UK hits out at SNP claims Scotland snubbed over vaccine passport app

Sajid Javid says vaccine passports ‘will not be going ahead’

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Scottish ministers declined an offer to join a Covid vaccine passport app used in England and Wales before opting to set up their own £600k alternative, which has been hit by glitches. This is because the Scottish Government said they were told by UK Government officials that it would “take at least 12 months to get access to the NHS log-in” required for the NHS app.

But today, the UK Government disputed the claims and said it made clear additional work was needed to determine a more accurate timescale.

The rollout of the scheme has been branded “disastrous” following its first weekend of implementation which left long queues of revellers outside late-night venues north of the border.

Thousands of Scots were unable to enter nightclubs after struggling to access records to prove they are double-vaccinated.

Glasgow nightclub owner Donald MacLeod, said: “The vast majority of punters were unable to access the app or show the required proof.

“This is an appalling shambles which, if allowed to continue, will have a devastating effect on the very fragile night-time economy.”

In a statement issued yesterday, the Night Time Industries Association, the industry body which represents Scottish nightclubs, slated SNP ministers over the “disastrous launch”.

The body added: “We have repeatedly warned the Scottish Government how unworkable their vaccine passport plan is.

“The disastrous launch proved our warnings were well-founded.

“Venues reported high levels of customer frustration over the lack of information from the government and the chaotic rollout of the app.

“It is becoming clear that the app is simply not fit for purpose and increasing numbers of the public are losing trust in the Scottish Government’s ability to competently administer this scheme and safeguard personal medical details.”

The NTIA went to the Court of Session in a bid to halt the vaccine passport scheme on Thursday but were unsuccessful.

Jackie Baillie MSP, deputy leader of Scottish Labour, said: “It’s remarkable the SNP has failed so catastrophically and produced an app that’s not fit for purpose.

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“They must fix it immediately.”

Murdo Fraser, Scottish Tory Covid Recovery spokesman, said: “Instead of working with the UK Government to find a solution, the SNP has saddled us with a £600k app that is still broken days after it was first launched.”

Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop QC, said the Scottish Government should have joined the UK’s system instead of spending £600,000 on their own app.

But Deputy First Minister John Swinney defended the controversial jab passport scheme and stressed it was working well.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland Programme, Mr Swinnney said more than 280,0000 Scots had downloaded the app.

He added this morning: “The system is functioning well and has been since during the day on Friday.

“The early hours were slow because of the demand on the system but up until 4pm yesterday, over 280,000 QR codes had been downloaded through the app enabling people to access their covid certification.

“That’s in addition to the ability for individuals to have previously downloaded the PDF version also to receive a paper copy.

“Over the weekend we have seen individual cases emerging where some of the data verification requirements – which are necessary for security purposes – have made it difficult for some people to resolve issues, but that’s only a small number of cases we are aware of.”

Mr Swinney urged Scots to get a paper copy of their vaccination status if they could download the smartphone app.

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