Categories
Newsletter

Joe’s Blog – 5th March 2021

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

Welcome to our new SNP members!

Over the past 48 hours, thousands of people have joined the SNP, including dozens here in Dundee, adding to our already substantial membership here in the city. Welcome to you all.

Together, we’ll build the fairer, better, independent Scotland that’s within our reach.

If you have any questions at all about the SNP, whether you are a new member or perhaps a returning member, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at snp@joe.fitzpatrick.scot

COVID-19 – Phase 2 of Schools Return

Earlier this week the First Minister providing an update on plans for more pupils to return to school.

All remaining primary school children are set to return to school full-time from 15 March, with all secondary pupils returning on a part-time basis from that date. All pupils are expected to return to full-time schooling after Easter, subject to continued suppression of the virus.

The plans are conditional on continued progress on suppressing coronavirus (COVID-19).

On 16th February, the SNP Government announced a package of support and safety steps to support the phased return, including:

  • a further £40 million to help councils implement safety mitigations aligned with clinical advice
  • £60 million 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. The programme will be expanded to stand alone childcare settings as soon as possible

Find out more at https://www.gov.scot/news/phase-2-of-schools-return/

Vaccine Rollout Update

More than 146,300 people have now had their first vaccination in Tayside, which is around 41% 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. So far, around 97% of people in Tayside who are over 70, 87% of those shielding and 89% aged 65-69 have had a vaccination.

These figures are an incredible achievement and are thanks to the dedication and hard work of NHS Tayside staff, working in partnership with Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, the Council, and GP surgeries, and others. Well done to everyone involved!

NHS Tayside is also now delivering second doses to patient-facing health and social care workers, care home staff and residents, with more than 5,300 having had both doses of the vaccine.

Currently, those in priority group 6 on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation list are being invited for vaccination. This includes people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions and adult unpaid carers. Detailed information on who is eligible in this group is available at www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine

First Families Receive Scottish Child Payments

Thousands of families are now receiving their first Scottish Child Payment. As of Sunday 28 February, 52,000 applications had been approved.

The new benefit to tackle child poverty, which is unique to Scotland, will give qualifying parents and carers £40 every four weeks for each child under six.

98,000 applications had been received by the end of February. Parents and carers are able to apply for all eligible children in their household in a single application and can also apply for Best Start Grants and Best Start Foods at the same time.

Find out more at: https://www.gov.scot/news/first-families-receive-scottish-child-payments/

Tackling Child Poverty

Action to tackle deep-rooted inequality and child poverty will be accelerated through £7.4 million of additional investment from the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell said:

“This increased funding delivers not only on our commitment to invest £50 million through our Tackling Child Poverty Fund, but also to target support to disabled parents to access employment.”

Find out more at https://www.gov.scot/news/tackling-child-poverty-4/

SNP – Delivering for Scotland

Majority Support for Independence

The latest poll by Savanta ComRes confirms once again that a majority of people in Scotland support independence.

YES: 53% NO: 47%

Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands, not those of Boris Johnson’s. www.yes.scot/signup/

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/

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)

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

Categories
Newsletter

Joe’s Blog – 26th February

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. 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/

Let’s End Conversion Therapy in Scotland

At the Scottish Parliament’s Equality and Human Rights Committee, I spoke about the End Conversion Therapy campaign.

More info at: https://endconversiontherapy.scot/background

I believe that this is something that needs to be taken forward. It’s a bit of a shame on us all that in this day and age, with so many reforms, this kind of behaviour is still legal in Scotland.

I think we need to look at taking forward legislation to put beyond doubt that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in Scotland.

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
Business Carers Children Education

Increased Support for Childminders

Payments will support business sustainability.

Grants of £750 are being paid to all registered childminders in Scotland in order to secure the sustainability of their businesses.

Funding of more than £3.2 million has been made available to ensure that all childminders registered with the Care Inspectorate will receive the flat-rate payment.

