Sandra White welcomes £5 million fund to support GSoA & Victoria’s Nightclub fire affected businesses

Businesses impacted by the fires at the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building and Victoria’s Nightclub will be able to access a fund of up to £5 million, Economy Secretary Derek Mackay has confirmed.

The Scottish Government will make the additional funding available to Glasgow City Council for distribution to businesses within the security cordons, and to those in the Sauchiehall Street area who can demonstrate hardship as a result of the impact of the fires.

All businesses within both the Glasgow School of Art and Victoria’s cordon will receive £20,000 of direct financial support, with other businesses in the area who have been impacted by a fall in footfall eligible for £10,000 of support.

Glasgow City Council will administer the funding with applications for all businesses open from the 31stJuly. Eligibility criteria for those outside the cordon will be set out ahead of the opening of applications following discussion with local business advisers.

The immediate support follows steps already taken by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council in response to the fire at the Mack to deliver 100% rates relief for affected businesses and grants of £3000 made available to households in the cordoned off area and for which the Council has to date made 44 payments relating to 47 individuals in 33 properties.

Glasgow Kelvin MSP, Sandra White, commented on today’s announcement:

“The fires that ravaged Sauchiehall Street & Garnethill have left many businesses in an incredibly precarious position. As such I made calls to the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council to offer any and all support they can to my constituents.

“While I welcomed the already announced 100% rates relief that these businesses are now eligible for I believe today’s announcement will go a considerable distance further in lessening the hardship on our business community. These measures will work in tandem with the efforts already deployed by GCC, such as the Sauchiehall Street Task Force which has been established to protect the future of this historic street.”

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said:

“The terrible fires at the Glasgow School of Art and Victoria’s are having a significant impact on many local businesses who are either closed or unable to access their premises. Given the scale of the on-going disruption, I am making up to £5 million available immediately to support those businesses affected.

“The sheer scale and lasting effects of the fires on those involved are becoming clear and it is important that businesses are given financial support to help them through this very challenging time. This funding will also help minimise the impact on the economy of the city as everyone involved works to help businesses and residents return to their premises as quickly and safely as possible.

“The Scottish Government has already increased our contribution to hardship funding from 75% to 95%, and made available £1,500, matched by the Lord Provost’s Trust for vulnerable citizens, to residents displaced from their homes by the Mackintosh building fire and will extend that to businesses facing the same impacts as a result of the fire at Victoria’s. We will continue to work with Glasgow City Council to ensure the emergency funding is released to all those impacted as soon as possible, and we will continue to monitor the situation and consider what further assistance might be required.”

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken said:

“The Victoria’s and School of Art fires have had a significant adverse impact on businesses at both ends of the street. The Council has been working closely with the Scottish Government to facilitate this fund, which we hope will assist those business affected by both events.

“This fund complements the range of actions that we have taken in the past few weeks to support businesses including the use of the Glasgow Guarantee to support employees, having dedicated business support advisers based in the Dental Hospital and the Savoy Centre, supporting businesses to relocate outwith the cordon, hosting a session on insurance and legal issues with Harper McLeod,  introducing zero rating for businesses in the cordons and reduced rates for businesses who can demonstrate detrimental impact. Additionally, I have convened a Sauchiehall Street Task Force which is working on plans for the future viability and vibrancy of the street.”


Deposit Return Scheme



SNP MSP Sandra White has called on people across Glasgow Kelvin to get involved with the latest series of events to gather views on the proposed bottle deposit return scheme. 

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the scope of a deposit return scheme, to boost recycling and cut plastic waste – with the proposal being that customers would pay a deposit when they purchase a product, which would be refunded when the item is recycled. The scheme already operates in many other parts of Europe. 

Zero Waste Scotland is now hosting a series of events across the country, including in Glasgow, to give people across Scotland the chance to put forward their views on the scheme. 

