Thursday 27 February 2020
Great news with another poll out this week indicating a majority of Scots want another independence referendum.
The YouGov poll found that 55% of voters think there should be a referendum to give Scotland in the next five years – while only 27% think there should never be a referendum.
With momentum firmly behind the independence movement, the figures also suggest that the outcome of a referendum would be too close to call.
Earlier this month Scotland’s biggest trade union, Unison, gave its backing to a fresh referendum – while three previous polls have called a narrow majority in support of independence.
The Cabinet Secretary for Finance unveiled an amended budget this week which will see an additional £10.632 million for Glasgow City Council, free bus travel for those under 18 and Police Scotland will receive an additional £18 million on top of the £42 million originally allocated.
This SNP budget invests a record £15bn in health and care services, delivers Scotland’s unique child payment to lift our youngest out of poverty and supports Scotland’s world-leading efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
This budget is a good deal for Glasgow and a good deal for Scotland.
My colleague John Mason MSP and I had the pleasure of welcoming the Eastenders Stroke Club to the Parliament this week. They travelled by electric minibus operated by Community Transport Glasgow which was acquired through support from the Scottish Power Green Fund.
I extended an invitation to the group during the launch of the new electric buses at the Botanic Gardens earlier this month.
The group had a great time and are absolutely delighted with their new mode of transport. This bus and the service offered by Community Transport Glasgow makes an incredible difference to many people’s lives. Most of the group members who came along to the visit would not have been physically able to without the community bus.
I have been pursuing answers for constituents affected by the cladding problem across the constituency as a result of new safety guidance and mortgage lending rules.
Many homes have been given a zero value due to cladding on the building. Confusion has reigned as homeowners have been kept in the dark about what steps they should be taking to rectify the situation.
The Local Government Committee met this week and took evidence from various professionals regarding the current situation. I took the opportunity of attending and questioning those giving evidence. Some headway was made however there is still quite a way to go. We need clear guidance and collaborative working to get the situation moving in the right direction.
You can access the meeting here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/local-government-and-communities-committee-february-26-2020
It was a pleasure to chat with representatives from the MS Society in Parliament this week.
MS Society Scotland have been highlighting the detrimental impact of the 20m rule for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
People with fluctuating conditions including MS are failed by the UK benefits system and all too often it acts as a barrier to disabled people accessing the benefits that they are entitled too.
The Scottish Government will introduce the replacement for PIP in early 2021 with a focus on fairness, dignity and respect and is committed to reducing the number of face to face assessments and getting decisions right first time.
Drug users, their families and people working on the frontline to tackle the problem of substance misuse have told 350 delegates at the Scottish Drug Deaths Conference in Glasgow how the issue has affected their lives.
In addition to presentations and Q&A sessions through the day, there was an opportunity for guests to see a demonstration model of a safer drug consumption facility and have training in the use of Naloxone which reverses the effect of an opioid overdose.