During Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament I raised the issue of housing and its impact on the successful delivery of integrated health and social care in Fife.
Fife Council has invested significantly in affordable housing and this is to be welcomed. It is also important that if we are to ensure that a joined-up social care agenda is to work that we need suitable retirement housing for those that may require a care package.
For this to be achieved local governments throughout Scotland will need support from the Scottish Government to deliver integrated social care and healthcare. It is important that the Scottish Government are working across portfolio briefs to ensure this can be delivered.
Yesterday in Parliament I raised my opposition to the Conservative Government’s Trade Union bill which is currently making its way through the UK Parliament.
This bill is a draconian piece of legislation designed to attack the rights of workers that we have battled so hard for throughout the years.
Council Leaders from across Scotland, including the leader of Fife Council, David Ross, have come out against the bill and its potential impact on council workers.
Only last weekend I was out in Kirkcaldy gaining support for a petition against the bill. It is clear that there is a real strength of feeling that what the Tories are doing is wrong and must be stopped.
During First Minister questions yesterday I raised the lack of progress on a film studio in Scotland. When I first came into the role as culture spokesperson for the party the Scottish Government were on the verge of announcing their plans. Nine months later I am still waiting but for the sector the wait has been much, much longer.
Their frustration at this lack of progress was clear to those who attended a Creative Industries conference in Edinburgh this week. I chaired a session in the morning of the conference that included the progress, priorities and next steps of Scotland’s screen industries and it was clear to me that the long wait for the studio is, according to many, beginning to hinder the growth of that sector.
Arabella Page Croft, a leading producer that can count the recent (and popular) Sunshine on Leith amongst her works, highlighted that 20 years ago Scotland was the biggest production cluster outside London. Now we are 6th behind Wales, Northern Ireland and regions of England. Continue reading →
This week in the Scottish Parliament I raised the recently announced job losses at Havelock Europa. The Kirkcaldy based company have announced that they would be cutting their staff by 10% which would see the loss of 50 jobs.
The job losses are another major blow to Kirkcaldy and the wider Fife economy, coming on the back of significant losses at major employers such as Tullis Russell, BiFab and Tesco.
Following the closure of Tullis Russell the Scottish Government has been working with Fife Council and set up a taskforce to help retrain and find employment for workers who were laid off. Continue reading →
On Thursday the Energy Minister delivered a statement on the future of Longannet Power Station in the Scottish Parliament.
Following the statement I was able to ask a question about the future of the site and warn about the impact of further job losses to the local economy, particularly on the back of the recent announcement of redundancies at Havelock Europa.
I will be raising the job losses at Havelock Europa on Wednesday during Finance Question.
In the meantime you can watch the statement on the video below. The statement starts 46 mins 30 seconds into the video and my question starts at 1 hour 12 minutes and 50 seconds.
Today in the Scottish Parliament there was a Scottish Government statement on Police Scotland following the deaths of Sheku Bayoh, Lamara Bell and John Yuill on the M9 and controversy over stop and search.
I was able to question the Justice Secretary on the upcoming reviews of Police Scotland and called for these to include reviewing deaths in police custody and the powers of Pirc (Police Investigations and Review Commissioner).
I have been working closely with the family of Sheku to get answer regarding what happened that morning. I’ve previously met with Pirc and the Lord Advocate to discuss the case.
His tragic death raised many unanswered questions and it is vital that the family are able to learn the truth about what happened that morning. Continue reading →
Yesterday I raised concerns over antisocial behaviour with quad bikes in Fife following fears raised by constituents. I raised the issue with the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs during General Questions in the Scottish Parliament.
I called for the Government to look at strengthening fixed penalty notices to give the police more ‘tools in their box’ to deal with problems around quad bike usage. I raised the issue following concerns that anti-social behaviour on quad bikes was taking place in Fife with the bikes being used on pavements and streets.
I have seen an increase recently in the number of people contacting me about the issue of quad bikes and antisocial behaviour. This is not just an issue for rural Scotland but is becoming an issue and nuisance on the streets and pavements of Fife. Continue reading →
Before recess I raised concerns in Parliament over the decision by Fife College to drop their Adult Programme courses, due to be replaced by Community Skills courses after the summer. The decision from Fife College has raised concerns that students with additional support needs will be unable to make the transition from the old course to the new one and will ultimately miss out.
I raised these concerns after being contacted by constituents who fear that the changes introduced by Fife College will result in their family missing out on the college opportunities that the Adult Programme course brings. The cancellation of these non-certificated courses is due to a combination of severe budget pressures and a focus on employability.
I was able to quiz the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning during Education questions and I raised my fears that the change in course would lead to some being “excluded from college opportunities, and the social and educational benefit this brings them.” Continue reading →
Recently I raised the campaign for the reintroduction of the Levenmouth rail link during General Questions in the Scottish Parliament. As a supporter of this campaign since I was first elected in 2007, I believe that if there is any chance of the rail link being reintroduced we need to see a firm commitment from the Scottish Government.
I was able to question the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, asking where the rail link ranks among the Scottish Government’s transport proprieties. In my question I highlighted that such a project will not be able to go forward ”without financial backing from the Scottish Government.” Continue reading →
Yesterday in Parliament I quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment during Topical Questions on mackerel certifications.
The topical question was raised by Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands Jamie McGrigor following the breakdown of negotiations on the mackerel dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
The breakdown was extremely disappointing for both Scottish fishermen and the communities that rely on the industry. The dispute has been ongoing for far too long and all attempts at talks have failed to provide an adequate solution. Continue reading →
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