While up to £1 million had been planned for need-assessed grants, additional resource has been invested to ensure payments can be made to all registered childminders. This will simplify and speed up the process, ensuring the money reaches those that need it as quickly as possible.

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said:

“Childminders are a vital and valued part of our childcare sector, providing high quality care and learning in a safe and nurturing environment.

“Just as many other childcare providers have experienced financial pressures as a result of the pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on them, childminders too have raised genuine concern about the future sustainability of their businesses.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to increase the funding available to support the profession, and by simplifying the process we will be able to get the funds to those who need them more quickly.”

Background

Information about support for the childcare sector

Childminding Action Plan

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

Categories
Social Security

Young People Helped with Costs of New Job

695 helped in first four months of new scheme

The Scottish Government has paid out more than £190,000 to eligible young people to help with the costs of starting a new job.

A total of 695 successful applications were made for the new Job Start Payment from its launch on 17 August 2020 to 31 December 2020.

The one-off payment of £250, or the higher rate of £400 if the recipient is the main carer of any children, is available to 16 to 24-year-olds who have been offered a job after being out of work for at least six months and are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“From travel costs to buying new work clothes, or childcare, we know there can often be expenses involved with starting a job. Our new Job Start Payment is designed to support young people with those costs as they move into work.

“At a time when we know young people are disproportionately impacted by the economic impact of the pandemic, this support will be more important than ever for those who are starting a new job after a period of unemployment. I want to encourage anyone eligible to apply for this extra financial support.”

Background

  • Job Start Payment is paid to 16 to 24-year-olds who have been on certain benefits for six months or more to help with the costs of starting a job
  • applicants need to have been out of paid work for at least six months running up to the day they were offered the job
  • to be eligible, people need to have been getting either Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the date of their job offer
  • young people who are care leavers will be eligible until their 26th birthday and do not have to meet the six months requirement for unemployment or receipt of a qualifying benefit
  • clients need to have been offered a job and expect to work at least 12 hours a week, averaged over a four-week period. They can apply for Job Start Payment up to three months after the date they were offered their job
  • clients can find pre-application advice which includes eligibility and award amounts, and apply at mygov.scot/job-start-payment/who-can-apply/
  • clients can choose to apply online, via a paper application form or by requesting a call back from one a specially trained advisors working within the dedicated Job Start Payment support team by calling 0800 182 2222
Categories
Business Education Mental Health

Non-domestic Rates Relief Extended

Extra money for mental health, education and tackling poverty.

Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined today.

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.

The move builds on the three month rates relief extension announced in the Scottish Budget and will be taken forward provided the Scottish Government receives the funding already assumed from the UK Budget on 3 March, and that requisite funds are available to maintain existing support into 2021-22.

Newspapers will also continue to benefit from 100% relief for a further 12 months, while charitable rates relief will not be removed from mainstream independent schools until 1 April 2022 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Other extra spending in 2021-22 arising from the latest consequentials includes:

  • £120 million for mental health
  • £120 million for affordable housing
  • £100 million to support people on low incomes
  • £60 million for schools to help pupils catch-up on missed education
  • £60 million for NHS recovery
  • £45 million for heat decarbonisation, energy efficiency and fuel poverty
  • £21.5 million for Scottish Enterprise

Separately, local authorities will receive an extra £275 million in the current financial year to address COVID-19 pressures, while a further £40 million is being made available to support the safe reopening of schools.

Ms Forbes said:

“When I presented our budget last month I guaranteed to extend non-domestic rates relief further if I was given the necessary resources. I can now deliver on that promise, providing the UK Budget in March delivers the funding we require.

“The other measures I am proposing today, including further support for hospitals, schools and local government and measures to tackle climate change, build on our priorities to ensure a robust recovery for our economy and public services.

“This welcome additional consequential funding was confirmed to us yesterday and I wanted give early notice to parliament and provide clarity to businesses.

“We are still in the throes of a national emergency and it is important Parliament works together to respond. I will continue to work with all parties to help deliver a budget for the nation fit for these times.”