Commenting, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Ms White said: 

A deposit return scheme has huge potential to help us meet our recycling goals, as well as tackling the scourge of plastic litter and waste on our landscape. 

“The issue of plastic pollution, particularly in our water, has become well known in recent months, as the impact of the problem was brought to light by Blue Planet last year. 

“And it is of course an issue that affects us right here in Glasgow Kelvin – and the deposit return scheme can make a real difference. 

“Zero Waste Scotland’s events across the country give us all a chance to give our views on the scheme, how it could work and how it can be implemented. 

“We all have a stake in protecting and preserving our planet – and the bottle deposit return scheme is one small step we can take in the fight against plastic pollution.”


Zero Waste Scotland events currently scheduled:

25th July, Deep Sea World, North Queensferry

27-29 July, ButeFest, Isle of Bute

1st August, Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick

11th August, European Open Water Swimming Championships, Balloch

12th August, Aviemore Triathlon, Aviemore

22nd August, St Enoch Centre, Glasgow

25th August, Peebles Market

31st August, Dundee Food and Flower Show

1-2 September, Edinburgh Mela

5th September, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Inverness

14-16 September, Perth Food and Drink Festival




Schools across Scotland continue to count the cost of Labour’s toxic PFI legacy – which will see councils spend nearly 10% of their school budgets servicing the debts that Labour left behind over a decade ago.

New research into the toxic PFI legacy which continues to plague Scotland’s public finances shows that of the total spend on schools across Scotland by councils this year, 8% of that money will be used paying off Labour’s debts from their time in government.

The analysis by independent researchers in SPICe has found that PFI unitary charges for Scotland’s schools in 2018/19 are estimated to be £434.3 million – a significant amount of Scottish schools’ total resource budget of £5.159 billion – a “shameful legacy” of Labour’s years in power at Holyrood. In 2016/17, total PFI repayments cost Scotland over £1 billion.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“Labour’s toxic PFI legacy means that tax payers continue to pay the price for their decade-old debts.

“The Labour Party will cost our schools £434.3 million this year alone. In Glasgow the yearly cost to this city is £54.3 million, to put that in to perspective it’s over ten percent of the entire schools budget.

“Education is at the forefront of this Government’s priorities, yet vital funds that councils could use to pay for teachers, books and facilities are being used to pay for Labour’s mistakes.

“Thanks to the Labour Party the reality is we will continue to pay for their mistakes for years to come.”


Thursday 28 June

GSA Update

I met with Tom Inns the Director of the Glasgow School of Art on Monday to discuss the situation in the aftermath of the fire and to raise concerns regarding access, road closures and the future of the Mack.

I also attended a meeting last Thursday evening with businesses and residents. Understandably people are frustrated and the council are working with the emergency services to ensure the area is made safe.

There is also an information line on 0141 287 0416. You can also access updates on the council website here:

Gala’s and Festivals

06.18 Queen Margaret DriveWhat a fantastic weekend for the closing celebrations of another successful West End Festival.

I started in Queen Margaret Drive at the street party and the atmosphere was amazing and the sun was shining.

The Mela was in full swing in Kelvingrove Park when I arrived and as with previous years it was spectacular featuring some amazing music and delicious food.

It is great to see so many people out and about supporting their local community celebrations.

NHS at 70

With the 70th anniversary of the NHS I took the opportunity to contribute to a debate in the Parliament this week.

The motion celebrated the continuing importance of having a publicly-owned, funded and operated health service, universally available and free at the point of need. It also noted the continuous hard work and contributions of NHS staff throughout the years which has made it possible for the NHS to provide an invaluable and life-changing service through care and treatment that has saved and improved the lives of millions of people across Scotland.

You can read my full speech here:

Heritage Project

06.18 Our Journey

It was a pleasure to meet up with representatives from the Our Journey Heritage Project this week in the Scottish Parliament.

