Thursday 6 September 2018

Welcome back! I hope you all managed to get out and about soaking up not only the great weather but the fantastic line up of events across the city.

09.18 Festival 2018The European Championships and Festival 2018 had an incredibly positive impact particularly in the city centre which has had to deal with successive extremely serious situations in the past year – the Championships gave Glaswegians and the rest of Scotland the chance to celebrate and showcase our amazing talent, culture and of course our largest city in Scotland with Glasgow Kelvin playing a central starring role!

I paid tribute to all of those involved during a debate in Parliament on Tuesday. You can access the full debate here http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11639&i=105485

Programme for Government

The First Minister unveiled the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government this week in the Parliament.

A major reform of mental health services, investment in infrastructure and legislation to underpin a Scottish National Investment Bank are at the forefront of the Scottish Government’s priorities for the year ahead.

The Programme for Government includes details of a £250 million health investment package that will deliver dedicated mental health counsellors in schools, extra training for teachers, and an additional 250 school nurses to offer emotional and mental health support and provide more advice for young people and their families dealing with mental health issues.

It also sets out a national mission to reach the most ambitious long-term level of infrastructure spend ever in Scotland, with a commitment to invest an additional £7 billion – over and above existing plans – on schools, hospitals, transport, digital connectivity and clean energy by 2026.

An Export Growth Plan will see £20 million invested in a range of measures, including support for 150 businesses to increase overseas activity, whilst a new Fair Work plan will see living wage, gender pay transparency and the exclusion of zero hours contracts become conditions for business support.

The First Minister also confirmed that Scotland’s Social Security Agency will make the first payments of the Best Start Grant before Christmas, six months ahead of schedule, helping parents on low incomes with £600 on the birth of their first baby and £300 for subsequent children, to buy family essentials.

Headteachers will be given new powers to become key decision makers in their schools and, in partnership with local government, 750 new, extended or refurbished nurseries will be developed to deliver the Scottish Government’s commitment to double free childcare hours.

New measures will be put in place to provide better support to victims of serious crimes and, in the Year of Young People, the First Minister committed to enshrine children’s rights by incorporating the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into law – going further than the UK government in making children’s rights real.

Scotch Whisky Industry

09.18 Drink DriveRepresentatives from the Scotch Whisky industry were in Parliament this week. I’m pictured committing to the Join the Pact campaign.

This campaign was launched by Johnny Walker continuing their 9-year commitment to responsible drinking, Join the Pact is a global initiative for people to commit to never drink & drive.

Johnny Walker joined forces with transport providers around the world to get people home safely and for every commitment made, Johnny Walker have pledged to give back 1 kilometer of safe rides home.

The reception provided an opportunity to discuss with Scotch Whisky employees and industry leaders’ various aspects of the Scotch Whisky industry and mark the highest number of distilleries since pre-war including our own Clydeside Distillery!

Festival of Politics

09.18 Festival of PoliticsTaking place in the Scottish Parliament from Wednesday 10 October to Saturday 13 October, the Festival of Politics programme explores the history that made us and the issues that will shape our future. From Brexit to the increasing use of technology. Social and cultural issues also feature strongly in this year’s programme, featuring events that will explore the politics around foodbanks, disability and housing. Political anniversaries and movements is also part of the programme including the end of the first world war, suffragettes and the #me too campaign.

The Festival is a unique opportunity to debate these important issues with politicians, journalists, academics, commentators, poets and artists and all set within the iconic Holyrood complex.

This year’s Festival will also feature two thought provoking exhibitions. The original artwork from the pioneering We Shall fight Until We Win graphic novel which celebrates women gaining the vote in the UK will be on display. This will be displayed beside Never Such Innocence a powerful collection of artwork and poetry created by school children in response to the First World War.

You can find the full details of the programme here: https://festivalofpolitics.scot/

Scottish National Investment Bank

Work to ensure Scotland is a nation inventing, designing and manufacturing the innovations that will shape the future is underway, following the First Minister’s announcement that legislation to underpin a Scottish National Investment Bank will be introduced in early 2019.

Finance and Economy Secretary Derek Mackay has launched a consultation to ask the people of Scotland to help shape the objectives, purpose, priorities and governance of the Bank, as well as the its relationship with Ministers and stakeholders.

The Scottish National Investment Bank will focus on providing long-term patient capital for key economic investments, guided by a mission-orientated approach set by Government.

Take part here: https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/09/9275

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