By Lucy Adams

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today challenged the First Minister to spend the £20 million budgeted for an independence referendum on supporting those with long Covid.

He revealed new figures showing that interventions to tackle long Covid in Scotland are worth less than a fifth per head of what is being spent in England and Wales.

Analysis by Scottish Liberal Democrats has revealed that Scotland has committed just £3 million to tackling long Covid this financial year, compared to £90 million in England and £5 million in Wales.

LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, cash and long-term covid virus.

This means that England is currently spending £107 per head and Wales is spending £90 per head, compared to just £16 per head in Scotland.

Freedom of information requests by the LibDems have also revealed that the government rejected a series of requests from health boards for more funds, with NHS Lanarkshire asking for £726,779 and only receiving £344,411 and NHS Forth Valley asking for £699,220 but only got £152,820. 

The call comes after the Scottish Government’s defeat at the Supreme Court ended all prospects of another referendum in October next year.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Across the UK, the Office of National Statistics believes that half a million more working-age people are economically inactive due to ill health. That is the price of both long waiting lists for treatment and long Covid.

“This SNP/Green government are spending just £16 a head to help people who may find themselves out of work, utterly immobilised and gasping for air. That’s the price of a takeaway. No wonder people with long Covid feel abandoned.

“The Scottish Government have suddenly found themselves with £20 million spare after their embarrassing Supreme Court defeat. That money should be used to deliver the comprehensive treatment and support that people with long Covid so desperately need.

“The Scottish Government must deliver a firm commitment to country-wide access to long Covid clinics, in-home support for those that need it, and physio and rehab. At the moment Scots who are struggling with this condition would be better off moving to England.”

The figures uncovered by Scottish Liberal Democrats are as follows: 





2021/22 Long Covid spend 


2022/23 Long Covid spend


Total per head 




£100 million 

(link here) 


£90 million 

(link here


£107 per person 

(1.773 million sufferers currently) 




£5 million 

(link here


£5 million 

(link here


£93 per person 

(108,000 sufferers currently) 






£3 million 

(link here


£16 per person 

(186,000 sufferers currently) 

The freedom of information response from NHS Lanarkshire can be found here. 

The freedom of information response from NHS Forth Valley can be found here. 

The sums eventually allocated were as follows:




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