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by Louise Wilson
19 January 2023
FMQs: Pause National Care Service plans, says Anas Sarwar

FMQs: Pause National Care Service plans, says Anas Sarwar

Scottish Labour has urged the government to pause its “flawed” National Care Service Bill until current problems facing the sector are fixed.

Speaking at FMQs, party leader Anas Sarwar said delayed discharge was costing £150m and staff where feeling under pressure.

He said: “Will the First Minister finally listen to workers on the frontline, pause this flawed bill, and put the money where it needs to be so that we can actually confront the NHS and social care crisis?”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon defended the plans, adding that fair pay and collective bargaining would be central to the new service.

She added: “Calling for a reform that is due to be implemented in future years in order to fund a pay increase in this financial year is just an example of the completely irresponsible and incoherent approach Labour takes to budgeting. That’s not how budgeting works.”

Sarwar also criticised pay levels for social care workers, calling for it to be increased to £15 an hour.

But the FM said this would cost £1.75bn.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross pressured the First Minister on education, following reports that councils were having to consider cutting teacher numbers.

He said there were 900 fewer teachers now than when the SNP took office and warned this would drop further.

He said: “This is what happens when the SNP don't properly fund councils.”

Sturgeon said councils regularly discuss a range of options and “very often these proposals do not proceed”.

She also pointed to £145m investment to recruit more teachers.

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