Thursday 7 March 2019
This week for the first time in the 20-year history of devolution, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament, voted simultaneously to oppose a damaging no deal Brexit.
The vast majority of Members across both Chambers voted in agreement that a no deal outcome would be completely unacceptable and that an extension to Article 50 is the best way forward to protect Wales, Scotland and the UK as a whole.
No deal would mean not just probable short term chaos, but also very real and long-term structural damage to our economy. Damage which would mean fewer jobs, lower wages and less tax revenue.
The motions in both the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales also re-iterated opposition to the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister which would do significant damage to both countries.
This united and historic step was taken to send the clearest possible message to the UK Government and Westminster that this reckless course of action must stop now.
March is cancer awareness month and I met up with representatives from Maggies Centre to chat to them about the work they do when they were exhibiting in Parliament last week.
Maggie’s provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends, following the ideas about cancer care originally laid out by Maggie Keswick Jencks.
Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are places with professional staff on hand to offer the support people need.
Their Centres are places to find practical advice about benefits and eating well; places where qualified experts provide emotional support; places to meet other people; places where you can simply sit quietly with a cup of tea.
The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996 and since then Maggie’s has continued to grow. Gartnavel Hospital has a Maggies Centre within the grounds which offers support and advice.
Marie Curie have also been in Parliament holding a reception to highlight the work they are doing across the country to support those affected by cancer and my colleague Emma Harper led a members debate on Wednesday evening which you can access here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11979&i=108351
The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on delivering fairer Disability Assistance benefits.
From April 2020 the Scottish Government will take full responsibility for all remaining devolved benefits, with replacement disability benefits to start their introduction from summer 2020.
The new consultation asks for input to ensure the Scottish approach to Disability Assistance will meet the needs of the children and adults it is intended to help.
It will build upon work already undertaken to listen to people with lived experience of disability benefits about how the system can meet their needs.
You can access the consultation here: https://consult.gov.scot/social-security/improving-disability-assistance/
International Women’s Day
Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day and the theme for this year is #BalanceforBetter.
The campaign runs all year and doesn’t end on International Women’s Day.
The campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with #BalanceforBetter activity reinforced and amplified all year.
Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere. Let’s build a gender-balanced world.
From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence.
Scottish Government funding will provide access to treatment for an additional 11,000 women who experience mental health problems during and after their pregnancy. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have long lasting effects on women and their families.
New models of service delivery will be introduced, including specialist care for acute perinatal mental health problems and improved infant mental health services.
A new needs assessment report, funded by the Scottish Government, has been published by the national Managed Clinical Network (MCN) for perinatal mental health. The report outlines recommendations to improve the provision of mental health care for expectant and new mothers and their families.
Meet one of hundreds of comfort teddies being used to provide comfort for children in traumatic or upsetting circumstances. Children 1st are working with Police Scotland and other agencies to use them to support families as part of the wider ACEs aware approach to address childhood trauma.
The project started as a community initiative by Police Scotland staff at Longhaugh Station in Dundee. It has been so successful the comfort teddy initiative is now being replicated across the country.
You can find out more at www.traumateddies.wixsite.com
As a member of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) I along with my SPCB colleagues had a wonderful visit to the new Scottish Children’s Commissioner accommodation in central Edinburgh.
The thought that has gone into making the space open and welcoming for all young people is more than evident.
As well as the welcoming space we have the Commissioner and a team of staff. Their job is to help children and young people understand their rights and to make sure those rights are respected.
The current Commissioner is Bruce Adamson and he looks after the rights of everyone in Scotland under 18 and everyone in Scotland under 21 who has been looked after or in care.
Find out more about the work they do here: https://www.cypcs.org.uk
Glasgow School of Art
The Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee will publish their report into the Glasgow School of Art Fire tomorrow in Glasgow.
You can access a copy of the report on the Parliament’s website here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/109520.aspx
Please note this report will only be available after the launch.