News

Repeal Bill: Tories in Glasgow Must Stand Up for Scottish Parliament

Glasgow Kelvin SNP MSP Sandra White is calling on Glasgow Tory MSP’s Adam Tomkins and Annie Wells to oppose the UK Tory government’s attempts to use the EU Repeal Bill to strip Holyrood of powers.

The Scottish Tories need to distance themselves from the Bill which represents a naked power-grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution, and which could destabilise our economy.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“Twenty years on since the referendum on devolution in Scotland, and the Tories are attempting an attack on the founding principles of devolution under the guise of the EU Repeal Bill.

“The SNP wants a smooth transition as much as the UK government, however this should be achieved through negotiation, not imposition. And it must be achieved in a way that respects Scotland’s hard-won devolved powers.

“An erosion of Scotland’s devolved areas would be contrary to the settled will of the Scottish people and would represent an appalling roll back on devolution which we were promised never could or would happen.

“The aim of this attack is very clear; the Tories are seeking to rack up fast and unfavourable trade deals without any scrutiny or voice for the Scottish people so they can get away with risking Scotland’s farming and fishing industries in order to save their crumbling Brexit agenda”

“I’m therefore calling on Glasgow’s Tory MSP’s Adam Tomkins and Annie Wells to challenge any attempts from their party in Westminster for a naked power-grab on the devolved legislatures during the withdrawal process from the EU, and to make clear their opposition to this Bill which sets out to undermine our national parliament.”

Notes:

Scottish Parliament Information Service: All areas of agriculture, forestry and fishing were devolved under the Scotland Act (1998).

Update on fire safety in Glasgow Kelvin

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy many of my constituents who reside in high rise tower blocks have contacted my office seeking reassurance over their own fire safety.

With a view to ascertaining the safety of these blocks I wrote to the Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council, all Housing Associations, and all Universities with student residences in Glasgow Kelvin to seek assurances about their fire safety measures, both in materials used and also with a view to their procedures should a fire occur. While investigations into the London fire are still ongoing, I feel it is crucial that as much support, reassurance and certainty is provided to concerned residents here in Glasgow Kelvin at this time.

I asked for a brief report on how many residential multi-story blocks are in Glasgow Kelvin, who the relevant property managers are, when they were constructed, and how many have been refurbished recently. I also asked if exterior cladding has been applied and whether it was the same or similar to the cladding used in the Grenfell Tower and whether or not it is fire resistant. I asked for more information about the fire safety measures and procedures currently in place including the number of blocks that currently have sprinklers, fire and smoke alarms, and fire doors; what fire action advice is given to residents in the event of the fire; and how often fire assessment checks are carried out. Finally, I’ve asked to be kept up to date on any reviews and assessments that are currently ongoing, including any recommendations for improvements, and I will post this information on my website when it is available.

While I have not received a response from GCC or the Universities at the time of publication I have heard from the majority of Housing Associations and can now provide you with a brief outline of what they have said.

Glasgow Housing Association and Cube (The Wheatley Group) own 82 multi-story blocks of nine stories or more. My colleagues and I have been assured that the cladding used is different from the cladding used in Grenfell, and all building regulations, designed to prevent the spread of fire, have been followed. Fire non-combustible materials have been used, and many blocks have been fitted with sprinklers in the bin store areas with a programme in place to complete this work. Daily patrols are carried out to identify any risks in multi-story blocks. They have assured me that further recommendations or advice following investigations in London will be implemented.

Glasgow West Housing Association are undertaking a review of the cladding and external wall insulation installed in their properties, and all materials meet minimum Scottish Building Standards Technical Regulations. This includes fire separation between flats and installation of non-combustible materials. There is ongoing safety awareness, including regular fire safety checks, concierge patrols, and investments in bin shoots.

Partick Housing Association own one multi-story block, Fortrose House in Fortrose Street, where there are 53 properties and 43 PHA tenants. It was refurbished by PHA in 2012, and the cladding used was phenolic foam insulation board, manufactured by Kingspan, which has a zero rating for inflammability. During recent renovations 43 flats had fire-rated flat entrance doors and smoke detectors fitted, along with an alarm system and fire doors in the common areas. There is no sprinkler system fitted, however a fire risk assessment is due on the 5th of July and all safety measures will be reviewed then. The insulation material in the over-cladding will also be verified by sampling and testing if necessary.

Maryhill Housing Association own 3 multi-story blocks of 21 floors, with 360 flats in total. They also own 12 multi-story blocks of 8 floors, with 336 flats in total. The blocks were constructed prior to stock transfer in 2011, and all blocks have fire resistant Recticel and Structherm cladding. All have fire resistant doors, hard wired smoke alarms and dry risers on each floor. Regular fire safety checks are undertaken, and the next fire audit will be carried out in July 2017.

