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Scotland in brief: May 29, 2020

HOMELESSNESS: Rough sleeping in Scotland has been reduced to a “handful” of individuals, but it will be a huge challenge to find accommodation for them once lockdown measures end, MSPs were told yesterday.

Holyrood's local-government committee heard evidence from three charities about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on homelessness.

Mike Wright, service manager at the Cyrenians charity, stressed that “some quite difficult choices” still need to be made.

HUMAN RIGHTS: Elderly people are suffering “fear and anxiety” during the Covid-19 outbreak, a Holyrood panel has heard. 

Evidence presented to the equalities and human-rights committee suggests that care homes and social care may have been treated as “a second-tier service” because of the rush to protect the NHS. 

Age Scotland said that elderly people are still being “pressured” into signing “do not resuscitate” orders, adding that some healthcare messaging had been “cack-handed.”

INCOME SUPPORT: Green politicians in Scotland have called for precarious workers to receive income support if they are asked to isolate as part of the government’s track-and-trace system. 

At a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Covid committee, MSP Ross Greer said that taking time off work would be “unaffordable” for some people. 

He said that it was unfair to ask people to choose between income and safety. Deputy First Minister John Swinney pledged to raise the issue.

COUNCILS: The Scottish government has been questioned on how it plans to support councils financially during the coronavirus pandemmic. 

Scottish Labour MSPs Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay asked what help would be given to local authorities. 

Ministers were also pushed to provide cash-strapped councils with the £155 million that they are entitled to under the Barnett formula, as some reportedly face major shortfalls.

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