Maurice Corry MSP and Nicola Sturgeon.

By Bill Heaney

Grandparents will have to wait until at the least the next phase of the virus lockdown measures before they can go back to looking after their grandchildren, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told local List MSP Maurice Corry in the Scottish Parliament today.

Mr Corry asked her: “The new guidelines that were issued for childminders who are returning to work state that they can take children from four separate households. The Scottish Government has yet to issue guidelines on grandparents who are responsible for the childcare of their grandchildren.

“Many grandparents are below the age of those in the shielded category and without underlying health conditions. Will the First Minister outline today when they can return to their duties, particularly given the fact that, in most cases, they will be taking children from only one other household, which creates a lower risk than there is for childminders?”

But Nicola Sturgeon refused his request point blank. She said: “No, I will not outline that today. It would not be responsible of me to do so, because we have to consider all these things carefully. Notwithstanding my earlier comments about the shielded group, I appreciate that, although to some extent we have to consider these things in a general way, there will be different circumstances within that.

“I know that not all grandparents are over 70—in fact, I know some grandparents very close to me who are not over 70, and they would want me to point that out. However, it is the case that, generally, older people are more at risk from the virus than the general population, and we cannot simply ignore that.

“With grandparents perhaps more so than with childminders—although I know that this will also be a factor for them—there is the issue of keeping physical distancing. Not having a grandchild hug their grandparent is very difficult.

“We are thinking about those things very carefully and cautiously. I know how difficult all the arrangements are for people, but they are all about trying to keep people as safe as possible.

“I will not depart from that careful and cautious way of making decisions. As we go through the route map, we will try to accelerate things when we can, but at all stages we will keep in mind the driving imperative of suppressing the virus overall and protecting those who are most at risk.”


  1. Quite frankly this question comes across as the empty barrel type question so oft asked by people who should know better.

    Why no change in the safety rules for grandparents to resume childminding Mr Cory’s question challenges when revised guidance now been issued to allow childminders look after children

    Because grand parents tend to be older and in the high risk category, and because it’s difficult to stop grandchildren hugging their grandparents, Ms Sturgeon very sensibly replies.

    Obviously by Mr Cory’s question he either doesn’t know that circa the vast majority of all virus deaths were in the high risk category older people or that he thinks the virus has gone away, which it hasn’t. Or maybe worse, is he taking a line from his bosses Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings about too bad if a few pensioners die.

    After all the death caused by the virus getting in to care home, with all of the focus on shielding older folks, you really do have to wonder about questions like this.

  2. And meanwhile whilst Maurice Corry is pushing to ask for a date when grandparents can “ return to their (childcare ) duties “ his fellow Conservative is banging on that every person in a care home should be tested and visited weekly by a GP.

    Maybe if Mr Cory and his boss Mr Carlaw joined forces the dynamic duo might come up with an economic plan to suggest that the older folks in care homes could undertake childminding duties. Sending the children into care homes. Now wouldn’t that be sensible.

    I’m sure Boris Johnson would approve.

Leave a Reply