Thursday 14 March
It was an honour to meet with Palestinian Ambassador Dr Husam Zomlot, Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK when he was in the Scottish Parliament last week.
As well as meeting with MSP’s he also travelled to Glasgow to meet with Lord Provost Eva Bolander to discuss cooperation and the twinning relationship with Glasgow and Bethlehem.
It would also be useful for you to know that the Balfour Project are holding an event in Edinburgh on Sunday 17 March. I will be taking part in the event as a panellist along with my colleague Dr Philippa Whitford MP.
If you would like to find out more please have a look at http://www.balfourproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Edinburgh-Jan-30v2-compressed-1.pdf
Again we are still no further forward with two votes already defeated the UK Government seem determined to forge ahead ignoring the will of the Scottish people who voted to remain and the Scottish Government who have consistently opposed the “deal” but offered an alternative which would safeguard Scotland and all who choose to make Scotland their home.
The Scottish Government are putting in measures to help businesses prepare for Brexit with the First Minister announcing an additional £2 million.
The Brexit Support Grant, administered by Scottish Enterprise, will now be available to help small and medium sized businesses manage a wide range of Brexit impacts with funding of up to £4000 each. The grant, previously only open to exporters, is now available to SME’s in Scotland for a wider variety of Brexit preparation.
You can access more information here: https://www.prepareforbrexit.scot/
Crisis the national charity for homeless people were exhibiting in the Parliament this week and I stopped by to talk to them about their work, current campaigns and homelessness in Glasgow.
I picked up a copy of the latest Homelessness Monitor a research report commissioned by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It has identified a number of challenges across the board in particular the introduction of Universal Credit, and the majority of local councils believe homelessness and poverty will rise due to the UK Government welfare reforms.
In contrast the report acknowledges Scotland is leading the way in its commitment to ending homelessness and the ambition set out in “Ending Homelessness Together: High Level Action Plan”.
You can access the report here: https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/homelessness-knowledge-hub/homelessness-monitor/#Scotland
Many of you will have already accessed the Scottish Parliaments Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee report into the Glasgow School of Art (GSA).
The Committee has concluded the circumstances surrounding the two fires at the GSA should be subject to a public inquiry with judicial powers. The inquiry concluded that the evidence they gathered raised a number of issues, which go beyond the cause of the fire itself and require further examination.
Their inquiry also found that GSA did not give sufficient priority to the safeguarding of the Mackintosh building and the board should have had more expertise in managing a building of this nature. The Committee also recommends that the Scottish Government review the remit of Historic Environment Scotland in order to ensure that it has sufficient powers to intervene to protect buildings of national significance.
You can access the full report here: https://digitalpublications.parliament.scot/Committees/Report/CTEEA/2019/3/8/The-Glasgow-School-of-Art-Mackintosh-Building–The-loss-of-a-national-treasure#Executive-Summary
Last week we celebrated the achievements of individual apprentices and all those who contribute to their success.
I was delighted to meet up with apprentices currently working within the DiMaggio’s group at the Citizen in Glasgow last Friday to chat to them about their experience as a modern apprentice.
I also took the opportunity to ask their employers about the benefits for their businesses in running an apprenticeship scheme.
Apprenticeships and work-based learning are providing the skills needed for a successful Scotland. With that in mind this year’s theme was ‘Skills for the Future’, recognising the importance of investing in our workforce.
Apprenticeship opportunities in Scotland are growing and we want as many young people and employers as possible to benefit.
There are already more than 37,000 young people working, learning and earning as Modern Apprentices. 91% of apprentices are still in employment six months after completing their Modern Apprenticeship and 96% of employers say former apprentices are better equipped to do their job.
To build on the progress of the MA programme two new strands of the apprenticeship programme have been developed. Foundation Apprenticeships which give school pupils a taste of the world of work and help employers shape future talent and Graduate Apprenticeships which takes work-based learning higher with Graduate Apprentices can study up to Masters degree level.
The Scottish Government are currently consulting on a number of issues and I thought it would be useful to remind everyone that you have the opportunity to contribute.
You can view all of the current consultations here: https://consult.gov.scot/