Show Racism the Red Card commends Anna Signeul

show racism the Red Card 2017A ceremony in the Scottish Parliament recently saw Anna Signeul inducted into the Show Racism the Red Card Hall of Fame. Anna Signeul is the Head Coach of the Scottish Women’s Football team, and was commended for her outstanding efforts in teaching young people about discrimination.

She has supported the Show Racism the Red Card campaign through events held for young people at Hampden Park,  and educating them about the importance of non-discriminatory behaviour towards people because of their skin colour, nationality, culture or religion.

This work is commendable, and it was excellent to join members of the football team to celebrate Anna’s achievements. By having open and frank discussions about discrimination at an early age, we can prevent dangerous attitudes and behaviours and help keep racism out of sporting events.

 

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Who Cares? Scotland

Who Cares? Scotland are raising awareness today for young people who have experienced being in care.  Today is a celebration of their identity, successes and the relationships they have built.  Today also recognises the commitment of the Scottish Parliament to improve outcomes for care experienced individuals.

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National Walking Strategy – for health and environment

SNH walking strategy feb 2017We all know there are significant health and economic gains from getting people to become active, and the easiest and cheapest way for individuals to achieve this is by increasing walking.

I am very pleased to discuss how I can help with this issue with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) as they held an exhibition on the issue in the Scottish Parliament last week.

The National Walking Strategy (NWS) aims to raise the status of walking across urban and rural areas of Scotland. This will include focusing on the needs of pedestrian and walker’s policy, planning and implementation.  As the MSP for South Scotland, I know that the region has many urban and rural areas that people can go and enjoy, whether it’s to walk, camp or even a family day out.

As well as health improvements, there are a number of environmental benefits to active travel, one of them being that it will reduce climate change. If more people walk than use their car, this will help reduce emissions from road transport and improve air quality.

As the Spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, I know there is still a lot of work to be done to encourage more people to walk such as making sure that everyone can enjoy the health benefits of walking through the prevision of good quality, well connected and accessible path networks and greenspaces.

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Snaring in Scotland

Many of constituents reached out to me recently, sharing their concerns with the practice of snaring in Scotland. I was keen to reassure those across South Scotland and beyond that I agree that snaring is cruel, indiscriminate and unnecessary.

Snaring involves a wire trap used commonly across Scotland to to protect gamebirds such as grouse and pheasants from fox predation.

These traps can inflict extreme physical and mental suffering on captured animals, including a wide range of non-target animals, including protected species such as badgers and otters, as well as dogs and cats.

In Scottish Labour’s manifesto last year, we called for a consultation on banning snaring altogether. It is very disappointing to note that the Scottish Government has taken no action on strengthening the current legislation, despite its consultation closing some time ago.

Snaring is an ineffective means of land management, and I support Onekind’s proposal that a 2-hour training course on setting snares, as currently required by the legislation, is inadequate to improve the practice of snaring. There is a concerning lack of veterinary input.

As Spokesperson for Climate Change, Environment, and Land Reform, I will continue Scottish Labour’s proud tradition of standing up for animals, and ensuring the Parliament does what it can to ensure Scotland is a humane place for animals.

You can learn more about OneKind’s campaign against snaring here.

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#ShowTheLove for Nature

1This Valentine’s Day RSPB are asking us all to “show the love” for our natural world. Each MSP was given a handmade brooch to remind us to cherish the green spaces, birds, and animals that we love.

My green heart was sent to me by Jane Comer, who said,

“Many things we love could be lost to climate change. I made this heart to Show the Love….I think we all need a connection to nature and wild places to function properly.”

 

2I have just taken part in the Big Garden Bird watch and submitted my results – saw lots of birds including a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and a Yellowhammer! Many people in both town and country enjoy feeding the birds.

 

My partner and I have also started leaving some piles of wood, cuttings and leaves for animals use as safe hideaways to hibernate in.

Together we can make a world of difference!3

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Children’s Mental Health Week

The Place2Be Event at Scottish Parliament, Tue 08/02/2017:  Claudia Beamish MSP, South of Scotland. Photography for The Place2Be from:  Colin Hattersley Photography - colinhattersley@btinternet.com - www.colinhattersley.com - 07974 957 388

The Place2Be Event at Scottish Parliament, Tue 08/02/2017:
Claudia Beamish MSP, South of Scotland.
Photography for The Place2Be from: Colin Hattersley Photography – colinhattersley@btinternet.com – www.colinhattersley.com – 07974 957 388

Children’s Mental Health Week takes place from the 6th – 12th of February. This year the aim is to encourage everyone to Spread a little Kindness

We’ve all known someone going through a tough time, and it can be hard to know what to do to help, especially where children are involved. It may sound simple but in these moments, small acts of kindness can make all the difference.

