Thursday 28 September 2017


Experts from across justice, education and health will be invited to contribute to fresh action to prevent sexual crime, particularly offences involving young people. The announcement follows new research commissioned by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson which suggests that around half of the growth in all recorded sexual crimes between 2013-14 and 2016-17 has been due to growth in sexual ‘cyber-crime’.

The findings, which follow a recent summit hosted by the Solicitor General on educating young people on sexual crimes, also indicate that the average age of both perpetrators and victims is substantially lower when the internet is used as a means to commit such offences.

Colleges Scotland

09.17 City of Glasgow CollegeThe Parliament was host to an event held by Colleges Scotland this week showcasing some of the fantastic work being carried out across the country.

I caught up with staff and students from both City of Glasgow College who were on hand to chat about the Construction Crafts departments and Glasgow Kelvin College who were showcasing their UK India Education and Research Initiative.

This young woman pictured with me is currently studying painting and decorating within the Construction and Built Environment department of City of Glasgow College. A great ambassador for both the college and the trades!

Domestic Abuse

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Stage 1 debate took place this week in Parliament and I took the opportunity to participate and highlight the work being carried out by the CEDAR project run by Glasgow Women’s Aid.

You can access my contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2017&page=0&meeting=-1


Deputy First Minister John Swinney met with UK First Secretary of State Damian Green to discuss the issues surrounding the current draft of the EU Withdrawal Bill. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange views between the Scottish Government and the UK Government on Brexit and to discuss the current draft of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Whilst the discussions were constructive the Scottish Government remain absolutely clear that, as things stand, they will not recommend to the Scottish Parliament that it gives its consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The bill as currently drafted is impractical and unworkable. It is a blatant power grab which would take existing competence over a wide range of devolved policy areas, including aspects of topics like agriculture and fishing, away from Holyrood, giving them instead to Westminster and Whitehall.

Scottish Ministers will continue to talk to the UK Government so that the bill is changed to protect devolution whilst emphasising to the First Secretary of State that the consent of the Scottish Parliament is required if there is to be agreement in this process.

UK Ministers should be in no doubt – to override a vote of the Scottish Parliament and impose the EU Withdrawal Bill on Scotland would be an extraordinary and unprecedented step to take.

The current proposals are a direct threat to the devolution settlement which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for in 1997.


Youthlink Scotland were in Parliament this week promoting the role youth work is09.17 Youthlink playing in closing the attainment gap.

In meeting the challenge of closing the attainment gap formal education providers need to work differently with a range of partners.

Youth work has a long track record of effective prevention and intervention work with young people, supporting them to be more resilient, optimistic for the future, consider risk, make reasoned decisions and take control.

Good quality youth work provides for all our young people but most importantly for those furthest away from reaching their potential.

School Library Improvement Fund

The Scottish Government is allocating £1 million to improve school libraries over the next three years.

Launched by the Deputy First Minister, the School Library Improvement Fund will be open for education authorities to apply for funding on behalf of school libraries in their area.

It will fund projects designed to enhance library provision at schools, as part of a wider approach to improve literacy skills and educational attainment.

The fund will be administered by SLIC to support projects in four priority areas – reader development, digital creativity, information literacy and health and social wellbeing.

Details on how to apply are available on the SLIC website: www.scottishlibraries.org/funding/school-library-improvement-fund/

Generations Working Together

09.17 Generations Working TogetherI had the pleasure of meeting up with staff at Generations Working Together (GWT) in their Wilson Street offices last week to discuss their project.

GWT provides information, delivers support and encourages involvement to benefit all of Scotland’s generations, by working, learning, volunteering and living together.

Their vision is all generations in Scotland working together to create a better and fairer country for all a vision I very much welcome and champion.


A new Scotland-wide awareness-raising campaign on the dangers of sepsis has been announced by Health Secretary Shona Robison.

Health Secretary Shona Robison made the announcement following a meeting with the sepsis awareness charity Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (FEAT).

The campaign will raise awareness amongst Scots of the often-silent symptoms of the condition, which can be fatal if not caught in time. It will also complement the work already being done by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) through the Scottish Patient Safety Programme to raise awareness both among clinical practitioners and clinicians.

