Scotland Scotland rise Four NHS hailed cent for pay per
Thu, 25 Mar 2021 20:00:00 +0000
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PLANS to deliver a four per cent pay rise for NHS workers in Scotland has been welcomed.
The deal from the Scottish Government, which would be the most generous NHS pay increase in the UK, will benefit 154,000 Agenda for Change employees, including nurses,
paramedics, domestic staff and porters, as well as other front line health workers.
Staff earning less than £25,000 would be guaranteed a minimum increase of over £1000 this year, while those on the highest salaries would receive an increase of £800.
News of the pay rise has been welcomed by Moray SNP candidate Richard Lochhead, who also lauded the decision to backdate the pay settlement to December 2020 in recognition of the significant challenges NHS staff have had to face in the last year.
He said: “During the first lockdown many of us took to our door step to clap for our carers, in recognition of the huge challenges the pandemic was causing for health workers on the frontline.
“It has been the toughest of years for those working in the NHS and staff deserve more than applause.
“I’m delighted to see Scotland leading the way and offering our NHS staff the biggest pay increase in the UK and of course this is in addition to the £500 thank you payment for health and social care
“Whilst the SNP has delivered a deal that recognises the efforts of frontline healthcare workers, the Tories in Westminster have offered a shameful one per cent increase to NHS staff in England.
Our NHS staff deserve
better and I’m proud that the SNP is delivering for them.”
Scottish Conservative candidate for Moray Tim Eagle accused Mr Lochhead of “ignoring” where the money for the deal came from.
He said: “Our NHS Staff and the many partners which support the NHS have been outstanding during this last year and I continue to thank them for all their work.”
“But here we have Richard Lochhead yet again spending his time attacking the Conservative party yet ignoring the truth that this welcome pay increase is possible thanks to the UK government.”
“During Covid -19 Scotland has received more than £13 billion in funding from the UK government.
I really think Mr Lochhead should reflect on that and consider whether an independent Scotland could have afforded to do the same.
“The message shouldn’t be about attacks but remembering that our NHS staff – along with all frontline workers – have done a phenomenal job throughout this crisis, and they all deserve our praise and support.
The deal was criticised by Labour’s candidate for Moray, Jo Kirby, for “not going nearly far enough”.
She said that since the SNP came to power in 2007 they had cut nurses’ pay by 12 per cent, representing a loss of over £3000 for a newly qualified nurse.
“I absolutely welcome a pay rise for NHS workers – it’s just a shame it’s taken a looming election for the Scottish Government to realise that it’s needed,” she continued.
“The Scottish Government needs to go much further to make up for years of declining pay and working conditions.”
Unison, one of the major unions representing NHS staff, said that “significant progress” had been made in pay talks.
Willie Duffy, Unison Scotland Head of Health, added: “This past year has highlighted the dedication, skill and sacrifices that all NHS staff make.
“Their contribution must be recognised in their pay packets.
It was simply not good enough to push negotiations to the summer and blame the UK government for the delay so we are pleased to have made significant progress in these pay talks.
“However, the final decision on whether to accept this offer lies with Unison members and we look forward to consulting them in the coming weeks.”
Thu, 25 Mar 2021 20:00:00 +0000
Scotland narrowly missed a 100% target but renewables output has tripled in the last 10 years
Scotland has narrowly missed a target to generate the equivalent of 100% of its electricity demand from renewables in 2020.
New figures reveal it reached 97.4% from renewable sources.
This target was set in 2011, when renewable technologies generated just 37% of national demand.
Industry body Scottish Renewables said output had tripled in the last 10 years, with enough power for the equivalent of seven million households.
Chief executive Claire Mack, said: "Scotland's climate change targets have been a tremendous motivator to the industry to increase deployment of renewable energy sources.
"Renewable energy projects are displacing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon every year, employing the equivalent of 17,700 people and bringing enormous socio-economic benefits to communities."
In 2019 Scotland met 90.1% of its equivalent electricity consumption from renewables, according to Scottish Government figures.
Scotland has some of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, with its Climate Change Bill setting out a legally binding target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.
By 2030, ministers want renewable energy generation to account for 50% of energy demand across electricity, heat and transport.
Ms Mack, added: "Domestic and commercial transport accounts for almost 25% of the energy used in Scotland, with heat making up more than half, as well as more than half of its emissions.
"Currently 6.5% of our non-electrical heat demand is generated from renewable sources.
"Industry and government must continue to work together if we are to fully realise our potential to meet net-zero by 2045."
Scotland has been moving away from burning fossil fuels, with the last coal-fired power station, Longannet, closing in 2016.
The only remaining gas-fired power station is at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.
Onshore wind delivers about 70% of capacity, followed by hydro and offshore wind as Scotland's main sources of renewable power.
WWF Scotland praised the new figures, but said more needed to be done to cut emissions from transport and heating.
Climate and energy policy manger, Holly O'Donnell, called for an acceleration in the roll-out of electric vehicles and grants for renewable heating in Scotland.
She said: "Not only do renewables reduce the impact of our electricity use on the climate, they are also generating jobs and income for communities around the country.
"In order to cut the climate emissions from the transport and heat sectors we will need to continue to increase our use of cheap, clean renewables."
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