SCOTLAND’S inquiry into the historic abuse of children in care will be able to look at the wider system, John Swinney has said.

The Deputy First Minister told MSPs that Lady Smith’s inquiry would be able to look at how reports of abuse were dealt with by authorities.

Labour MSP Johann Lamont said: “What survivor groups have also flagged up is the extent to which other parts of the system let them down, whether it was police or prosecution services, and the sense in some areas there’s been a cover-up and this is not unique to Scotland.

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“Is the inquiry able to go where the evidence takes it – not just what happened to young people in care, but the way in which the system then closed down concerns that may have been expressed?”

Swinney replied: “My view is yes... the extension of the remit that I made in November was to make it clear beyond any doubt that if, for example, there was a young person in care and they were abused outwith the boundaries of that care home, that abuse should be considered by the inquiry.

“I think the wider understanding of what happened, how issues were considered, what was done and... not done at the time, all of that must be, all of that is, within the scope of the inquiry, and in my view must be examined and that requires a whole range of different bodies to be engaged with the inquiry on these questions and the inquiry has the powers to make sure that’s the case.”

Swinney has previously said he will not extend the Scottish Government’s inquiry to include football – the Scottish Football Association should start its own.

He cited the example of the Catholic Church in Scotland, which set up a commission to investigate allegations of abuse, with the implementation of its recommendations being overseen by Baroness Helen Liddell.

There did have to be confidence in the process of any such inquiries and their independence, he added.

He also assured the Government would look at any issues that emerged from those processes.