Better Deal for Sub-Postmasters Hailed by Glasgow MSP

Sandra White MSP has welcomed news that sub-postmasters financial remuneration is to improve, following pressure from the SNP.

MP Gavin Newlands and SNP spokesperson for Small Business Marion Fellows MP have led calls in Westminster for these changes to strengthen the Post Office network.

At the National Union of Sub-postmasters Annual Conference, the Post Office Ltd announced that they will be raising the rates of payment that Sub-postmasters receive for taking personal and business banking deposits, representing a near three-fold increase on current rates. The changes have been welcomed by Sub-postmasters.

The SNP has highlighted the rising importance of Post Offices to small towns and rural communities, the overwhelming majority of which are run by Sub-postmasters. As bank branch numbers continue to fall, local Post Offices have become increasingly important to  communities – particularly to the elderly and those with additional support needs because of the face-to-face banking services that they provide. This is on top of the role they play in services regarding post, advice, pensions, benefit administration and working as community spaces.

Commenting, Sandra White MSP said:

“I welcome these steps being taken forward by the Post Office, and commend my Westminster colleagues Gavin Newlands and Marion Fellows on their work in bringing focus on this issue.”

“Sub-Postmasters are based in our communities, providing vital support to local groups, businesses, and citizens – particularly the elderly. They play a massive role in daily life for so many, I am pleased that their call for fairer conditions has rightly been answered.”

EU CITIZENS URGED TO STAY IN GLASGOW

SANDRA WHITE MSP: “YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN WELCOME IN SCOTLAND”

 

SNP MSP Sandra White has made an impassioned plea to EU citizens living in Glasgow Kelvin to stay in Scotland amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

 

This week First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, made a commitment to EU citizens that Scotland remains their home – promising to continue making a strong case for their rights to be protected in any EU exit scenario.

 

The SNP leader has written an open letter to EU citizens to confirm a new ‘Stay in Scotland’ package that will consist of:

 

  • £250,000 for community based support across Scotland

 

  • a support and advice service for EU citizens with more complex needs or particular challenges

 

  • a toolkit for employers, including posters, factsheets, digital content and guide directing EU citizens to further guidance

 

Sandra White has previously written to EU citizens in the area following a successful campaign to push the UK government to scrap the £65 “settled status” fee.

 

Commenting, Sandra White said:

 

“It is important to make clear that EU citizens will always remain welcome in Glasgow, and I will continue to do all I can to help people stay in Scotland.

 

“It’s wrong for the UK government to oblige EU citizens who have built their lives in Scotland, and who contribute massively to our economy and communities, to apply for the continued right to remain in their own homes.

 

“With absolutely no clarity from Westminster, this announcement from the First Minister will provide welcome support for EU citizens in across Scotland.

 

“I’d like to urge anyone who has issues or concerns they would like to discuss with me to please get in touch.”

 

ENDS

Ebrief

Sikh Festival

04.19 Sikh Festival Group Photo

It is always a pleasure to sponsor events in Parliament and this week was no exception where I had the honour of sponsoring the launch of Sikh Heritage Month.

Over 200 representatives from civic Scotland gathered at the Scottish Parliament this week to launch this first-ever!

04.19 Sikh Festival Organisers and SW ACThe Reception, was organised by Sikhs in Scotland, was a multi-faith celebration of the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi, with attendees from private and third sector, public agencies and political leaders.

Plans for a Sikh Heritage Month were first mooted after the arson attack on Edinburgh Gurdwara in 2018. There have been successful Sikh Heritage Month initiatives around the world including in Canada and the USA. In Scotland, the initiative would involve a co-ordinated series of educational events to promote awareness and understanding of Sikhs in Scotland, which settled in Scotland over 100 years ago.

04.19 Sikh Festival Youth ChoirThe evening was a huge success with speakers from across all sectors and communities as well as some amazing performances particularly from The Scottish Sikh Youth Choir who closed the event with a traditional shabad.