Queens Cross Housing Association own 10 multi-story blocks in Dundasvale, Woodside (Cedar Court) and Westercommon. The cladding used in Cedar Court is called StoTherm Mineral K, and in Dundasvale Court it is PermaRock Mineral Fibre, both are non-combustible, have no cavities between the boards and the concrete walls, and meets the Scottish Building Regulations. The communal fire doors and ground floor exits are also currently being upgraded, and there will be fire escape balconies and new canopies at the ground floor level. A new internal working group has been set up following the tragedy and will look at all aspects of fire safety.

Fire Safety Advice
All housing associations in Glasgow Kelvin are working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue service. In the event of a fire, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service advise multi-story residents to stay in place to allow controlled fire-fighting and evacuation, as deemed appropriate by them at the time. You can find more detailed advice about what to do in the event of a fire, via the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service leaflet here. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will continue to carry out additional operational assurance visits to high-rise buildings across Scotland, and since the Grenfell Tower fire, over 200 visits have been carried out by the SFRS to residents in high-rise buildings.
I have been informed by colleagues that SFRS are awaiting confirmation that no privately owned buildings have the cladding, and local authorities are completing these investigations as a matter of urgency.

Scottish Government
As you may be aware, Scottish Building Standards are devolved, and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service works closely with local authorities and housing associations to ensure the safety of occupants in high rise buildings. Following the events at Grenfell, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities established a Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety. Last week this Working Group reported that all 32 local authorities across Scotland have confirmed that no council or housing association high rise domestic building have the type of cladding reported to have been used in the Grenfell tower – Aluminium Composite Material (ACM).

Please be assured that along with my colleagues in the Scottish Government, Westminster, and Glasgow City Council, I will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks and publicise more information as I have it.

Contact Details
Should you have specific concerns or questions about the block you live in, please contact your local housing team. These details can be found below:
Glasgow Housing Association or Cube HA – The Wheatley Group are in the process of setting up a helpline, so in the meantime contact 0800 479 7979.
Glasgow West Housing Association – Direct calls to the property services team on 0141 331 6652.
Partick Housing Association – Direct calls to 0141 357 3773 or visit their office at 10 Mansfield Street. More information is also on their website: http://www.partickha.org.uk/
Maryhill Housing Association – Direct calls to 0141 946 2466 or email enquiries@maryhill.org.uk
Queens Cross Housing Association – Direct calls to 0141 945 3003 or email contactus@qcha.org.uk

The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service are at available to offer more information and should you wish to arrange a fire safety assessment please contact them directly on 0800 0731 999.

If you have any difficulties do feel free to contact my office on 0141 339 7693 or via email on sandra.white.msp@parliament.scot

Ebrief

Ebrief

Thursday 29 June 2017

ScotRef

The First Minister committed to reflecting on the outcome of the general election and, in particular, on the issue of a second independence referendum. Those reflections were set out in a speech to the Scottish Parliament this week.

The Scottish Government will not introduce legislation for an independence referendum immediately. At the end of Brexit negotiations, the Scottish Government will set out its judgment on the best way forward – and on the precise timescale of the people of Scotland having a choice on our future.   

Right now, the Scottish Government will seek maximum support for proposals to keep us in the Single Market and remain strongly committed to giving Scotland a choice on our future at the end of the Brexit process.

The General Election and the weakness of the UK government has re-opened the possibility of avoiding an extreme Tory Brexit, and to protect Scotland’s interests.

You can read the full speech here: https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/eu-negotiations-and-scotlands-future

DUP Deal

Following the deal brokered between the Tory Government and the DUP Finance Minister Derek Mackay has called for an urgent meeting to discuss full implications of the funding agreement.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has called for an urgent meeting and highlighted that the Scottish Government will invoke the formal dispute resolution mechanism, if this situation is not satisfactorily resolved by HM Treasury.

Queens Cross Housing Association

06.17 QCHAIt was great to meet up with a delegation of young people and staff from Queens Cross Housing Association this week in Parliament.

They kicked off their visit with a tour of the building including the chamber and also managed to have a seat in the MSP block think pods!

Finishing off their visit they took the opportunity to observe the debate on Education in the chamber.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with them all again soon to further discuss youth homelessness.

Nursing and Midwifery

An estimated 2,600 extra nursing and midwifery training places will be created over the next four years as part of wide-ranging measures to support and strengthen NHS Scotland’s workforce.

The National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, published this week,  sets out how the Scottish Government will work with partners to secure sustainable NHS staffing alongside  its programme of change in health and social care.

Other measures that will seek to increase the supply of nurses include extended ‘return to practice’ programmes, improved recruitment and retention, particularly in rural areas, and support to attract and retain staff. These steps will be focused on priority areas including primary care, mental health, midwifery, maternal and child health and more remote areas, particularly the north of Scotland.

Additional medical student places are also being created – up to 100 over and above the extra 40 places from next September, contributing towards a more sustainable medical workforce.

Dementia

06.17 Dementia Carer VoicesI stopped by to have a chat with Tommy Whitelaw, UK Engagement Lead for Dementia Carers Voices who were sharing a stall with The Alliance in the Parliament this week.

