentary debate tomorrow.

"For us it was not one or the other, it was both that we were looking for.”

Speaking at the start of the debate, Ms Sturgeon said: “We know that while government has the responsibility to lead, success against this virus will depend on all of us.

"It is difficult and frustrating and getting more so by the day, especially as we head towards Christmas.

"But if we dig in now and get Covid under more control we perhaps open the door, not to 100 per cent normality by Christmas but hopefully to more than we have right now, we all want to see that.”

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