SCOTTISH BUDGET MEANS £76.7 MILLION BOOST FOR GLASGOW’S NHS

Health services in Glasgow will receive a £76.7m boost next year, the Scottish Government unveiled in the budget.

 

The inflation busting increase will see NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde funding increase 3.6% year on year.

 

The budget saw SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay increase total health and care funding by £729m, putting the future of the health service at the centre of the Scottish Government’s financial plan.

 

The Finance Secretary did however highlight the risk Brexit plays to this investment, with the potential for the Scottish Government to be forced to review the budget should the UK face a ‘No Deal’ scenario.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“People across Glasgow Kelvin will welcome the significant investment in our local NHS services, with a real-term increase in spending.

 

“The SNP value our NHS and are determined to ensure it stays fit for the future.

 

“In contrast, the budget exposed the Tory proposals as completely hollow – with their plan to hand high earners a tax cut leaving a £1 billion hole in our public spending.

 

“Meanwhile, even Labour insiders have admitted that their plans are a ‘shambles’ with the party failing to cost their spending demands.

 

“The SNP budget delivers for our NHS in Glasgow.”

 

Tackling the disability employment gap

Addressing workplace barriers for disabled people.

More disabled parents will be helped into work following an additional £6 million aimed at reducing both the disability employment gap and child poverty.

With only around 40% of working age disabled adults in employment, compared with more than 80% of non-disabled adults, the new funding is part of an action plan outlining how this gap can be at least halved over the next 20 years. The plan sets an initial ambition to increase the employment rate of disabled people to 50% by 2023 then to 60% by 2030.

The action plan also includes:

  • Up to £1 million to develop solutions to the barriers employers face in hiring and retaining disabled people
  • Up to £500,000 to pilot the provision of support similar to Access to Work to disabled people undertaking work experience or work trials
  • A new support service to help disabled people for who more mainstream employment support is not suitable
  • Appointing a business leader to advise Ministers on the steps to reduce the perceived risk of recruiting those with fluctuating health conditions
  • Developing targets for the employment of disabled people within the Scottish Government’s own workforce

Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“Everybody who can and wants to work should have the chance to find rewarding jobs. Unfortunately, far too many disabled people are currently denied this opportunity.

“I am determined that we do everything in our power to address inequality in the workforce and ensure disabled people are supported to have fair and sustainable working lives. The action plan is a significant step forward in making this happen and helping achieve our aim of at least halving the disability employment gap.”

Ebrief

Thursday 6 December

St Andrews Day Celebrations

11.18 St Andrews Torchlight ParadeDespite the wet and windy weather hundreds of people came along to celebrate our patron saint and carry a torch for the St Andrews Torchlight Parade.

As ever Michael Dale and his team ensured the event was full of colour and spectacle.

The Parade is part of the winter festivals programme and keeps getting better every year.

Our Lord Provost Eva Bolander led the parade along with David Hayman who was representing the charity Spirit Aid which was the recipient of support from the Parade last year.

It’s great to see so many people taking part in this fantastic annual event and I’m looking forward to next year’s parade!

Best Start – Correction

Apologies to readers trying to access the Best Start grant from the link I included in a previous Ebrief. Unfortunately the link was incorrect and I have been assured that the following link will work https://www.mygov.scot/pregnancy-and-baby-payment/ please let me know if you have any problems.

Small Business Saturday 

11.18 Small Busines Sat 4

I headed for Great Western Road to meet and offer my support for Small Business Saturday marked on 1 December. The day encourages people to shop locally and support their local businesses.

First stop was Solly’s African Village. What a wonderful array of products and comparing the prices to other retailers exceptionally reasonable!

Solly has been trading on Great Western Road for more than 30 years offering gifts and produce from Africa and the Carribean. Check out their website here: https://www.sollysafricanvillage.co.uk/

11.18 Small Business Sat 4

Next stop Paulin Watches a watch company specialising in high quality, design-led watches. The brainchild of 3 sisters, production began in late 2014.

The Paulin sisters were inspired by their great grandfather; George Henry Paulin, a distinguished sculptor who worked throughout both World Wars across London and Glasgow, with strong artistic roots. Find them here: https://www.paulinwatches.com/

11.18 Small Business Sat 3From there I headed for Liquorice Tree to meet the manager Helen.

Liquorice Tree Gifts opened in the summer of 2013 in Glasgow’s West End, next to the Kelvinbridge subway station on Great Western Road.

The store offers a gorgeous range of gifts to suit every person and occasion. Their business has been so successful that they have grown their brand and opened another branch in Edinburgh’s city centre.

I’d highly recommend this shop for some beautiful and quirky gifts. You can have a look at their stock here: https://www.liquoricetree.com/

11.18 Small Business Sat 2Next stop Valhalla’s Goat and their incredible stock of fine wines, craft beers and spirits.

An original independent wine and spirit merchant in the west end with some incredibly knowledgeable staff who are on hand to answers any of your questions and offer suggestions on what to select!

I went for the Glas-Wee-Gin and some craft beers all beautifully packaged. Have a look for yourself at https://www.valhallasgoat.com/

Finally I stopped by west end institution Roots, Fruits and Flowers for a chat with Garth about the business he’s been successfully running for more than 30 years.

12.18 Small Business Saturday RootsAlthough they have downsized they still have a grocery store on Argyle Street and Great Western Road and a florist and greengrocer on Great Western Road.