Tommy has been a tireless campaigner travelling up and down the country talking to hundreds of staff employed across health and social care during the You Can Make a Difference campaign.

Having been selected to ask a question during general questions this week in the chamber I chose to ask about how the You Can Make a Difference campaign could engage with the new Dementia Strategy launched by the Scottish Government.

You can access the exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ormain.aspx

Policing

Railway policing will come under the command of Police Scotland after legislation was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The expertise of British Transport Police officers and staff will be backed by the specialist resources of Police Scotland, including counter terrorism, air support and armed policing.

Strengthening the already high standards of safety and security on Scotland’s railways will be the key priority of integration.

The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill was supported by Parliament following the stage 3 debate today.

Festival of Politics

From the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love to the centenary of the Russian revolution, the Festival will celebrate its 13th birthday in true teenage fashion, pushing at boundaries and challenging the norms with an eclectic mix of political discussion, music and film.

Taking place from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 October, this year’s Festival, will also feature two exhibitions: Teenage Instamatics: Punk Rock in Edinburgh 1977 and the Scottish Press Photography Awards.

Galas

06.17 Partick Housing Association Gala DayWhat a great weekend out and about in the constituency and there was plenty to see, do and celebrate!

Partick Housing Association had their Gala Day at Mansfield Park and as you can see from the photo I threw myself into the arts and crafts activities! There was something for everyone from face-painting to nail painting to live music and a fantastic selection of stalls with great local produce.

06.17 Hyndland PS Gala DayHyndland After School Club were celebrating their 25th anniversary and I was delighted to be invited to join in their celebrations.

This is a great resource for parents, carers and young people and they have gone from strength to strength serving the local community over the past 25 years commonly and fondly known as the Afti!

I wish all the staff another 25 years success!

Building Safety

The second meeting of a Ministerial Working Group, convened to examine building and fire safety regulatory frameworks, took place this week.

Checks so far by local authorities have found that:

No Scottish local-authority owned school buildings above 18 metres have the type of cladding reported to have been used on the Grenfell tower – aluminium composite material (ACM).

No high rise domestic buildings owned by councils or housing associations have used ACM cladding.

29 of 32 local authorities have reported that ACM cladding has not been used on any privately owned high-rise domestic buildings. Edinburgh and Glasgow are completing their investigations and it was acknowledged this will take time due to due to the numbers involved.

Organ Donation

Following a public consultation, the Scottish Government intends to introduce legislation for a soft opt out system of organ and tissue donation.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell has confirmed plans to bring forward legislation during this Parliament after 82% of consultation responses supported the move.

This will add to the package of measures already in place to increase donation. Work with stakeholders will continue, to ensure that the system is developed in a way which will do no harm to trust in the NHS or to the safety of organ donation.

Recess

The Parliament will go into recess until 4 September. Please note that the Ebrief will not be published during this period but will resume on 7 September.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a good summer and fingers crossed we can all enjoy some sunshine!

New plans for soft opt-out organ donation system unveiled

SNP MSP Sandra White has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to introduce legislation for a soft opt-out system of organ and tissue donation, which was backed by 82% of those who contributed to their consultation.

 

The 14-week consultation looked at various ways to increase the number of people being referred to the donation services in Scotland.

 

Currently in Scotland, organ and/or tissue donation after a person’s death only occurs if they have given advance authorisation or if their nearest relative authorises on their behalf.

 

A soft opt out, or deemed authorisation system, means that a donation can go ahead if the person has not opted out or told their family they do not wish to donate.

 

Commenting Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

 

“Today’s decision to legislate for a soft opt-out system is great news for our health service & for many people who are waiting for life saving surgery.

 

“With the amazing help of donors and their families, NHS Scotland has already made great progress, including a 34% increase in donors this past year alone. Scotland now has the highest donor rate in the UK.

 

“However, we can do better and moving to a soft opt-out system is a really important step towards further reducing the number of people in Glasgow Kelvin waiting for transplants.

 

“We should always keep in mind the tragic circumstances that give rise to organ donation and forever appreciate the selfless acts of donors and their families that enable others to live. Organ and tissue donation saves lives and is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.”

 

ENDS

 

NOTES

 

https://news.gov.scot/news/increasing-organ-and-tissue-donation

 

Background

•             The consultation ran from 7 December 2016 to 14 March 2017.

•             Anyone wishing to join the Organ Donor Register can do so by visiting the Organ Donation Scotland website. This website can also be used by those who wish to update their registration details or to register their wish not to be a donor.

 

The Donation and Transplantation Plan, 2013-2020 has been the catalyst for meaningful improvement in organ donation in Scotland with:

•             146% increase (54-133 between 2007/8 and 2016/17) in the number of people who donated organs after their death.

•             In 2016/17, Scotland had the highest rate of donors per million of population of any UK country – currently 25.5 donors pmp.

•             45% of the Scottish population have joined the organ donor register (over 116,000 in 2016).