I work very closely with the Scottish Youth Parliament which represents young people from all corners of Scotland aged 12-25. There national campaign is ‘Speak your Mind’ which is focused all around young people’s mental health. More information about their campaign can be found here.

On Tuesday 7th February I attended a parliamentary reception hosted by Alex-Cole Hamilton MSP. It was attended by Teachers, Place2Be Scotland and various other MSPs. I found the night very informative.

On Friday I also attended the local youth club next to my regional office, Universal Connections. I had a chat to the staff who work with the children day in day out who stressed the importance that building a relationship with the kids has in being able to signpost them in the right direction. I am also keenly aware about how important building a relationship with other agencies in the area is for them to be able to support children who may be having mental health issues.

This research by Place2be Scotland clearly shows that there is still a lot of work to be done both nationally and locally. As the MSP for the South of Scotland I will do everything I can to support young people’s mental health. If you need support for mental health you can call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit their website here.

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NFUS discuss Brexit challenges

NFU Feb 2017I recently met with Clyde branch representatives of National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) Jen Craig, Branch Chair, Tom French, Vice Chair, Iain Renwick and Jim Russell to discuss the challenges the farming and agricultural sector face over the coming years.

Farming and agriculture is always a challenging sector but farmers are facing very uncertain times.  Last year there was utter chaos around farm payments being administered and many have lost confidence in the Scottish Government’s ability to get payments out on time.

Delays last year had a serious knock on effect on the wider rural economy and I will be calling on the Scottish Government to reassure my constituents that there will not be a repeat of last year’s disaster.

Brexit is also understandably of concern to the farming community.  The group I met with stressed how important it will be that Scotland develops a structure for funding including agri environment schemes for the future that are not ‘one size fits all’.

I agree that decision making and funding for the future of Scottish agriculture has to be largely devolved to Holyrood as arrangements are made for the post Brexit years.  Scottish agriculture differs greatly from down south and indeed there are major differences in climate and topography which must be recognised and accounted for.

I am committed to taking forward these issues and I will work closely with my colleague Rhoda Grant who is our spokesperson for Rural Economy and Connectivity to ensure these concerns are heard.

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Lockhart progress

Local elected members met with NHS Lanarkshire last week to find out what progress is being made with the Lockhart.

The meeting has helped outline the progress being made with the Lockhart. Although it is still closed to admissions, rehabilitation services have been operating from the hospital and I am encouraged by the news that these will be extended while the right longer term model of care is developed.

Recruitment has begun with some roles already appointed so that a nurse led model of care can be tested. This would see Advanced Nurse Practitioners taking on some of the roles previously carried out by doctors.

NHS are also working with a number of local groups to make sure the needs of people in this area are understood.

I welcome NHS Lanarkshire’s commitment to a public meeting hosted by the Community Council at the end of February which I called for at the previous meeting.  The community needs to be reassured that the Lockhart has not been forgotten about and work is on-going to ensure that its re-opening is sustainable.

NHS Lanarkshire talks more about their plans in their recent press release.

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Communities hit by SNP and Scottish Greens’ budget cuts

Last week I voted against a Scottish Government draft budget which will see Local Government across Scotland faced with a further cut of £169 million.

Since 2011 the SNP has cut £1.5 billion from schools and care for the elderly.

The outcome of the vote was disappointing. The SNP and Greens have agreed a deal that freezes the Higher Rate of income tax threshold.  As a consequence, higher earners in Scotland will not pay a penny more in income tax than they do today.

The SNP has refused to use new tax powers to ask higher earners to pay a little bit more.

Scottish Labour would amend the budget to set the basic and higher income rate just 1 penny higher than the rate set by Westminster and introduce a 50p top rate of tax for the richest 1%.

The additional revenue raised would allow us to invest in our local services which are currently stretched to the point of breaking.

The SNP are failing Scotland’s communities by not doing more with the powers they have.

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World Wetlands Day 2017

ramsar_infographic_eng_titlepg_web_0Each year, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands celebrates February the 2nd as ‘World Wetlands Day’ to raise global awareness of the importance of wetlands

Wetlands act as natural safeguards against disasters. They protect communities most at risk and vulnerable to the devastating effects of floods, droughts and storm surges. The frequency of natural hazards worldwide has more than doubled in just 35 years furthermore, research shows that 90% of all natural hazards are water-related.

By 2050, loss of wetlands, rising populations, climate change and rising sea levels are set to increase the number of people vulnerable to floods to over 2 billion. However, Well-managed wetlands make communities resilient in the event of extreme weather and help to minimize the damage from floods, hurricanes and droughts.

As the MSP for South Scotland and the spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, I understand the amount of stress and disruption that is caused to houses, businesses and families affected. I will do everything in my role as a MSP and spokesperson to protect businesses and houses when the weather is on top of us. If you require assistance in relation to floods you can call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or visit their website here.

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