Coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery - public health, public services and justice system reforms: consultation analysis

Independent analysis of the responses to the consultation on supporting Scotland's recovery from coronavirus. This relates to the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill.

Other proposals for legislation

The final 11 consultation questions covered other proposals for legislation, the human rights and financial implications of the proposals and a range of impact assessments. Analysis of Q34 is presented below; analysis of Q35 to Q43 can be found in Appendix A.

Q34: To support the key three themes for Covid recovery as described, do you have any proposals for legislation which goes beyond or is different to the consultation proposals?

These figures are a non-representative sample Yes No Unsure No view / answer No. of comments
All respondents (2905) 19.4% 54.2% 6.8% 19.6% 641
All org responses (130) 21.5% 14.6% 2.3% 61.5% 34

Q34 received a large number of open comments. The analysis below focuses firstly on where additional legislation was proposed. A summary of other prevalent themes is also provided. Less commonly mentioned themes and singular, detailed points of relevance are available in Appendix B.

Several respondents focused on the consultation proposals. Most reiterated points already described in the analysis of specific provisions, especially concerns over excluding vulnerable groups from online participation. A local authority suggested a ‘right to digital connectivity/online services’ might be needed. A few repeated their calls to allow landlords to evict non-paying tenants. Three explicitly called for the introduction of “Anne’s Law”, to strengthen residents' rights in adult residential settings. A variety of singular suggestions were made, particularly on the justice proposals; these are listed in Appendix B.

Another recurring theme was for legislation to curtail or prevent future use of emergency powers. Several respondents suggested it should be illegal to introduce or extend emergency powers, particularly those restricting businesses or freedom of movement. A few suggested they be limited to shorter time frames. A few called for legislation to prevent perceived propaganda i.e. public information campaigns communicating the Government’s messages. One called for legislation to increase parliamentary scrutiny in an emergency.

Many used Q34 to make a straightforward call for all emergency or Covid legislation to be ended and repealed from the statute book immediately. Some disagreed with any further extension (without making reference to the powers being temporary).

Beyond these points on legislation, most prevalent at Q34 were the views described in Chapter 6 which focus on broad opposition to the consultation proposals which were consistently raised. In particular, many respondents commented that the proposals were undemocratic, that temporary measures should not be extended, and that things should be allowed to return to as they were pre-pandemic.

Two broad topics were raised by many respondents. One was a call for restrictions to end (covering lockdowns, social distancing, mask wearing and testing), and the other was opposition to vaccine passports. In addition, several commented on health. These points varied but focused on a few common areas such as: prioritising the treatment of other health conditions where Covid has created a backlog; the need for better support for health services; calls for people to be able to see GPs face-to-face; and a range of suggestions for how the health of people in Scotland could be improved – for example encouraging exercise and healthy eating and offering free vitamin supplements.

Comments on children and young people were prevalent. Several called for schools to remain open in the future and highlighted the detrimental impact that closures had on pupils. Only a few called specifically for legislation to prevent future closures. Other comments around children and young people included: the need to review and support young people’s mental health, particularly in relation to mental distress experienced during the pandemic; calls for parents and teachers to meet face-to-face; adherence to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); and support for wraparound school age childcare.

Other themes, mentioned by some respondents, included:

  • A few calls for a public inquiry into the response to Covid.
  • That the UK Government should control the Covid response, that there should be a four-nation approach, or that Scotland should be aligned with the UK response.
  • Calls for transparency and for an open debate on the pandemic where all views are heard and considered.
  • Critical comments on the consultation process and paper, suggesting that more people should be consulted and that the paper was too long and inaccessible.
  • Broad comments on other priorities for the Scottish Government e.g. recovery plans, transport, health and education, and calls to not focus on Independence.

Less common themes, identified in small number of responses, included:

  • A few called for a focus on economic recovery; few gave details and suggested more support for businesses, less regulation and more incentives.
  • Overall support for the proposals was expressed by a few individuals.



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