News

Brexit risk to £556m EU funding in Glasgow

A new publicly accessible database has laid bare the financial impact that leaving the EU will have on areas around the UK, with the Greater Glasgow area facing losses to funding of over £556.

The figures show that the EU has invested over £556m in Glasgow through its direct investment in agriculture, research, culture, education, and jobs.

The EU invests around £5billion a year in the UK, and the European single market is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone.

Last week, the SNP announced that up to £18 million of European cash would be used by the Scottish Government to set up an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to help small and medium sized businesses.

Sandra White MSP said: “As these figures show, the City of Glasgow and surrounding areas have benefited hugely from the strong relationship between Scotland and the European Union.

“EU funding has made a huge contribution to infrastructure, culture, and opportunities in Scotland. This is just the latest analysis which confirms that Brexit is going to inflict major harm on our economy.

“Far from delivering extra cash for the NHS, as was infamously promised by the leave campaign bus, Scotland faces losing out on billions of pounds of funding with no clarity from the UK government over how this will be replaced.

“We are being dragged out of the European Union against our will, and Glasgow will be hugely damaged because of this. The only solution is to stay in the single market and customs union.”

Sandra White MSP tunes in to FeelsFM on #WorldMentalHealthDay

FeelsFM, the world’s first emoji powered jukebox, has been created to help young people in Scotland talk about how they’re feeling, after new research revealed only a quarter would tell someone if they were struggling to cope.

See Me, the national programme to end mental health discrimination, surveyed 1455 young people aged 12-26 on mental health. They found that only 26% of young people would tell someone if they were finding it difficult to cope, compared to 67% who would tell someone if they were feeling physically unwell.

To help young people to speak about how they are feeling See Me have launched FeelsFM.co.uk.

The online emoji powered jukebox, created as part of the Year of Young People, is designed to help young people express their feelings, use music as a positive coping strategy, and find new ways to talk about mental health stigma.

Alongside the online platform, young people have also helped See Me put together a FeelsFM Activity which brings FeelsFM to life so it can be used to support young people to have conversations about mental health.

See Me are looking for organisations who engage with young people to run Feels FM activities by downloading a pack from https://www.seemescotland.org/young-people/resources/campaigns/run-your-feels-fm-activity/. The pack is great for youth, community, or school groups, and we will give you everything you need! All you need to do is visit their website and put your order in and they’ll pop a pack in the post for you.

Part of the discussion involves asking young people what they would do to tackle stigma and discrimination. See Me will then look at all the ideas, and the one they think will work best will be given a £1000 grant to make the idea a reality. The deadline to submit your idea is October 26th.

Glasgow Kelvin MSP, Sandra White commented:
“The ever growing cultural conversation that we are having on mental health is vital to the well-being of so many of my constituents. Indeed, regardless of background or profession every single person needs to acknowledge the importance of their own mental health and in turn how they can positively affect those around them.

“As such I am delighted to support See Me’s new campaign aimed at increasing awareness amongst younger people – a group in our society who are faced with a variety of pressures on a daily basis. In the Year of Young People this is therefore a particularly appropriate campaign and one that I hope is successful, far and wide.

“With See Me kicking off this campaign at the Barrowland Ballroom, with the Scottish Government’s new Minister for Mental Health, Claire Haughey MSP, it again reiterates the seriousness with which our society is now viewing mental health and the commitment this Scottish Government is making to ensure that this conversation continues within all of our communities.”

Share your Feels FM fun and see what other folk are up to with the hashtags #FeelsFM and #YoYP2018.

GLASGOW WELCOMES ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY OF GAZA STUDENTS

Local SNP MSP Sandra White met up with students from the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) who are currently studying at the University of Glasgow (UoG) as part of the ERASMUS+ International Credit Mobility. 

International Credit Mobility (ICM) is an Erasmus + Key Action 1 project which aims to facilitate exchange and education links between European and international partners. The ICM programme offers funded mobility opportunities for staff and postgraduate students to and from international partners.  

The UoG were successful in their bids to the European Union Erasmus+ in 2017, receiving a total of  €600,000 which has enabled 20 students, the biggest ever cohort, from IUG to study at UoG. 

