Thursday 3 October 2019
What an incredibly disappointing ruling from the High Court case this week for the thousands of women who have been fighting tirelessly against pension injustice.
I took the opportunity to raise the ruling during First Ministers Questions. You can view the exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12293
Art in Action
Representatives from the Art in Action campaign were in the Parliament this week highlighting their collaborative work with MSPs over the summer months.
I had a great time at the beginning of August when I visited the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and viewed Fiona Tan’s exhibition and met Curator Katie Bruce and the GoMA Youth Group.
I also got the opportunity to meet members of GoMA’s Youth Group, who meet once a week. The group is made up of people in their early 20’s who come from a range of backgrounds and play a key part in ensuring that young people’s voices are heard in the context of the gallery programming.
I’m pictured with a specially-commissioned print that illustrates the need for artists to be part of decision-making which was presented to all MSPs.
New legislation to strengthen animal cruelty penalties and improve powers for front-line enforcement agencies was published this week.
The Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill will increase the maximum penalties for the most serious animal welfare and wildlife offences to five years imprisonment and increase the maximum penalties for various other offences.
The Bill will implement ‘Finn’s Law’ giving extra protection to service animals, and provide a process to allow animals that have been taken into possession on welfare grounds to be sold or rehomed quickly without the need for a court order.
1st October marked the United Nations International Day of Older Persons and the Scottish Parliament was the venue for a rally from the Scottish Pensioners Forum.
Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to meet with the rally as the Health Committee of which I am a member were meeting at the same time.
According to the most recent studies by 2030, 1.4 billion elderly people globally will outnumber youth – a big rise from 2017, when that figure stood at 962 million.
This number will continue to increase, with older people expected to make up 13.7 percent of the population by 2030, according to regional World Health Organization (WHO) data.
Given this “demographic revolution”, greater attention must be paid to specific vulnerabilities the elderly face.
Hundreds more care-experienced students will be eligible for an annual £8,100 a year bursary when the upper age limit of 26 is removed next year.
The change in autumn 2020 is designed to increase their chances of going to college or university.
The Care Experienced Bursary has seen significant uptake, with more than 1,000 higher education applicants for the current academic term.
The move comes after Scotland’s higher education institutions announced care-experienced applicants who meet minimum entry requirements will be guaranteed an offer of an undergraduate place at university.
For more information see www.saas.gov.uk
It was a pleasure meeting with Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Rami Mortada, Lebanese Ambassador to the UK, when they visited the Parliament this week.
The visit was arranged to promote culture, trade, education and understanding between Scotland and Lebanon.
Powerchair Football is one of the fastest growing disability sports in Scotland and I had the pleasure of meeting representatives from the sport when they were in Parliament this week.
The game is aimed specifically at players who use Powerchairs for mobility (often those with the most severe impairment or mobility issues).
The SPFA is the Scottish governing body for Powerchair Football and is made up entirely of volunteers with strong links to the sport.
With nine local teams including one in Glasgow and a national team this sport is going from strength to strength across the country!
If you would like to find out more have a look at their website here: https://thespfa.org/
Support and protection for vulnerable adults is being strengthened through the delivery of a new improvement plan.
The plan includes a multi-agency inspection programme which will ensure adults at risk of physical, sexual, psychological or financial harm are protected and identify areas for further development.
The publication of the three year plan was announced jointly by the Scottish Government and Social Work Scotland at the National Adult Support and Protection Conference.
You can find out more about the plan here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/adult-support-protection-improvement-plan-2019-2022/