This year the Scottish Sikh community will run a year-long series of events including which will include the Annual Scottish-Sikhs Nagar Keertan, commemorating the Centenary of the 1919 Sikh Massacre in Amritsar, Interfaith events, community kitchens for the vulnerable in society and celebrating the 550th Anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Older People

Older people’s rights are at the centre of a new framework to ensure people can remain active, keep working if they want to, feel safe, and access the services they need.

The Older People’s Framework aims to challenge unwelcome attitudes to and discrimination towards older people.It highlights the positive contributions older people make to our society and the economy, and has been directly influenced by older people who have provided their thoughts, stories and experiences, bringing to life the issues they’ve faced over the years.

You can view the Framework here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/fairer-scotland-older-people-framework-action/

Conflict Resolution

04.19 Conflict ResolutionRepresentatives from the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) were in Parliament this week to highlight their work with young people and their families.

This is a significant week for the organisation as they celebrate their 5th anniversary.

Everything the SCCR has done to date has been made possible through support from Scottish Government funding.

You can find out more about their work here: https://scottishconflictresolution.org.uk/

Health

I had the opportunity to contribute to no less than two debates this week on Health. The first debate centred on staffing and the second on health education.

As a member of the Health and Sport Committee I have a particular interest in this policy area.

During the staffing debate I highlighted the impact Brexit is having on the staffing levels across the NHS and the social care sector.

For the Health education debate I spoke of the wonderful projects we have across Glasgow Kelvin such as the Childrens Wood at North Kelvinside Meadow and the G3 Growers at Brechin Street. These projects epitomise good practice and are thriving.

Please take time to listen to the debates here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12038&i=108929

WASPI

04.19 WASPII led a cross-party members debate in Parliament this week calling on the UK government to end the pension injustice for thousands of women. The debate was followed by a reception where women from across Scotland could discuss their concerns about the policy and it’s impact on their lives with MSPs.

As an ardent supporter of the WASPI campaign, I have been challenging the UK Government to support those who have been adversely affected by the acceleration of the increase to the state pension age.

This issue has run on for far too long – it’s time for the UK government to put an end to this serious injustice. In 2017 I led a debate on this very issue, two years on we are no further on with the UK Government still refusing to support the millions of women across the UK who have been affected.

The UK has the lowest state pension in the developed world, and the UK Government are robbing the lowest earners of vital funds in their retirement.

The State Pension is not a privilege, this was a contract entered into by hard working women with the UK Government and the UK Government has reneged on that contract.

We know there are funds available from the National Insurance Surplus Fund – just a small percentage would alleviate the situation for thousands of women and their families who are worst affected.

You can access the full debate here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/members-business-waspi-campaign-april-3-2019

Parking

Most of you will know that I have been a fervent campaigner of responsible parking and brought forward a members bill in the last parliamentary session.

The Scottish Government made a commitment to bring this forward in their new Transport Bill and the opportunity to debate Stage 1 of the Transport (Scotland) Bill took place this week.

It will come as no surprise to hear I took part in the debate and you can access my contribution here:

 

John Lewis

04.19 John Lewis 20th AnniversaryI’m pictured with members of the team at John Lewis and Partners in Buchanan Galleries who were celebrating the 20th anniversary of John Lewis trading in Glasgow.

Construction got underway in 1996, by which point the Buchanan Galleries centre had also been given the go-ahead. The Partnership’s third and largest department store was built in conjunction with the Buchanan Galleries and opened in 1999 and has been home to John Lewis ever since.

 

PLEASE NOTE THE NEXT EBRIEF WILL BE ISSUED WEEK BEGINNING 22 APRIL 2019

Ebrief

Thursday 28 March 2019

Hazards

03.19 Hazards

I met up with representatives from Scottish Hazards this week when they were exhibiting in the Parliament.

Scottish Hazards campaigns for improved worker health and safety throughout Scotland and joins with others internationally to campaign for improved working conditions throughout the world.

As part of the UK Hazards Campaign and the European Hazards Network, as well as with the Partnership for Health and Safety in Scotland, the Scottish Hazards Centre provides information, advice and support to individual workers and groups of workers in Scotland who are not unionised and who have inadequate access to Occupational Health & Safety expertise.

Additional Support

Councils and teachers are being given extra help to improve outcomes for young people with additional support needs.