TV and Film Industry

The Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee are conducting an inquiry into Scotland’s TV and film industry. The Committee wants to look at ways to strengthen and develop the sector using recommendations from the Screen Sector Leadership Group’s report.

The Screen Sector Leadership Group (SSLG) was established on the recommendation of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee in a report it published on the economic impact of the film, TV and video games industries in 2015. The Screen Sector Leadership Group brought together senior representatives of the Scottish Screen industry to recommend actions to strengthen and develop the sector.

You can find out more about the call for views and submit written evidence by visiting the Committee’s website.


Glasgow Ranked Scottish University Of The Year; Scotland’s Unis Perform Strongly In National University Guide List

SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, Sandra White, has praised Glasgow University after the Sunday Times Good University Guide ranked it as Scottish University of the Year 2018.

Scottish universities performed strongly overall in the rankings, with 4 in the top 25 and 8 in the top 50 UK-wide. This follows the news earlier this month that 5 Scottish universities are ranked in the world’s top 200 – with Glasgow University climbing 8 places in the Times Higher Education rankings.

Despite this good news, Scottish universities remain wary about the impact of Brexit on their continued success – with possible restrictions on research funding and the ability to attract staff and students leading to warnings about the potentially “catastrophic” impact from a Tory hard Brexit.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“This is excellent news for the University of Glasgow, which continues to go from strength to strength in building up a reputation as a truly world-leading institution.

“Not only was it ranked Scottish University of the Year, but it also made the shortlist for UK University of the Year after a particularly strong performance on teaching excellence and student experience.

“Given Glasgow’s excellent record in recent years alongside other Scottish universities that were identified as being in the world’s top 200, it is vital that we continue to support our higher education sector as best we can.

“We should all heed the warnings from the sector about the damage that Brexit could have on our world-leading institutions. The Tories must wake up to the impact that their policies will have on our universities and their ability to gain research funding and collaborate on projects across Europe, as well as to attract the best and brightest students and staff from across the continent.

“Glasgow and other Scottish universities are some of the finest in the world. We must do all we can to support their growth and to ensure that they do not lose out from damaging Tory policies.”

Motion to the Scottish Parliament:

Motion Number: S5M-07876
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 25/09/2017

Title: University of Glasgow Named Scottish University of the Year 2018

Motion Text:

That the Parliament congratulates the University of Glasgow on being named Scottish University of the Year in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018; notes that Scottish universities performed strongly overall in the rankings, with four in the top 25 and eight in the top 50 UK-wide; further notes that five Scottish universities ranked in the world’s top 200, and that the University of Glasgow climbed eight places in the rankings; welcomes the news that it is also being considered for the UK University of the Year award; considers that Scottish universities remain concerned about the impact of Brexit on their continued success, with possible restrictions on research funding and the ability to attract staff and students; commends the students and faculty of the University of Glasgow for their outstanding achievements in higher education, and wishes them every success for the future



Thursday 21 September

Social Security

Great news announced this week with Scotland’s new Social Security agency having a site in Glasgow, bringing at least 750 jobs to the city. This is excellent news and proves yet again the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting our city’s economy.

This new Social Security agency will be at the centre of the Scottish Government’s efforts to make sure that Scotland has a social security system with dignity and respect at its heart – in stark contrast to the punitive welfare regime currently operated by the UK Government.


The world is watching as the Spanish Government rescind the democratic process. I wholeheartedly support Catalonia and its people’s right and condemn the bureaucracy trying to silence them and have lodged the following motion in the Scottish Parliament:

That the Parliament condemns the reported raiding of Catalan Government buildings by national police and the detention of 12 senior officials, which it believes represents an unacceptable violation of the autonomous institutions of Catalonia; further believes that the Spanish Government’s use of armed paramilitary policing to confiscate political materials is a form of excessive and disproportionate force; acknowledges the reported statements from Catalan civil society, including Barcelona FC, rectors of Catalonia’s public universities and trade unions such as the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT), demanding no political confrontation or limits to fundamental rights to freedom of expression and self-determination, and calls for the protection of democracy, civil rights and the autonomous institutions of Catalonia.

