Thursday 25 October 2018
School of Art
The Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee were taking evidence from Brian McQuade, Managing Director of Keir Scotland as well as the Director of Page/Park Architects David Page and their Head of Design Review David Paton.
I attended and questioned the representatives from the organisations raising amongst other things, questions on the cladding.
I would encourage you to read the full transcript of the session here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ormain.aspx
I will also be on BBC GMS tomorrow morning talking about the Committee meeting and the evidence provided by the witnesses.
Scottish Fair Trade Forum have sought my support of the recently launched International Fair Trade Charter.
The Charter, initiated by the two largest international Fair Trade organisations – Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organization.
The new charter refreshes the vision of Fair Trade and seeks to highlight Fair Trade’s longstanding role in addressing the challenges such as inequality, gender rights, climate change and other topics of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.You can find out more about the Charter here: https://www.fair-trade.website/
The Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee debated “Making Scotland a Screen Leader” their report examining the Scottish screen sector.
I also participated in the debate supporting the report and welcoming the funding provided by the Scottish Government to the screen unit.
However, whilst I support the nurturing of the screen industry and the benefits it brings particularly to our local economy in Glasgow I did raise concerns regarding the impact filming has on local people, transport links and the closure of streets. Local communities affected by filming should be consulted with suitable and practicable notice of the impact and timescales made clear.
You can read the full debate here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11722&i=106116
Books for Babies
An Edinburgh based initiative Craigmillar Books for Babies were exhibiting in the Scottish Parliament this week and I took the opportunity to have a chat with their representatives to find out more about their organisation.
The initiative is an early literacy project which aims to encourage and support parents and carers to share books and stories with their babies.
They work in partnership with, health, social work, speech and language, education, libraries and family learning ensuring every family living in Craigmillar with a child under 4 is given the opportunity to engage with the project.
I know the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow have teamed up with the Scottish Government backed Bookbug project to provide an initiative specifically for their NICU which has a section specific to neonatal babies and bonding under very stressful situations.
You can see me on the BBC Iplayer on Politics Scotland, BBC2 recorded Wednesday 24 October at 3.15pm along with Rhoda Grant MSP and Jamie Halcro-Johnston MSP debating the new Monklands Hospital and Brexit.
Men in Early Years
More men are being encouraged to undertake qualifications in early learning and childcare, through a new fund dedicated to increasing their numbers.
Colleges across Scotland will have the opportunity to bid for two funding awards to run pilot projects which support men in childcare. The £50,000 Men in Early Years Challenge Fund will aim to increase the number of men enrolling on NC and HNC Childhood Practice courses.
Currently, around 4% of the daycare of children workforce are male. Similarly, in 2016-17 4.18% of the enrolment of 1793 to HNC Childhood Practice were men.
Royal Blind one of Scotland’s oldest charities marked 225 years supporting blind and partially sighted people in the Scottish Parliament this week.
As well as a week-long exhibition they also held a reception for its supporters, staff and service users at the Scottish Parliament hosted by my colleague Stuart McMillan MSP.
Royal Blind was established in Edinburgh 1793 – the same year in which Rabbie Burns wrote Scots Wha Hae! Today Royal Blind provides care, education and employment for people with sight loss from across the country.
Today they are Scotland’s largest vision impairment organisation and their mission is to see a community in which blind and partially sighted people are fully included, with their rights and aspirations fully supported.
You can find out more about Royal Blind here: https://www.royalblind.org/
The Scottish Government Health Secretary made a statement to Parliament this week on the publications of a new plan to direct more than £850 million of investment to NHS waiting times.
The new plan’s immediate focus is on improvements for patients whose treatment is urgent, who have a suspicion of cancer, and those who have waited the longest for an appointment.
The plan commits and directs investment of £535 million in frontline spending, and around £120 million in capital, in addition to the ongoing £200 million elective and diagnostic treatment centres programme over the next two and a half years.
During the statement I raised the issue of Brexit and the impact this will have on staffing levels in our NHS – you can read the full statement and questions here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11722&i=106115
There were a few lively debates in Parliament this week and I would encourage you to catch up on them on Parliament TV here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/
It was great to welcome my niece Holly and her friend Chloe to the Parliament this week. They had a tour of the Parliament complex and sat in on First Minster’s Question Time in the public gallery.
As many of you will know who have visited the Parliament no visit would be complete without a photograph and where better than in my office thinking pod!
Holly and Chloe had a great time seeing the cut and thrust of politics in action as well as some refreshments!