Many early South Asian migrants to Scotland are dying, taking their personal histories with them. The project was set up to record many of those memories before they are lost and to celebrate the history and achievements of Scotland`s South Asian community.

Our Journey Heritage Project have collected memories of life in South Asia, experiences of migrating since the 1940’s and adapting to life in Scotland. It also explores the different ways that migration affects personal identity.

The project has documented the changing patterns of life of Scotland’s South Asian community and explored their integration in the community through a multi-faceted approach that included themes of employment, practice of one’s faith, social inclusion, choice of accommodation and areas where early migrants chose to settle.

The project hopes to build an archive of resources to examine this migration through varied media such as storytelling, art, images, sound and videos.

NHS Pay Rise

The Scottish Government announced a significant salary boost for our NHS staff who care for us day in day out both here in Glasgow and across the country.

Over 148,000 NHS Scotland staff will be offered a minimum 9% pay rise over the next three years – the highest NHS pay uplift being offered in the whole of the UK.

This follows the First Minister’s announcement that NHS Agenda for Change employees would receive a 3% pay increase in next month’s pay packet and backdated to the beginning of the year.

Relative to staff in England, NHS Scotland nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and paramedics, amongst others, will receive a minimum cumulative uplift of 9%, and those earning £80,000 and over will receive a flat rate increase of £1,600 a year. The changes will be agreed between NHS employers, unions and the Scottish Government by the end of the year.

Not only is the Scottish Government bringing NHS Scotland staffing to historically high levels – we are making sure that our healthcare professionals are getting the best pay deal in the whole of the UK and making our NHS a more attractive place to work.


06.18 Network Rail

As the works on the Queen Street Station Development continues I took the opportunity to have a tour of the site and to meet some of the team responsible for the station’s £120m transformation and take a closer look at the demolition activity that is set to complete in the coming months.

It was really fascinating to see the project first hand and to view progress on the ongoing demolition work that will clear space for the redesigned station. In particular, I was pleased by the number of women who are working as part of Network Rail’s project team to deliver this significant investment in Glasgow.

Historically the railway has been a male dominated industry but it’s important that we continue to break this stereotype and promote the range of opportunities that are available to everyone in the science, technology and engineering sectors – regardless of gender or background.

Kelvin Kingfisher

06.18 KingfisherI’m delighted to be championing the Kingfisher as part of the RSPB Species Champion campaign. I chose this bird because we are lucky enough to have some of them in Kelvin and I’ve put out a call to schools across the constituency for pupils to spot the Kelvin Kingfisher.

Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue and orange birds of slow moving or still water. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water’s surface. They are vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses.

Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe. They are also listed as a Schedule 1 species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act offering them additional protection.

What can you do….


Keep Glasgow’s water clean

Invite friends and family on a nature walk

Note down when you spot a Kingfisher

Give nature a home

Find out an interesting Kingfisher fact

Investigate the threats the Kingfisher faces

Start a local Kingfisher group

Help raise awareness on social media

Eat sustainable food when possible

Reduce, reuse, recycle!



Thursday 21 June 2018


I pay tribute to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who showed bravery and professionalism in bringing the fire under control and ensuring the safety of the public. The Mack as it is affectionately known is an iconic institution loved by many both here in Glasgow and across the globe. Many are mourning the devastation this fire has brought.

I took the opportunity to question the Cabinet Secretary for Culture on what support will be offered and when we can expect some answers on how this fire ensued. You can read the exchange here:

Glasgow City Council have offered support to residents and you can get support by calling North West team on 0141 276 6168 during office hours and 0800 838 502 out-of-hours and for Businesses within the safety cordon should contact Business Glasgow at or 0141 276 5333.


06.18 VisitorsIt’s always great to welcome constituents to the Parliament and this week was no exception. On Wednesday some members of my own family and their friends popped into the Parliament for a tour. As you can see they were delighted to be here so much so that they stayed to watch and listen to the debate on the music industry in Glasgow of which I was contributing.


