There is still a high level of Covid cases in Glasgow, as well as across other parts of Scotland. However, we are seeing positive signs that the Scottish Government’s vaccine strategy is effectively curbing the rate of serious illness and death. 98% of care home residents, and 89% of clinically vulnerable of all ages have now received first doses, with deaths in care homes, in hospitals, and at home all falling dramatically.
The First Minister presented an updated Strategic Framework earlier this week detailing how the Scottish Government plans to assess latest data as we gradually ease restrictions and restore normality to our daily lives – see details here https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-strategic-framework-update-february-2021/
We are mostly appearing remotely but the Parliament’s business agenda is as packed as ever.
Hate Crime Bill
I have been working closely with opposition parties and stakeholders to develop a single freedom of expression collectively covering several protected characteristics. We want to get the balance right between protecting freedom of speech – a cornerstone of our democracy – and ensuring that protections for those that need it most, those targeted by hatred, are not watered down.
Last week I appeared before the Justice Committee to answer questions on this important Bill, for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse – particularly by making it possible to transfer a tenancy from an abuser to their victim. The Bill will create new orders whereby a suspected perpetrator can be removed by Police from the family home if they suspect abuse may have taken place. I have unfortunately dealt with multiple cases in my constituency in the past in which a victim of abuse has found themselves in the homelessness system after fleeing their abuser – this Bill would introduce measures which prevent this further trauma.
Constituency this month
- Met with several constituents at “virtual” surgeries. My constituency office remains closed to the public while staff work from home, but continue to take on cases via phone, email and post.
- Welcomed the launch of the Scottish Child Payment, which will benefit so many constituents across Glasgow Pollok. Eligible families receive £10/week per child under the age of 6.
- Met with Sunny Govan management team to discuss funding challenges they face, and how my office can help support them through it
- Met with new Morrisons Cardonald Community Champion to hear about the projects they have been supporting/looking to support in the local area – also gave me the opportunity to thank supermarket staff for keeping things going throughout the pandemic as key workers. Agreed to link the Community Champion in with local groups for LGBT young people in the area.