Many thanks to Baitur Rahman Mosque Glasgow for inviting me once again to support their wonderful Peace Walk promoting diversity and fundraising for good causes. I wish them all the best with another successful year of activity!
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined the steps the Scottish Government will take to progress the debate on Scotland’s future in light of Brexit, and the action to be taken to protect the option for an independence referendum to be held within the current term of the Scottish Parliament.
I took the opportunity to ask a question which you can view here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2019&page=0&meeting=-1
Cross-party talks to discuss which powers other parties believe should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament will be set up. A Citizens’ Assembly will be established to bring together a representative cross-section of Scottish society under an independent chair.
The Scottish Government will act now to protect and progress the option for an independence referendum to be held by introducing a framework Bill.
This Bill will protect the option of an independence referendum within this parliamentary term. Once the Bill is passed it would only require the transfer of power at a later date via a Section 30 Order to proceed to a vote on independence.
Beyond Borders Scotland the not-for profit organisation facilitated a meeting at the Scottish Parliament with the Deputy Presiding Officer Linda Fabiani and a UN Special Racontuer with a delegation of women from Yemen. I took the opportunity to meet with the women.
Beyond Borders Scotland aims to create a vibrant international platform within Scotland, to break down borders between peoples, and help facilitate wider international cultural exchange, dialogue and reconciliation.
As Convener of the Cross Party Group on Older People, Age and Ageing in the Scottish Parliament, I would urge those of you who receive pension credit, to double check with Age Scotland’s Helpline whether or not the imminent changes to this benefit will affect you.
The UK Government have announced changes to the eligibility criteria for Pension Credit which will take effect from 15 May 2019.
As a result of these changes if a person is in what is called a “mixed aged couple” – in other words one person is of state pensionable age whilst their partner is not they will no longer be able to claim Pension Credit unless they have submitted a claim before these changes come into effect.
If you or you know of anyone who may be affected by these changes please contact Age Scotland’s Helpline on 0800 12 44 222 the lines are open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Care Homes Report
It was a pleasure to sponsor the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) evening reception launch of their Care Homes Report in Parliament this week.
Care home residents are some of our most vulnerable patients. Too often, they’re on a long list of medicines that hasn’t been reviewed in years. Some doing more harm than good.
Last year, RPS hosted a summit to discuss the role of pharmacists in care homes. Following on from this, they published a new policy report with recommendations for enhancing healthcare for residents in care homes.
A Scottish Government motion on sport and physical activity was debated this week and I took the opportunity to contributehighlighting a fantastic intergenerational project currently being piloted across Ayrshire with some Glasgow care homes and nurseries participating.
The project brings together pre-school children with care home residents to encourage both to interact through games, storytelling and arts and crafts. The results of the pilot programme have been tremendous winning ‘Most inspiring or innovative project’ at the 2018 Scottish Government and Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Quality Improvement Awards.
You can access the full debate here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2019&page=0&meeting=-1
Over the weekend of 27-28 April, football clubs across the country will lay aside rivalries and come together to celebrate the contribution refugee players have made, and continue to make, to the beautiful game.
Football clubs are often a place where people come together on and off the pitch. Playing football and taking part in sport more generally can not only be good for physical and mental health but can also give people a sense of belonging and purpose.
You can find out more about this campaign here: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/football-welcomes-1
MS Awareness Week
The MS Society Scotland were in the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of the important role research plays in the lives of people affected by MS during MS Awareness Week.
MS affects more than 11,000 people in Scotland and can cause problems with how we walk, move, see, think and feel. But the MS Society is driving research into more – and better – treatments.
MS is an unpredictable condition that is different for everyone. It affects how a person thinks, feels and moves. For support and information, please contact the helpline on 0808 800 8000.