A Scottish Labour MSP has called on Holyrood to recognise the growing problem of anti-Catholicism in Scotland.

Elaine Smith’s remarks followed a government report which said that Catholics are the victims of 57 per cent of all religiously aggravated offences reported in Scotland.

The MSP raised the subject in the Scottish Parliament last week, after an incident in which a church near Glasgow was vandalised and the Blessed Sacrament desecrated.

She noted that not only are Catholics now the victims of more hate crime than all other religious groups in Scotland combined, but that this is also a growing trend (a 14 per cent increase in one year).

Mrs Smith called on the SNP government to “go out to the Catholic population and listen to their concerns”, adding that while Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have prominent places in public debate, the same cannot be said of anti-Catholicism.

Speaking on behalf of the government, the SNP’s Annabelle Ewing emphasised the existing commitment to tackling such crimes, saying that £13 million had been invested since 2012 to tackle sectarianism.

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