Thursday 2 May 2019
International Workers Memorial Day was marked at a parliamentary reception last week at the Scottish Parliament.
The reception was hosted by Scottish Hazards and the STUC and gave MSPs the opportunity to remember those who have died through work as well as reinforcing their resolve to make work fair, safe and healthy.
You can find out more about this campaign here: http://www.scottishhazards.org/campaigning/iwmd/iwmd-2018/
This is a reminder to be able to vote in the European Parliament elections, people must be registered to vote by midnight on 7 May. The elections will take place on 23 May.
Saint Simons RC Church
I took the opportunity to raise with the First Minister during questions this week the mindless act of vandalism on Saint Simon’s Roman Catholic Church in Partick.
The shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa, which has been a part of the church since the 1940s and much loved by the Polish congregation was desecrated.
I sought guidance from the First Minister on what the Scottish Government can provide places of worship to deter these senseless attacks and was pleased to note the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice are considering options.
You can read the full exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12071&i=109211
Good news this week from the Scottish Government with the launch of a consultation on short term lets. The move follows concerns that the number of short term accommodation lets particularly across Glasgow Kelvin offered by platforms such as Airbnb, is restricting the volume of available residential properties.
The Scottish Government is looking to proactively tackle this issue by handing councils the power to control the number of lets and ensure they make a contribution to the local services they use.
You can access the consultation here: https://consult.gov.scot/housing-services-policy-unit/short-term-lets/
Children in Scotland
Launched in autumn 2018 and ongoing, Children in Scotland’s 25 calls campaign also marks the organisations 25th anniversary.
I took the opportunity to chat to their representatives when they were exhibiting in the Parliament.
The campaign brings together diverse voices from across the sector to propose how children can experience greater equality and strengthened human rights.
The calls cover four themes:
Strengthening rights and participation; Supporting children, families and communities; Challenging inequalities; Improving education, skills and learning experiences
You can follow #25Calls on social media, join their network and check their website page https://childreninscotland.org.uk/25-calls/ to be kept updated on the calls, reactions to them, and the ongoing conversation about the campaign.
Survivors of childhood abuse, which occurred in care in Scotland, can now apply for advanced redress payments. The scheme will be open to people who have a terminal illness or are aged 70 or over.
The Advance Payment Scheme comes ahead of the planned legislation for a statutory redress scheme, which the Scottish Government intends will pass its final Parliamentary stages before March 2021.The payments have been set at a flat rate of £10,000 and will be ex gratia and discretionary.
A free telephone support line operated by specially trained staff will be available to help survivors with their applications from 10am Monday April 29. The advance payments team can be reached on 0808 169 9740.
The Jo Cox Foundation were in the Scottish Parliament this week as part of this year’s Great Get Together.
The Great Get Together helps to build Jo’s powerful legacy in bringing together a groundswell of people who reject divisive politics and simply want to bring their communities together and celebrate all that unites us.
Find out more about the foundation here: www.jocoxfoundation.org
A brand new benefit for low income families opened for applications this week. The £250 Early Learning Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.
This payment is part of the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant package. This financial support includes the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which has been open for applications since December and the Best Start Grant School Age payment which will open in June.
When the School Age Payments begin in June, the Best Start Grant package, along with Carer’s Allowance Supplement, will bring the total number of Scottish Government benefits being administered by Social Security Scotland to four.
Best Start Grant is for families in receipt of eligible benefits – including Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit – and tax credits to help at key stages in a child’s life.
Find out more here: https://www.mygov.scot/benefits/
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) had a stall in Parliament and I took the opportunity to drop by and chat to them about the work they are doing across the city.
SDS is Scotland’s national skills agency and aims to deliver the best outcomes for Scotland’s people, businesses and the economy.
Sara Collier SDS spoke to me about Skills Planning, Apprenticeships, Careers Information, advice and guidance.
Across Glasgow there are several careers centres offering support to individuals and businesses.
You can find out more about SDS here: https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/