Monday: I met with Vattenfall, a state-owned Swedish utility company that has a strong onshore wind portfolio in Scotland, with projects in Skype and Aberdeenshire, and is building an offshore centre off the Aberdeenshire coast. Vattenfall wanted to give evidence for the Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy, which I am working on in my capacity on the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee. More info on the draft energy strategy can be found here.
Tuesday: In the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work committee we continued discussions on the gender pay gap and draft energy strategy. In chamber the Parliament voted on the Air Departure Tax Bill. I voted in favour of the bill, as I believe it will boost international connectivity for Scotland’s airports and put them on a level playing field with other European airports. The bill passed 108 for and 11 against.
Wednesday: I attended finance committee where we heard evidence from Professor Alan Page (University of Dundee) and Professor Stephen Tierney (University of Edinburgh) on the applicability of legislative consent in respect of Brexit.
In chamber we had an emotive debate about amending existing legislation on the universal ban of dog tail shortening/docking to exempt two breeds of working dogs. I recognise that both sides of the debate felt they were acting out of a concern for the welfare of dogs, although their approaches differed. Many Scottish vets expressed support for the Scottish Government’s stance, while professional bodies held an opposing view. I shared the view of the majority of constituents who contacted me on this issue, and as such, abstained from the vote.
Thursday: In chamber during general question time I asked the Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart what the Scottish Government’s position is on setting a cap on mid-market rents to achieve more affordable housing, and how many more mid-market rental properties are to be built in Edinburgh over the next four years. The Minister expects 2,100 properties to be built over the next four years in Edinburgh. You can see my question and the Minister’s full answer here
Friday: I visited Holyrood High School in the constituency to take part in the Outreach Education Programme. I met with senior pupils to discuss politics and my work in Parliament. They had great questions!
Later that afternoon I hosted a Marie Curie Blooming Tea Party in my constituency office. We helped raise money for those living with terminal illness. Thanks to all those who turned out!