The SNP leader has pledged to award NHS staff and social care workers a one-off tax-free bonus of £500 as a “Thank You” payment for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic The First Minister made the announcement at the SNP virtual conference last November and said the payment would form part of a £180million package to benefit over 300,000 staff, including nurses, porters and residential care workers.
But, the grand plan by the SNP – who want to break-up the Union – is being funded by an emergency grant by the UK Treasury.
Last autumn, Westminster provided the Scottish Government with an extra £8.2billion on top of an annual payment made via the Barnett Formula block grant.
Former Labour MSP and GP Dr Richard Simpson asked the Scottish Government where the money for the NHS bonus would be coming from and Holyrood confirmed it was from the UK Treasury grant.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have been provided with £8.2billion of Covid consequential support, which is allocated in Scotland according to need.
“The non-consolidated bonus has been funded from these consequentials via the overarching health allocation.
“Necessary funding is being made available to NHS boards.”
Scottish Tory shadow health secretary Donald Cameron hit out at the SNP for initially failing to reveal where the funds would be coming from.
Mr Cameron claimed the financial gesture from the SNP was a political move and says the “stunt completely backfired”.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon tried to play politics with this payment and her stunt completely backfired.
“At long last, the Scottish Government have admitted our heroic NHS workers will be getting this money thanks to the UK Government’s huge increases in spending.”
Speaking at the SNP conference in the winter, Ms Sturgeon said the Clap for Carers events “was never enough”.
She explained appreciation for NHS workers must be “shown in a more tangible way” and said £500 payment would be processed before the end of the financial year in April.
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At a coronavirus briefing this afternoon, Ms Sturgeon confirmed a further 1,782 positive COVID-19 cases and one further deaths has been recorded in the past 24 hours in Scotland.
Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 151,548 people in Scotland have returned a positive COVID-19 test and 4,969 had died within 28 days of contracting the virus.
The First Minister reiterated the message for people to “stay at home” and warned Scotland is now at the “most perilous and serious position since the start of the pandemic”.