Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has said any planned Covid vaccination passports should be operated on a single system in Scotland and England or risk yet more confusion for border communities and travellers.

Throughout last year, the local MSP raised issues about England and Scotland using different Covid tracing apps, which at one point were not compatible and meant those travelling across the border had to switch between two different apps.

The latest issue about Covid passports shows that the Scottish and UK Governments have not learned lessons from this. The Scottish Government announced last month that a £600,000 digital scheme to replace paper Covid vaccination certificates is being developed, similar to ones already in use elsewhere in the UK and Europe.

Colin Smyth said: “I am very sceptical about Covid passports already, but it does look as if the Government are going to decide they may be used in some circumstances.

“The problem for Scots is while they are available in England electronically, the dithering of the Scottish Government means people in Scotland don’t have them.

“The news that late in the day, a separate Scottish vaccination passport is being developed at a cost of £600,000 to the taxpayer is yet more proof that the Scottish and UK Governments are incapable of working together to provide real and joined up solutions.

“It makes no sense for vaccination passports to be different north and south of the border, there should be a single system to avoid confusion.

“Residents in my border constituency have already alerted me to issues having arisen because they are unable to prove that they had had vaccinations, while their English neighbours have a section on their app for this purpose.

“One constituent was asked for proof of vaccination or a negative test before they could access a venue south of the border but didn’t have this information on their phone.

“This is yet another example of the complete breakdown in communication between our two Governments in the battle against Covid-19.

“With so many people in border communities in particular travelling between Scotland and England every day for work, health, education and leisure, the UK and Scottish Governments need to understand that the decisions they both make will impact on people living on both sides of the border.”

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