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.
Ash Denham MSP last night sponsored an event celebrating the four-year anniversary of the Unicef and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games partnership at the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking at the event, Ash Denham commended the collaboration and celebrated the achievements of the partnership, which was first announced at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with the ambition to Put Children First.
In its four years, the partnership has raised £6.5 million, funding programmes in all 52 Commonwealth countries, and has reached 11.7 million children, including 540,000 in Scotland.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade has released an inquiry report into sex trafficking which has highlighted “industrial scale” sexual exploitation in ‘pop up’ brothels facilitated by online websites.
The report detailed the links between sexual exploitation and organised crime, with the majority of brothels recorded as being connected to other brothels, agencies or non-UK Organised Crime Groups.
The UK’s current laws make it a “highly profitable and low risk” destination for sex traffickers and other third party enablers of sexual exploitation, the report explains.
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.