Background

A copy of the Finance Secretary’s Budget Update statement to the Scottish Parliament is available online.

Last month’s Scottish Budget 2021-22 estimated how much consequential funding would flow from the delayed UK Budget on 3 March, with £500 million assumed to be provided.

Categories
Business Coronavirus

More Business Support Now Live

£60 million for newly self-employed, close contact businesses and driving instructors.

Two funds to support people whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic are now open to applications

Grants will be available for mobile and home-based close contact service businesses – such as make-up artists and hairdressers – as well as registered driving instructors.

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, which paid out more than £11 million in vital support last year, will also re-open for a second round.

Both funds will provide £4,000 grants to successful applicants. Full eligibility details are available online.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“These new funds will support harder to reach businesses and newly self-employed people across Scotland as we continue to focus our efforts on helping those who are not captured by UK Government schemes.

“We’ve committed more than £3 billion to support businesses and protect jobs during the pandemic and I would encourage all those affected to check what support is available to help them through such a challenging time.”

Background

Full information on the Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Services Fund and the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

Statistics published last week showed £244 million was paid to businesses through three funds in January alone.

COVID-19 advice and funding information is available via the Find Business Support website.

Categories
Children Coronavirus Social Security

Dundee Benefits from £100 COVID Winter Payments

£542,200 PAID TO FAMILIES IN DUNDEE CITY FROM SCOTTISH WINTER HARDSHIP FUND

5,422 FAMILIES RECEIVE £100 WINTER PAYMENT

5,422 families in Dundee City have received a £100 COVID winter hardship payment to support them through one of the most difficult winters in living memory.

New figures show that the SNP Government provided support to thousands in each of Scotland’s local authorities – with more than £14million paid out to families in December.

In Dundee City £542,200 was paid out to 5,422 families.

The payment, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was made available to families who were in receipt of free school meals and was paid from 30th November to the start of the winter school holidays.

Commenting, SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick said:

“With the Scottish Government rolling out the Scottish Child Payment and supporting hundreds of thousands of families across Scotland with the £100 COVID winter hardship payment, the SNP is making a real difference to people’s lives and lifting children out of poverty.

“This has been an incredibly difficult time for families in Dundee City who may have faced lost earnings, increased food bills and cold weather. The £100 winter payment will hopefully have eased the financial strain many have been facing.

“In contrast to the Tories at Westminster, the SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can to ensure kids who receive free school meals do not go hungry.

“Alongside introducing the Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant and Best Food Grants, this SNP Government is committed to supporting children, whereas the Tories are planning to slash Universal Credit and get rid of the £20 uplift when families need it most.

“The only way Scotland can escape Westminster austerity and build a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect is by becoming an independent country.”

Categories
Children Coronavirus Social Security

New Scottish Child Payment

Payments to start from late February.

More than 77,000 Scottish Child Payment applications have been received since Social Security Scotland started taking applications on 9 November.

The new benefit, which is unique to Scotland, will give qualifying parents and carers £40 every four weeks for each child under six.

The benefit starts today, meaning that Social Security Scotland is now able to do final eligibility checks and start issuing decisions.

The first decisions and payments will arrive from later this month.

Parents and carers who have not yet applied and have a child under six are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to get the maximum amount of money they are entitled to.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“This is a fantastic response to our new payment. Today marks the day that parents and carers will become eligible for Scottish Child Payment. We’ve had a great response and this is a very large number of applications. It will take time to work through these applications and I’d like to ask families for their patience while we work as quickly as we can to process these.

“The Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK. Announced in late June 2019 the new payment has been achieved at great speed.

“In 2021-22 we will invest £3.6 billion in social security payments supporting carers, young people, and low income families including £68 million for this new payment. Significantly more families are now relying on benefits due to the pandemic – some perhaps for the first time. Scottish Child Payment will help lift children in Scotland out of poverty.

“We are proactively promoting this payment and we have written to everyone on the Universal Credit and HMRC tax credit databases who may be eligible to invite them to apply. .

