News

Scottish Government Seeks Views to Shape Loneliness Strategy

Sandra White MSP is calling on constituents in Glasgow Kelvin to contribute to the Scottish Government’s new consultation looking at the causes of social isolation and loneliness and how they can be addressed.

The consultation will run until 30 April and will thereafter feed into a new national strategy, one of the first in the world, to tackle loneliness and isolation. A national strategy to combat loneliness was a key ask of the Jo Cox Commission, which welcomed this announcement.

Views are also being sought on how communities can build on the work of the Scottish Government, and lead on ensuring those at risk of becoming lonely or isolated have access to the right support networks.

Commenting, Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“It’s important that voices from across Glasgow get involved in the Scottish Government’s consultation to help shape the new loneliness and isolation strategy, especially since each and every one of us has a role to play in reducing loneliness in Scotland.

“Dealing with loneliness and isolation can be incredibly difficult, and by reaching out to our neighbours or anyone we think may be at risk of becoming isolated or lonely – by taking them out, doing a good deed or simply having a chat – we can all have a hugely positive impact.

“Young or old – loneliness doesn’t discriminate and it is linked to both poor physical and mental health, and can have wide-ranging consequences on so many aspects of our lives.

“The SNP Government will be the first country in the UK and one of the first in the world to develop a national strategy to address loneliness and isolation, but this strategy needs our communities and society to lead the way in ensuring those at risk of loneliness get the support they need. I would encourage as many people as possible in Glasgow to have a say on this very important issue by contributing to the consultation.”

Take part in the consultation here: https://consult.gov.scot/equality-unit/connected-scotland

Tory Tax Plans Could Mean £111.9m Cut to Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS

Tory tax proposals could mean cuts of up to £111.9M across Greater Glasgow and Clyde, according to new Scottish Government analysis.

With the Scottish Parliament set to vote on Stage 1 of the budget this month, the Tories are proposing tax cuts for high earners that would leave a £500 million hole in the budget.

With health receiving the largest share of devolved spending, a £500 million fall in available spending would see the NHS in the firing line – and Greater Glasgow and Clyde could lose the most compared to other NHS areas.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“Under the SNP, the NHS has record staffing and record funding – and the draft budget would see that funding increased.

 “But this investment is only possible because of the decisions taken by the Scottish Government, with progressive policies seeing higher earnings paying slightly more to support public services.

 “The Tory tax plans would blow a £500 million hole in our budget – and that’s on top of a decade of UK government austerity.

 “That would risk valuable public services across Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including the NHS – and would be equivalent to cutting 2680 nurses in the region – and the Tories should explain why they’d prefer to give a handout to millionaires than to fund our hospitals.”

Trainee Palestinian Firefighters welcomed to the Scottish Parliament

Palestinian Firefighters receiving training in Scotland have been welcomed to the Scottish Parliament by the cross-party group on Palestine.

In Scotland to receive training in a joint-initiative between the Fire Brigades Union Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and the Scottish Government, trainee firefighters from the Hebron Fire Brigade were supported by MSPs on their visit to Holyrood prior to their passing out ceremony at the National Training Centre this week.

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Since 2009, over 100 firefighters have received such training, additionally the programme has consisted of training, support, and the provision of donated equipment to firefighters across Palestinian towns, cities, and refugee camps.

The programme has long been supported by Sandra White MSP in her role as Convener of the Parliament’s cross-party group on Palestine.

Sandra White MSP said:

“For many years I have been pleased to support this vital programme training Palestinian firefighters which will help save lives whilst providing practical solidarity and support to the Palestinian struggle.”

“I am proud of the work of the Scottish Government, the Fire and Rescue Service, and the Fire Brigades Union to assist Palestinian firefighters, and welcoming these trainees to our Parliament to show that Scotland stands with them is always a highlight of my year.”

Ebrief

Thursday 11 January 2018

01.18 HNY

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you managed to relax and enjoy some time with family and friends. The parliamentary session started back this week and with two debates pertinent to the constituency I took the opportunity to participate.

Visit

It was great to catch up with constituents Maureen Kelly and Janice O’Kane just before the Christmas recess.

12.17 Margaret Kelly and Janice O'KaneMaureen and Janice came to the Parliament to have a tour and watch the proceedings in the Chamber including First Ministers Question Time and by all accounts they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

If you would like to have a tour of the Parliament or sit in to watch chamber proceedings please get in touch with my Assistant Amanda Gordon at Amanda.gordon@parliament.scot or call on 0131 348 5688

Tenement Maintenance

Glasgow Kelvin has a very high concentration of tenement buildings both old and new across the constituency and with my colleague Ben Macpherson MSP securing a members debate on the maintenance and repair of tenement buildings I was eager to contribute highlighting concerns raised by tenement dwelling constituents.

You can access my speech here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11291&i=102781

With many of my cases related to housing and in particular property factors this debate gave me a platform to raise the concerns of my constituents who have had less than satisfactory service from their property factor.

My next piece relates well and will give those of you with problem factoring services the opportunity to shape a revised code of conduct….

Factoring Consultation

For those of you who haven’t already done so this is a reminder that the Scottish Government’s consultation on a draft revised code of conduct for registered property factors will close on Monday 15 January 2018.

The consultation seeks your views on a revised code of conduct for property factors. Following this consultation, Scottish Ministers may amend the revised code and then lay a copy of the code before the Scottish Parliament for its consideration.

