RUTH Davidson has urged the SNP to rethink its plans to introduce state guardians for all children when she met anxious parents who object to the controversial proposals.
The Scottish Conservative leader called on Nicola Sturgeon to “press the pause button” on the “named person” legislation which comes into force this August.
On the election trail in Abernethy, Perthshire, Ms Davidson met parents concerned by the proposals, which have been criticised for encouraging state intrusion into family life.
Under the plans, all children under the age of 18 will be assigned a single point of contact, such as a teacher or health visitor, to look out for their welfare.
The Scottish Government says the service, which is the subject of a legal challenge, will act as a safety net to help vulnerable families and children.
Ms Davidson said: “This is going to start in August and we don’t really know what it looks like. We haven’t really been told how the machinations work. My strong urge to the Scottish Government, to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP is that we have fought this at every way and they have voted us down and shouted us down at every turn.
“Only now are parents waking up to how big an intrusion this is. Let’s press the pause button on this. Let’s not introduce it in August. Let’s get back round the table and find a way to best allocate resources to the young people who are in vulnerable and at risk situations who need it the most.”
Ms Davidson, whose party abstained when the legislation was considered at Holyrood, attacked Ms Sturgeon for suggesting that parents could ignore the named person regulation, yet it remained mandatory for children.
Rosalind McCall, mother of a 12- and 14-year-old daughters, said she was “exceptionally worried” about the plans.
She said: “What concerns me the most is that when you take the parent out of the loop it is subject to things going completely wrong and that’s unfortunately where we are at. Parents are at the bottom of the list and it certainly shouldn’t be that way round.”
Joy Knight, 70, a former teacher and chair of the Children’s Panel Advisory Group from Scone, added: “I think we have all the belts and braces in place that we need. We’ve got the police, we’ve got teachers, we’ve got doctors. It will cause, I think, a logjam of children’s problems.”
An SNP spokesman said: “If Ruth Davidson thinks that the named person scheme is so bad then she should explain why she told her party not to vote against it – it was passed unopposed by the Scottish Parliament by 103 votes to zero.
“This is naked political opportunism from a political party void of any constructive political ideas for Scotland’s future.”