Devolution is approaching its 20th anniversary. Yet, instead of preparing to celebrate all of its achievements, we are instead forced to defend the devolution settlement and the powers of our Scottish Parliament from a UK Government power grab. Devolution is extremely popular in Scotland, with the overwhelming majority of Scots wanting decisions impacting Scotland to be made here. For the UK Government to try to take powers away from Scotland is disrespectful of the devolution settlement, the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland. The SNP is committed to defending these powers so that Scotland continues to have a say over its future.
Access to vital medicines for rare diseases is of pressing concern to many of my constituents and to many patients across Scotland. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised this and has taken significant steps to widen access to medicines so that patients can access new medicines faster.
I was delighted to be able to contribute to Gillian Martin MSP’s Member’s Business Debate Welcoming Women In Engineering Day. The statistics of girls and women studying and working in STEM areas makes for disheartening reading, and we should be doing all we can to encourage girls and young women to pursue their passions in STEM subject areas.
Yesterday I asked the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, if the Scottish Government’s First Annual Progress Report on Human Trafficking acknowledges the influence of organised crime groups in human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and what the Scottish Government can do to combat this. I was encouraged to hear that the report recognises this and that this is a key focus of both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland in both enforcement and prevention actions taken forward.
Yesterday I asked the Scottish Government to provide an update on its negotiations with the EU, following the First Minister’s recent meeting with Michel Barnier. It is clear that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit outcome would be catastrophic for Scotland. While the UK Government continues to be helplessly confused, the Scottish Government has been clear all along – Scotland and the UK must remain in the EU Single Market and Customs Union to safeguard the economy, jobs and people’s livelihoods.
Yesterday I spoke in the #CitizenGirl Initiative debate, celebrating the partnership programme of GirlGuiding Scotland and Women 5050. I am delighted to see the Citizen Girl Initiative encouraging girls and young women to use their voices to enact change in Scotland, creating the leaders and the world changers of tomorrow.
Yesterday I asked the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution how the Scottish Government’s fiscal policy supports first-time buyers. See below for his answer.
Yesterday I spoke in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Debate, and called on the UK Government to listen to the Scottish Parliament. We cannot compromise on a fundamental premise of devolution- consent. The Scottish Parliament was unanimous- Scottish Tories alone in their opposition- in refusing consent for the Bill, and it is now time for the UK Government to reconsider its power grab on this Parliament’s powers.
I asked the Scottish Government, in light of the ongoing review of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, what consideration it is giving to putting a professional system, such as the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in England, in place for family courts in Scotland.
I spoke in the NHS Tayside Public Inquiry Debate, and acknowledged the importance of feedback to public services in order to improve the quality of services people are able to access – especially in an area as important as mental health. I welcome the fact that NHS Tayside Chairman John Brown has commissioned an independent inquiry into the mental health services offered by NHS Tayside, and it is crucial that recommendations be undertaken as a matter of priority.