Salmond praises emergency services over extreme weather response

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Alex Salmond praised the emergency services as he updated MSPs about the impact of the extreme weather conditions across Scotland during first minister's questions on 5 December 2013.

Mr Salmond said parts of the country had experienced winds of more than a 100mph and there had been one fatality as a result of the weather.

He confirmed approximately 100,000 homes had been offline, but some 15,000 reconnections had already been made and 195 schools had closed across Scotland.

The first minister praised the "outstanding work of the emergency services" in responding to the severe weather.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont also praised the emergency services and other agencies working to get Scotland safe again.

Ms Lamont then criticised what she termed the lack of detail about the SNP's pledge in the independence White Paper to expand childcare provision.

Under its plans, it said children would be entitled to 30 hours of childcare each week benefiting about 240,000 children.

The Scottish Labour leader said the government had not explained the cost of the policy beyond the first term and without the figures the policy was "simple assertion".

She called the flagship policy "a shameless attempt to con the people of Scotland" into voting Yes in next year's referendum.

Mr Salmond hit back hailing the childcare provision plan as a "transformational change" which would help 100,000 people back to work and create 30,000 jobs in nurseries.

"That transformational policy in childcare can be afforded, can be pursued in an an independent Scotland, just as it is pursued at the moment in an independent Sweden," he said.

"I'll be delighted to lay down the calculations which show how an expansion in economic activity results in a £700 million increase in Scottish revenues."

Scottish Conservative Ruth Davidson called for an action plan to address the "unacceptable" increase in bullying of nurses reported by the Royal College of Nurses.

The first minister said his government had a "zero tolerance approach to bullying in the workplace" and agreed he could arrange a meeting with opposition party leaders to discuss the issue.

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