Community Halls

09.17 Community Halls 40th AnniversaryI had the pleasure of attending the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Community Central Halls last week.

This fantastic community resource was established in 1976 following a local community campaign to secure the continued use of the Methodist Central Hall.

In 1977 Strathclyde Regional Council bought the building for community use and handed over day to day management to a community development trust, Community Central Hall. Over the past 30 years CCH has evolved from providing community space for local organisations as well as providing a range of diverse vital community services. They have employed over 2,200 people; supported over 2,500 people not employed with work placements, employment training and jobsearch help; supported over 130,000 community events and delivered 181,600 hours of environmental improvement work – to name but a few of their achievements!

CCH has gone from strength to strength and I am sure will continue to provide for the local community building on their progress for many years to come.

Equalities and Human Rights

The Scottish Parliament debated equalities and human rights this week and I took the opportunity to contribute highlighting my work on the Social Security Committee.

A cornerstone of the Scottish Government’s approach to social security is the principle that it is a human right, as has been identified by the United Nations. That will help to eradicate the stigma that is associated with accessing benefits. Our system will be the first in the UK to reflect the UN principle that such systems should

“be established under national law and ensure the right of individuals and organisations to seek, receive and impart information on all social security entitlements in a clear and transparent manner.”

Our Parliament should be proud of that.

You can read the full text of my speech here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11089&i=101194

TIE Campaign

09.19 TIE CampaignThe Time for Inclusive Education set up stall in the Scottish Parliament this week and I was more than happy to endorse their campaign.

Their campaign pledge outlines five key strategic proposals that will help deliver LGBTI inclusive education.

64% of LGBTI people have been bullied at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 95% believe that their experiences at school have had a long lasting negative effect on them and 27% of LGBTI youths have attempted suicide once as a result of bullying while 15% have tried more than once.

If you would like to find out more about the campaign go to www.tiepledge.co.uk or on facebook at tiecampaign


Young Carers

A new Young Carer Grant – worth £300 a year – will be part of a new package of support for  young carers. The grant will be awarded to young carers aged 16 to 18 who do at least 16 hours of caring a week, but do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance. It will help to improve young carers’ quality of life, assisting them to take part in employment, social or leisure opportunities.

The full package of support will be delivered throughout the course of this parliament. It will also include adding more entitlements and rewards for 11-18-year-old young carers to the Young Scot National Entitlement Card – which gives non-cash benefits to young people. Young Scot will work with young carers groups to develop the scheme.

At a later date, everyone receiving the Young Carer Grant will also be given a pass for free bus travel. This is in response to concerns that some young carers feel isolated by their caring responsibilities, and can find it difficult to meet transport costs.

Wear It Pink

09.17 Wear It Pink IIBreast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day is one of the biggest fundraising events and I caught up with them when they brought their campaign to the Scottish Parliament last week. I also took the opportunity to don some pink accessories to help highlight their campaign.

This year’s wear it pink will take place on place on Friday 20 October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, thousands of amazing people will wear it pink in their communities, schools or work places for the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now.

Since the first event in 2002, over £30 million has been raised for life-saving research that’s working to discover how to prevent breast cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to treat it effectively at every stage so we can stop the disease taking lives.

If you’re looking for inspiration on fundraising go to https://wearitpink.org/


Further details of a new short term action group which will identify the actions and changes needed to end rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland, has been announced by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart in a Ministerial statement today.

The announcement also included a new £50 million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund which will be used to back the commitment and fund homelessness prevention initiatives over the next five years.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of the homelessness charity Crisis will chair the action group and a panel of members will be appointed shortly. The action group will meet next month and will examine:

Plans to minimise rough sleeping this winter;

How to eradicate rough sleeping for good;

Ways to transform temporary accommodation;

How to bring about an end to homelessness in Scotland.

Havana/Glasgow Film Festival

For those of you who don’t know the 3rd Havana/Glasgow Film Festival will be launched on 28 September in Oran Mor and will run from 9 – 12 November.

I’ve lodged a motion in Parliament welcoming the festivals return and the continued cultural links with Glasgow and Havana.

