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Preview: Scottish LibDem Conference, Hamilton

The Scottish Liberal Democrats head to Hamilton at the end of February with a stronger than ever commitment to prevent Brexit at all costs. Other topics up for discussion at the conference include public transport, education and the justice system.

Upgrading ScotRail
In the most recent Rail Passenger Survey, Transport Focus found overall satisfaction with rail services had fallen to its lowest levels in ten years. The Liberal Democrats have been especially critical of the declining reliability and punctuality of ScotRail. These criticisms will be explored in detail, as public transport is such a necessary service for Scots and environmentally preferable to individual-styles of travel. The Liberal Democrats are expected to call on the Scottish Government to review railways that have been closed in the hope that the rail network can be expanded.

School strife
The Scottish Government and unions are still in dispute about the terms of a pay increase for Scotland’s teachers. The Government has also been criticised following the release of an EIS survey that highlighted the high levels of stress experienced by Scottish teachers. In addition, Tavish Scott has repeatedly argued against standardised assessments in Scottish schools. It is likely that the party will repeat calls for the Government to use a new measurement for achievement and scrap standardised testing.

Improving Scotland’s Prisons
Liam McArthur is bringing a motion to conference on improving Scotland’s prisons. Last week, it was revealed in a letter to the Scottish Government that Scotland’s prisons are reaching “breaking point”. The rate of re-offending due to lack of support has been of particular importance to the Liberal Democrats’ argument. They are expected to reiterate their policy of introducing a three-year funding plan to improve criminal justice programmes in the hope of reducing the prison population.



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