‘Triple spend on young peo­ple’

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS - BY CA­TRI­ONA WEB­STER

Fi­nance sec­re­tary Derek Mackay is be­ing asked to triple spend­ing on psy­chi­atric ser­vices for young peo­ple in his bud­get next week.

The Scot­tish Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Coali­tion is call­ing for him to ear­mark an ad­di­tional £100mil­lion.

Just over 6%, £54mil­lion, of the men­tal health spend is ded­i­cated to child and ado­les­cent ser­vices.

But fig­ures vary dra­mat­i­cally with ge­og­ra­phy.

NHS Grampian is recorded as spend­ing 0.91% of its men­tal health bud­get on chil­dren – while Loth­ian ded­i­cated 9.8%. High­land es­ti­mates its spend at 3.7%, Orkney’ 4.1% and Shet­land 20.46%.

Kenny Gra­ham from the Scot­tish Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Coali­tion said: “No longer can men­tal health be viewed as a ‘Cin­derella’ ser­vice and we must put money be­hind the rhetoric.” Progress to tackle the dis­crim­i­na­tion ex­pe­ri­enced by the gypsy trav­eller com­mu­nity in Scot­land has stag­nated, MSPs have heard.

A young cam­paigner told Holy­rood’s Equal­i­ties and Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee that the sit­u­a­tion was at a “crit­i­cal point” and ur­gent ac­tion was needed to help trav­ellers ac­cess the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as the set­tled com­mu­nity.

Davie Don­ald­son, from the char­ity Ar­ti­cle 12 in Scot­land, also re­newed crit­i­cism of Con­ser­va­tive Mo­ray MP Dou­glas Ross, who ear­lier this year apol­o­gised for say­ing his pri­or­ity as prime min­is­ter would be to bring in “tougher en­force­ment against gypsy trav­ellers”.

Mr Don­ald­son de­scribed ex­am­ples of “po­lit­i­cal racism” he had en­coun­tered at lo­cal author­ity level, in­clud­ing be­ing told “no one here cares about the tinks” dur­ing a com­mu­nity plan­ning meet­ing in Aberdeen­shire af­ter rais­ing the is­sue of health­care for the trav­el­ling com­mu­nity.

On an­other oc­ca­sion, he said he was made aware of an in­ter­nal e-mail at an­other coun­cil re­lat­ing to a po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment that a trav­eller man was plan­ning, in which a se­nior male told col­leagues “don’t help him, he’s a trav­eller.

“Ex­am­ples of ‘po­lit­i­cal racism’ he had en­coun­tered”

Give the help to a good, honest man”.

Mr Don­ald­son told the com­mit­tee: “That’s the sort of in­ter­nal stuff we’re get­ting at lo­cal author­ity level.

“I’m still naive enough to hope that it’s not ex­ist­ing at this sort of level but Dou­glas Ross re­ally did dash those hopes and I know, on the ground, his com­ments re­ally did im­pact on a lot of trav­ellers liv­ing in Mo­ray.”

He added that young trav­ellers were forced to hide their eth­nic­ity to ac­cess school­ing and strug­gled to find work.

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