Covid

In Scotland, we have now seen the last of all Covid-19 restrictions being lifted. Final measures which included wearing face coverings and participating in testing and isolating have been removed in most settings.

The Scottish Government is asking people to continue using ‘Covid sense’ to protect yourself and others as the virus still poses a threat. This advice includes:

  • Getting your vaccine
  • Open windows when socialising indoors
  • Wear a face covering in indoor public places and on public transport
  • Wash your hands
  • Take a PCR test and isolate if you have symptoms
  • Take an LFD test before visiting someone in hospital or a care home setting

Finally, Professor Andrew Morris has been appointed as Chair of the Scottish Government’s Standing Committee on Pandemic Preparedness (SCoPP). The Committee met in April to discuss how it will fulfil the First Minister’s commission to advise on how Scotland can be as prepared as possible to meet future pandemics. Members will prepare an initial report on priorities within six months, with a final report produced within a further 18 months.

In Parliament

Support for Ukrainian Students in Scotland

Subject to Parliamentary approval, displaced Ukrainian students settling in Scotland will be given access to free tuition and living cost support. This is provided that the students have submitted an application to the Homes for Ukraine, Ukraine Family or the Ukraine Extension schemes.

Existing Ukrainian students who have previously started courses in Scotland and who are experiencing hardship will be eligible to apply for immediate financial assistance through a newly created £1 million International Students’ Emergency Fund.

Childcare Savings for Families

In the midst of the cost of living crisis, thousands of families are saving around £4,900 annually thanks to the Scottish Government funded Early Learning and Childcare.

Latest figures show that 111,574 children were funded ELC places at the end of January 2022, a 23% increase since August 2021. Of these children, 88% were taking advantage of the full offer of 1,140 hours of funded ELC per year.

Providing access to free, high-quality early learning and childcare enriches children’s early years and provides them with skills and confidence for starting school and beyond. It also supports parents’ ability to work, train or study.

ScotRail Under Public Sector Control

ScotRail is officially coming under public control and the ownership heralds a new beginning that truly puts passengers and staff at the heart of rail services.

This transition marks a key milestone in the SNP’s ambitious Programme for Government to support a greener, fairer, more prosperous Scotland. It is a new beginning which creates a real opportunity to deliver a railway which is for the Scottish nation, and fully focused on being run for the benefit of its users – customers, staff and stakeholders, as opposed to shareholders.

In the Constituency

  • This month, myself and many others in the constituency observed Ramadan. It is a challenging but rewarding month. In the last few years our Eid celebrations have been restricted due to the pandemic but I hope this year everyone was able to celebrate and have a joyous time with family friends and their community. I want to wish all those who celebrated a belated Eid Mubarak. I was also delighted to receive an Islamic Relief chocolate fudge cake this year – this is an excellent (and tasty) campaign which I can happily get behind. Since 2013, the Cake Campaign has delivered over 2.5 million slices of chocolate cake, with the philosophy being that you save a life with a slice of cake as the money raised goes to Syria.
  • I met with Govan Community Project who have undertaken a partnership with Engineers Without Borders. They have produced a design challenge for engineering students to think about engineering from the perspective of people and communities. It is a collaboration between Glasgow University and the University of South Africa. I was delighted to participate in one of their interviews to discuss all aspects of the local area.
  • The Local Council elections was fast approaching, and local candidates have been out campaigning, speaking to members of the public. It is important that everyone gets out to vote so we have a truly representative result. Best of luck to all the candidates.
  • There are some great funding opportunities at the moment:
    • As part of the National Lottery’s £22m Fund to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be investing £5m into a joint initiative called Next-Door Nature, delivered in partnership with the Wildlife Trust. The fund will empower people in economically deprived urban and rural areas to undertake micro-projects that help nature thrive and tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis. Furthermore, they are investing £2m to support paid placements for young people from communities under-served in the nature workforce. Find further details here: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/ps5million-improve-access-nature-and-combat-climate-change?fbclid=IwAR3kb0XJmVly9SpvPfAd0QC9K4OcJDpc61dqWqtQ2XoQ0m1xvJ7kPV5-QAM
    • Govan Housing Association have launched their Community Fund 2022-23. They are welcoming applications from local community initiatives which will improve the quality of life in the Govan area. The first session of funding has passed in March, but two further deadline dates of 30th May and 30th September remain. For more information or help with the application you can email community@govanha.org.uk or call 0141 406 6638.
  • It has been really great to see so many constituents again now that Covid-19 restrictions allow it. I have had meetings in person at our new office in Govan, gone to visit community groups, organisations and schools. I was even greeted at Pirie Park Primary by one of the talented students who piped me in – he plays with the Govan Schools and Community Pipe Band who I believe are exceeding expectations in competitions! Keep up the good work. My office and I also still offer virtual appointments for those who wish – simply get in touch with my team if you want to arrange an appointment.

Humza with student and piper from Govan School and Community Pipe Band