Ebrief

Thursday 6 June 2019

WASPI

06.19 WASPI demo 1Members of the WASPI campaign were demonstrating outside Parliament on Wednesday to coincide with the start of the Judicial Review. I along with some of my colleagues took time to show our support.

Backto60, the group which brought the judicial review, is seeking repayment of all the pensions people born in the 1950s would have received if they had been able to retire earlier.

I have been an ardent supporter of these women who are having to cope with the consequences of this policy change.

06.19 WASPI demo 2I believe in equalisation but I do not support the inadequate way in which the change has been implemented.

Some women have had no notification of the changes and therefore have not been in a position to plan for their retirement. I will be keeping a close eye on the review.

Women in Politics

A major new initiative has been announced this week by an alliance of women’s organisations and the Scottish Parliament in a significant move which aims to tackle the gender imbalance in Scottish politics.

The Scottish Parliament plans to open up its Debating Chamber on Saturday 7 September to over 400 women from across Scotland for a day of action and inspiration. The event is part of the Parliament’s 20th anniversary programme.

The initiative, called Scotland’s Women Stand, is being organised by the Parliament Project, which is a non-partisan project aiming to inspire, empower and encourage women to run for political office in the UK and YWCA Scotland: The Young Women’s Movement. It seeks to take action to overcome boundaries and equip women for political office.

Registration for the event is open to all women from across Scotland. Women can sign up to attend online, and organisers are actively collaborating with third sector organisations to ensure the event is inclusive and accessible to women from all backgrounds.

Exhibition

06.19 Gypsy TravellersThe Scottish Parliament was host to an exhibition celebrating Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month in Scotland.

The exhibition was in association with Article 12 in Scotland, a young person focused NGO that works, through the medium of peer education, to promote young people’s rights as set out in international human rights charters and produced by Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project (MECoPP).

Article 12’s work is underpinned by the principle of free participation: the right to participate as equal citizens at all levels of society without fear or favour and a process that facilitates the participation of all young people on their own terms.

The artwork on display was wonderful and just a small selection of work by Gypsy/Travellers and those who work with them from silkscreen prints to photographic portraits.

Poverty

The Scottish Government is calling on the UK Government to make radical changes to tackle poverty and inequality in the UK.

In its full response to the final report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, the Scottish Government welcomes his findings and agrees with his assessment that UK Government policies have led to the “systematic immiseration” of a significant part of the UK population, meaning they had continually “put people further into poverty”.

However, Professor Philip Alston praised Scotland’s “ambitious” schemes for addressing poverty, including the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan and noted Scotland’s social security system guided by the principles of dignity and social security as a human right, and co-designed with claimants on the basis of evidence”.

Health Committee

05.19 Health Comm Outreach Cambuslang.pngMembers of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee of which I am a members held a public panel discussion as part of the Public Care Inquiry at the weekend in Whitlawburn Community Resource Centre, Cambuslang.

This is part of a series of three public panel discussions being held across the country.

Each panel will contain up to 15 people recruited to meet a range of criteria including age, gender and socio-economic background.

The panel gatherings will be located in the North, East and West of Scotland (Inverurie, Dunfermline and Cambuslang, Glasgow), which reflects how Regional Health Boards are organised in Scotland.

We had an informed discussion and panel members made recommendations to the Committee on what they think is the way forward. The panels, consisted of individuals drawn from the local area who have been randomly identified as covering a broad representation of the local community.

Utilities Disruption

Communities will face less disruption with new standards to manage road works and speed up the installation of fibre broadband.

A national code of practice will see the standardisation of faster and more modern techniques for trench digging for improving utility services.

The development of more compact cables has seen modern techniques, such as requiring narrower holes and less excavation required, increasing the speed of delivery. The technique also safeguards the roads by reducing the need for return visits to repair failed trenches.

As well as broadband cable installation, this will mean shorter periods of disruption for power, water and gas works who use this technique.

You can access the code here https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/specification-for-the-reinstament-of-openings-in-roads-4th-edition-2019/

Media Smart

06.19 Media SmartMedia Smart the advertising industry’s education programme were exhibiting in the Parliament this week and I stopped by to learn more about their work.

They are a not-for-profit organisation and create free teaching materials for schools, youth organisations, parents and carers.

Their mission is to ensure all young people across the country can confidently navigate the media they consume including being able to identify, interpret and critically evaluate all forms of advertising.

Past resources have focussed on key topics such as body image and social media.

Providing a resource young people can tap into is extremely important in this technological age.

You can find out more about their work here: http://mediasmart.uk.com/

Blood Pressure

New technology that allows patients to monitor their blood pressure at home will be rolled out across Scotland.

The Scale-Up BP initiative reduces the need for GP consultations, and can help to deliver more accurate readings.

Patients are shown how to measure their own blood pressure and text the results to an app called Florence, or Flo. Their GP or practice nurse is then able to monitor the readings, and arrange a face-to-face appointment only when necessary.

The system has been trialled successfully at more than 150 practices throughout Scotland, with more than 10,000 patients benefitting to date. It will now be extended to other parts of Scotland over the next two years, backed with £1.2 million of investment from the Scottish Government.

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