Scottish Liberal Democrat North East MSP and former Army Major Mike Rumbles used today’s members’ business debate on raising awareness of the work done by veteran charities in Scotland to draw attention to the breakdown of Veterans First Point services under the SNP.
Mr Rumbles has been campaigning in support of Veterans' First Point centres, first set up in Scotland with money gathered from UK banks in Libor fines. The Scottish Government have said that they will only guarantee 50% of the funding necessary to continue funding the First Point Centres with the other 50% required to come out of health board budgets. However some cash-strapped health boards, including Grampian, have been unable to continue providing these services for veterans.
Speaking afterward, Mr Rumbles said:
“Veterans’ services continue to be plagued by insecure funding.
“First Point centres offer a crucial specialist service and their survival should be a priority of the Scottish Government, not dependent on the support of other charitable bodies, such as Age Scotland, who take up the strain.
“I have repeatedly pointed out that NHS Grampian has been deprived of £165m over the last nine years and the decline of veteran support services shows the real world effect this is having on veterans and their families in the North East.”
Notes to editors:
Grampian and Highland First Point centres have been closed because no funding could be found, even with 50% funding from the Scottish Government as their respective health boards could not afford to make a 50% contribution.
Per head of population NHS Grampian is supposed to receive 90% of the average funding per head of population. That is the lowest level of any Scottish health board.
Last week the Scottish Parliament information service revealed that the Scottish Government failed to meet its own funding targets for NHS Grampian every year since 2009. It has short-changed NHS Grampian to the tune of £165.6million over this period.