Thursday 11 January 2018
Happy New Year to you all. I hope you managed to relax and enjoy some time with family and friends. The parliamentary session started back this week and with two debates pertinent to the constituency I took the opportunity to participate.
It was great to catch up with constituents Maureen Kelly and Janice O’Kane just before the Christmas recess.
Maureen and Janice came to the Parliament to have a tour and watch the proceedings in the Chamber including First Ministers Question Time and by all accounts they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
If you would like to have a tour of the Parliament or sit in to watch chamber proceedings please get in touch with my Assistant Amanda Gordon at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0131 348 5688
Glasgow Kelvin has a very high concentration of tenement buildings both old and new across the constituency and with my colleague Ben Macpherson MSP securing a members debate on the maintenance and repair of tenement buildings I was eager to contribute highlighting concerns raised by tenement dwelling constituents.
You can access my speech here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11291&i=102781
With many of my cases related to housing and in particular property factors this debate gave me a platform to raise the concerns of my constituents who have had less than satisfactory service from their property factor.
My next piece relates well and will give those of you with problem factoring services the opportunity to shape a revised code of conduct….
For those of you who haven’t already done so this is a reminder that the Scottish Government’s consultation on a draft revised code of conduct for registered property factors will close on Monday 15 January 2018.
The consultation seeks your views on a revised code of conduct for property factors. Following this consultation, Scottish Ministers may amend the revised code and then lay a copy of the code before the Scottish Parliament for its consideration.
Factoring is a very contentious issue across the constituency and my casework loads unfortunately are testament to this.
You have an opportunity to make your views heard and help shape a revised code of conduct.
You can access the consultation at https://consult.gov.scot/housing-regeneration-and-welfare/code-of-conduct-for-registered-property-factors/
2018 will see Glasgow host the European Championships and I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Championships in Parliament this week.
I count myself as extremely lucky to represent a city that attracts major events like the 2018 European Championships – bringing large numbers of visitors that help our economy thrive.
Glasgow 2018 offers a fantastic opportunity to build upon the lasting legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games – giving local communities the chance to benefit from the Festival 2018 Our Place Fund as well as significant increases in tourism and the opportunity to welcome inspiring sportspeople to our city. Indeed it’s no coincidence that recent accommodation figures show that more people have booked holidays to Glasgow this year than any other part of the UK. While our industries, including tourism and events, face huge uncertainty because of Brexit – the Scottish Government is committed to enhancing Scotland’s international reputation as a dynamic and creative nation and world-class tourism destination, whilst retaining our position as a leader in sport, art, culture and music events, and major conferences. Our young people will also be at the heart of Glasgow 2018, which offers 50% discounts on all ticket prices to young people and many more events completely free as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.
You can access the text of my speech here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11297&i=102810 You can find out more here: http://www.glasgow2018.com/
Winter is always a busy time for our NHS, but this year has been exceptional. Everyone in the health service has worked extremely hard to deal with the additional pressures they’ve faced over the last few weeks.
Thousands of staff both across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and nationally have missed out on precious time with friends and family to make sure patients have received the care and treatment they need over winter.
We can all play a part in ensuring demand on our most acute services is minimised by taking time to think of the best way to access advice and treatment – for example by using a pharmacy or a minor injuries unit for minor ailments or seeking health advice for some of the most common conditions at this time of year through NHS inform.
I also want to remind readers that it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS and if you’re eligible for vaccination on the NHS it’s important that you take that offer.
NHS staff across Greater Glasgow and Clyde are doing a tremendous job at a tough time of year, and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.
If you’re eligible, please make getting the vaccination a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible.
January will see the revamp of the ‘Eat Better Feel Better’ website, which offers practical advice with the aim of increasing fruit and veg consumption, and cutting unhealthy snacking and sugary drink consumption in children.
The site has tips and tools for families to help them make simple, quick and cheap changes to how they shop, cook and eat.
You can get more information here https://www.eatbetterfeelbetter.co.uk/
The Scottish Government has begun preparations to introduce an EU Continuity Bill to prepare Scotland’s laws for Brexit after UK Government legislation was called “incompatible with the devolution settlement” by a cross-party Holyrood committee.
The Scottish Government is opposed to leaving the EU but must prepare for that eventuality. The government also has an obligation to plan for the Scottish Parliament deciding not to give legislative consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill if necessary amendments to protect devolution are not made.
Children and young people in Scotland now have the most rights in Europe when it comes to accessing the support they need to reach their full potential. This is also pertinent as we celebrate Year of Young People 2018.
Amendments to the Additional Support for Learning Act 2004 have now come in to force, extending a range of rights, to children aged 12-15, for the first time.
Previously only available to parents, carers and over 16s the extension of rights means that children will now have more say than ever before in decisions about their education.
Children can now:
Ask for their additional support needs to be identified and planned for
Receive advice and information about their additional support needs
Be part of discussions about the support that they will receive
Access dispute resolution procedures to resolve concerns
These rights will be balanced by safeguards and supported by a newly created service which will help children access advice at every stage of the process to enable them to become fully involved in decisions about their education.
I met up with this beautiful dog in the Parliament just before the Christmas recess. The SSPCA were in to highlight their #saynotopuppydealers.
The Scottish SPCA is determined to put an end to the illegal puppy trade. This multimillion pound industry is fuelled entirely by greed and profit with little to no consideration for the welfare of the dogs they sell.
Shutting down individuals in this cruel trade helps hundreds of puppy’s and dogs who are exposed to unsanitary living conditions. As a result of the breeding regimen and the conditions the pups are kept in before being sold, a large number suffer from diseases and infections such as giardia and parvo virus. Not only does this result in high vet bills for unsuspecting new owners, but it causes a great deal of unnecessary suffering to the dogs and in some circumstances can result in death.
You can help to raise awareness by using the #saynottopuppydealers on social media and if you are thinking of getting a dog please visit the SSPCA website first at https://www.scottishspca.org/newsroom/campaigns/fighting-the-illegal-puppy-trade/