Ebrief

Thursday 29 June 2017

ScotRef

The First Minister committed to reflecting on the outcome of the general election and, in particular, on the issue of a second independence referendum. Those reflections were set out in a speech to the Scottish Parliament this week.

The Scottish Government will not introduce legislation for an independence referendum immediately. At the end of Brexit negotiations, the Scottish Government will set out its judgment on the best way forward – and on the precise timescale of the people of Scotland having a choice on our future.   

Right now, the Scottish Government will seek maximum support for proposals to keep us in the Single Market and remain strongly committed to giving Scotland a choice on our future at the end of the Brexit process.

The General Election and the weakness of the UK government has re-opened the possibility of avoiding an extreme Tory Brexit, and to protect Scotland’s interests.

You can read the full speech here: https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/eu-negotiations-and-scotlands-future

DUP Deal

Following the deal brokered between the Tory Government and the DUP Finance Minister Derek Mackay has called for an urgent meeting to discuss full implications of the funding agreement.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has called for an urgent meeting and highlighted that the Scottish Government will invoke the formal dispute resolution mechanism, if this situation is not satisfactorily resolved by HM Treasury.

Queens Cross Housing Association

06.17 QCHAIt was great to meet up with a delegation of young people and staff from Queens Cross Housing Association this week in Parliament.

They kicked off their visit with a tour of the building including the chamber and also managed to have a seat in the MSP block think pods!

Finishing off their visit they took the opportunity to observe the debate on Education in the chamber.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with them all again soon to further discuss youth homelessness.

Nursing and Midwifery

An estimated 2,600 extra nursing and midwifery training places will be created over the next four years as part of wide-ranging measures to support and strengthen NHS Scotland’s workforce.

The National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, published this week,  sets out how the Scottish Government will work with partners to secure sustainable NHS staffing alongside  its programme of change in health and social care.

Other measures that will seek to increase the supply of nurses include extended ‘return to practice’ programmes, improved recruitment and retention, particularly in rural areas, and support to attract and retain staff. These steps will be focused on priority areas including primary care, mental health, midwifery, maternal and child health and more remote areas, particularly the north of Scotland.

Additional medical student places are also being created – up to 100 over and above the extra 40 places from next September, contributing towards a more sustainable medical workforce.

Dementia

06.17 Dementia Carer VoicesI stopped by to have a chat with Tommy Whitelaw, UK Engagement Lead for Dementia Carers Voices who were sharing a stall with The Alliance in the Parliament this week.

Tommy has been a tireless campaigner travelling up and down the country talking to hundreds of staff employed across health and social care during the You Can Make a Difference campaign.

Having been selected to ask a question during general questions this week in the chamber I chose to ask about how the You Can Make a Difference campaign could engage with the new Dementia Strategy launched by the Scottish Government.

You can access the exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ormain.aspx

Policing

Railway policing will come under the command of Police Scotland after legislation was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The expertise of British Transport Police officers and staff will be backed by the specialist resources of Police Scotland, including counter terrorism, air support and armed policing.

Strengthening the already high standards of safety and security on Scotland’s railways will be the key priority of integration.

The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill was supported by Parliament following the stage 3 debate today.

Festival of Politics

From the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love to the centenary of the Russian revolution, the Festival will celebrate its 13th birthday in true teenage fashion, pushing at boundaries and challenging the norms with an eclectic mix of political discussion, music and film.

Taking place from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 October, this year’s Festival, will also feature two exhibitions: Teenage Instamatics: Punk Rock in Edinburgh 1977 and the Scottish Press Photography Awards.

Galas

06.17 Partick Housing Association Gala DayWhat a great weekend out and about in the constituency and there was plenty to see, do and celebrate!

Partick Housing Association had their Gala Day at Mansfield Park and as you can see from the photo I threw myself into the arts and crafts activities! There was something for everyone from face-painting to nail painting to live music and a fantastic selection of stalls with great local produce.

06.17 Hyndland PS Gala DayHyndland After School Club were celebrating their 25th anniversary and I was delighted to be invited to join in their celebrations.

This is a great resource for parents, carers and young people and they have gone from strength to strength serving the local community over the past 25 years commonly and fondly known as the Afti!

I wish all the staff another 25 years success!

Building Safety

The second meeting of a Ministerial Working Group, convened to examine building and fire safety regulatory frameworks, took place this week.

Checks so far by local authorities have found that:

No Scottish local-authority owned school buildings above 18 metres have the type of cladding reported to have been used on the Grenfell tower – aluminium composite material (ACM).

No high rise domestic buildings owned by councils or housing associations have used ACM cladding.

29 of 32 local authorities have reported that ACM cladding has not been used on any privately owned high-rise domestic buildings. Edinburgh and Glasgow are completing their investigations and it was acknowledged this will take time due to due to the numbers involved.

Organ Donation

Following a public consultation, the Scottish Government intends to introduce legislation for a soft opt out system of organ and tissue donation.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell has confirmed plans to bring forward legislation during this Parliament after 82% of consultation responses supported the move.

This will add to the package of measures already in place to increase donation. Work with stakeholders will continue, to ensure that the system is developed in a way which will do no harm to trust in the NHS or to the safety of organ donation.

Recess

The Parliament will go into recess until 4 September. Please note that the Ebrief will not be published during this period but will resume on 7 September.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a good summer and fingers crossed we can all enjoy some sunshine!

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