Factoring is a very contentious issue across the constituency and my casework loads unfortunately are testament to this.

You have an opportunity to make your views heard and help shape a revised code of conduct.

You can access the consultation at https://consult.gov.scot/housing-regeneration-and-welfare/code-of-conduct-for-registered-property-factors/

Glasgow 2018

01.18 Euro Championships2018 will see Glasgow host the European Championships and I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Championships in Parliament this week.

I count myself as extremely lucky to represent a city that attracts major events like the 2018 European Championships – bringing large numbers of visitors that help our economy thrive.

Glasgow 2018 offers a fantastic opportunity to build upon the lasting legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games – giving local communities the chance to benefit from the Festival 2018 Our Place Fund as well as significant increases in tourism and the opportunity to welcome inspiring sportspeople to our city. Indeed it’s no coincidence that recent accommodation figures show that more people have booked holidays to Glasgow this year than any other part of the UK.   While our industries, including tourism and events, face huge uncertainty because of Brexit –  the Scottish Government is committed to enhancing Scotland’s international reputation as a dynamic and creative nation and world-class tourism destination, whilst retaining our position as a leader in sport, art, culture and music events, and major conferences.   Our young people will also be at the heart of Glasgow 2018, which offers 50% discounts on all ticket prices to young people and many more events completely free as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.

You can access the text of my speech here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11297&i=102810  You can find out more here:  http://www.glasgow2018.com/

Winter

Winter is always a busy time for our NHS, but this year has been exceptional. Everyone in the health service has worked extremely hard to deal with the additional pressures they’ve faced over the last few weeks.

Thousands of staff both across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and nationally have missed out on precious time with friends and family to make sure patients have received the care and treatment they need over winter.

We can all play a part in ensuring demand on our most acute services is minimised by taking time to think of the best way to access advice and treatment – for example by using a pharmacy or a minor injuries unit for minor ailments or seeking health advice for some of the most common conditions at this time of year through NHS inform.

I also want to remind readers that it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS and if you’re eligible for vaccination on the NHS it’s important that you take that offer.

NHS staff across Greater Glasgow and Clyde are doing a tremendous job at a tough time of year, and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.

If you’re eligible, please make getting the vaccination a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible. 

Eat Well

01.18 VegJanuary will see the revamp of the ‘Eat Better Feel Better’ website, which offers practical advice with the aim of increasing fruit and veg consumption, and cutting unhealthy snacking and sugary drink consumption in children.

The site has tips and tools for families to help them make simple, quick and cheap changes to how they shop, cook and eat.

You can get more information here https://www.eatbetterfeelbetter.co.uk/

Brexit

The Scottish Government has begun preparations to introduce an EU Continuity Bill to prepare Scotland’s laws for Brexit after UK Government legislation was called “incompatible with the devolution settlement” by a cross-party Holyrood committee.

The Scottish Government is opposed to leaving the EU but must prepare for that eventuality. The government also has an obligation to plan for the Scottish Parliament deciding not to give legislative consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill if necessary amendments to protect devolution are not made.

Young People

Children and young people in Scotland now have the most rights in Europe when it comes to accessing the support they need to reach their full potential. This is also pertinent as we celebrate Year of Young People 2018.

Amendments to the Additional Support for Learning Act 2004 have now come in to force, extending a range of rights, to children aged 12-15, for the first time.

Previously only available to parents, carers and over 16s the extension of rights means that children will now have more say than ever before in decisions about their education.

Children can now:

Ask for their additional support needs to be identified and planned for

Receive advice and information about their additional support needs

Be part of discussions about the support that they will receive

Access dispute resolution procedures to resolve concerns

These rights will be balanced by safeguards and supported by a newly created  service which will help children access advice at every stage of the process to enable them to become fully involved in decisions about their education.

SSPCA

12.17 SSPCAI met up with this beautiful dog in the Parliament just before the Christmas recess. The SSPCA were in to highlight their #saynotopuppydealers.

The Scottish SPCA is determined to put an end to the illegal puppy trade. This multimillion pound industry is fuelled entirely by greed and profit with little to no consideration for the welfare of the dogs they sell.

Shutting down individuals in this cruel trade helps hundreds of puppy’s and dogs who are exposed to unsanitary living conditions.  As a result of the breeding regimen and the conditions the pups are kept in before being sold, a large number suffer from diseases and infections such as giardia and parvo virus. Not only does this result in high vet bills for unsuspecting new owners, but it causes a great deal of unnecessary suffering to the dogs and in some circumstances can result in death.

You can help to raise awareness by using the #saynottopuppydealers on social media and if you are thinking of getting a dog please visit the SSPCA website first at https://www.scottishspca.org/newsroom/campaigns/fighting-the-illegal-puppy-trade/

 

Sandra White MSP Encourages Flu Jab Take Up

SNP MSP Sandra White has urged all eligible adults in Glasgow Kelvin to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination.

Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS.

Flu rates in Scotland doubled in December with the most recent figures from Health Protection Scotland showing around 46 Scots in every 100,000 were suffering from the virus, comparing to 22 in every 100,000 for the same week in 2016.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“It’s not too late to get the flu jab – and if you’re eligible for vaccination on the NHS it’s important that you take that offer.

“Cases of flu were at double the rate in December as the previous year, and can be a serious illness that can make even healthy people very unwell. 

“NHS staff in Glasgow are doing a tremendous job at a tough time of year, and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.

“If you’re eligible, please make getting the vaccination a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible.”