This time of year gives us the chance to reflect upon the previous twelve months, to remember the good times and the bad and to think about how we can make next year better.
2018 has brought many challenges both politically and economically which I do not see abating in 2019.
Whatever you have planned for the holidays, I hope all of you enjoy spending time with family and friends and that your festive celebrations are happy and relaxing. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Scotland’s Citizens Advice network will provide a new advice service to European citizens in Scotland affected by changes in the immigration rules as a result of Brexit.
Funded by £800,000 over three years by the Scottish Government, Citizens Advice Bureaux will begin increasing capacity to offer advice and support immediately, with a view to the full service being live at the beginning of March 2019.
Citizens Advice Bureaux will advise on rights, entitlements and requirements, many of which are devolved, which are affected by an individual’s immigration status. As an additional support to advisers, a solicitor-led helpline will also be established for difficult and complex cases.
In March, the UK Government will introduce a settlement scheme where EU citizens and their family members will be required to apply to secure their rights through an online system.
For more information on CAB services please go to: http://www.glasgowcentralcab.org.uk/index.html
It was a pleasure to welcome students from the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) currently studying through the ERASMUS programme at the University of Glasgow (UoG) to the Scottish Parliament.
The students had a tour of the building followed by time in the public gallery to observe First Ministers Question Time – a chance to see democracy at work.
UoG submitted two successful bids to the European Union Erasmus+ in 2017, for a total of €600,000. This funding has made it possible for 20 students from IUG to study in Glasgow for International Credit Mobilities, the biggest ever single cohort from a university in Gaza.
Families are now benefitting from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment which supports low income families.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met some of the first parents and babies to benefit from the payment which offers low income parents or carers £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 for any subsequent children.
Following its launch last week, the first payments have been made, with Social Security Scotland receiving more than 4,000 claims on the first day alone. That is around the same number of UK Government Sure Start Maternity Grants, which Best Start Grant replaces, for the whole of 2017-18 in Scotland.
More information can be found here: https://www.mygov.scot/get-help-applying-pregnancy-baby-payment/
The SSPCA were in the Scottish Parliament this week raising awareness of their Say No to the Illegal Puppy Trade campaign.
Puppy sales shoot up at Christmas please take the time to follow the guidance from the SSPCA to ensure you are making a good choice in buying a puppy and to make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Many of you will know the puppy breeding business has become extremely lucrative but it is having a devastating effect on animal welfare in Scotland. The launch of the Scottish Government’s Buy a Puppy Safely campaign is a welcome step forward in the fight against this illegal trade of misery.
PLEASE NOTE THE EBRIEF WILL RESUME WEEK BEGINNING 7 JANUARY 2019