By Bill Heaney

Humza Yousaf’s so-called ‘Summer of Independence’ tour shows how ‘grossly out of touch’ he is with the people of Scotland, Dame Jackie Baillie said yesterday, as the party highlighted the pressure Scots are under and the chaos in public services.

The First Minister has commenced a summer long campaign to purportedly drum up support for independence whilst visiting a variety of events across Scotland such as bouncy castles, festivals, and cycling events.

Whilst Mr Yousaf has engaged in activities such as posing on a skateboard and trying his hand at DJ-ing, the people of Scotland are facing public service meltdown and crushing cost of living pressures.

These challenges include:

  • 1 in 7 Scots stuck on NHS waiting lists
  • NHS dentistry in difficulty
  • An average of 100 drug deaths every month
  • In 2023, the number of affordable houses starting construction plummeted by 42% compared to March 2020
  • 546,600 households in Scotland will be paying an average of £190 more a month on their mortgages next year.

Dame Jackie and her Scottish Labour colleagues have called on the SNP to put an end to ‘Humza’s Holiday’ and urged the First Minister to focus instead on fixing the chaos engulfing Scotland’s public services.

Dumbarton constituency MSP Dame Jackie Baillie, right,  said: “It is astonishing that in the midst of a cost of living crisis and chaos in our public sector, the out of touch First Minister has elected to spend his time gallivanting around Scotland’s top tourist spots.

“I have constituents contacting my office constantly who are stuck on NHS waiting lists, some of whom have had to take out loans to pay for private treatment and people struggling to pay their bills due to the cost of living crisis.

“The SNP could not be making it any clearer that no matter how desperately the country needs support, their first priority will always be independence.

“Scotland needs a First Minister who is capable of actually leading, not someone who has lost all control, both of the country and his own MSP group.

“Only Scottish Labour is serious about fixing the issues this country faces and delivering the change Scotland needs.”


Labour analysis has found that the average mortgage increase in Scotland is £190 a month, and by 2026, 546,600 households will have seen their mortgage rise.

  • The calculations are based on estimates of the number of households in each local authority who own their home with a mortgage or loan, as recorded in the Scottish Household Survey 2021.
  • House price data from the Register of Scotland.
  • UK Finance Data says that 8.8 million households in the UK have a mortgage. Recently the Resolution Foundation have estimated that 6.5m of households with a mortgage either have already remortgaged since Q4 2022, the first quarter after the mini budget, or will have to by 2026 and be affected by the rise in rates. That is around three quarters of all households with a mortgage. And the Resolution Foundation estimated that on average they will pay an extra £2,900 next year. Source: UK Finance Table AP1, 28 April 2023 – sheet ‘AP1Q – OO’.
  • Figures are for first charge mortgage lending only, on a borrower rather than account basis. They exclude buy to let mortgages.   also


Chart 11: Affordable homes approved and started, years to end March, 2020 – 2023

Stage 2020 2022 2023 2023 vs 2022 2023 vs 2020
Approvals 12,880 7,820 6,396 -18% -50%
Starts 12,039 8,227 6,987 -15% -42%

Drug deaths:

Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response (RADAR) quarterly ​report – July 2023: The average weekly number of suspected drug deaths was broadly stable from the end of February to the beginning of May 2023 (23 per week) and then increased throughout May. There was an average monthly total of 100 suspected drug deaths from March to May 2023. This was similar to the average monthly total in March to May 2022 (102).

Meanwhile, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has written to the First Minister outlining his anger at the Scottish Government continuing to spend taxpayer money and resources to break up the UK.

First Minister Humza Yousaf at the launch of a policy paper on citizenship in an independent Scotland
First Minister Humza Yousaf at the launch of a policy paper on citizenship in an independent Scotland

Humza Yousaf has been branded “simply irresponsible” by an angry Mr Jack over his spending of taxpayer cash on Scexit papers. The Scotland Secretary urged the SNP executive to “cease” working on breaking up the UK and instead dealing with more pressing issues.

The Scottish Government published its fifth independence prospectus on Thursday which focused on citizenship but was labelled a further waste of public money. It included issues such as a different colour for passports to match up with the EU.

And now Mr Jack, left,  has written to the First Minister, as well as copying in both Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and head civil servant Simon Case, to outline his anger at this continued spending on a reserved matter. He blasted the SNP for putting its “obsession with independence ahead of pressing priorities in Scotland”.

His letter will add fuel to an ongoing row between the UK and Scottish Governments on public spending and using civil servants to push for the break-up of the UK. Calls have been made for ministers to be sanctioned for overreaching into the likes of the constitution which is reserved to Westminster.

One comment

  1. All this economic misery. Over half a million people facing hugely increased mortgages. Food inflation of around 30%. Electricity and gas heating and lighting bills doubled. Even humble car insurance is now sustaining around 40% price hikes – and the Tory government in Westminster tries to tell you inflation is around 9%.

    What absolute saps they think people are to feed them that bullshit. Folks know what they are paying out. This inflation is deliberate. It is a deliberate policy to manage down reduce the huge UK national debt by inflation.

    It is also a deliberate policy to let the big corporates shore up their balance sheets through profiteering price increases. Scotland has oil and gas. It also has huge wind generation. So how then are energy prices too high? Simple answer is UK government policies.

    Or what of our humble food? Let us take sunflower oil as an example. Just over a year ago could buy sunflower oil for around 89 pence a litre. How it is around £2.30 per litre. That’s around a whopping 151% increase. All due to the war – or so they say.

    But hang about. In Europe farmers in countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Hungary and Slovakia are up in arms due to huge supplies of grain being sold into the EU at prices well below what they produce and sell grain for. So please tell us hapless saps why we are paying absolutely huge prices for things like sunflower and rapeseed oils, wheat and other such foodstuffs when the price has dropped?

    Government policy again but who’s profiteering.

    And now the coup de grace blow from the two bit hick SNP government. Not content with the damage done by Westminster and its soaring inflationary policies, Humza Yousaf’s government want to increase council tax by 22.5% for bands E ,F, G and H whilst they also want to increase minimum alcohol pricing from 50 pence to 80 pence.

    Expressed in money the rates increase will cause the average band E to H householder to have to pay around £80 per month extra, whilst a can of lager, or bottle of whisky from the super market will rise around £1.00 per can to £1.60 a can, with a litre bottle of whisky rising from around £20.00 to £32.00.

    Ah, what humble, stoic people we truly are. But at least we can stand proud at taking our economic beating with the pride and honour of a beast of burden.

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