Thursday 16 January 2020
As Glasgow’s world famous Celtic Connections festival kicks off this week figures I obtained through parliamentary questions show the event is expected to bring in over £5.3 million to the city in the coming weeks.
Celtic Connections is a truly world-class event, and it’s no surprise that thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Glasgow from across the UK and the rest of the world over the next few weeks.
Visitors from across the UK, Europe and beyond will be greeted with open arms as our city comes to life for one of the biggest winter music festivals on the planet.
We should all be proud of the rich cultural heritage Scotland has to offer, and world class festivals like Celtic Connections will continue to ensure we remain an outward-looking, welcoming nation.
An estimated 170,000 children will be eligible for the new £10 weekly Scottish Child Payment when it goes live later this year.
To help manage demand, families will be invited to apply in advance of the benefit being introduced in the autumn. Parents will be able to apply by post, phone and online.
In an additional move to assist families, Best Start Grant payments, Best Start Foods and the new Scottish Child Payment will all be available through a single application – making it more straightforward for people to access the money they are entitled to.
The Showmen’s Guild celebrates it’s 130th year anniversary and what better way to acknowledge their contribution than a debate in Parliament followed with a reception!
I’m pictured on just one of many artefacts associated with funfairs and the showmen who ensure these fairs take place across towns, cities and villages across the country every year.
This was also an opportunity to recognise and congratulate Philip Parris one of only three presidents from Scotland in the guild’s 130-year history, the others being the late T E Brownie, who was president from 1938 to 1941, and the late Jack Cullis, who was president from 1956 to 1958.
The Scottish Government have stated standards for trade after Brexit must not be allowed to deteriorate.
The comments were made during the bi-annual meeting between the Scottish Government and STUC which included a discussion about the UK Government approach to new trade deals following Brexit.
The meeting agreed that almost all modern trade deals touch on devolved issues and therefore must have the consent and participation of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.
It was a pleasure to welcome more S3 National 5 Modern Studies students from Notre Dame High School this week in Parliament.
After sitting in on First Minister’s Question time, observing from the public gallery, I had the opportunity to meet up with the pupils for a question and answer session. They asked some terrific questions ranging from climate change to life as an elected member to protesting. Possibly a few future legislators in the making!
Having carried out the role of Deputy Convener of the Equal Opportunities committee during their inquiry into the Gypsy/Traveller community I took the opportunity to participate in the debate this week in Parliament.
Members of the Gypsy/Traveller community continue to be marginalised and discriminated. They are a recognised distinct ethnic minority group and I believe that after many years of reports and inquiries the Scottish Government have taken positive steps in not only producing this collaborative plan but engaging widely with the Gypsy/Traveller communities to ensure it is a success.
Representatives from St Andrew’s First Aid were in Parliament this week highlighting their work and encouraging people to become life-savers!
They have a long history starting out in 1882 with their mission to provide everyone in the country with the highest standards of first aid skills, services and volunteering opportunities.
They currently have over 1,000 volunteers carrying out more than 50,000 hours each week as the only charitable volunteer led first aid event cover provider in Scotland.
If you would like to find out more go to www.firstaid.org.uk
It was very useful catching up with staff from Advice Direct Scotland (ADS)this week when they held a very informative drop in session for MSPs and staff concentrating on scam prevention and their consumer advice service.
They provide free, independent advice to people across Scotland. Advisors give practical and impartial advice on how to resolve a number of consumer problems.
They have been working in conjunction with Age Scotland to provide advice and information on scam prevention. Older people are being targeted and are falling victim to scams or frauds or tricks which are carried out to cheat people out of their money. The risk of falling for a scam is particularly high for those who live alone or have a problem with their memory such as dementia.
You can access further information from ADS at www.advice.scot