Congratulations to Kaukab Stewart on her selection as the SNP candidate for Glasgow Kelvin in the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.
Kaukab is a committed independence campaigner and long standing member of the SNP and I have every faith in her ability to win Kelvin.
We are projected to win a majority however we cannot take the electorate for granted. We must continue to make the case for the SNP and our independence and I look forward to campaigning with Kaukab and all activists in the coming months.
Glasgow remains in protection tier 3 and as a reminder of what you can and cannot do please visit https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-3/
Please follow the FACTS – Face coverings, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, Two metre distancing; and Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.
Students across Glasgow and their families I hope will welcome the announcement from the Scottish Government of a strategy to enable students to return home for the Christmas holidays.
The plans include a widespread COVID-19 testing scheme, which is expected to be rolled out by the start of December.
Enabling easy access to testing for students with COVID-19 symptoms has already proved to be effective in controlling outbreaks. Now Scottish students will be including in a UK-wide initiative to test some asymptomatic students prior to the end of term.
The Government is working in partnership with institutions and the UK Governments testing programme on the logistics of offering both lateral flow testing. This is a new rapid test currently being used in Liverpool, which can deliver a COVID result in about 15-20 minutes. If needed a more sensitive PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test can be used, which may take up to a day or longer to produce a result.
Scottish Child Payment
The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious, game-changing new benefit which will directly tackle child poverty across Scotland.
This support is needed more than ever, and it’s early introduction for under 6s – almost two years ahead of the original commitment for a new payment – will be a lifeline for so many families.
During the Covid-19 statement by the First Minister in Parliament this week I took the opportunity to ask how much families with young children could receive if they apply for the Scottish child payment together with the three best start grant payments and the best start foods payment. The First Minister confirmed that more than £5,200 of financial support could be provided to families by the time their first child turns 6.
You can check eligibility and apply for this benefit online at mygov.scot/benefits/
While the SNP does everything it can to tackle poverty, the Tories at Westminster are having to be dragged into providing free school meals over the holidays and they are still resistant to provide free school meals as was asked until April 2021.
The tourism industry as with so many has been massively impacted by the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.
Whilst the Scottish Government has provided vital funding to businesses across the country, I wanted to take the opportunity during portfolio questions this week to seek further support. In particular I highlighted the plight of visitor attractions indeed our very own Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum who have seen a massive reduction in the numbers of tourists visiting the city attraction.
The response from the Minister was encouraging. He is committed to ensuring the sustainability of businesses during the pandemic.
You can access the full exchange here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2020&page=0&meeting=-1
Remembrance Day this year was markedly different from years gone by due to the pandemic. The Provost laid a wreath in George Square to mark and commemorate those who lost their lives in war which has ensured the freedoms we enjoy today.
I spoke in the parliamentary debate to mark Remembrance Day and I took the opportunity to highlight the incredible work the University of Glasgow has been taking forward over the past 4 years.
You can access my contribution here http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12929&i=116858 and more details of the project at the University of Glasgow here https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/research/historyresearch/researchprojects/greatwar/
Many of you may be aware of the Scottish Government’s website https://ready.scot/ which was set up in response to the pandemic.
The Scottish Government has refreshed the website which provides a range of information for anyone looking for support during the pandemic as well as advice on preparing for winter weather.
It also provides guidance for those who wish to help out those around them, whether on an individual basis or through volunteering with local community groups or charities.
I know that our communities across Kelvin have been outstanding in supporting each other and looking out for our vulnerable community members. Their dedication and commitment has ensured people have been fed, prescriptions have been delivered and a friendly chat has broken the isolation many have had to endure whilst shielding.
My thanks go out to everyone who has, and continue to offer support as we all try to deal with the pandemic.
Face Covering Exemptions
This is a reminder that the Scottish Government has produced a face covering exemption card, to support those who are unable to wear one to feel more confident and safe when accessing public spaces and using public services.
Physical and digital cards are available to request online from 29 October at http://www.exempt.scot or via a free helpline on 0800 121 6240.
With all our focus over the past 9 months on suppressing the virus I wanted to remind everyone of the Scottish Government’s consultation process in which they encourage members of the public to contribute.
Participation provides a wide ranging view on various issues and helps shape future legislation.
You can access the full list of open consultations here: https://consult.gov.scot/consultation_finder/?sort_on=iconsultable_enddate&st=open&sort_order=ascending&advanced=1#cs-finder-results-container
As always please stay safe and follow the Scottish Government guidance.