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
Local organisation Greener Kirkcaldy will this week be debated in the Scottish Parliament as Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker secured an opportunity to discuss the Fife based charity.
The charity helps locals take action to ensure environmental issues are being tackled both at home and in the wider community.
The organisation has ran initiatives such as Shine on Fife and Cosy Kirkcaldy with a consultation on plans for a community food hub currently running. Continue reading
Recently I joined with party colleagues in calling for the Scottish Government to use their spending power to deliver the living wage for workers in Fife and across Scotland.
The call followed a debate in the Scottish Parliament which will change the way public contracts are handed out to private companies; covering goods and services from the provision of stationary to the delivery of major capital projects, such as the Queensferry Crossing.
Public sector procurement is worth at least £9 billion a year in Scotland and the Scottish Labour Party has called for those employed in these contracts to be paid the living wage, set at £7.45 an hour. Continue reading
The postcode lottery of financial support for kinship carers has remained in place in Scotland after the Scottish Government failed to support Labour’s amendments during the Children and Young People bill that has passed in Parliament last week.
Kinship care, where a member of the child’s extended family looks after the child as the parent cannot, can vary wildly in both eligibility and support depending on where in Scotland you live. Continue reading
Last week in Parliament I raised concerns over the safety of the A92 with the Transport Minister during General Questions. This followed the recent tragic fatalities that have occurred on the road.
One serious incident on the road is one too many and our thoughts go out to the families of the tragic fatalities that have occurred over the past few months. Since 2007 the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland have spent over £2 billion maintaining and improving Scotland’s trunk roads. Yet despite rising number of fatalities in the A92, the road has only seen under 1% of that spending. Continue reading
Recently I was able to visit three schools within Fife to answer pupil’s questions on being a MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife.
I visited Kirkcaldy West and Falkland Primary schools both of which were doing projects on the Scottish Parliament before visiting Glenwood High School in Glenrothes to speak to 4th year pupils ahead of sitting their National 4 exams. Continue reading
Last week I was delighted to be asked to launch Burntisland’s Totally Locally Campaign. The event which was launched with a dance mob and an unveiling of the map of the town aims to promote the high street in Burtnisland.
Totally Locally has been successful throughout the UK having being initially launched in West Yorkshire and will hopefully be a positive experience for the town. It is a great opportunity to promote local businesses that have signed up and boost footfall in the high street. Continue reading
Yesterday I was pleased to be able to highlight the good work undertaken by Clued Up, a Kirkcaldy based charity, during a Government debate in the Scottish Parliament on the issue of New Psychoactive Substances, also known as ‘legal highs’.
‘Legal Highs’ are synthetic drugs that can be legally purchased from head shops in the high street or online. Continue reading
Yesterday in Parliament I raised the challenges facing food banks across the Kingdom during a Member’s debate. Having attended the launch of the food bank in Kirkcaldy I have seen first hand the demand for these services and the vital role they play in helping those that need it most.
Recent reports that the food bank in Glenrothes is running low on food as it struggles to keep up with demand highlights how important these services are for the Kingdom. Those that have taken the time to help, from volunteering in the banks or donating food whilst they do their weekly shop, deserve our thanks. Without them the situation throughout Fife would be a lot worse.
My full speech can be found on the Scottish Government website.
Today I was able to vote on a Scottish Labour amendment to effectively end the much hated bedroom tax in Scotland. The amendment, which was lodged by our finance spokesperson Iain Gray, was voted on during the Scottish Government’s budget debate.
Labour has been consistently calling for the Scottish Government to make the right decision and fully mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax in Scotland. Today they finally listened.
The bedroom tax adversely impacts on those that need help the most. The policy is particularly hurting those with disabilities and those faced with no prospect of downsizing due to lack of housing stock. A Labour UK Government has committed to ending the bedroom tax throughout the UK and it was only when pushed by Scottish Labour that the SNP finally agreed to take at Holyrood.
Labour have been consistent in pushing for the Scottish Government to fully mitigate the bedroom tax in Scotland by providing sufficient resources to make the bedroom tax redundant in Scotland. If the Scottish Government had refused to back Labour’s call my colleague Jackie Baillie had introduced a member’s bill to address the situation but I am glad the Scottish Government has taken action in the budget.
Only last week there was an interim report, released by the Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, that highlighted the impact the tax is having on society throughout Scotland. The report followed extensive evidence sessions and research undertaken by the committee. The report called for the Scottish Government to explore further ways to mitigate the effect of the tax in the short term.
Thankfully today we saw movement on that issue and I was delighted that I was able to vote on Iain’s motion and support a budget that will effectively end a policy that is deeply unpopular throughout Fife.