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Joe’s Blog – 26th July

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.

If you have any queries, or require my assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at snp@joe.fitzpatrick.scot

Please Follow My Social Media Accounts For Regular Updates:

If you haven’t already, I would be very grateful if you could:

Like and follow my Facebook page at: /JoeFitzPatrickSNP
Follow me on Instagram at: @JoeFitzSNP
Follow me on Twitter at: @JoeFitzSNP

Even better, if you could like and share my posts going forward, that would be enormously helpful in ensuring that they are seen by as many people as possible, so that we can convince as many people as possible to #BothVotesSNP on 6th May.

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/

COVID-19 Update

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/

Vaccine Rollout

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:

https://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/News/Article/index.htm?article=PROD_345946

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)
  • diabetes
  • dementia
  • 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

https://www.gov.scot/news/next-stage-for-vaccine-programme/

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

https://www.gov.scot/news/care-home-visits-to-resume/

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 snp@joe.fitzpatrick.scot, 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
w: joe.fitzpatrick.scot

Categories
Newsletter

Joe’s Blog – 19th February

Welcome to my 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.

If you have any queries, or require my assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at snp@joe.fitzpatrick.scot

Please Follow My Social Media Accounts For Regular Updates:

If you haven’t already, I would be very grateful if you could:

Like and follow my Facebook page at: facebook.com/JoeFitzPatrickSNP
Follow me on Instagram at: @JoeFitzSNP
Follow me on Twitter at: @JoeFitzSNP

Even better, if you could like and share my posts going forward, that would be enormously helpful in ensuring that they are seen by as many people as possible, so that we can convince as many people as possible to #BothVotesSNP on 6th May.

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/

COVID-19 Update

Thanks to everyone continuing to follow lockdown restrictions, Dundee’s case numbers have fallen since the new year. On 8th January, Dundee had 375.7 case per 100,000 people with a test positivity rate of 12.9%. This had fallen to 47.5 cases per 100,000 people with a positivity rate of 3.2% by 16th February.

This shows that restrictions have successfully slowed transmission of the virus. The First Minister confirmed this week that the Scottish Government will soon be in a position to publish a revised strategic framework, which will set out in much more detail when and how we might gradually emerge from the lockdown.

Vaccine Rollout

Thanks to the incredible work of everyone involved in the vaccine rollout, we remain on schedule to meet all targets. I am extremely grateful to all the staff and also to those of you who have rolled up their sleeve in large numbers so far.

As at 8:30am on Friday 19 February:

1,386,152 people have received the first dose of the Covid vaccination and 29,015 have received their second dose.

  • 30,670 care home residents (exceeding the initial target for residents in older adult care homes and 96% of residents in all care homes).
  • 41,753 care home staff (93% of staff in older adult care homes and 80% of staff in all care homes).
  • 287,800 frontline health and social care workers exceeding the initial target provided by Health Boards.
  • 151,046 people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (84% of those on the shielding list).

Latest progress for each age group on first doses shows we have vaccinated:

  • 273,063 people aged 80 or over (exceeding estimated population based on the latest mid-2019 population estimates)
  • 205,981 people aged 75-79 (exceeding estimated population)
  • 261,681 people aged 70-74 (94%)
  • 220,470 people aged 65-69 (74%)

Phased School Return

The successful slowing of virus transmission has also meant that our youngest pupils can return to the classroom from Monday 22nd February.

The Scottish Government hope that further detail on the next phase of school return could be provided on 2 March.

Whilst the majority of primary and secondary school pupils will continue with remote learning until at least mid-March, I am sure you will agree that this is an encouraging step in the right direction.

As part of the move, The Scottish Government announced a package of support and safety steps including:

  • A further £40 million to help councils implement safety mitigations aligned with clinical advice
  • £60m of additional investment in education recovery, including employing more teachers, classroom support staff and facilities management
  • Twice weekly at-home testing to be offered to people who work in schools, early learning and childcare settings attached to schools, and senior phase pupils. Comprehensive testing guidance has been issued to schools and local authorities, and by the start of this week, more than 2,200 schools had received test kits, with deliveries to remaining schools continuing throughout the rest of this week. The programme will be expanded to stand alone childcare settings as soon as possible thereafter
  • All secondary pupils will be required to observe two metre physical distancing while in school and on school transport in the period immediately after the return. This is in addition to existing measures including the use of face coverings

Funding to Tackle Poverty and Inequality

A package of measures worth £37.2 million has been announced to tackle poverty and inequality, in this financial year.


The funding, confirmed in a Statement to Parliament by the Finance Secretary this week, will support the delivery of two key investments for 2020-2021:

  • A further £100 COVID Hardship Payment for qualifying low income families whose children receive free meals in schools and early learning and childcare settings
  • Additional funding of £20 million for councils to tackle financial insecurity at a local level, making almost £47 million available for this priority

More information is available here.

Council Tax Freeze

Last month, Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, announced a £90 million fund to compensate local authorities who choose to scrap planned rises in Council Tax.

We all know the financial impact that this global pandemic has had in Dundee and beyond. So it is great news that this SNP Government has sought to provide relief to households by supporting local authorities to freeze increases in Council Tax for the coming year.

Non-domestic Rates Relief Extended

Retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined this week. It is one of a series of measures proposed by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending.

More information is available here.

Western Gateway Community Engagement

I recently met virtually with representatives of the Western Gateway Community group to discuss several issues that have arisen in the area.

I wrote to Planning Officers at Dundee City Council regarding the redevelopment of the Swallow Roundabout and have met virtually with the Executive Director of City Development at the Council. Today, I met with Springfield (developer) to discuss their plans for the redevelopment of the junction. I will continue to provide updates on this matter.

I am also in contact with the Council regarding glass recycling at Western Gateway. I have been informed that officers visited the area this week to identify two potential sites for glass bins. The Council will now need to enter discussions with landowners with a view to installing larger units to cater for the potential volumes of glass.

I am awaiting a response from Royal Mail regarding post boxes in the area. Additionally, I have met with Xplore to discuss connecting Western Gateway via new bus routes.

Concerns were also raised about the winter maintenance plans for some roads in the area. The specific area highlighted is the responsibility of Springfield. Following contact with the Chief Executive of Springfield, a commitment was made to grit the most problematic areas and ensure that grit bins are regularly filled. 

Independence Polling

21 polls in a row have shown that a majority of Scots now support Scottish independence. The most recent poll put support for independence at 53% among those expressing an opinion.

The same poll found a majority of people would vote SNP in the Scottish Parliament elections, with support for the SNP at 54% in the constituency ballot and 43% in the regional ballot.

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 snp@joe.fitzpatrick.scot, 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
w: joe.fitzpatrick.scot