This has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us. We have some light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine and I hope that you can all take some time to enjoy a very different festive season – we will get through this.
The First Minister this week in agreement with the Welsh and UK Governments confirmed the guidance for the Christmas period.
I reiterate the statement that the safest way to spend Christmas is with your own household but recognise that this is incredibly difficult when your natural instinct, and rightly so, is to be with extended family and friends to celebrate.
The updated guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-festive-period/ and if you do decide to form a bubble the guidance asks that you:
- minimise the number of people in a Christmas bubble. While 3 households is the legal maximum, our recommendation is that 2 would be better, and you should keep to a maximum of 8 people, age 12 and over – the smaller the bubble, the better and safer it will be
- minimise the time spent with your bubble, especially indoors. The 5 day period is a window of opportunity, not a recommended time. We recommend you do not meet up with people in your bubble on any more than one day over the period and do not stay overnight unless it is unavoidable. And you should minimise the distance you intend to travel
- avoid all travel between high prevalence and low prevalence areas – in particular, that means avoiding travel to or from Scotland and Tier 3 areas in England, and to or from any Level 4 areas in Scotland (of which there are currently none)
- you should not go to a pub or restaurant or entertainment venue, for example a cinema or theatre, with your bubble
- if you don’t form a bubble you must follow the rules in the local authority area you live in
Please also note that this guidance only applies to the Christmas period between 23 – 27 December and will not apply at Hogmanay and New Year. Instead, you should follow the rules on meeting up and travelling for your level. You can access what you can and cannot do on the Scottish Government website here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/
The blight of problem drug use and the tragic consequences were laid bare this week with the publication of the National Records of Scotland’s statistics on drug deaths in Scotland.
These figures represent lives tragically cut short. Whilst I absolutely agree tackling this problem requires a holistic approach I believe safe consumption spaces must be integral to any approach.
I have been advocating the lifesaving work carried out by Peter Krykant who has been operating a safe consumption van across the city with encouraging results. However, in doing so he now finds himself subject to legal action, being charged with carrying out a service which supports problem drug users and ultimately saves their lives.
The Minister for Public Health gave a statement in Parliament this week on the statistics and I again raised the question of safe consumption rooms, you can access the full statement and my question here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=13017&i=117709
Further good news for the independence movement with another poll out this week which puts support for independence at 58% – the highest out of the 17 in a row polls which have all indicated well over 50% support and signifies the will of the Scottish people.
The unionist parties and in particular the UK Tory Government can no longer stand in the way of a referendum if they truly believe in democracy – it is the people of Scotland who should decide our future and not those who seek to strip our Parliament of powers and drag us out of the EU.
Smoke and Fire Alarm Systems
The Local Government Committee have voted to agree the Scottish Government’s postponement of the introduction of the new interlinked smoke and fire alarm systems for all households.
The new legislation will not come into effect until February 2022 – a delay of a year and a move that I know will be welcomed by many people across the constituency.
I also took the opportunity to contribute to the members debate in Parliament this week on this issue. I have had a number of constituents contact me with real concerns about the timescale, the costs involved and basic information on the exact requirements to comply.
The Minister provided further clarity in his response during the debate and you can also access further information here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/fire-and-smoke-alarms-in-scottish-homes/
You can also access the full debate and my contribution here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2020&page=0&meeting=-1
ICU Liberty Singers
Something very special has come out of the pandemic with critical care staff from Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley joining a 100 strong, nationwide Zoom choir in releasing a re-make of the classic Police track ‘Every Breath You Take’.
Known as the ICU Liberty Singers, the group is now in the race to secure the Christmas number one spot and raise funds to support NHS staff who may have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The single is released on December 18th and will be available for download and streaming and you can also watch the video here: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm3z0qoDbo8
Let’s help them make the top spot which would go some way in showing our appreciation for their incredible work in really tough times.
I know that the irresponsible use of fireworks have caused great concern and anxiety across the constituency so I very much welcome the announcement this week from the Scottish Government on new regulations.
These regulations restrict both the sale of fireworks and the times when they can be set off by the general public.
The Minister for Community Safety has confirmed the regulations will be laid in Parliament in January 2021.
I always encourage constituents to shop local but this year has been incredibly hard for our small independent businesses across the constituency. The pandemic and successive restrictions have made trading extremely difficult for them with some sadly having to close indefinitely.
Glasgow Kelvin has an incredible variety of great quality independent traders. Please take the time to support them and if you are buying presents to consider shopping closer to home and supporting businesses and in turn the local economy.
Finally my next Ebrief will be published in the New Year until then and as always please continue to 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.