UoG also provide the EAST Project every summer which accommodates overseas engineering students with engineers from Gaza to research ways to solve the engineering problems facing Gaza due to the ongoing blockade by Israel and Egypt.  Many students have worked together since the Project began in 2015.   

They also offer an online Palestinian Arabic Course which was written in partnership with IUG, combining video and skype lessons, allowing trained teachers in Gaza to access paid work, which also helps overcome the employment effects caused by the ongoing blockade. 

Commenting on the visit Ms White said: 

“It was inspiring to meet with the students from the Islamic University of Gaza and to talk to them about the situation in Gaza. This opportunity is having a positive impact on not just their lives, with the chance to study here in Glasgow, but the knowledge they are taking home to Gaza to improve a very desperate situation.

“It is thanks to the commitment from the team at both the University of Glasgow and the Islamic University of Gaza and of course the enthusiasm and willingness to take part from the students.

“Not satisfied with offering the Erasmus+ programme the University also offers the EAST project summer course which has been running for 3 years now bringing together engineering students from Gaza and around the world to find new ways of tackling engineering problems in Gaza. And of course they have the online language course which they produced in collaboration with the Islamic University of Gaza and is taught by teachers in Gaza.

“My concern is that with Brexit the Erasmus+ programme will no longer be accessible and the opportunity for students from Gaza to come here to Glasgow to learn will be lost as well as the significant contribution their learning and collaboration brings to the people of Gaza.”

 

Ebrief

Thursday 4 October 2018

Age Scotland

10.18 Age Scotland GOPWAAs Convener of the Cross Party Group on Older People, Age and Ageing it was a pleasure to attend the 75th anniversary celebrations of Age Scotland in the Parliament.

It was a special evening not least for Glasgow Old Peoples Welfare Association, now renamed Glasgow’s Golden Generation. Their new CEO Morag MacLeod whom I’m pictured with received the award on behalf of the organisation.

I also had the privilege of leading a members debate in the chamber on Wednesday celebrating this milestone for Age Scotland and highlighting the positive contribution organisations working on behalf of older people have made in both practical terms and policy shaping.

I closed my speech with a quote from Professor Sir Stewart Sutherland, who said: “To say Scotland is facing an ageing crisis is a myth. While it is certainly true that Scotland, along with the rest of the world, is getting older, that, in itself, does not constitute a crisis.” Professor Sutherland was challenging the view that older people are a burden and a drain on our society and public services, as Age Scotland and its predecessor organisations have done for 75 years.

Instead of repeating that view, as people often do on the bus or on television or elsewhere in the media, we should celebrate what we know to be true: older people are an asset to our society and economy and they are the life-blood of our communities, providing the backbone of charities, volunteering and acting as a reserve army of unpaid carers.

You can view the full debate here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/members-business-75th-anniversary-of-age-scotland-october-3-2018

Flags

On the back of reports of a restricted document from Police Scotland regarding the flying of certain flags I raised the matter with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice during General Question Time this week.

My concern was the guidelines issued by Police Scotland were not definitive and could be misinterpreted.

On the back of this exchange I will be pursuing a full response from Police Scotland regarding their guidelines.

You can see the full exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11710&i=106027

Sport

The Scottish Government announced funding of £300,000 this week which coincides with Women and Girls in Sport Week which runs from September 30 to October 5.

I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate in the Parliament recognising the huge positive contribution sport makes in women and girls lives and the amazing role models our younger generations have in sport.

You can see my full contribution here: www.parliament.scot

Hospice Care Week

10.18 Hospices ScotlandTo mark Hospice Care Week (8-14 October) Hospice UK held an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament giving members the opportunity to chat with representatives about their work and the work of their local hospices.

Some of the information is staggering, 21,000 people a year are supported by charitable hospices, 420 families a year are supported by children’s hospice care, 80% of hospice care is provided to people at home or in the community and £44 million needs to be raised by Scottish Hospices every year.

You can find out more information on hospice care in and around Glasgow here http://www.nhsggc.org.uk/your-health/health-services/palliative-care/hospices/

Poverty

With the Challenge Poverty Campaign taking place this week I took the opportunity to participate in the members debate.

All week there have been events across the country highlighting what we can do to tackle poverty. The Scottish Government also published the latest Welfare Reform Report which provides an update on the latest developments in UK Government welfare reform and brings together new evidence to discuss the negative impacts of these reforms and the mitigation policies the Scottish Government has introduced.