You can browse their products online here https://www.rootsfruitsandflowers.com/ but I would recommend a trip in person.

This is just a very small selection of the independent shops trading across the constituency – there are many, many more but they can only survive if you use them! Buy local this Christmas and throughout the year!

BREXIT

The Scottish Parliament has rejected the UK Government’s draft Brexit deal and has ruled out a ‘no deal’ Brexit option.

The UK Government’s Brexit deal will make Scotland poorer and they must now listen and act on the Scottish Parliament’s overwhelming decision to reject it.

In every area of Scotland there will be businesses, organisations, communities, people and families who will suffer, directly suffer, over a long period of time under this proposed deal.

The Scottish Parliament came together to say we cannot let this happen, and the UK Government must now respect this decisive vote.

Nordoff Robbins

12.18 SMA 2018Another fabulous night at the annual Nordoff Robbins Scottish Music Awards and look who I bumped into!

This was a particularly special night as they celebrate their 20th annual awards – a great achievement with special thanks to Donald Macleod who has shown huge commitment and dedication.

There was a great line up to entertain the crowd including newly inducted Scottish Music Hall of Fame Susan Boyle who performed Wild Horses and the legendary Annie Lennox was also inducted.

Other highlights included performances from Snow Patrol, Amy MacDonald, Tom Grennan and Kyle Falconer and compere Sanjeev Kholi.

This is always a very special night for the Scottish music industry, recognising and showcasing our incredible talent!

Universal Credit

Anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit faces spending the festive season without money. The in-built wait of a minimum of five weeks before payment means that anyone making a claim this week will need to survive until January without money to which they are entitled.

The Scottish Government cannot change Universal Credit.  It’s a benefit delivered by the UK Government. However, they do have limited powers to make the delivery of Universal Credit better suited to the needs of people.

Since last year, our Universal Credit Scottish choices have given people the choice to receive their Universal Credit award twice monthly and have the housing costs paid directly to their landlord.

The Scottish Government are spending significant amounts to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government cuts and support those on low incomes – £125 million this year alone – £20 million more than last year. The system is an utter shambles and requires fundamental changes to make it fit for purpose.

World Aids Day

11.18 World Aids DayEvery year on 1 December people around the world come together to mark World AIDS Day.

It’s a day that is internationally recognised to help increase awareness of HIV, challenge stigma, raise money and improve education. Many people also use the day to remember those who have died of AIDS.

2018 marks the 30th Annual World AIDS Day, which was the first ever global health day.

Big anniversaries offer the opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in the fight against HIV over the past three decades and I was happy to join HIV Scotland in the Scottish Parliament to help promote the 30th Annual World Aids Day.

 

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT UNITES AGAINST TORY BREXIT

SNP MSP SANDRA WHITE VOTES AGAINST DAMAGING BREXIT DEAL

 

The Scottish Parliament has overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s false choice of a bad Brexit or No Deal.

 

The joint motion agreed by the SNP, Labour, Greens and the Lib Dems stated that a better alternative must be found – leaving the Tories isolated in their support for Theresa May’s discredited proposals.

 

Commenting, local SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but our interests have been ignored by the UK government since day one.

 

“With the Scottish Parliament now overwhelmingly against the false choice of Theresa May’s ‘Deal or No Deal’, it is time for the UK government to listen.

 

“Theresa May’s deal is at this point little more than a hypothetical exercise, with all sides of the House of Commons determined to defeat it on Tuesday.

 

“The clock is ticking. It’s time for a new approach and to look at the real alternatives which will protect jobs and livelihoods throughout Scotland and here in Kelvin – whether that be a second referendum giving Scotland the opportunity to remain in the EU, or the compromise proposal of staying in the single-market that the Scottish Government unveiled two years ago.”

UNIVERSAL CREDIT CREATES CASH FLOW CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS

Claimants face lengthy wait for payment.

Anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit faces spending the festive season without money, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said today.

The in-built wait of a minimum of five weeks before payment means that anyone making a claim this week will need to survive until January without money to which they are entitled.

Ms Somerville criticised the delay as she met with people receiving benefits on a visit to a Citizen’s Advice Scotland office in Leith –  the full service roll out of Universal Credit by the UK Government  began to be rolled out in Edinburgh last week.

Ms Somerville said:

“Christmas is a time of additional expense for most people but it’s particularly hard for families with little money to begin with.

“It is therefore unacceptable that anyone making a claim for Universal Credit from last week will not see their money until after Christmas. This is an appalling situation for many across Scotland and why we have repeatedly called for a halt to the roll out of Universal Credit.

“The minimum five week wait for a first payment is just one of the many problems with Universal Credit, the roll out of which has led to sharp rises in the use of food banks and rent arrears.

“While the DWP do offer advance payments, this needs to be paid back from future payments, locking families in to further debt at the start of a new year.

“The Scottish Government cannot change Universal Credit.  It’s a benefit delivered by the UK Government. However, we do have limited powers to make the delivery of Universal Credit better suited to the needs of people. Since last year, our Universal Credit Scottish choices have given people the choice to receive their Universal Credit award twice monthly and have the housing costs paid directly to their landlord.

“We are spending significant amounts to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government cuts and support those on low incomes – £125 million this year alone – £20 million more than last year.

“Previous calls for the roll out to be halted have been ignored and Universal Credit will be available in all areas before Christmas. The UK Government must now make the fundamental changes needed to make Universal Credit fit for purpose before the managed migration of people on legacy benefits begins next summer.”