Earlier this week, I was delighted to receive notification that my motion on “Taliban Suppression of Women and Girls in Afghanistan” has received the required cross-party support to proceed to a debate within parliament. This is a crucial international issue which we must see sustained pressure from governments and international agencies to assist with, but also a matter close to home, as we support women and girls fleeing Taliban suppression who have resettled and Scotland. You can read the full text of my motion on the following link and watch my page for further information when this is tabled for debate - https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/votes-and-motions/S6M-07924
Through my role in the Economy and Fair Work Committee, I was pleased to contribute to both the parliamentary debate on Retail and Town Centres in Scotland and the committee enquiry into A Just Transition for the Grangemouth area.
You can watch my contributions to both by visiting my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MichelleThomsonSNP
During the enquiry questions, I was keen to focus on the theme of community benefit, and was interested to hear from the panel on how collectively, all stakeholders can ensure that the needs of communities in and around Grangemouth can be met in partnership with the new economic opportunities that a Just Transition will bring. I was also pleased to highlight the importance of putting women and girls at the heart of the development of the Just Transition from the outset.
It was fantastic to see Cycling Without Age in the parliament this week and get a chance to stop by and visit local volunteers from this wonderful organisation. Their connection with Falkirk District from their outset in Scotland in 2017 is something I know local residents are extremely proud of and remember with fondness the stories coming out of Carrondale Care Home and the joy brought to residents from feeling the “wind in their hair”. Their success in spreading across the country since then has been remarkable and fuelled by indomitable volunteers. I was also delighted to recognise this in a parliamentary motion last month which you can access here : https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/votes-and-motions/S6M-07662
I was also pleased to host a successful reception in Parliament for The Bottom Line, with a variety of interesting presentations and engaging discussion on the topic of “Elevating the debate on Independence and the Scottish Economy”. You can find out more about their mission to invigorate the debate on the economics of Scottish independence by visiting their website here : https://thebottomline.scot/
This week I was delighted to visit Forth Valley Sensory Centre at their Scottish Parliament exhibition to find out more about the vital work they do helping people with sensory loss across the Forth Valley area. It was great to hear about their partnership with Windsor Park School in Falkirk and the fabulous “Climate Comic” Project that they were able to produce together. I was also rather delighted to say hello to Sadie (the assistance dog) on perhaps more than one occasion over the week!
The passage of the Scottish budget is always an important marker in the Parliament’s calendar and I was pleased to contribute to stage 3 of the Scottish Budget Debate, highlighting specifically the need to do much more to support women’s entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and social equality.
A key concern of local residents in my Falkirk East constituency is how we use the necessary refocus of Carbon Intensive Industry to benefit local people as well as Scotland’s wider economy and our global environment. I was able to ask a number of questions at the Economy and Fair Work Committee’s Enquiry into a Just Transition for the Grangemouth area – highlighting that wider economic benefits must extend to local people and communities. A matter I will continue to pursue as the enquiry progresses.
Back in the chamber, I asked a Portfolio Question regarding continuing support for food producers, as plans for the forthcoming Agriculture Bill progress, - supporting a crucial industry for our national and local economy.
Finally, I was also very pleased to submit a motion to the Scottish Parliament commending the work of Scottish Trauma Teddies for their generous donation of 50 teddy bears to the Children’s Ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Their kindness and support for children facing difficult circumstances, is truly heart warming and it is a pleasure to be able to recognise and promote the work that they do.
This week I was pleased to be able to ask the Scottish Government about the discussions with local authorities around inflation pressures and what can be done to support them. It is an issue I am aware many councils across Scotland are also facing. I was able to participate in the Scottish Budget debate as a member of the Finance Committee.
This week I met with SGN and Change Mental Health to find out more about the excellent work they do. SGN have done a huge amount of work to help training and investment opportunities within the Hydrogen sector. Change Mental Health provide invaluable support and advice to many, and it was interesting to hear their new three year strategy following their 50th anniversary.
This week also saw Scotland celebrating Burns Night. It is important we recognise our historical figures and the excellent work they did, much of which is still relevant today. I hope you enjoyed your Burns Night celebrations whether you celebrated at an event or from the comfort of your own home!
This week I was delighted to be able to host the 300th Anniversary of Adam Smith event in the Scottish Parliament. Adam Smith is often hailed as one of the founding fathers of economics, and his work is still just as important and influential today as it was back then.
Alongside my Parliamentary work, I was able to meet with several people and businesses operating in my constituency.
I met with IBioIC, who specialise in turning waste produce into fuels. Further to their integral business, they are also providing huge training and development opportunities across Scotland in the green energy sector.
I visited Jenkins Fabrications in Reddingmuirhead this week. They have been operating since 1958 and create a number of important steel fabrications for the local area and Scotland.
Following his appointment as the local Area Commander, I was pleased to be able to meet with Chief Inspector Liam Harman to discuss issues within Falkirk East.
I am a great supporter of encouraging young people to fulfil their potential. This week I also met with Professor Ken Thomson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Forth Valley College to discuss education and how best to support the further education sector.