You can get more information about the festival here http://www.hgfilmfest.com/

Register to Vote

As the new academic year begins, I’d like to encourage all new students to sign up to vote. While youth turnout was at its highest in this year’s General Election since 1992, and the gap between the number of older voters and younger voters decreased, young people are still noticeably less likely to vote and millions are still missing from the electoral register.

Decisions are being taken every day that will affect young people, not least on Brexit-related issues, jobs or indeed tuition fees. We need to encourage a registration revolution so that every one of voting age is represented on the electoral register. In Scotland, the SNP has legislated to grant 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote, however my colleagues at Westminster face an uphill battle to make the same changes at a UK level as well as to extend the franchise to EU nationals. My advice to anyone given the opportunity to register to vote, is to take it with both hands. Find out more at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Glasgow Woodside Mini Holland Project

More good news for the constituency with news of funding for Glasgow’s Woodside Mini-Holland project as part of the £22.5 million in Scottish Government grant funding for active travel and cycling infrastructure projects across the country.

Glasgow’s Woodside Mini-Holland project, takes inspiration from infrastructure in the Netherlands. The project will create an integrated cycle route from the city’s Charing Cross to Possil Road, connect to the Sauchiehall Street “Avenue” cycleway, which is currently being delivered, and expand the cycle network into the city centre, Great Western Road, Maryhill, Garscube Road and the Forth and Clyde Canal.

This project will encourage more commuters to travel to work by bike and will support the Glasgow economy, improve health and develop cycling provision across the city.

Scottish Government’s new Social Security Agency brings 750 jobs to Glasgow


Commenting on the news that Scotland’s new Social Security agency will have a site in Glasgow, bringing at least 750 jobs to the city, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, and convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security committee, Sandra White, said:

“This is excellent news for Glasgow, and proves yet again the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting our city’s economy.

“The new Glasgow site for the social security agency will bring hundreds of skilled and secure jobs to Glasgow – supporting people into work and boosting our local economy.

“This new Social Security agency will be at the centre of the Scottish Government’s efforts to make sure that Scotland has a social security system with dignity and respect at its heart – in stark contrast to the punitive welfare regime operated by the Tories at Westminster.

“It is exciting news that Glasgow will be at the heart of delivering this new agency and I look forward to supporting the work involved in setting up the new agency and seeing it develop to transform people’s lives.”

Glasgow Wins in Active Travel Community Links Plus Announcement; Woodside Mini-Holland Project Shares in £22 Million Fund

SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, Sandra White, has welcomed news that Glasgow is set to be boosted by Scottish Government funding for the Woodside Mini-Holland project to support walking, running and cycling.

The funding is part of a £22.5 million grant for five projects across the country from Transport Scotland, being delivered through Sustrans Scotland – and it represents a massive boost to Glasgow as the Scottish Government seeks to increase the number of people engaged in active travel through the Active Nation initiative.

The project takes inspiration from infrastructure in the Netherlands as it seeks to create an integrated cycle route from Charing Cross to Possil Road, connecting to the Sauchiehall Street ‘Avenue’ cycleway currently being delivered, as well as expanding the cycle network into the city centre, Great Western Road, Maryhill, Garscube Road and the Forth and Clyde Canal, encouraging commuters to travel to work by bike.

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

“This is very welcome news for Glasgow and will undoubtedly help support local jobs and our local economy, as well as of course boosting efforts to get more people in Glasgow involved in walking, running and cycling.

“This funding announcement will play a key role in getting people active across Glasgow, helping to reduce air pollution caused by traffic while encouraging healthy lifestyles.

“And it follows the SNP Scottish Government’s announcement that the total active travel budget is to be doubled to £80 million as part of the Active Nation strategy.

“This project will help create a more integrated transport network in Glasgow and beyond, supporting cyclists with a Netherlands-inspired segregated cycle route from Charing Cross to Possil Road, connecting into the Sauchiehall Street ‘Avenue’, as well as expanding the cycle network into the city centre, Great Western Road, Maryhill, Garscube Road and the Forth and Clyde Canal.

“Active travel is a vital part of the Scottish Government’s transport strategy – and the funding for the Woodside Mini-Holland will be a great boost to people across Glasgow as we seek to become a more active nation and society.”