Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin

Thursday 7 May 2020

There has been lots of speculative reporting in the mainstream media on when lockdown measures will be eased and as we approach the 3 weekly review date I am confident the First Minister and the Scottish Government will make the right choices based on what is right for Scotland.

The situation for the time being remains the same, stay at home, one piece of exercise a day outside, going out only for essentials such as shopping and if you do have any symptoms to isolate. These measures are having a significant impact on reducing the numbers of people infected and we must all carry on following this guidance to ensure these numbers continue to fall and until such times as these measures are revised.

Please remember to take part in the Scottish Government’s framework for decision making on a strategy for easing lockdown and transitioning, you can do that here: www.ideas.gov.scot/covid-19-a-framework-for-decision-making

University of Glasgow

Locally the University of Glasgow has been crucial. Not only is the University hosting the Lighthouse Laboratory during the Covid-19 outbreak but staff at the James Watt School of Engineering are also producing vital PPE equipment for frontline staff and carers at no cost. They have however put out a call for donations of acetate sheets which they are running low on. If you can help please make contact with them at covid19-ppe@glasgow.ac.uk

Unpaid Carers

The Scottish Government also announced further funding for unpaid carers this week. As part of the next emergency coronavirus legislation, they are proposing an additional £19.2 million investment in Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

This is in recognition of the additional pressure that carers are under as a result of the ongoing pandemic and if approved by parliament, around 83,000 eligible carers will get an extra £230.10 through a special one-off Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement in June.

This would mean that carers receive an additional £690.30 this year on top of their Carer’s Allowance and any other income. This supplement is not paid in the rest of the UK.

Mental Health

The current situation will be affecting many people’s mental health so I was pleased to see the Scottish Government provide £1 million in funding for key mental health services to support families, young people and autistic people.

The allocation of funding comprises:

  • £768,000 for a relationships helpline to be delivered by The Spark counselling service
    • £105,000 to support Young Scot to develop enhanced digital content and resources on mental health
    • £205,000 to support 47,000 autistic people across Scotland, including funding to increase capacity at the Scottish Autism Helpline and help for the National Autistic Society to keep people in touch online during lockdown

As well as this funding the Scottish Government also announced measures to help those who are isolating and are at the most vulnerable from Covid-19 by offering them internet connection, training and support and a laptop or tablet during the response to Covid-19.

The Connecting Scotland programme will connect 9,000 more people who are considered at clinically high risk themselves so they can access services and support and connect with friends and family during the pandemic.

More information on this initiative can be accessed here: https://connecting.scot/

Parliament

Parliament continues to work both in the building and virtually. I again this week took part in the Health and Sport Committee and asked a question during the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sports’ question time. To minimise the number of people in the parliamentary complex and following the guidance from the Scottish Government I participated in both of these virtually.

You can access the Health and Sport Committee video link here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/health-and-sport-committee-may-7-2020 and the Chamber business here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/channel/virtual-meeting

Finally I would like to thank you all for continuing to follow Scottish Government guidance, your actions are saving lives.

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