News

Ebrief

Da Vinci Stamps

02.19 Da Vinci StampsThe Royal Mail launched its Leonardo da Vinci stamp issue at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and I had the opportunity to attend along with my colleague Alison Thewliss MP.

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, Kelvingrove Art Gallery will display 12 of the artist’s “finest” drawings from the Queen’s Royal Collection from February until May 2019.

Highlights of the exhibition in Glasgow include A star-of- Bethlehem and other plants c.1506-12 and the anatomy of a bear’s foot, c.1488-90.

The exhibition will run until 6 May 2019.

Fuel Poverty

A bill outlining new measures to tackle fuel poverty was debated in Parliament this week.

MSPs were asked to agree to the general principles of the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill, which has three main aims.

The first to set a target that, by 2040, no more than 5% of Scottish households are in fuel poverty with the second to establish a new definition of fuel poverty that better aligns fuel poverty with relative income poverty. Third, the Bill ensures that a new, long term Fuel Poverty Strategy be prepared, published and laid before Parliament – a draft of which has already been published and can be found here https://www.gov.scot/publications/draft-fuel-poverty-scotland-2018/ 

Cairngorms

02.19 CairngormIt was great to meet up with representatives from the Cairngorms National Park.

This National Park is absolutely stunning. We are extremely lucky to have such a rich and varied natural environment not far from our urban centres. I can remember taking the funicular railway and when we reached the top I was completely overwhelmed by the amazing view and Scotland’s utter natural beauty.

The Cairngorms are currently consulting on their Local Development Plan which can be found at https://cairngorms.co.uk/consultation/proposed-plan/

Brexit

A ‘No Deal’ Brexit could have a dramatic impact on Scotland’s economy, with the potential for national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to fall by up to 7%, according to a new report by the Scottish Government’s Chief Economist.

The paper, ‘No Deal’ Brexit – Economic Implications for Scotland, sets out two potential ’No Deal’ scenarios, one of which would see short term disruption to supply chains lasting for a number of months, with the second scenario looking at an extended period of disruption.

You can read the full report here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/deal-brexit-economic-implications-scotland/

Dippy

02.19-dippy-dinosaur-e1550767568189.jpgFor those of you not familiar with Dippy he’s currently on tour from London and I’m photographed (again!) with my colleague Alison Thewliss MP checking him out.

Dippy is the Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton and part of his roadtrip includes stopping off at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. He arrived at Kelvingrove on 22 January and will remain there until 6 May 2019.

Dippy is on a mission… to inspire five million natural history adventures, encouraging families to explore the incredible natural history collections and biodiversity right on our doorstep in Glasgow.

Consultations

I thought I would remind everyone about the opportunity offered by the Scottish Government to provide submissions to their consultations.

Please go to https://consult.gov.scot/consultation_finder/?sort_on=iconsultable_enddate&sort_order=ascending&advanced=1&st=open#cs-finder-results-container where you can access all consultations currently open.

Whales

02.19 Whales and DolphinsRepresentatives from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) were in Parliament this week highlighting their incredible work.

WDC works throughout Scotland, campaigning for greater protection of Scotland’s whales and dolphins.

They conduct field research, train local community groups, assist with strandings and run education initiatives from their Scottish Dolphin Centres in the Moray Firth (at Spey Bay and North Kessock).

More than 20 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise are found in the waters around Scotland and it is the best place in the UK to see a number of our whales and dolphins.

You can find out more about their work here: https://uk.whales.org/whales-and-dolphins

LGBT History Month

02.19 LGBT History MonthFebruary is LGBT History Month and on the last Friday of the month we celebrate Purple Friday – a day to stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and show our support for LGBTI equality.

In Scotland we celebrate Purple Friday in support of LGBT Youth Scotland. This day is all about taking action; standing for equality and inclusion and helping us make Scotland the best place for LGBTI young people to grow up.

The theme for 2019 is CATALYST: 50 years of activism. This theme marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings in New York in 1969, and the birth of the modern Pride movement.

Find out more here: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/purple-friday-2019/

BANK CLOSURES ‘UNJUSTIFIABLE’ AFTER RISE IN PROFITS

SNP KEEPS UP PRESSURE OVER LOCAL COMMUNITY BANKING CRISIS

The SNP has called on Bank of Scotland to reverse plans to close bank branches across Scotland, after Lloyds Banking Group unveiled a huge increase in profits for the year.

Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Bank of Scotland, today announced a 13% increase in annual pre-tax profits, reporting that operating costs remained broadly steady over the last year.

Sandra White MSP recently led a debate in the Scottish Parliament condemning the Bank of Scotland’s proposed closure of seven branches across Scotland – including Glasgow St George’s Cross in her own constituency.

SNP politicians have also written to bosses at Santander about its plans to close 15 branches across Scotland, calling for a halt to these closures until the bank has undertaken a full consultation with staff and local communities.