“Covid-19 restrictions continue to put additional pressure on parents and carers and I recognise how busy families are. But I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who hasn’t yet applied, to take ten minutes to get their application in – it’s vital that people get the money they are entitled to.”

Scottish Child Payment has been introduced ahead of schedule for children under six by building on the existing infrastructure for Best Start Grant payments. The payment is planned to be fully rolled out to children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022. This is subject to data on qualifying benefits being received from the DWP to enable Social Security Scotland to make top-up payments.

Background

  • Application numbers are the latest figures available and correct as of Sunday 7 February.
  • People, who supplied their mobile number, will be kept up to date on the progress of their application by text.
  • People who apply from Tuesday 16 February will have their payment calculated from the day that they apply.
  • Scottish Fiscal Commission reviewed their forecasts in January 2021 to reflect how many families were taking up qualifying benefits from the DWP. The total figure of children forecast to be eligible for Scottish Child Payment in 2020-21 was revised slightly down to 173,000. The total number of households changed to 138,000.
  • Social Security Scotland delivers a number of benefits for families. This includes Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment and Best Start Foods. Applications can be made for Scottish Child Payment and all of these using a single straightforward form.
  • Scottish Child Payment together with the three Best Start Grant payments and Best Start Foods could give families on low incomes up to £5,200 by the time their first child turns six.
  • People can apply by visiting mygov.scot/benefits or calling 0800 182 2222.
  • Scottish Child Payment is a new benefit and it is in addition to the UK wide Child Benefit.
  • To get advice on what benefits may be available parents and carers can access free, confidential advice through Money Talk Team. Visit Parentclub.scot to find out more.
Categories
Community Coronavirus Health Public Health

Vaccine Programme Exceeds Expectations

786,427 people have received first dose.

A total of 786,427 people have now received their first Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination in Scotland, including 93% of over-80s living in the community.

Some 99% of older adult care home residents have received a first dose, along with 89% of staff in older adult care homes. A total of 272,365 frontline health and social care workers have also been vaccinated, exceeding the initial target of 230,000 staff provided by health boards.

This week, following the opening of new mass vaccination centres, including the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Aberdeen’s P&J LIVE at TECA, there has been a 49% increase in the number of vaccinations carried out compared with the previous week.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Scotland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is now delivering ahead of our expectations, thanks to the enormous efforts of our vaccination teams. I would like to thank everyone who is working tirelessly to make this a success, and also every individual who has taken up their offer of a vaccine.

“Our aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible with both their first and second doses. The vaccine deployment plan was predicated on an uptake of at least 80% in each cohort – though so far we are significantly exceeding that for care home residents and staff, frontline healthcare staff, and over 80-year-olds in the community. If you are aged over 80 but have not yet received your invite, you should contact your GP surgery so they can assist.

“We hope to see a significant drop in the disease due to the vaccination programme, however this will take a number of months to evaluate fully. In the shorter term, we are monitoring the uptake rate but we also have a comprehensive surveillance system in place to monitor outcome of vaccine efficacy and disease reduction.

“Each health board is working hard to get the vaccine into people’s arms as quickly as possible, and everyone eligible will be offered the vaccine as we work our way through the priority groups.”

Background:

Uptake rates for the COVID-19 vaccine so far are higher than the flu vaccine programme in 2019-20 and 2020-21, which was 79% for those aged over 65 in 2020.

Our deployment plan sets out our plan for how we will roll out vaccinations in Scotland to vaccinate 4.5 million people.

Categories
Carers Mental Health

Driving Change in the ‘Care System’

Launch of The Promise Partnership Fund.

Care-experienced young people will be at the heart of a £4 million fund to help improve the lives of those in or on the edges of care.

The Promise Partnership Fund will help organisations to implement changes so they can better support children, young people and families who need it.

Private, public and third sector organisations can apply and care-experienced young people will assist in the final funding decisions.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“The Promise Partnership Fund is an important step towards keeping The Promise to bring transformational changes to the lives of children, young people and families in or on the edges care.

