The First Minister announced in Parliament this week further measures to suppress the rise in the numbers of Covid-19 cases.
For clarity the restrictions on the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area are as follows and please note restrictions on licensed premises will come into force from 18:00 on Friday 9 October, with all other restrictions applying from 00:01 Saturday 10 October and will remain in place for 16 days:
• All licensed premises will be required to close, with the exception of takeaway services
• Cafés (with or without an alcohol licence) will be able to open between 6am and 6pm but no alcohol can be served
• Takeaways (including from pubs and restaurants) can continue
• Evening meals may be served in accommodation for residents only but no alcohol can be served
• Specific life events, such as weddings and funerals, may continue with alcohol, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)
• No group exercise classes for indoor gyms and sports courts, pools with an exemption for under 18s
• No adult (18+) contact sports or training, except professional sports, indoor or outdoor
• No outdoor live events
• Snooker/pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls are to close
• Public transport use should be minimised as much as possible, such as for education and work, where it cannot be done from home
• Current meeting rules, maximum of six people from two households, continue to apply
• Additionally, from this weekend, shops across Scotland are asked to return to two metres physical distancing and reintroduce the mitigations they put in place earlier in the pandemic, including one-way systems
Senior Clinical Advisors also published an evidence paper summing up the infection trends, confirmed cases, hospital use and deaths, and how these vary across Scotland. You can access this paper here: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/advice-and-guidance/2020/10/coronavirus-covid-19-evidence-paper—october-2020/documents/coronavirus-covid-19-evidence-paper-october-2020/coronavirus-covid-19-evidence-paper-october-2020/govscot%3Adocument/Coronavirus%2BCOVID-19%2529%2B-%2Bevidence%2Bpaper%2B-%2B7%2BOctober%2B2020-.pdf
The First Minister also announced a new £40 million support fund for business with further details of the package to be released imminently in co-operation with the sectors and the existing UK Job Retention Scheme can be accessed by businesses until the end of October.
I know that these further restrictions will come as a blow to everyone and in particular the hospitality sector but action needs to be taken now to bring the virus back under control.
You can access the First Minister’s statement in full here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-speech-7-october-2020/
Exams Diet 2021
The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP addressed the parliamentary chamber setting out the plans for the 2021 SQA exam diet.
Higher and Advanced Higher exams will go ahead in 2021, while National 5 exams will be replaced by a system where grades are awarded based on coursework and teacher judgement.
It means the volume of exams that will take place will be reduced by half, lowering public health risks and allowing plans for Higher and Advanced Highers to proceed.
You can access the full statement here: https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/deputy-first-ministers-speech-on-sqa-awards-2021
As many of you will know, having brought forward a Private Members Bill, I have a particular interest in the implementation of the pavement and double parking provisions in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.
There continues to be a problem with irresponsible parking across the constituency and the measures within this legislation would go some way in addressing these problems. However, the steps required to implement the legislation are complex and have been hindered by the pandemic.
I took the opportunity during Portfolio Questions in Parliament this week to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Transport when the legislation will be implemented. You can read the exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12878&i=116386 it’s disappointing that the legislation is not currently being enforced but I do acknowledge that the pandemic has had a huge impact and I am encouraged that the work to progress the legislation is being made.
Internal Market Bill
The Internal Market Bill is an unprecedented threat to the Scottish Parliament’s powers and I voted to reject consent to this legislation, which would put a wrecking ball through the constitutional convention.
It also means that if lower food and environmental standards are allowed elsewhere in the UK it will force Scotland to accept these standards regardless of any laws passed at Holyrood. The Bill will also mean the UK Government taking control of key devolved spending powers, and the devolved policy area of state aid.
That UK Government ministers have already accepted the Bill will break international law but are pressing ahead regardless is an abomination and with the majority of MSPs rejecting it the UK Government must abandon this deeply damaging Bill.
Ahead of Hate Crime Awareness Week the Scottish Government has relaunched their campaign which urges Scots who witness hate crime to ‘report it to stop it’.
The initiative features a series of letters from Scotland – addressed to perpetrators of hate crime – describing the impact it has on its victims, stating that ‘your hate has no home here’.
Carried on posters, radio advertisements and social media, the campaign is being run in partnership with Police Scotland and urges victims and witnesses of hate crime to report it.
More information on how to report a hate crime can be found here: https://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/report-hate-crime-and-third-party-reporting/
Short Term Lets
This is a reminder that the Scottish Government’s consultation on short term lets will close on 16 October. If you would like to contribute to the consultation please go to https://consult.gov.scot/housing-services-policy-unit/short-term-lets-licensing-scheme/
As always 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