In line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), all 16-17 year olds will now be offered their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Those young people who live in mainland Scotland have been invited to register their interest through the online portal at NHS Inform and will be sent an appointment via SMS or email. Eligible young people in Shetland, Orkney and Wester Isles will be contacted by their health board.
On the 9th of August Scotland moved beyond the levels system. However, some restrictions are still in place to make socialising and the return to work as safe as possible. Measures including face coverings, avoiding large crowds, clean your hands, keeping a distance and self-isolating when necessary is still required to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Please keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 guidance on the Scottish Government website.
We are getting ready for our return to Parliament in September after the Summer recess, but there has still been plenty going on in Parliament in August.
Best Start Foods
This month the Scottish Government achieved another of its commitments for the first 100 days of this Government by increasing the Best Start Foods payments. The payment supports low income families to buy healthy food for young children, contributing to the Scottish Government’s national mission of eradicating child poverty.
Funding to recruit school staff
Education Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville, announced Scottish Government £50million funding to recruit extra school staff. This will help see 1000 new teachers and 500 pupil support assistants recruited in the next academic year. Educational recovery from Covid-19 is vital, that is why the Scottish Government is further investing in education staff.
It is simply heart-breaking to see the events rapidly unfolding in Afghanistan – I know the consequences will be felt well beyond the borders of the country. The UK, along with our international partners, have a moral duty to the people and government of Afghanistan. There are serious questions over the manner of departure from the country, lack of support for the Afghan government, and the reckless cut to aid support.
I welcomed the recall of Parliament to hold the UK government to account, to discuss next steps to prevent an all-out humanitarian crisis, and to ensure the UK discharges its obligations for all those Afghan citizens who have worked with UK forces. The UK Government has a moral duty to provide refuge to as many Afghans as they can. As the First Minister has said, Scotland stands ready to play our part.
NHS Dental Treatment
As the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, I was delighted to announced that young people aged under 26 are now eligible for free NHS dental treatment. The SNP Government is committed to scrapping NHS dental charges for everyone in Scotland and removing them for those under 26 is our first step on that journey.
This initiative took effect immediately, and there is no “opt-in” required. Those who started a course of NHS treatment before their 26th birthday will also be eligible.
In the constituency
- I am delighted to have had my first in-person surgery for over 17 months in the Pearce Institute. I will continue to host in-person surgeries fortnightly. If you would like to book a surgery appointment, then please contact my constituency office.
- I had a lovely catch up with everyone at the Greater Pollok Services at the last session of their Peat Road Hall summer activity club. I also saw the Glenlora Wild Garden which has absolutely transformed – it was beautiful and highlights the excellency which can be achieved by Pollok’s community spirit.
- I would like to congratulate everyone in Pollok for their exam results. I hope that everyone is happy with what they have achieved, and please know that if you need any advice about future carers then you can speak to an Advisor at Skills Development Scotland’s My World of Work.
- I welcome the Government’s announcement of £5 million worth of funding to modernise and restore play parks across Scotland. Each local authority will receive a share of funding to improve the standard of existing play parks, and I look forward to seeing how Glasgow City Council spend their share of the funding.
- Finally, I visited Govan’s Men Shed and spoke with members of their fantastic team. It is great to see a place for men to gather to learn valuable skills whilst helping the community and improving their own wellbeing.