Thursday 26 May 2019
Today is the day, and if you haven’t already been out to vote, can I make a special plea and ask that you make the effort to make Scotland’s voice heard and use your vote.
Scotland voted 62% remain in the 2016 referendum but we are still being dragged out of the EU. This is your opportunity to send a clear message, reiterating our decision in 2016.
A great evening of 20th anniversary celebrations were had courtesy of the Presiding Officer (and also elected in 1999) and the Chief Executive of the Parliament Paul Grice.
My colleagues and I reminisced of those early days and what our Parliament has achieved since reconvening in May 1999.
A new induction pack has been launched for people working in early learning and childcare (ELC).
The pack will help them understand how to get funding for further qualifications, the legal requirements for working in childcare and where to get information and support throughout their career.
This will help raise the quality of childcare and ensure that staff, throughout their careers and wherever they work, have the right knowledge and skills to deliver quality learning for pre-school children.
The Scottish Government is almost doubling entitlement to ELC from August 2020 to 1140 hours a year. Up to 11,000 additional workers – or 9,000 full time equivalents – are needed to work in the sector from August next year.
You can find out more and access the National Induction Resource here:
Representatives from the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters (NFSP) were exhibiting in the Parliament and I stopped by to chat to them about their work and the issues Sub-Postmasters across the constituency have raised with me.
I know that banking fees and business rates were two main areas of concern when members of the NFSP sought my advice and assistance last year.
However, at the National Union of Sub-postmasters Annual Conference this year, the Post Office Ltd announced that they will be raising the rates of payment that Subpostmasters receive for taking personal and business banking deposits, representing a near three-fold increase on current rates – good news indeed.
The first ever national guidance for professionals giving advice and support to young people on healthy relationships and consent has been published.
It means that whenever a young person seeks advice – whether from a teacher, a health professional or a youth worker – they should receive consistent, age-appropriate information.
The guidance covers a wide range of issues – including healthy relationships, the law concerning sexual activity, respect, consent and the use of intimate images – but the basic principles of respect and consent throughout apply to all relationships.
Aimed at young people of secondary school age and above, professionals will use their expert judgement to determine age and stage-appropriate messages when speaking to young people.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/key-messages-young-people-healthy-relationships-consent-resource-professionals-working-young-people/
Professor Francis Daehoon Lee was a guest of my colleague Bill Kidd MSP in Parliament where he gave a very insightful and thought provoking talk on diplomatic and peace movements in the Korean peninsular.
Professor Lee is a founder of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy Party (PSPD) and is the Chief Co-ordinator of the organisation. He is an Executive member of the PSPD Peace and Disarmament Centre and leads the campaign for a nuclear free Korean Peninsula and North East Asia.
New powers across areas of health, environment and leisure services could be given to local communities. The initial findings from the Local Governance Review published this week, show that people overwhelmingly want more say about how public services are run in their area.
The publication is the start of a process that could mean communities are given direct control of specific public services.
The Scottish Government is working with COSLA on the next stage of the review, which will look further into the type of powers communities would like to control. The results of the review will be published in 2021.
My office facilitated a visit to the Parliament this week by a group of former students of the architect of the Parliament building Enric Miralles.
This was a special moment for all of them, as the late architect talked to them in Frankfurt about his conceptual ideas for the building complex and the MSP block, which he specifically developed early in the process.
This group were to be his last post graduate students on the two year Masters course at the Staedelschule of 1998/99, prior to his illness and death in 2000, and they each hold fond memories of his generous, inspiration spirit.