Thursday 18 May 2017
A package of measures to support disabled people in accessing employment opportunities in public service and the public sector were announced this week prior to the Scottish Governments debate on Disability in which I contributed.
The measures include:
A new internship programme for disabled people in the Scottish Government from September as part of the 120 place programme in public and third sector and in politics;
In the first event of its kind to be hosted in Scotland, a major congress will take place in December on disability, employment and the workplace accompanied by a newly announced week-long programme of events which will explore employability issues in depth;
A new campaign to launch in June to raise awareness among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the benefits of hiring and retaining more disabled people;
A review, which will report back in the autumn, in to whether the Access to Elected Office Fund could be extended to support disabled people who wish to undertake public service other than standing for elected office. Currently the fund provides financial support to help disabled people overcome extra difficulties they may face in accessing elected office – such as transport costs – with 39 candidates supported in the recent local government elections and 15 elected as councillors.
During my contribution I raised the difficulties facing disabled people and how these have and will continue to be exacerbated by the punitive welfare cuts being imposed by the UK Government.
You can read the full debate and my speech at:
A rally in support of Palestine was held outside the Scottish Parliament this week and it was great to see so many people standing in solidarity.
Many of you will know my longstanding support for Palestine and I took the opportunity to address those gathered.
The rally also happened to coincide with a visit from the Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev to the Parliamentary complex.
I believe that the EU position of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders, is the best way to secure stability and prosperity for the region, and strongly encourage Israel and Palestine to reach a sustainable, negotiated settlement under international law.
The Scottish Government stands with international partners to condemn any expansion of settlements which we view as illegal and an obstacle to peace and have previously stated that it is wrong to collectively punish the people of Gaza for the actions of their Government.
The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney made a statement to Parliament this week on the current industrial action by college lecturers.
In order to bring about a resolution to the situation Mr Swinney has felt it necessary to step in and appoint a mediator.
You can read the full text of his statement at: https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/statement-on-national-bargaining-in-the-further-education-sector
I chaired the Cross Party Group (CPG) on WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) in the Scottish Parliament this week.
The group was set up to campaign about the changes to the state pension age for women as a result of the 1995 & 2011 Pensions acts and to raise awareness.
Our minutes and agendas are posted on the Parliamentary website at ttp://www.parliament.scot/msps/waspi.aspx
I also wanted to make you aware that there will be rally’s held in both Glasgow and Edinburgh on Friday 26 May.
The Glasgow rally will start at 11.30am in George Square. The procession will leave at 12 noon heading down Argyle Street via Renfield Street then along Queen Street and back to George Square for speeches. I would encourage you all to go along and show your support.
Many of you will have read the report in the weekend newspapers about the homelessness situation in Glasgow. I took the opportunity to question the First Minister on this issue in Parliament this week.
It is a blight on both Glasgow and the rest of Scotland that
You can read the full exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=10952&i=100156
An action plan to help the public sector defend against cyber-attacks, including preventative guidelines for all organisations, is being accelerated following an urgently convened key cyber-resilience meeting.
The public sector action plan, which includes:
Developing a set of guidelines and standards for all Scottish public sector bodies to achieve by 2018
Support for all 121 public sector organisations to achieve accreditation to the Cyber Essentials standard as a minimum requirement
Production of a public awareness strategy for public sector organisations.
It is now an offence to give or make alcohol available to a child or young person for consumption in a public place. The provision is part of the alcohol licensing section of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 and is in place to help Police Scotland better tackle outdoor drinking dens.
It’s that time of year again with the return of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Scotland popular 5K Fun Run/Walk to raise thousands of pounds for vulnerable people and families across our communities.
This year the Youth group is organising their own 5K. The youth Mercy for Mankind 5K fun run/walk will take place on Saturday 21st May with registration at 10am at the Ahmadiyya Muslims Mosque premises and the race at Kelvingrove Park at 11am.
This is always a very successful event and I hope that some of you can join me. You can find out more information by contacting the organiser on 07729709579 or email at email@example.com
Scotland has a new Consortium which brings together organisations and individuals involved in epilepsy. They are founder members of the Epilepsy Consortium Scotland (ECS). It aims to inform future policies made by the Scottish Government, NHS boards and local authorities to benefit those who live with the condition.
I took some time to talk to them when they were exhibiting in the Scottish Parliament this week.
The Consortium gathers current, accurate information from its membership and also invites their views on a range of issues. It offers an important channel for comprehensive feedback on what is happening in the field of epilepsy at a local and national level.