COVID-19: Scottish government plans public inquiry into pandemic handling by end of year | Politics News

COVID-19: Scottish government plans public inquiry into pandemic handling by end of year | Politics News

The Scottish government says it will hold an independent public inquiry into how it has handled the COVID pandemic by the end of the year, following pressure from bereaved families.

The government has said the inquiry will be established by the end of this year to “scrutinise decisions taken in the course of this pandemic, and learn lessons for future pandemics”.

People in Scotland have until the end of September to email the government about what they think the aims and principles of the inquiry should be.

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Nicola Sturgeon
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Nicola Sturgeon said the inquiry will be ‘people-centred’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s government had promised to take the “necessary steps” to establish a public inquiry within its first 100 days in office after calls for one by the families of those who died with COVID-19.

Discussions are under way to identify and appoint a judge to chair the inquiry.

As Scotland experienced its largest-ever daily number of COVID cases, Ms Sturgeon said the inquiry “will take a person-centred, human rights approach”.

She said the inquiry will look into “all matters”, including how the situation in care homes was handled.

The first minister said she will be talking to the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments about the likely terms of a UK-wide inquiry.

“It will be important to avoid duplication and overlap but co-operation with other governments is no reason to delay an inquiry,” she added.

“This inquiry has an important role to play in scrutinising decisions we took, and continue to take, and to identify lessons for the future.”

S5 and S6 students during an English Literature class at St Andrew's RC Secondary School in Glasgow as more pupils are returning to school in Scotland in the latest phase of lockdown easing. Picture date: Monday March 15, 2021.
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The Scottish government made its own decisions on how to manage education during the pandemic

Aamer Anwar, a lawyer representing members of the Scottish branch of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: “The families are grateful that the Scottish government has listened to their demands and an independent Scottish public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths and the subsequent handling of the COVID pandemic will now take place.

“Today is the first important step in establishing accountability for 10,421 lives lost to COVID-19 in Scotland.

“Boris Johnson should take note that his government can no longer be allowed to hold the process back from asking difficult questions.

“There were 154,811 COVID-19 deaths in the UK, every single death represents failure and public inquiries cannot be delayed any longer by a UK government, whether it be in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.”

The changing face of the high street. People cast shadows walking past a social distancing information sign painted on the pavement on the high street in Dundee in Scotland, some six months on from the evening of March 23 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide restrictions.
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Scotland has been under different COVID rules than England as health is devolved

He added that the Scottish inquiry must be “truly independent and leave no stone unturned” and the families of those who have died “must be at the heart of the inquiry process to get to the truth of what happened”.

The public can email COVID-19publicinquirysetupteam@gov.scot with their ideas and comments about what the basis of the inquiry should be.



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