There are early signs that the current restrictions and stay at home message are slowing the spread of the virus, at the time of writing it looks like the R number has fallen below 1. That said, case numbers are still very high, particularly in Glasgow, and the NHS remains under tremendous pressure. We must continue to stay at home, avoid mixing with other households, work from home
where possible, and follow FACTs advice.
Restrictions in place to stop the spread of Covid-19 have affected business in most sectors. The Scottish Government continues to respond with discretionary and sectoral funding schemes, delivered via a package of support worth £570 million, with more to come in the next financial year. Just this last couple of weeks we have seen schemes announced for sectors that have so far ‘fallen through the cracks’, including for taxi drivers, brewers and travel agents. Glasgow City Council has also been allocated £4.47 million for a Business Hardship Scheme, to help businesses that have been unable to access support in recent months, and are at risk of going under.
My office are pro-actively contacting business owners with news of all relevant new schemes.
Seeing the first Covid vaccines being administered in December was a much needed light on the horizon. Since then over 500,000 have been vaccinated, including most frontline NHS and social care staff, care home residents and over-80s – with appointments now in the process of being allocated to over-70s. Vaccine prioritisation is being drawn up in line with JCVI guidance, designed specifically to limit further loss of life.
My office is liaising with NHSGGC colleagues to catch any of those in highest-risk categories who may have slipped through the net, but has received generally positive feedback from constituents and GPs about the administration of the vaccine rollout so far.
Scottish Budget 2021/22
This is a budget which continues the Scottish Government’s urgent measures to control the virus and protect our economy and people in the immediate term, while also ensuring a strong recovery and a fairer, stronger and greener future.
- Record NHS funding in excess of £16 billion
- £1 billion to support the economy and protect jobs, including extending current relief, referenced above
- £50 million specifically to reduce drugs deaths
- £68 million for the SG’s game-changing Scottish Child Payment which will help lift about 30,000 children out of poverty
- £90 million in additional funding for Local Authorities, to facilitate a council tax freeze
Constituency this week
- I continue to meet with constituents in need of support, albeit online via video calls, and my office is taking on more cases than ever over phones and email. Really missing in-person visits, but we’ll get back there soon enough.
- Caught up with the Area Commander of South West Police, Chief Inspector Shaheen Baber to find out how frontline community policing is affected by the pandemic, and to discuss common issues we are seeing in certain parts of the constituency e.g. anti-social behaviour and neighbour disputes.
- Met with Chief Exec of Linthouse Housing Association to hear about the excellent work they are doing in partnership with other community-based social landlords. This concludes a series of catch ups with housing associations across the constituency, to hear about their incredible response to the needs of their tenants, including food-delivery, digital inclusion projects and advice to tackle fuel poverty.
- Great news from Scottish Government that SWAMP have been awarded £600,000 from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund to continue their great work and develop new projects in the constituency.
- More good news that TURF have finally got premises to call their own.