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.”

 

Ebrief

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: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=22939

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: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11628

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.

STEM

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!

PLEASE NOTE DUE TO THE PARLIAMENTARY RECESS THE NEXT EBRIEF WILL BE ISSUED WEEK BEGINNING 3 SEPTEMBER

Ebrief

Thursday 21 June 2018

GSA

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: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11610&i=105214

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 businesssupport@glasgow.gov.uk or 0141 276 5333.

Visits

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.

FemEng

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: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11610&i=105233

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: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11613&i=105267

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.

Refugees

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: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2018&page=0&meeting=-1

MND

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.
Charities

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%).

Ebrief

Thursday 14 June 2018

Responsible Parking

06.18 Transport Bill Buchanan Street Bus Station LaunchOn Monday the Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf MSP launched the new Transport Bill at Buchanan Street Bus Station.

I was delighted to attend and hear the Minister outline the measures within the new proposed legislation and in particular an issue I have been campaigning on for many years responsible parking!

The Bill will introduce a national ban on pavement and double parking to make it easier for local authorities to ensure our pavements and roads safer and more accessible to all.

Key provisions include:

Providing local authorities with powers to enforce the national ban

The ability for local authorities to promote exemptions from the national ban, but they will be required to meet strict criteria

The Bill provides exceptions to certain vehicles if they are involved in emergencies or delivering goods

Detailed standards and guidance will be produced for local authorities to deliver a consistent approach in how they enforce the new parking restrictions

Providing local authorities with powers to share services with other councils to enforce the new restrictions

Requiring local authorities to keep accounts in relation to the money they receive from the enforcement of the new restrictions

You can access the details of the Bill here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/108683.aspx

Child Bereavement

06.18 Childhood Bereavement UK.docxThis week in Parliament I sponsored an exhibition of information from The Scotland Development Project of Child Bereavement UK.

The Project work’s in partnership with local education, health and social care services, bereavement services and other voluntary organisations within each locality, and has set up advisory groups / networks in each area, with representation from all agencies. Their aim is to ensure coordination of support and to develop clear pathways for children and families.

They offer bereavement awareness training for individuals and organisations, seminars for the children’s workforce as well as information on publications and resources to support families and schools.

They have also been involved in supporting the development of a new West of Scotland Guideline for Neonatal Death and End of Life Care. You can find out more about the new guideline and the project at https://childbereavementuk.org/about-us/scotland-development-project/

Student Support

Over £21 million is to be invested in improving the financial support available to students at university and college.

As part of a package of measures, the bursary for care-experienced students in further and higher education will be increased this year to £8,100, bringing the support available in line with the Scottish living wage at a cost of around £5.5 million

£16 million will be invested next year in increasing college bursaries and university grants for students from the lowest income families and expand access to them, and the repayment threshold for student loans will be raised to £25,000 from April 2021, and this year the maximum repayment period for student loans will be lowered from 35 to 30 years.

Elder Abuse 

06.18 Elder Abuse Awareness DayWith Elder Abuse World Awareness Day on Friday 15 June this year and as Convener of the CPG on Older People, Age and Ageing in the Scottish Parliament I was more than happy to host an event with Action on Elder Abuse in Parliament this week to raise awareness.

On 15th June each year people come together to send out a clear message – that the abuse of older people will not be tolerated. We want an end to the assault, neglect, abuse and intimidation of our older generation.

The message resonates right around the world and does make a difference! Please sign the pledge at https://www.elderabuse.org.uk/forms/i-pledge

Organ Donation

Scotland will move to a soft opt out system for organ and tissue donation, under legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill will change organ and tissue donation from the current ‘opt in’ system to an ‘opt out’ system. Under the proposed system, if someone has not stated a decision about donation, they may be deemed as having authorised it.

The Bill contains safeguards to ensure people’s wishes regarding donation are followed and that families will be asked about their loved one’s views to ensure donations don’t occur where the person would not have wished it.

The move to an opt out system received 82% support from respondents in a public consultation in 2017. It will add to measures that have contributed towards improvements in organ donation over the last decade in Scotland, which has seen   an 89% increase in the number of deceased organ donors and a 78% increase in organ transplants.

CPR

Great news this week with Glasgow City Council announcing mandatory CPR lessons for all secondary pupils across the city. You can view the motion I lodged in Parliament this week highlighting the decision and seeking support for other local authorities to follow suit here : http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S5M-12733&ResultsPerPage=10

Mackintosh

06.18 Mackintosh Willow Tearooms 2It was a pleasure to attend the re-opening of the Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street on this the 150th anniversary year celebrating Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birthday.

