Thursday 14 December 2017
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay made his statement to Parliament this week on the Scottish Governments budget for 2018/19.
Setting out plans to invest an additional £400 million in Scotland’s health service, protect public services, lift the public sector pay cap and provide a package of investment in growing the economy and supporting small businesses, Mr Mackay said the budget would “invest in our public services and support business to thrive”.
The Draft Budget proposes the introduction of a more progressive income tax policy that will protect low and middle income taxpayers, resulting in the majority of taxpayers paying less income tax than they do now with those on the highest incomes paying proportionately more.
You can read the full terms of the budget here: https://beta.gov.scot/budget/
I was up at the crack of dawn to get down to the sorting office at Clarence Drive on Monday to meet up with our posties who have been working flat out to make sure our cards and presents get to friends, family and colleagues in time for Christmas.
Despite the incredible pressures on them at this time of year they took the time to stop and have a chat with me about the depot and the changes they have witnessed over the years.
I’m sure you would all join me in thanking all the staff at Clarence Drive as well as Royal Mail staff across the country who work tirelessly at this time of year and without whom our parcels, letters and cards sending good wishes would not reach their destinations.
I would like to take this opportunity to encourage parents and carers of 2-5 year olds across Glasgow Kelvin to take advantage of the free flu vaccine to protect children from the virus this winter.
GP practices across Scotland are providing the nasal flu vaccine free of charge. The vaccine only takes a few minutes and can protect your child from flu for up to a year, so it really is the best defence against the virus which can be extremely infectious and serious. The nasal spray is painless, has an excellent safety record, and does not contain a live virus, so will not cause flu in your child.
Christmas Jumper Day
Tomorrow marks Christmas Jumper Day 2017 and to highlight the Save the Children campaign MSPs and parliamentary staff took part in a photocall.
As you can see I didn’t have my winter woolie with me but luckily Save the Children had this great stand in!
I’d encourage you all to take part and it’s easy. All you have to do is wear a Christmas jumper. Everyone who joins in and gives £2 to take part will be making the world better with a sweater!
The money raised from this campaign can go towards Save the Children’s emergency work. In the last few years, the money raised for Save the Children has helped them provide food, shelter and urgent medical care to children across the world.
If you want to take part go to https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/
Increasing employment opportunities for minority ethnic communities is part of a range of actions set out by the Scottish Government and launched at Glasgow City Chambers this week.
The Race Equality Action Plan contains more than 120 actions spanning employment, education, health, housing, poverty, community cohesion and safety for all minority ethnic communities in Scotland.
This includes the promotion of the Workplace Equality Fund – £500,000 for groups which help people overcome employment barriers – and tailored employment support for refugees and asylum seekers, backed by £2.6 million from the Equality Fund.
You can access the plan here http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/12/8700
We bid a fond farewell to Heather who has been with us since September as part of her studies. Heather is heading home to Philadelphia so before she went we took her out for her first Christmas dinner of the season!
Heather has been a great asset to the Parliamentary team and will be sorely missed. However, she has fallen in love with Scotland and hopes to return after she has finished her studies!
Lawrie Klein from Stepchange came to the office this week to provide me with some information on their work.
At this time of year many people are feeling the strain of the financial squeeze and many of us will push ourselves into debt.
Stepchange are there to offer free debt advice whether its struggling to pay bills or borrowed money you’re having difficulties paying back they are there to help you manage the situation.
You can access advice either by their Freephone service on 0800 138 1111 or visit the website at www.stepchange.org
If you prefer to access advice anonymously and take control yourself there is an online Debt Remedy Tool which you can complete and Stepchange will provide a personal action plan.
A new ‘Factory for the Future’ will be built on the banks of the Clyde. Renfrewshire will be home to the new £65 million National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS), with Strathclyde University announced as the anchor university.
Work to build the centre, which will help manufacturing businesses throughout Scotland become world leaders in innovation, will begin next year. The centre at Inchinnan will be located right next to Glasgow International Airport and the M8.
The Scottish Government will invest £48 million in NMIS with £8 million from the University of Strathclyde. This is in addition to the £8.9 million announced in June 2017 for the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre as a first step towards the wider centre. Renfrewshire Council will provide a further £39.1 million through the Glasgow City Region Deal to support wider infrastructure work at the site.