Several weeks ago, I submitted a Members’ Business motion to the Scottish Parliament recognising the suppression of women’s rights by Taliban forces in Afghanistan. This week, I was privileged to be able to bring that motion forward to a Parliamentary debate in the chamber. You can watch my full speech and the subsequent debate at: 

 
 
Further to my Members’ Business Debate, I contributed three times to discussions in the Scottish Parliament this week. At First Minister’s Questions, I asked about the Scottish Government’s assessment of the impact on business following the introduction of new border rules post-Brexit. At the Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Portfolio Questions I also asked how the Scottish Government can ensure any monies given to hedge funds use this money for benefiting local communities. Finally, in the Ministerial Statement on Industrial Relations in the Further Education Sector, I asked how the proposed post-school education reform agenda can support Scotland’s colleges further.
 
Prior to the summer recess, many Stage 3 Bills will be progressing through the Scottish Parliament. This week MSPs voted on Stage 3 of both the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill and the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (Scotland) Bill. Both these Bills are hugely important. The Visitor Levy legislation will generate funds for communities with strong visitor economies to benefit and will help to attract more visitors to Scotland in a sustainable way. The Post Office Offences Bill is welcomed by all parties and will provide justice to those wrongfully accused.
 
Both of my Committees were held this week. In the Education, Children & Young People Committee, we considered The Education (Fees and Student Support) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2024, considered evidence on an update to the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review, and took evidence on the SPSO Child Friendly Complaints Handling Principles. The Finance & Public Administration Committee also carried out some important work this week, taking evidence on Scotland's Commissioner Landscape: A Strategic Approach.
 
On Wednesday, I sponsored and chaired the Women in Multiple Low-Paid Jobs Roundtable event. A previous post yesterday highlighted this important work. You can see my previous post here:http://www.facebook.com/share/p/BySF3V1g483SrvpR/
 
 
 
 

I started off the week managing to miss the rain and headed out on a walk-about at Zetland Park with Danny Thalon of Falkirk Council, Councillor Balfour and Councillor Garner. It was really interesting to hear about all the developments that have been going on in the park over the last 10 years, and I look forward to seeing their future projects at other parks across Falkirk district in the future.

On Wednesday I convened the latest Women in Enterprise Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament. Around 20 people made it along to the roundtable discussion covering the importance of Intellectual Property, including women entrepreneurs, lawyers and those looking for advice.

On Thursday I welcomed Faroese MP, Sjúrður Skaale to the Scottish Parliament. Alongside being an MP in the Danish Parliament, he is also the Parliament’s Chair of the Arctic Delegation. I hope Mr Skaale and his accompanying party enjoyed their visit and the discussions had prove useful going forward.

On Friday, I met with newly elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Falkirk East, Declan and Catriona. I was impressed by their enthusiasm and ideas, and I look forward to seeing more from them as they get stuck into new challenges in their elected roles.

 

 

 

 

This week I was delighted to visit 3rd  Bo’ness Scouts to learn more about how they became the first Scout Group in the UK to reach Net Zero. The group have been nominated for several awards and I look forward to seeing their work flourish in future.

As convener of the CPG on music, I was pleased  to ask a question of the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture concerning the impact of Brexit on young musicians. You can watch this exchange on my FB page here: https://fb.watch/s72wAcSdur/

I was also pleased to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, a question regarding the potential future plans for Hydrogen production at Grangemouth and how this may fit in with the Government’s plan for a Just Transition for the Grangemouth area.

In addition to committee work earlier in the week, I was also pleased to speak in the stage 1 debate on the Aggregates Tax and Devolved Taxes Administration (Scotland) Bill, which I have followed with great interest through scrutiny at the Finance and Public Administration Committee

With this being Mental Health Awareness week, I enjoyed visiting the Place2Be Exhibition in parliament to learn more about the work they do in supporting children struggling with poor mental health. You can find out more on the following link : https://www.place2be.org.uk/

 

 

 

This week began with news of great change at the top of Scottish politics and I very much welcome the appointment of John Swinney MSP as a Scotland’s new First Minister.
During John’s first FMQs, I was pleased to ask a question on the Government’s commitment to addressing barriers & continued discrimination faced by women in business and across the labour market, limiting both their own and Scotland’s economic potential. You can watch a video of the exchange here https://bit.ly/4aeL73V
Earlier in the week, I was delighted to host an event in the Scottish Parliament celebrating 10 years of the @Carer Positive Awards. It was fantastic to meet with representatives from many businesses and organisations who have worked with Carer Positive to develop workplace support for members of staff who are carers.
My committee work continued with two interesting evidence sessions, including scrutiny of the Scottish Languages Bill, where I was interested to find out more on its potential influence in continuing adult education. You can watch committee proceedings back here: https://bit.ly/3JY7uzS
Visiting the Ehlers-Danlos Support UK exhibition held in parliament this week, I was fascinated to learn more about the challenges and complexities of the condition and the current difficulties faced by sufferers in diagnosis and lack of treatment pathways. I will be looking to follow up on issues raised in their campaigns.
 
 
 

While it’s certainly been a busy and eventful time in parliament, this week began with an interesting constituency surgery in the Grange Community Centre, Brightons.

In addition to committee and chamber activity I also attended a number of events in parliament, including an exhibition by “Held in Our Hearts” who are campaigning for a minimum framework for bereavement care in Scotland when a baby or infant dies.

I was pleased to attend the Male Suicide in Scotland event, sponsored by Jim Fairlie MSP. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet with representatives of Andy’s Man Club, who hold an active weekly support group at Stenhousemuir FC.

On Thursday I hosted a well-attended and insightful parliamentary roundtable, where industry experts and MSPs came together to look at the financial landscape around investing in renewables and the critical part green finance opportunities play in reaching net zero.

Earlier this afternoon I was delighted to be part of a panel for an event focussing on Adam Smith's ongoing relevance to Business, Professions and the Economy in Scotland.

 

 

 

 

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