Sandra White MSP said:

“Today’s news that Lloyds has seen profits rise over the last year forces us to question whether its programme of wholesale bank closures is really necessary.

“High street banks are hugely important to communities across Scotland – people and businesses depend on them to help keep local economies running.

“Communities and businesses should be able to access a face-to-face banking service, which is indispensable for many of my constituents.

“In more rural parts of Scotland, some branches earmarked for closure are literally the last bank in town.

“If the Bank of Scotland is interested in growing its customer base and building trust, it should abandon plans to close branches throughout Scotland, and keep branches at the heart of our communities.

“The SNP will continue our fight to save these banks. The Bank of Scotland, and others, should recognise there’s little sense in their plans to axe high street branches.”


ENDS

Notes:

Lloyds Banking Group reported a 13% increase in annual profits as it delivered a bumper pay-out for shareholders and said it will meet cost target earlier than expected. https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/lloyds-banking-group-return-4bn-074430864.html

Glasgow Girl Honoured

Sandra White MSP has lodged a motion in Parliament congratulating human rights champion and one of the Glasgow Girls Amal Azzudin on her University of Glasgow World Changing Alumni Award.

Motion Number: S5M-15896
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 19/02/2019

Title: Glasgow Girl Amal Azzudin, Honoured with the World Changing Alumni Award

Motion Text:

That the Parliament congratulates Amal Azzudin, who has been presented with the World Changing Alumni Award by the University of Glasgow; notes that this honour is presented each year by the university to recognise and celebrate the achievements of a graduate over the last 15 years who has made a major contribution to the community, arts, science or business; believes that Amal has been deservedly recognised for her commitment to, and campaigning for, human rights and social justice; notes that this started when, as a teenager, she was one of the seven “Glasgow Girls”, the group of school friends from Drumchapel High School that campaigned and stood up against dawn raids against, and the detention and deportation of, asylum seekers in Glasgow; acknowledges that the girls’ story has since been shown as a documentary, stage musical and television drama; notes that Amal is the Equality and Human Rights Officer for the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland; understands that she primarily manages its refugee programme, including the Sawti project; notes that, as well as this, she is also an ambassador for the Scottish Refugee Council; recognises the incredible impact that it believes Amal has had in championing equality and human rights, and wishes her continued success.

 

GLASGOW KELVIN GP PRACTICES TO RECEIVE FUNDING BOOST

GP practices in Kelvin will receive a funding boost this year, the Scottish Government has unveiled.

 

The Scottish Government has announced that an additional £20 million support will be given to GP practices across Scotland to help with the costs of running their practices.

 

The ‘GP Premises Sustainability Loan Scheme’ aims to ease the financial burden associated with owning a General Practice – in turn helping to improve recruitment and retention. It means that GPs who own their own premises can apply for long term interest-free loans worth up to 20% of their practice’s value.

 

A total of 172 practices across Scotland have successfully applied for loans – around 50% of the total eligible.

 

The new GP contract in Scotland is backed by £110 million in 2018/19 to ensure that GPs are able to spend more time with patients, and less time on paperwork. The Scottish Government is investing a further £7.5 million to improve GP recruitment and retention in 2018/19.

 

SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“People in Kelvin will welcome this significant investment in our local NHS service, which will help family doctors deal with the costs of running their practice.

 

“The extra investment will make becoming a GP an attractive career choice and encourage more people to join the profession – which will in turn make it easier for practices in Scotland to retain and recruit staff.

 

“This news is extremely encouraging and I encourage eligible GPs in Kelvin to consider whether they would benefit from this scheme. To learn that 51 GP practices across Greater Glasgow & Clyde have already received funding is excellent news and will only go to further improve the level of care provided to our community.

 

“The NHS is one of our most treasured institutions, and the SNP in government is absolutely committed to ensuring it stays fit for the future.”

Fopp Byres Road Saved

MSP Sandra White has welcomed the news that the closure of Fopp on Byres Road has been reversed due to an outpouring of support for the music shop and it’s staff from the local community in the West End as well as an array of musicians.

Ms White had initially lodged a parliamentary motion when the announcement was made to close the store last week and has again lodged a further motion welcoming the decision to keep the store open.

Ms White said:

“Fopp started it’s life in the 80’s here in Glasgow and grew to become the go to store for both the latest musical offerings as well as the obscure, championing musicians and new music.

“I along with many other people are delighted to hear that the new owners Sunrise Records have listened to everyone who has voiced their support of this legendary West End music store and it’s doors will remain open continuing to provide a wealth of music  and knowledge.”

Ms White has lodged the following motion in Parliament:

Motion Number: S5M-15834
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 12/02/2019

Title: Fopp Byres Road Saved

Motion Text:

That the Parliament welcomes the news that, due to what it sees as the outcry from local people and musicians, the Fopp Byres Road branch will remain open; understands that the new owners were overwhelmed by the support given to the store by their loyal customers and overturned their decision to close the store; congratulates everyone involved in the campaign to save the store, and wishes the staff continued success.