June 13, 2024

Mental health care neglected under SNP’s ‘carousel of chaos’, says Davey

The SNP’s “carousel of chaos” is preventing the Scottish Government from tackling issues such as a “crisis” in mental health care, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has insisted.

He hit out at after the latest leadership changes in the SNP saw John Swinney become First Minister – taking on the post little over 13 months after his predecessor Humza Yousaf was installed in the post.

Sir Ed insisted that a focus on party leadership had left the SNP – which has been in power in Scotland since 2007 – unable to deal with “real and serious issues”.

Claiming mental health treatment had been “neglected” by the Scottish Government, the Liberal Democrat leader said his party’s plan to increase the levy on social media giants could raise hundreds of millions of pounds worth of additional funding to deal with this and other issues.

The Liberal Democrats want to triple the  Digital Services Tax which is currently levied on the  revenues from search engines, social media services and online marketplaces.

That could raise an extra £9.5 billion across the UK over the next five years, the party has calculated, of which £770 million would be allocated to Scotland.

Lib Dems say that would allow the Scottish Government to install dedicated mental health professionals in schools and GP surgeries across the country, cutting waiting times for those seeking help.

Sir Ed, however, said: “The SNP have been too caught up in their carousel of chaos to deal with the real and serious issues people are facing like the mental health crisis.

“Right across Scotland people deserve to be supported by their local health services, for too long we have seen mental health, in particular, be neglected.”

The Liberal Democrat, who will speak at his party’s Scottish conference in Hamilton on Saturday, said there needs to be “a big expansion of mental health services across Scotland, funded by the social media giants who are such a big part of the problem”.

But he added: “Above all, we need the ongoing melodrama from the Scottish nationalists to end so the Government can focus their time on delivering for the people of Scotland, not saving their sinking ship.”

Mental wellbeing minister Maree Todd said: “While the 2024-25 Budget is the most challenging to be delivered under devolution, it provides more than £19.5 billion for the health and social care portfolio and more than £13.2 billion to frontline NHS boards for health improvement and delivery of effective care in their local areas.

“In 2024-25 the Scottish Government and NHS boards expect to spend in excess of £1.3 billion to support mental health services, enabling record numbers of staff to provide more varied support and services to a larger number of people than ever before.

“In total, over £130 million has been made available towards early intervention and prevention for community-based support for children, young people and adults since 2020”.

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