Thursday 16 November 2017

Cladding

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities Angela Constance gave a statement to Parliament this week and I took the opportunity to put forward a question which I have attached below

Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP): The two buildings in Glasgow that have been mentioned are on the Glasgow harbour site in my constituency. Indeed, evidence received from constituents states that completion certificates were received after May 2005. What evidence has the working group received from Glasgow City Council that it is doing everything in its power to ensure that residents are kept informed of everything that is going on, including the on-going work, and that they are told where they can access further advice?

Angela Constance: The issue around completion certificates is one of the many issues that the review panel on building standards compliance and enforcement will look at in further detail. Glasgow City Council has been keeping the ministerial working group updated regularly on the work that is going on at a local level and it remains proactive in addressing the situation of the two towers that Ms White has referred to. The council has written to property owners, detailing the actions that it has taken to date, including interim measures to improve the fire safety of the buildings that will allow residents to continue to live at home, and the work that will need to be done to remove and replace the cladding. If that does not capture everything that the constituency member requires, we will endeavour to write to her in the fullest detail.

You can read the full text of the statement here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11193&i=102025

St Andrews Day

11.17 SaltireThe public are being asked to do a good deed on St Andrew’s Day to celebrate Scotland’s history, culture and the nation’s shared values.

The #BeLikeStAndrew campaign marks the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – which opens with St Andrew’s Day, followed by Hogmanay, and then Burns Night.

Charity partners Princes Trust Scotland, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Crisis Scotland, have joined the Scottish Rugby Union and Stoats to back the campaign.

Scotland’s Winter Festivals will see dozens of events and activities taking place across the country highlighting the best of music, arts and entertainment.

Get more information on the campaign here: http://www.scotland.org/events/st-andrews-day/be-like-st-andrew

New Role

I was delighted to be nominated and elected to serve on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) this week.

Many of you will not be familiar with the work of the SPCB but it’s main role is to make sure that the Scottish Parliament can operate effectively and that MSPs are able to carry out their duties.

The Corporate Body considers and makes decisions on a wide range of issues to do with the running of the Parliament including the financing of the Parliament and allocation of the budget, the staffing of the Parliament, accommodation and the use and security of Parliamentary facilities at Holyrood.

I am looking forward to my new role and the responsibility which comes with it.

ESB

11.17 ESBI attended the launch of ESB’s new office in George Street this week along with the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse.

ESB is Ireland’s foremost energy company with a 90 year track record. They have earmarked 800MW of clean electricity generation in Scotland. They will be working in partnership with windfarm developers including Coriolis and REG Holdings.

They are committed to growing a low carbon and renewable generation as part of the transition to a low carbon economy , powered by clean electricity.

Digital Classrooms                              

11.17 Digital Classrooms EquatorI was delighted to host Equator and their presentation to MSPs and invited guests on their work with children in refugee camps across Europe.

Their idea was created because of their commitment to education and innovation so unlike the majority of us they shelved their plans for sending a Christmas card in 2016 and instead set themselves the challenge of coming up with something that would make a real difference to people’s lives.

From those first steps they resolved that they would aim to transform the prospects of every one of the 150 refugee children in ‘La Linière’ camp on the outskirts of Dunkirk.

The result was a fully wireless digital classroom in an easily transportable container that would create the opportunity to learn languages and skills.

They visited the camp to deliver the package and saw first-hand the huge impact it would have on the lives of the children there and they are now developing the concept to make it available for displaced communities worldwide.

I think most of you will agree with me that this is an incredible idea that has immense possibilities and I hope that Equator will continue to develop this concept.

Minimum Pricing

The UK Supreme Court has this week ruled that minimum unit pricing for alcohol, which was passed overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, can now proceed.

Following the unequivocal backing of the highest court in Scotland – and a referral to the European Court of Justice – the UK Supreme Court has now dismissed an appeal by the Scotch Whisky Association and others, ruling that the proposed minimum unit pricing policy is appropriately targeted, lawful and proportionate.

Prior to implementing the policy, Ministers will now conduct a consultation on the proposed 50 pence per unit price and refresh the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) that is required by Parliament.  The Scottish Government anticipates setting the minimum unit price at 50 pence per unit, subject to the outcome of the consultation and the refreshed BRIA.

Landscape Institute

11.17 Lanscape for ScotlandThe Landscape Institute is the professional body and regulator for landscape architecture and they were exhibiting in the Scottish Parliament this week.

Under its Royal Charter the Landscape Institute is charged with protecting, conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for the benefit of the public by the planning, design and management of outdoor space.

Glasgow city centre has benefitted from the expertise of landscape architects just take a look at the ‘style mile’ a great walkable space created through visionary design.

For more information on the Landscape Institute go to http://scotland.landscapeinstitute.org/

GP Contracts

Plans for investment and reform to give GPs more time with patients most in need of their skills have been published.

A new GP contract, jointly designed and agreed with the British Medical Association, will be the biggest reform of GPs services in over a decade

The proposals will ensure that all patients get the support they need from an extended community healthcare team – led by GPs and including nurses, physiotherapists, community mental health workers, paramedics, and pharmacists – to ensure more patients get the best and most appropriate care. This means GPs are able to best use their skills as expert medical generalists to spend more time with the people who need them most.

Alongside this, the Scottish Government is also announcing an additional £30 million over three years to help reduce the risks to GPs of leasing or owning premises and improve practice sustainability.

The move is part of an overall transformation in community health services which will see an additional £500 million invested every year by 2021, £250 million of which will be invested in direct support of general practice.

Year of Young People

11.17 Year of Young People 2018A major programme of events and activities to celebrate Scotland’s young people will take place in 2018.

A global first, the Year of Young People 2018 will provide a platform to showcase the personalities, talents and achievements of Scotland’s young people.

It will give young people, aged 8 to 26, new opportunities to influence decision making on issues affecting their lives and be involved in cultural and sporting opportunities across the country.

Young people have been involved in designing the programme, with more than 500 signed up to volunteer as Year of Young People 2018 Ambassadors.

EventScotland will deliver a programme of events for all ages, and Young Scot, Children in Scotland, the Scottish Youth Parliament and YouthLink Scotland will lead youth participation and involvement in the Year.

Find out more here: http://yoyp2018.scot/

 

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