Welcome to my latest blog. I hope to keep you updated on what has been happening in Dundee City West and in the Scottish Parliament. I will also provide regular updates on the 2021 Holyrood election campaign.
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Register to Vote and Sign Up for a Postal Vote:
As the Scottish Parliament election in May fast approaches, make sure that you have registered to vote at your current address. You can register at: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
With all of the uncertainty around Covid at the moment, lots of people are signing up for a postal vote. You can download a form to send to the Electoral Registration Office at: https://www.snp.org/postal-vote/
Scotland’s phased and careful approach to easing lockdown restrictions while continuing to suppress Coronavirus (COVID-19) was outlined by the First Minister earlier this week.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I know how hard current restrictions are after 11 long months of this pandemic, however they are working and we can now see our way out of them. We are in a far better position now than at the start of January and these measures are initial steps on a slow, but hopefully steady, route back to much greater normality.”
The updated Strategic Framework sets out the six tools the Scottish Government will use to restore, on a phased basis, greater normality to our everyday lives.
The immediate priority will continue to be the phased return of education, building on the return of some pupils to school yesterday. On the basis that progress in suppressing the virus and vaccinating key groups remains on track restrictions would be eased in the following order:
- the next phase of school returns with the rest of the primary school years, P4 to P7, and more senior phase secondary pupils back in the classroom for part of their learning and the limit on outdoor mixing between households increasing to four people from a maximum of two households
- the stay at home restriction to be lifted and any final school returns to take place. Communal worship to restart in limited numbers mindful of the timing of major religious festivals. This phase would also see the re-opening of retail, starting with an extension of the definition of essential retail and the removal of restrictions on click-and collect
- return to a levels approach with all of Scotland moving to at least level 3, with some possible adjustments. This could mean that from the last week of April that we would expect to see phased but significant re-opening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers
There is likely to be a gap of at least three weeks between each easing of restrictions to assess the impact of changes, and to check that it is safe to proceed further using the six conditions for safe easing set out by the World Health Organisation.
As the vaccination programme progresses, a return to more variable levels of restrictions, which can vary by location, is likely when it is safe to do so.
Ongoing financial support is set out in the Framework and will continue to be available to businesses as we emerge from lockdown. This includes the ongoing commitment to fund the Strategic Framework Business Fund and to provide Level 4 payments for an additional month once businesses are moved down a level. These proposals are contingent on receipt of additional consequentials from the UK Government.
More details about the planned easing of restrictions can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-strategic-framework-update-february-2021/
Almost 135,000 people have now been vaccinated in Tayside, which is around 38% of the adult population in Tayside. This means that NHS Tayside remains one of the top performing boards in Scotland in terms of population vaccinated.
The next people to be invited for vaccination are those aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions and adult unpaid carers. This is priority group 6 on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation list. This is one of the largest groups on the priority list so it may take several weeks to complete invitations for the whole group.
More info is available from NHS Tayside at:
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“As we move through the JCVI priority list, we will continue to maximise the number of vaccinations depending on available supply. Although a small number of people in group 6 will already have been invited in some parts of Scotland, we are now able to begin to roll out these invites more widely. Boards will begin to send the invites as their supply levels allow, and once they have completed a good proportion of 65-69-year-olds.”
JCVI priority group 6 includes people aged 16 to 64 with the following conditions:
- a blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
- a kidney disease
- a liver disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
- rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or psoriasis (who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments)
- who have had an organ transplant
- have had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- a neurological or muscle wasting condition
- a severe or profound learning disability
- a problem with the spleen, such as sickle cell disease, or those who have had their spleen removed
- have a BMI of above 40
- are severely mentally ill
Care home visits to resume
Routine indoor visiting of care home residents by relatives, friends and carers will be able to resume from early March with care providers supporting residents to have up to two designated visitors each and one visit a week for each visitor.
Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman said:
“The decisions regarding restrictions on visiting for care home residents have been some of the most difficult we have faced and I have the greatest sympathy for those who have been unable to see relatives and loved ones in person for so long.”
The nine levels of protection to mitigate the risks of resuming visiting are:
- Effective Infection Prevention Control in each care home as standard practice at all times
- Appropriate PPE and training on donning and doffing in a safe way and a safe place
- Testing for all residents entering or returning to a care home
- Three times weekly testing for all staff
- Testing for all professional and other staff entering a care home
- Testing for family visitors
- PPE for family visitors
- Vaccination of residents and staff
- Public health and primary care support and guidance if symptoms or a positive case develops in a resident or staff member
22nd Poll in a Row Shows Majority for Independence
The new poll by Ipsos MORI is the 22nd in a row to show majority support for Scottish independence.
Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands, not those of Boris Johnson’s. www.yes.scot/signup/
The same poll also showed the SNP continue to lead in voting intention.
According to IPSOS MORI:
“The SNP retains a very comfortable lead in voting intention for both constituency and list votes in next May’s Scottish Parliament elections, with the Conservatives in second place and Labour in third.”
Headline Scottish Parliament voting intention figures for the constituency vote are:
SNP: 52% (-3 compared with 20-26 November)
Scottish Conservatives: 23% (+1)
Scottish Labour: 15% (+1)
Scottish Liberal Democrats: 5% (-1)
Scottish Green Party: 3% (+2)
Other: 2% (unchanged)
Headline Scottish Parliament voting intention figures for the regional vote are:
SNP: 47% (unchanged)
Scottish Conservatives: 22% (unchanged)
Scottish Labour: 14% (-2)
Scottish Green Party: 8% (+1)
Scottish Liberal Democrats: 6% (unchanged)
Other: 3% (+1)
Both Votes SNP
In 2016, the SNP increased its constituency vote, but we lost our majority and ended up with fewer pro-independence seats. It was the list vote that got the SNP over the majority line in 2011. Scotland’s future is in your hands. Make it #BothVotesSNP for #IndyRef2.
The below video explains why it crucial to cast #BothVotesSNP if you support an independent Scotland.
That’s all for this week. As ever, if you have any queries or if I can help with anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email@example.com, or you can message me on Facebook at: facebook.com/JoeFitzPatrickSNP
Yours for Scotland,
Joe FitzPatrick MSP (Dundee City West Constituency)
a: 37 Dock Street, Dundee, DD1 3DR
t: 01382 843244