International Women in Engineering Day is marked on 23 June this year with the theme of Raising the Bar. It is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. It celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world.

My colleague Gillian Martin MSP led a members debate in the Parliament on this subject and I took the opportunity to contribute highlighting a hugely successful and positive project FemEng and FemEng Rwanda.

You can read my full speech here:

Mental Health

06.18 Royal Mail Mental HealthRoyal Mail and their charity partner’s Action for Children, Scottish Association for Mental Health and the Prince’s Trust were in the Parliament this week highlighting their work on improving mental wellbeing both in young people and throughout the Royal Mail’s workforce.

In May 2017, Royal Mail announced a new charity partnership with Action for Children, to focus on addressing mental health issues in young people. They raised more than £2 million for Action for Children to employ specialist youth workers to deliver face-to-face support sessions for 8,000 young people aged 15–18, to help prevent them from developing depression and other mental health problems.

Music Venues

One of the members debates this week focused on the music industry across Glasgow and in particular a recent report Growing the Value for Music Tourism in Glasgow from Scottish Enterprise in partnership with Glasgow Life.

Representing the city centre with a high concentration of popular music venues I took the time to contribute to the debate.

We are extremely lucky to have such a fantastic, thriving live music scene across the city and in order to have this we need the venues that have been catalysts for the success of so many young aspiring musicians over decades.

They are both cultural landmarks and tourist attractions as well as being the home of fantastic live music and it goes without saying with the best audiences in the world but some of them are under threat from developers in their pursuit of providing high end accommodation in the city centre. Developers don’t want to pay for soundproofing of their buildings and would instead have the venues – already established and many over decades – foot the cost.

I support the introduction of the Agent of Change whereby developers and those either building or buying property adjacent to a music venue are liable for any costs of soundproofing.

You can read the full debate here:

Epilepsy Connections

06.18 Epilepsy Connections.MOVWhat a pleasure to have more guests from Epilepsy Connections visit the Parliament this week.

They had the full works with a tour of the parliamentary complex, followed by a trip to the public gallery to watch First Ministers Question Time.

I managed to catch up with them in between their full itinerary for a quick chat and this lovely photograph.


In marking World Refugee Week I spoke in the Scottish Government’s debate on Thursday. I am proud of the approach of the Scottish Government – humane, empathising, supportive and welcoming. The second New Scots Strategy builds on the work gone before with a foundation of dignity and respect at its heart.

You can read the full debate here:


06.18 MNDMy colleague Christina McKelvie MSP led a parliamentary debate on MND this week where she outlined how the Scottish Government is working to ensure that people living with MND have access to the best possible care, support and research.   The SNP in government has invested £2.5 million in a Specialist Nursing and Care Fund each year since 2015, more than doubling the number of MND specialist nurses across the country.   The Scottish Government is also developing Scotland’s first National Action Plan on Neurological Conditions, investing in research capacity and bringing major MND studies to Scotland. Since 2015, the government has committed more than £750,000 has been committed in Scotland to research into MND and is funding two new recipients of the Gordon Aikman Scholarship again this year.

06.18 Charities Aid FoundationCharities Aid Foundation were exhibiting in Parliament and I took the opportunity to stop by and chat to their representatives about their work.

We spoke of charitable trends across Scotland and how these compare against the UK as a whole. Now in its second year, Charities Aid Foundation’s report Scotland Giving offers the first opportunity to draw comparisons and changes over time.

Over 100 charities also attended the event in Parliament along with MSPs who had the opportunity to hear first-hand about the climate in which Scotland’s charities are operating.

CAF’s report is now in its second year and is the only major study of its kind. It found that Scotland accounts for 11.8% of all UK charitable donations, despite representing 8.4% of the UK’s population.  The report also found that the most popular causes supported by those in Scotland were children and young people, with 28% of those surveyed saying they had donated to this cause. This was followed by medical research (27%) and animal welfare (25%).