Sandra White MSP welcomes Scottish Government’s Fracking Ban

SNP MSP Sandra White has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that fracking will be banned.

The Scottish Government previously announced a moratorium while it ran a public consultation and examined evidence over health and public safety.

The consultation was the second largest ever run by the Scottish Government, receiving 60,535 valid responses – of which 99% were opposed to fracking.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“People in Glasgow and across Scotland had deep concerns about the development of fracking, which is why the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium while the evidence was carefully examined.

“The Scottish Government has now undertaken one of the most far reaching investigations into unconventional oil and gas of any government in the world.

“The judgement is now clear – we could not pursue fracking in confidence that it would not undermine public health or our climate change targets.

“And, importantly, the public consent in the communities Glasgow that would be affected simply isn’t there.

“It is unsurprising to see that the Tories are demanding that the SNP ignore the evidence and the 99% of respondents who said they are opposed to fracking. It is clear that the Tories cannot be trusted to either run or protect our country.

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government are putting the interests of communities first.”

 

Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said:

“This is a victory for the environment and for local communities fighting fracking.

“The Scottish Government’s decision today to ban fracking will be warmly welcomed across the country and around the world.

“This is a huge win for the anti-fracking movement, particularly for those on the frontline of this dirty industry here in Scotland, who have been working for a ban these last six years.

“Having put a moratorium in place more than two years ago, evaluated the evidence and consulted the people of Scotland, the Scottish Government has reached the right and sensible conclusion that the fracking industry must be banned to avoid potentially devastating impacts to people’s health, the climate and our natural environment.”

Dr Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland, said:

“It’s excellent news the Scottish Government has listened to the thousands of people, campaigners, and politicians across the country who have been calling for a permanent ban to fracking.

“The climate science is clear. The vast majority of fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground. It’s fantastic Scottish Ministers agree that we need to start placing them off limits.”

Ebrief

Ebrief

Thursday 28 September 2017

Crime

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

Brexit

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

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.

Sepsis

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.

 

Sandra White MSP welcomes Scottish Government announcement of £8.4m for recycling and emissions reduction projects

Sandra White MSP has welcomed news that recycling and emissions reduction projects are to benefit from a share of £8.4m from the Circular Economy Investment Fund which is funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.

Projects included focus on increasing recycling rates, reducing emissions and re-using resources. Around £4.2 million will help 17 small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) develop new products which will re-use whisky by-products, waste plastic and household furniture, through the Circular Economy Investment Fund.

The quantity and quality of recycling will be improved through £4.2 million which is being made available this year to some of the 26 councils which have signed up to the Scottish Household Recycling Charter – an initiative which is helping councils move towards a consistent recycling system.

Announcing the funding at the Scottish Resources Conference, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“While we have made steady progress on recycling with the amount of household waste recycled in 2016 reaching 45.2% we want to see the pace of these improvements increase. Our investment will make it easier for households and businesses to put their things in the right bin by removing some of the confusion of different systems and working towards a national recycling system.

“As our need to tackle climate change becomes ever more urgent it is crucial that we invest in keeping materials in circulation for as long as possible. Our funding will also make it possible for SMEs to reuse food and drink and textiles and repurpose them into new products which will create jobs and reduce emissions.

“This investment, on top of our Programme for Government commitments of introducing a deposit return scheme and looking at ways of tackling our unnecessary throwaway culture will help Scotland become a cleaner and greener country.”

Commenting, Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“I welcome this announcement from the Scottish Government which will see millions  of pounds of investment go into important waste and emissions reductions projects, as well as supporting small businesses and local councils.

“Jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the European Union, this further highlights the importance of EU regional support funds in the EU which are put at risk by Brexit, and of which the British Government refuses to guarantee going forward.

“Delivering global climate change leadership is a priority with strong record for this Scottish Government; this latest commitment, which follows plans for a national deposit return scheme, will help develop our Circular Economy reducing waste whilst boosting our economy.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive, Zero Waste Scotland which manages the Circular Economy Investment Fund, said:

“We received a fantastic response to our call for new products and concepts to our Circular Economy Investment Fund so far, proposals which really demonstrate innovation and circular thinking in Scottish business.

“We’re grateful for the support of Scottish Government and European Regional Development Funding, which is helping to make the development some of these new ideas possible. These new design and business ideas are going to be crucial to changing the way we make and do things. Scotland has the potential to lead the way in this area and I’m excited to see these new businesses develop.”

David Mackie, co-founder and director of Marine Biopolymers, which is receiving more than £138,000 through the Circular Economy Investment Fund said:

“We are delighted that our project, which focuses on the recovery of high purity and value Cellulose from indigenous Scottish seaweed, and further converting it into a global first – seaweed nano-cellulose – has attracted support from Zero Waste Scotland through its Circular Economy Investment Fund. This adds to our already leading technology in the extraction of high value components from Scottish seaweed. The award will help us not only improve the circularity of our process, but could lead to a revenue boost over time of £ 5 million a year, and perhaps even as much as £10 million.

“Only two years ago, the solid waste from our seaweed process was just that – waste – and this has been an exciting journey to go from what might have been a business cost to a potential major future source of revenue, so we are highly appreciative of the support.”

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

Concerns for Fundamental Rights and the Autonomous Institutions in Catalonia

Sandra White MSP has lodged a motion to the Scottish Parliament recording her concerns for fundamental rights and the autonomous institutions in Catalonia following the response of the Spanish Government to the October 1st Catalan independence referendum.

Motion S5M-07804: Sandra White, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party,
Date Lodged: 21/09/2017
 
Concerns for Fundamental Rights and the Autonomous Institutions in Catalonia 

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.