The Scottish Government’s new guidance on mainstreaming provides clear, updated information to help decide the best learning environment for a young person. For the first time, it includes a Scottish definition of inclusion and practical guidance to deliver inclusion in schools.

The move comes as Deputy First Minister John Swinney committed to ensuring teachers have the support they require to help pupils with additional support needs, without creating undue workload.

Education Scotland has also developed online training for teachers on providing additional support to children who need it, as part of a suite of free professional learning resources for all staff.

199,065 young people are identified as having additional support needs, this is 28.7 per cent of all Scottish pupils. All teachers provide support to children and young people.

Research on the learning experiences of young people with additional support needs has also been published, which shows pupils at both mainstream and special schools generally felt positive about their experience. Almost all pupils felt their needs were well met, and while parents were also positive about the support their children received, many said it had taken a long time to get their child into the right environment.

WASPI

02.19-waspi-rally.jpgNext week I will be leading a members debate in Parliament on WASPI which will coincide with a WASPI event I am co-hosting in the evening event also in Parliament.

This is an issue which I fully support. I understand the need for equality and those women campaigners are not suggesting this should not happen. However the decision by the UK Government to railroad the changes through are leaving women in desperate financial situations.

I have been campaigning for a fair transition for those women affected by the changes and I will continue to campaign until the UK Government make the necessary changes.

Cancer Diagnosis

Waiting times for patients with suspected cancer will be targeted in an action plan which will introduce new technologies, additional clinics and additional training for staff.

The revised Endoscopy Action Plan, which is backed by a £6 million investment, sets out steps to ensure all new patients will be seen within six weeks for key endoscopic tests.

And the most urgent patients – including those with suspected cancer – will be prioritised and seen between two to three weeks.

Epilepsy

03.19 Epilepsy HelplineIn Scotland 54,000 people live with epilepsy. Children and older people are most at risk of developing this common serious neurological condition but anyone can develop epilepsy at any time, and 8 people a day in Scotland do.

Epilepsy Scotland want to make sure the needs of people with epilepsy are met. This is why they campaign for improved healthcare, better information provision and an end to stigma.

If you are affected or know of someone affected by Epilepsy and you need to talk to someone Epilepsy Scotland have a Freephone helpline where you can talk to a trained professional.

You can contact them on 0808 800 2200.

Sheep Worrying

03.19 03.19 Protection of Livestock BillWhilst my constituency is urban and sheep worrying, as far as I know, is not a problem across Glasgow Kelvin I thought it would be useful to provide some information on the problem.

My colleague Emma Harper MSP has launched a proposal for a Bill to increase penalties and provide additional powers to investigate and enforce the offence of livestock worrying.

In Scotland we all have a right to enjoy and access the countryside so long as it is done responsibly. However, over recent years, there has been a sharp rise in the number of dogs attacking livestock, and the Members Bill proposes in the law both to benefit Scotland’s agricultural community, as well as to improve animal welfare.

You can find out more about the Bill here https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/111027.aspx

 

 

KELVIN MSP WELCOMES NEWS THAT 96% OF NEW PARENTS BENEFITTING FROM BABY BOXES

New figures have revealed that 20,244 of families in Glasgow have benefitted from a Baby Box, as the Scottish Government announced a new design in time for Mother’s Day.

 

Across the country, over 80,000 Baby Boxes have been delivered since April 2017.

 

These new baby boxes will also encourage families to become more environmentally friendly, with parents-to-be receiving a voucher for a reusable cloth nappy, and liners.

 

Scotland’s Baby Box contains a selection of clothes, as well as every day must-haves, like a bath towel, a travel changing mat, muslin cloth squares, a bib, a digital thermometer, and books.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“Every child, regardless of the circumstances that they are born in to, should get the best start in life.

 

“At the heart of the Baby Box is a message about fairness and opportunity, which is why I’m delighted to see that 20,244 of new families have benefitted from it in Glasgow.

 

“96% of expectant parents in Scotland are now requesting a Baby Box – and more than 80,000 have been delivered.  That’s a huge vote of confidence in the Baby Box.

 

“Given how beneficial they are to parents and newborns, long may that continue.

 

ENDS