Now that the renovations are almost complete the interiors are absolutely stunning showcasing the wonderful designs and distinct style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

As you can see from the photograph attention to detail has certainly not been overlooked with this Mackintosh design inspired chair complimenting the rest of the interiors.

As well as beautiful surroundings the Tea Room also offers an array of food and drinks. We were treated to a delicious afternoon tea of sandwiches, cakes and scones with optional glass of fizz!

I would have no hesitation in recommending a trip to these beautiful tearooms which pays homage to one of Scotland’s most famous designers and hopefully there will soon be the addition of an interactive visitor/exhibition centre, education and learning suite.

 

MSP’s Responsible Parking Victory in Scottish Government’s Radical Transport Reforms

The Scottish Government have tabled radical and extensive changes to Scotland’s transport network, pledging the most ambitious reforms since devolution to create a cleaner, smarter, and more accessible transport network.

Proposals include the adoption of Sandra White MSP’s call for responsible parking regulations prohibiting pavement and double parking, with enforcement powers enabling local authorities to take action on the issue.

The Transport (Scotland) Bill, tabled in Parliament today by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP, sets an ambitious reform agenda focused on achieving a transport network which is responsiveness and sustainable.

Key changes include reforms to bus service frameworks including provision for publicly-run services, nation-wide standards for adoption of low emission zones, national smart ticketing across public transport, and

Local authorities and transport bodies will see powers strengthened under proposals which deliver new enforcement powers, increased finance powers, and the provision for the establishment of publicly-run bus services.

Glasgow Kelvin MSP, Sandra White’s campaign for responsible parking has been adopted into the Government’s proposals, with reforms giving councils the powers to enforce new prohibition of parking on pavements and double parking.

Sandra White’s Responsible Parking Campaign was supported by Guide Dogs for the Blind and Living Streets, resulting in a Transport Scotland consultation on the issue, with Member’s Bill proposals adopted into the current Transport Bill.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“After many years of hard work on this issue, I am delighted to see responsible parking proposals included in this bold and radical transport agenda.”

“I look forward to being involved in the development of these reforms and in supporting the wider aims of the bill which will bring new powers and focus to creating a responsive and sustainable transport network.”

“I would like to thank all who have supported this campaign, including Guide Dogs for the Blind and Living Streets, as well as the many respondents to the consultation, for highlighting the need for change.

“This piece of legislation will have life changing impacts across the country, I am immensely proud that these proposals are being adopted and thank the Scottish Government for taking action to keep our streets safe and accessible for all.”

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said:

“The Transport Bill reflects a period of significant public consultation and engagement. It responds to the views of passengers and stakeholders by providing local authorities and RTPs with the tools to address local needs.

“This government will not stand by as bus passenger numbers decline. Partnership is at the centre of our proposals, with a new model for local authorities to work with bus operators to revitalise services. We are also providing clearer options for authorities to pursue local franchising or provide services themselves in appropriate circumstances.

“Beyond bus services, this Bill will allow for decriminalised enforcement of Low Emission Zones, double parking and parking on pavements. This will help transform our towns and cities into cleaner, more accessible and more pleasant spaces to travel and enjoy. By strengthening the technology and governance which underpins smart ticketing, people will be able to move between our cities with greater ease and convenience.

“The Bill will also further increase the safety and efficiency of road works to help keep our traffic flowing. We are supporting regeneration along our canals and ensuring the future of the network by strengthening governance and we are also bolstering the ability of RTPs to manage larger projects.

“By empowering local authorities and continuing to work in partnership with transport operators, we will continue to develop a cleaner, smarter public transport system with improved connectivity, accessibility and greater economic benefits for all of Scotland.”

 

Notes:

Press Release from Transport Scotland can be found here.

The Transport Bill is available to view on the Scottish Parliament website.

Consolation on ‘Improving Parking in Scotland’ can be found here.

 

Pavement Parking and Double Parking Proposal synopsis:
Vehicles parked on footways (pavements) can hinder the safe passage of pedestrians, as well as reducing the independence of vulnerable people, especially for the elderly and disabled as parked cars can damage surfaces, which can result in trip hazards.  Additionally, vehicles that are double parked can impact the safe movement traffic and can also endanger other road users or obstruct access to vital services. The Bill will prohibit double parking and parking on pavements and will give local authorities the powers needed to enforce this important change and improve safety and accessibility for all.