Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin

Further Restrictions

We have all been under tighter restrictions across the constituency and indeed the city and beyond. However, with the rapid increase in the numbers of positive coronavirus cases the First Minister has put in place further restrictions across the country.

The restrictions include:

Inside people’s homes:

Do not meet people from any other households in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household

These rules also apply to children

Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes, as can non-cohabiting couples

Very limited exemptions apply for childcare, and for tradespeople

Private gardens or public outdoors spaces:

A maximum of six people from two households can meet in outdoor spaces

You should limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day

Under-12s do not count towards the maximum number of households or number of people who can meet outdoors. Under-12s do not have to physically distance

A maximum of six 12 to 17 year olds can meet in outdoor spaces, with no household limit. Physical distancing is still required

Indoors in public spaces:

A maximum of six people from two households can meet in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants

Children under 12 from those two households do not count towards the limits

Hospitality:

Pubs, restaurants and all hospitality settings will be required to close at 10pm

Table service will continue to be required in all hospitality premises

Car sharing:

You should only car share with members of your own, or extended, household, and follow guidance when there is no alternative

Working:

You must continue to work from home where practicable

These restrictions will be reviewed within three weeks and further guidance will made available where necessary.

For all up to date guidance please go to https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/

The First Minister has also written to the Prime Minister calling for a further meeting of the four nations to discuss further measures to drive down the infection rates.

This highlights the fact that the ability of the Scottish Government and other devolved administrations to take action is curtailed by a lack of financial levers to deliver economic support, for example to the hospitality sector.

Students

The rapidly increasing numbers of students across the constituency testing positive with coronavirus is extremely worrying to say the least.

I am in contact with the Universities and the First Minister gave an extensive response during question time which can be accessed here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12842

This is an incredibly unsettling time for everyone with the additional restrictions and numbers of cases rising. New students and existing students are having to curtail their activities like never before. I really do sympathise with them all. Their experience is very different to student life pre Covid-19.

I would urge all students to follow the guidance issued by their Universities, the Scottish Government and to follow the FACTS. If you have symptoms please self isolate and book a test of which there is more information here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested/pages/arrange-a-test/ better still I would encourage everyone again to download the Protect Scotland App which can be accessed here: https://protect.scot/

Budget

Our Finance Secretary is right to be outraged at the Chancellor’s decision to cancel the autumn budget and with complete disregard to the Scottish Government and its budget.

The vast majority of Scotland’s tax and spending decisions are still taken at Westminster. A UK budget is therefore essential to ensure transparency and certainty for the Scottish Parliament’s budget setting process – and for the vital public services that depend on it.

The UK Government’s approach demonstrates yet again that Scotland remains, at best, an afterthought for UK ministers. It also underlines the urgent case for Holyrood having complete control of all economic decisions.

In the middle of a pandemic withdrawing the furlough scheme is reckless and will lead to millions of people without support and unnecessary job losses.

We also have the threat of a No-deal Brexit looming, Scotland simply cannot afford any longer to be subject to the whims of an irresponsible, incompetent UK Government.

Music Venues

This pandemic has affected everyone but as I have raised in previous ebrief’s there are particular sectors that have taken an extremely hard hit.

Music venues are just one of many but the Scottish Government have thrown a lifeline to many across the country including some of our best loved across the city.

Local venues including King Tuts, The Garage, and Stereo were told yesterday that they will receive support totalling £884, 619 from the Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund.

There’s a long road to recovery for the sector, but with the continued backing of the SNP Government, I’m sure we can secure a bright future for Glasgow’s music venues.

Performing Arts

Following on from the funding package for our music venues the Scottish Government has also provided funding for our performing arts venues.

Kelvingrove Bandstand, QMU, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre are just a few of those from across the city which have shared in the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund with almost £400,000 being distributed in support.

This is welcome news for both the venues, those working in the sector and the patrons who have missed out on so many performances due to the pandemic.

Both of these funds also illustrate the significance we place on our culture industry, it is intrinsic, valued and celebrated and should be nurtured, not cast aside due to a perceived non viability.

Hate Crime

The Scottish Government is proposing to make changes to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill to balance protection of vulnerable groups affected by hate crime with people’s rights to freedom of expression.

Ministers are proposing to amend the legislation which, if agreed by Parliament, would mean a conviction for new offences of ‘stirring up’ hatred would be possible only where it was shown that someone intended to stir up hatred through their actions or behaviour.

The alternative and lower threshold for an offence to be triggered which is currently in the draft legislation – namely if someone’s behaviour was ‘likely to’ stir up hatred – is to be removed.

There will be no change to the threshold for the existing stirring up of hatred offences for racial hatred. These offences have been in Scots Law since 1986 and will remain in place.

Domestic Abuse

Women and children experiencing or at risk of violence and domestic abuse will have increased access to support, with £4.25 million of additional funding for charities and projects across Scotland.

The additional investment will help respond to an increase in demand from victims of abuse for support services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

More staff, increased hours for centres and helplines, improvements to IT and new digital resources and training will all allow services to be up-scaled so that more people can quickly and easily access help.

Kelvingrove

Some good news this week with Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum gaining a Gold Award for Green Tourism.

This is the highest accolade that can be awarded by the scheme which is administered by VisitScotland and sets a high bar on environmentally-friendly practice and is a recognised hallmark of green quality.

Businesses are assessed on a set of criteria, including energy efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and community involvement. Kelvingrove has clearly excelled in meeting these criteria with its Gold Award status, and has ensured that it is a sustainable tourism venue. Very well done!

As always and even more so with the changes this week please follow the Scottish Government FACTS:

Face coverings in enclosed spaces

Avoid crowded places

Clean hands and surfaces regularly

Two metre distancing; and

Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

Stay safe.