25 Years of Fife Community Interpretation Services

This week I was delighted to attend celebrations in Kirkcaldy to mark 25 years of Fife Community Interpretation Services. It’s a fantastic organisation providing a vital service which supports equality and inclusivity in Fife.

Fife Community Interpretation Services has around 60 interpreters on its register and has helped people communicate with health and welfare services, around legal matters and when dealing with other local services. They also provide translation services for official documents, letters, reports and media.

For 25 years they have provided interpretation services across Fife in a large number of different languages and I extend my very best wishes for continued success in the future.

Common Frameworks

I thank the Finance and Constitution Committee for taking evidence and for preparing its thorough report. Our committees’ scrutiny work is vital in preparing Parliament for its work in the event of our leaving the EU, and in ensuring that Parliament is equipped to carry out its business…

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Family Migration

As the cabinet secretary said, the announcement on the post-study work visa is welcome, and the cross-party effort in Scotland should be recognised. It is a small step in the right direction, but we need more. Scotland is facing serious demographic challenges and migration will play…

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Strathearn Herald – August 2019

At the beginning of September the Scottish Parliament returns after a two month hiatus. Over the recess I have been working across the region, visiting community groups and recognising the hard work and commitment that goes on. The Parliamentary recess offers an opportunity to step back from the workings of Holyrood and to see first-hand the concerns of local people and to learn more about the work that goes on in our communities. It allows MSPs time to learn more about what matters to the communities and people of Scotland, so they can take these matters up in Parliament and act to address them.

That is not to say the business of politics stops when the Parliament is not sitting, and over the summer there has been no shortage of issues to address: from record drugs deaths to continuing mismanagement of the rail franchise; from GP shortages and delays in cancer treatment to overcrowding in prisons and another fall in Higher pass rates. This summer we have of course also seen the continuation of debate over Brexit, and the seemingly inevitable elevation of Boris Johnson to Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, for the First Minister, the summer recess has provided an opportunity to participate in a number of events at the Edinburgh Fringe, talking about independence and the difficulties of small talk with Theresa May.  Perhaps taking a leaf from the handbook of personality turned current Prime Minister, her team decided that this summer was an ideal time to chat with podcasters and appear on Loose Women, rather than address the key issues facing the people of Scotland.

Last week saw the publication of the latest GERS figures, stating that the country had a deficit of £12.6 billion in the last financial year which means an independent Scotland would have one of the biggest deficits in the developed world.  SNP plans to address the deficit would see unprecedented cuts for Scotland’s schools and hospitals – further austerity rather than much needed investment in our communities and public services.

When the Scottish Parliament returns the immediate focus will be on the Programme for Government, with the SNP Government unveiling its plans for legislation over the course of the Parliamentary year. Work on the Referendums Bill will continue, and the consequences of Brexit on our economy and our communities is never far from our agenda. But we must see the return to Parliamentary business which focused on addressing the issues that matter to Scots on a day to day basis.

We have much to be getting on with – from holding Abellio to account for the mis-management of the ScotRail contract, to finding better ways of addressing drugs addiction across the country, from supporting teachers and pupils in our education system, to ensuring people can get GP appointments and access other crucial healthcare services. We need to listen to the concerns of our communities and ensure our time in Parliament is used to deliver positive change.

Tourism & Hospitality (Employment Standards)

I welcome the announcement from both Governments about the city region deal and the £15 million for culture and tourism that the cabinet secretary referred to. The cabinet secretary will appreciate that tourism in Scotland relies heavily on European Union workers and that we will face challenges in that area in future years. Can she outline the work that is being done to promote tourism as a…

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Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight

As part of Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight it was a pleasure to visit Novelli’s ice cream parlour in Burntisland to celebrate their fantastic ice cream, which is made in the parlour, and recognise its contribution to the vibrancy of the local High Street.

Claire Baker MSP with Nova Gamble of Novelli's

It’s great to see an innovative business providing a quality Scottish product and I enjoyed hearing about how Novelli’s, as a fairly new business, has flourished as well as its future plans.

This year Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (31 August to 15 September) is celebrating 10 years of showcasing our counbtry’s food and drink sector. It’s an opportunity to highlight the success of businesses like Novelli’s which invest in quality produce and their contribution to our economy and communities.

Citizens Assembly of Scotland

This afternoon’s debate gives members an opportunity to consider the citizens assembly in more detail. Although the remit was published in August and the memorandum of understanding was published earlier this week, opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny of the proposal has been limited…

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