Thursday 4 October 2018
As Convener of the Cross Party Group on Older People, Age and Ageing it was a pleasure to attend the 75th anniversary celebrations of Age Scotland in the Parliament.
It was a special evening not least for Glasgow Old Peoples Welfare Association, now renamed Glasgow’s Golden Generation. Their new CEO Morag MacLeod whom I’m pictured with received the award on behalf of the organisation.
I also had the privilege of leading a members debate in the chamber on Wednesday celebrating this milestone for Age Scotland and highlighting the positive contribution organisations working on behalf of older people have made in both practical terms and policy shaping.
I closed my speech with a quote from Professor Sir Stewart Sutherland, who said: “To say Scotland is facing an ageing crisis is a myth. While it is certainly true that Scotland, along with the rest of the world, is getting older, that, in itself, does not constitute a crisis.” Professor Sutherland was challenging the view that older people are a burden and a drain on our society and public services, as Age Scotland and its predecessor organisations have done for 75 years.
Instead of repeating that view, as people often do on the bus or on television or elsewhere in the media, we should celebrate what we know to be true: older people are an asset to our society and economy and they are the life-blood of our communities, providing the backbone of charities, volunteering and acting as a reserve army of unpaid carers.
You can view the full debate here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/members-business-75th-anniversary-of-age-scotland-october-3-2018
On the back of reports of a restricted document from Police Scotland regarding the flying of certain flags I raised the matter with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice during General Question Time this week.
My concern was the guidelines issued by Police Scotland were not definitive and could be misinterpreted.
On the back of this exchange I will be pursuing a full response from Police Scotland regarding their guidelines.
You can see the full exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11710&i=106027
The Scottish Government announced funding of £300,000 this week which coincides with Women and Girls in Sport Week which runs from September 30 to October 5.
I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate in the Parliament recognising the huge positive contribution sport makes in women and girls lives and the amazing role models our younger generations have in sport.
You can see my full contribution here: www.parliament.scot
Hospice Care Week
To mark Hospice Care Week (8-14 October) Hospice UK held an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament giving members the opportunity to chat with representatives about their work and the work of their local hospices.
Some of the information is staggering, 21,000 people a year are supported by charitable hospices, 420 families a year are supported by children’s hospice care, 80% of hospice care is provided to people at home or in the community and £44 million needs to be raised by Scottish Hospices every year.
You can find out more information on hospice care in and around Glasgow here http://www.nhsggc.org.uk/your-health/health-services/palliative-care/hospices/
With the Challenge Poverty Campaign taking place this week I took the opportunity to participate in the members debate.
All week there have been events across the country highlighting what we can do to tackle poverty. The Scottish Government also published the latest Welfare Reform Report which provides an update on the latest developments in UK Government welfare reform and brings together new evidence to discuss the negative impacts of these reforms and the mitigation policies the Scottish Government has introduced.
The report estimates that the UK Government’s welfare cuts will lead to a £3.7 billion fall in social security spending by 2021 in Scotland.
You can see my full contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2018&page=0&meeting=-1
Festival of Politics
The Festival of Politics returns to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 10 October 2018 for more debate, music and film.
The festival aims to provoke and inspire people of all ages and from every walk of life to listen, engage and debate.
Now in its 14th year, the Festival of Politics covers a range of topics, including major social, cultural and political anniversaries and movements that have swept the globe since 1918: from Suffrage to the #MeToo campaign; the end of the First World War and the importance of remembrance; Scotland’s Year of Young People; the politics of housing, disability and food banks; the impact and repercussions of Brexit, trade wars and a new Cold War; and finally a futures strand looking at mobile phone use and social media influence, a robot economy, and the changing face of public broadcasting.
Find out more and book tickets here https://festivalofpolitics.scot/
Red Card Racism
It’s hard to believe that Show Racism the Red Card campaign started 15 years ago. In those years it has gone from strength to strength garnering support from across the footballing family.
Over the next three weekends teams from the SPFL, SWFL, SWPL and SJFA will be taking red card action at their matches
In addition to increasing the awareness of Show Racism the Red Card’s work in Scotland, the Fortnight of Action from 5th- 19thOctober, shows commitment at the highest level of Scottish football to eradicate racism and discrimination of any form from our game.
Clubs will be united in calling for an end to racism in football and society. Players in over 40 European Countries are involved in similar events as part of FARE network against racism and discrimination.
Football is a sport that is followed by people across the world and football matches should be an enjoyable experience for all, whatever their background. We all have a part to play in challenging racism in football and society.
Show your support for tackling racism at www.theredcard.org
Carers are getting an additional payment of £442 this financial year, in two payments of £221, equivalent of an extra £8.50 per week and an increase of 13% on the current Carer’s Allowance.
Carers make a vital contribution to society, which this payment recognises, putting an extra £442 in their pockets this financial year. When the Scottish Government take over the devolution of Carer’s Allowance, they will continue this increased rate which will rise annually in line with inflation.
This investment of over £30m a year addresses the unfairness that Carer’s Allowance is the lowest of the working age benefits. Bringing it into line with Jobseeker’s Allowance was one of the first commitments the Scottish Government made in light of the new social security powers.
Look at these wonderful animals who had a trip to the Parliament this week to highlight the valuable contribution they are making to people’s lives across Scotland.
Some of you may recall that Glasgow University played host to a group of alpacas as part of their Raising and Giving week. The alpacas were offering some pet therapy to students helping them to de-stress.
Please note the ebrief will resume week beginning 22 October due to the parliamentary recess.