The report estimates that the UK Government’s welfare cuts will lead to a £3.7 billion fall in social security spending by 2021 in Scotland.

You can see my full contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2018&page=0&meeting=-1

Festival of Politics

IMG_1443The Festival of Politics returns to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 10 October 2018 for more debate, music and film.

The festival aims to provoke and inspire people of all ages and from every walk of life to listen, engage and debate.

Now in its 14th year, the Festival of Politics covers a range of topics, including major social, cultural and political anniversaries and movements that have swept the globe since 1918: from Suffrage to the #MeToo campaign; the end of the First World War and the importance of remembrance; Scotland’s Year of Young People; the politics of housing, disability and food banks; the impact and repercussions of Brexit, trade wars and a new Cold War; and finally a futures strand looking at mobile phone use and social media influence, a robot economy, and the changing face of public broadcasting.

Find out more and book tickets here https://festivalofpolitics.scot/

Red Card Racism

IMG_1447It’s hard to believe that Show Racism the Red Card campaign started 15 years ago. In those years it has gone from strength to strength garnering support from across the footballing family.

Over the next three weekends teams from the SPFL, SWFL, SWPL and SJFA will be taking red card action at their matches

In addition to increasing the awareness of Show Racism the Red Card’s work in Scotland, the Fortnight of Action from 5th- 19thOctober, shows commitment at the highest level of Scottish football to eradicate racism and discrimination of any form from our game.

Clubs will be united in calling for an end to racism in football and society. Players in over 40 European Countries are involved in similar events as part of FARE network against racism and discrimination.

Football is a sport that is followed by people across the world and football matches should be an enjoyable experience for all, whatever their background. We all have a part to play in challenging racism in football and society.

Show your support for tackling racism at www.theredcard.org

Carers

Carers are getting an additional payment of £442 this financial year, in two payments of £221, equivalent of an extra £8.50 per week and an increase of 13% on the current Carer’s Allowance.

Carers make a vital contribution to society, which this payment recognises, putting an extra £442 in their pockets this financial year. When the Scottish Government take over the devolution of Carer’s Allowance, they will continue this increased rate which will rise annually in line with inflation.

This investment of over £30m a year addresses the unfairness that Carer’s Allowance is the lowest of the working age benefits. Bringing it into line with Jobseeker’s Allowance was one of the first commitments the Scottish Government made in light of the new social security powers.

Alpacas

IMG_1468Look at these wonderful animals who had a trip to the Parliament this week to highlight the valuable contribution they are making to people’s lives across Scotland.

Some of you may recall that Glasgow University played host to a group of alpacas as part of their Raising and Giving week. The alpacas were offering some pet therapy to students helping them to de-stress.

 

Please note the ebrief will resume week beginning 22 October due to the parliamentary recess.

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT CELEBRATES 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF AGE SCOTLAND

The Scottish Parliament this week marked the 75th anniversary of Age Scotland, in a debate led by SNP MSP Sandra White, who convenes the Cross-Party group on Older People, Age and Ageing.

The Scottish Parliament recognised the organisation’s achievement since its establishment as the Scottish Older People’s Welfare Committee in 1943.

Ms White paid tribute to the huge contribution of Age Scotland’s network of 1,100 local groups in tackling feelings of loneliness and isolation amongst older people as well as wishing the staff and volunteers every success in their mission to promote positive views of later life and ageing in Scotland.

Ms White also paid tribute to local organisations across Glasgow Kelvin including Glasgow’s Golden Generation formerly Glasgow Older Peoples Welfare Association.

Speaking in the debate, Ms White said:

“This has been an incredible journey for Age Scotland established 75 years ago as the Scottish Older Peoples Welfare Committee.  

“They have gone from strength to strength championing the rights of older people the length and breadth of Scotland.  

“This success has been possible due to the drive and determination of those involved, particularly their team of volunteers. 

“I am certain that Age Scotland will continue to vociferously campaign on improving later life for everyone across Scotland for many years to come. 

“I was particularly pleased to hear that Kelvin based Glasgow’s Golden Generation were recognised during the 75th anniversary celebrations at the Parliament this week they are most certainly worthy of their award.”