Another busy week both in the constituency and parliament, beginning with an excellent visit to Carronshore Primary School, where I was delighted to meet with P7 pupils to discuss the role of democracy in Scottish life and the work I do on behalf of constituents.

Tuesday’s Finance & Public Administration Committee was conducted as a private session, however the Education, Children & Young People’s Committee had an important and robust evidence session on the Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill, hearing from Natalie Don - Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise. There continue to be a number of vital matters pertaining to the detail on this bill which I pressed the minister for answers on and continue to seek further clarity. You can watch committee proceedings for more detail on this here : (link)

In the chamber I made a number of contributions including asking Deputy FM Shona Robison about how Financial Memoranda produced by government can be improved and better subject to scrutiny. In the tight financial constraints of public spending this is a vital issue and important to the work of the Finance & Public Administration Committee. I was also able to contribute to the debate on the Rural & Islands Housing Action Plan and ask a question during the statement on the Scottish Government’s provision of information to the Covid-19 inquiries, which you can watch here : (link)

As convener of the Cross Party Group on St. Andrew’s Day, I was delighted to host a busy meeting, hard in the planning for our St Andrew’s Day event, now less than a month away.

I was also pleased to visit a number of exhibitions in parliament this week, showcasing the important work of Alcohol Focus Scotland and the Horticultural Trades Association. More on this can be found in previous Facebook posts.

 

 

 

The first week back after recess is always a busy one.
 
I kicked off the week with a visit to Carrondale Care Home in Carronshore. I met with staff and residents, and we covered a wide variety of topics! Larbert High School pupils were also there playing the bagpipes. Trishaw rider volunteers from Cycling Without Age, whom I will be meeting with directly in the New Year, were also there to give residents free trishaw rides around Falkirk if they wished to get out and about.
 
Alongside my Finance and Public Administration Committee and Education, Children and Young People Committee work in the Scottish Parliament, I also had the opportunity to speak in the Chamber through my contributions to the Citizen Participation & Public Petitions Committee Debate and a Supplementary Question at the Education and Skills Portfolio Questions.
 
School visits to the Scottish Parliament are a common occurrence throughout the year, and this week we welcomed Primary 6 pupils from Shieldhill Primary School. It was heartening to hear they are currently studying political literacy at school. I was very impressed with the quality of questions from them!
 
 
 
 
This week was the final week before the October Parliamentary recess.
 
I attended both my Education, Children and Young People Committee and my Finance and Public Administration Committee. In my committee work, I thoroughly enjoy being able to ask pertinent questions of those in the decision-making processes. While my Education, Children and Young People Committee was not broadcast on Scottish Parliament TV, you can watch my contributions to the Finance and Public Administration Committee here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/.../finance-and-public...
 
I was pleased to be able to speak in a range of business in the Chamber this week. Following uncertainty over the funding within the arts and culture sector, I asked the First Minister for clarification on funding for Creative Scotland this year and in future. You can hear my questions and the First Minister’s responses here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/.../first-ministers....
 
I also raised a Portfolio Question on Social Justice and contributed to the Protection of Scottish Parliament Powers debate. You can see my contribution to the debate on a previous post.
 
The Scottish Parliament showcases exhibitions throughout each week, sponsored by an MSP. This week, I met with artist Ian Whyte and The Larder. Ian’s art is extremely thought provoking, highlighting the plight of refugees and he aims to establish the differences in the use of the terminology ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee’. The Larder exhibited their ‘Innovative Responses to Poverty’ stand, which provided some valuable information about tackling poverty, giving example of what is being done in West Lothian.
 
Grangemouth was named as a Green Freeport project earlier this year. I attended the Forth Ports launch on Wednesday evening to learn more about Forth Ports Limited’s plans to reach net zero by 2042, including the Green Freeport in my constituency. It was an interesting evening, with my colleague Mairi McAllan speaking at the event in her capacity as Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition.
 
May be an image of 6 people and text
 
 

It has been a busy month since Parliament returned from summer recess. As you read through my monthly newsletter, you will find out more about my work within both the constituency, the Scottish Parliament and even further afield!

Each year, the first week back after summer recess focuses on the Programme for Government. 11 Bills will continue their journey through the Scottish Parliament this year, and a further 14 Bills will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament for the first time. 18 Bills were passed last session.

Much of the Programme for Government 2023/24 centres around equality, opportunity and community. With the Westminster Tory government repeatedly introducing disastrous initiatives and policies, the Scottish Government finds itself having to siphon off large amounts of its funding from Barnett Consequentials to mitigate many of these damaging Westminster proposals. Instead of allocating funding to improving a whole host of devolved responsibilities, the Scottish Government is having to re-allocate huge amount of funding to introduce initiatives which buffer the effects of Tory mismanagement and try to combat the increasing costs seen in England, Ireland and Wales.

It should not be the case that Scotland relies on Barnett Consequentials from a calamitous Tory led Westminster for funding, funding which is then used to combat the lamentable actions of that same Tory government. The people of Scotland deserve better, and only with independence can we strive to control our own finances for policies and initiative which benefit the people of Scotland.

I was delighted to receive the Holyrood Magazine : Political Hero of the Year Award, which were held at the start of September. The Awards also recognised the work of the Finance and Public Administration Committee in winning the “Powering Change” award. My sincere thanks to Holyrood Magazine for a very enjoyable event and to everyone who voted.

 

award.jpg
 (Intense)

 

 

 

My Week In 5
 
This week I was pleased to sponsor the “Peace at the Heart” exhibition in the Scottish Parliament, showcasing the many elements and benefits of a “Peace Education” approach in Scotland’s schools. You can read more about the travelling exhibition & further work of Quakers in Scotland here : https://www.quakerscotland.org/news/peace-heart
 
During this week’s Education Children & Young People’s Committee, I focused my questions to the Cabinet Secretary Jenny Gilruth on how a resetting of relationships and the new fiscal framework under development between Scottish Government and Cosla will assist in providing clarity on ring-fencing & directed spend in Education for local authority budgets. You can watch my contribution and responses on the following link :
 
On Tuesday, I was delighted to host the parliament’s Cross Party Group on Music where all members were enthusiastic to hear about last weekend’s first ever Scottish Folk Day which took place alongside European Folk Day and resulted in many successful events held across Scotland. It was a pleasure to submit a parliamentary motion on this recently which you can find the detail of here:
 
Returning to committee work, during the Finance and Public Administration Committee I was able to question Maree Todd, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, on the conditions around legislation and delivery of the National Care Service. This is a critical piece of legislation which has many challenges and requires careful scrutiny by parliament as well as detailed planning to be successfully delivered to meet its objectives. You can watch my contribution and responses on the following link https://bit.ly/3RF6F4j
 
As well as quite a variety of meetings across the week, I very much enjoyed dropping into the Colleges Scotland Parliamentary Showcase where it was a pleasure to catch up with Forth Valley College Principal Kenny MacInnes and also to attend a roundtable event hosted by my colleague Ivan McKee, with members from FinTech Scotland and Scottish Government discussing innovating opportunities in enabling Fintech exports.
 
May be an image of 11 people and text
 
 

Facebook

Join the SNP

Yes

Twitter Latest