Nicola Sturgeon on the extension of lockdown and the rise in domestic abuse

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appeared on Good Morning Britain today and spoke about the likelihood of the extension of lockdown following tomorrow’s government meeting.

When Lorraine Kelly suggested it looked very likely it’s going to be another three weeks of lockdown, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think that’s a reasonable assumption. Obviously I can only speak for Scotland and my decisions as First Minister, although we are taking part in these UK wide discussions, but we’re not yet at a stage where we can be confident we have sufficiently suppressed this virus, so that if we started to lift measures it wouldn’t simply run out of control again.”

She added: “I know this is really tough for people to hear but it is likely to be another few weeks in lockdown. But to try and give people some assurance and some sense of hope, the work and the thinking about how we do start to come out of this lockdown is already underway. I certainly hope, in the days to come to, be able to share more of that thinking with the public so that there is an understanding of the factors that we’re taking into account and the principles that are guiding those decisions. The priority has to be to ask people to continue to do the right thing to stay at home. It remains absolutely essential to slow down the spread, to save lives and to stop the NHS being overwhelmed.”

On the subject of the rise in domestic abuse and the government funding of £2 million to help victims, Scotland's First Minister said: “We’re dealing with a virus right now so we have to do certain things to try and suppress the virus and lockdown is of course the key part of that, but this has consequences as well… Where someone is vulnerable to domestic abuse, that vulnerability is even higher now.”

She added: “It’s no exaggeration to say that’s something I worry about day in and day out, so the money we talk about, it’s not the totality of what we’re spending, but it’s about trying to increase the capacity for organisations to deal with that extra demand… The helpline hasn’t gone away. If you need someone to talk to, the support is there and that is something we can’t stress strongly enough.”