“We have already seen many partners take the principles of the Promise to the heart of their organisations. This initial funding towards keeping the Promise will help organisations to make the changes that are necessary to improve holistic family support, so that families are listened to and get the support where they need it, when they need it and for as long as they need it.

“It is absolutely right that care-experienced young people and families will be at the heart of The Promise Partnership Fund decision-making process.”

Fiona Duncan, Chair of The Promise, said:

“Despite a difficult year, it is clear that organisations and individuals all across Scotland recognise their responsibility to and are working towards Keeping their Promise to children and families. The Promise Partnership is an important step towards helping change happen right now and in the future.”

Background

The CORRA foundation is administering the fund and details on eligibility and how to apply are on their website.  Applications will close on 1 March.

Categories
Business

Scotland’s Vision for Trade

Economic, social and climate ambitions at heart of approach.

The blueprint for how Scotland will do business around the globe has been published by Trade Minister Ivan McKee.

Scotland’s Vision for Trade sets out five principles which will guide all future decisions on international trade: Inclusive Growth, Wellbeing, Sustainability, Net Zero and Good Governance.

These principles will be used to address key trade challenges facing our economy, people and the planet.

The Scottish Government will partner with businesses which share these principles and work to improve their trading environment, promoting fair work and a just transition to net zero.

To support this, the Scottish Government is also calling on the UK Government to:

  • protect the NHS – which the UK Government must make a red line in any trade negotiation
  • make compliance with fundamental human rights and the Paris Climate Agreement absolute limits for the initiation of FTA negotiations
  • prioritise building on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU to uphold high standards, for example through Mutual Recognition Agreements for key goods sectors

Mr McKee said:

“Scotland’s Vision for Trade sets out our stall for the future and is clear about the kind of country we want to be. How we trade is as important as what we trade and our values-based approach will guide how we do business around the world and ensure that people, businesses and other governments know who we are and what we represent as a nation.

“But this trade vision is much more than just a statement of our guiding principles. It identifies 11 key global trade challenges and how Scotland will use the levers at our disposal to respond in practical terms now and in the future, and articulates how we will assess our progress on meeting these challenges on an annual basis.

“This publication comes during an unprecedented period of disruption and uncertainty. The pandemic continues to impact our health and wellbeing, our businesses and the economy. At the same time, the UK Government’s last minute Brexit deal, which takes Scotland out of the world’s largest Single Market and Customs Union, will be hugely damaging for our country and our economy.

“In this challenging context, trade is all the more important as a means to deliver sustainable, inclusive growth and contribute to a wellbeing economy.

“Despite our consistent and powerful case for a formal and comprehensive role for devolved administrations in all stages of the development of future UK trade arrangements, we have been frustrated by a lack of meaningful engagement by the UK Government. To conduct a successful trade policy a broader range of tools is needed, so our Vision for Trade also asks that the UK Government use all levers at their disposal to support Scotland’s economy, people and the planet.”

Background:

Read Scotland’s Trade Vision

Scotland’s five trade principles are: Inclusive Growth, Wellbeing, Sustainability, Net Zero and Good Governance. These have been be applied to 11 of today’s biggest trade challenges affecting Scotland’s economy, people and the planet, including:

  • influencing the trading environment
  • digital trade
  • winners and losers from international trade
  • supporting public services through trade
  • balancing cost, value and protections for consumers
  • climate, nature and trade
  • multilateral trading system and dispute settlement
  • Scotland’s role as a trading partner

In line with our Programme for Government commitment, we will ensure that our trade support for the Oil and Gas sector will be conditional on measures assisting the sustainable energy transition.

We will consult with the industry on our proposal to end all Scottish Government overseas trade backing and promotion activities solely focused on fossil fuel goods and services by COP26. There will be legitimate exceptions to the withdrawal of support where it is clear that the work is essential for a fair and just energy transition, such as decommissioning.

In implementing this, we will work with industry and consider the outcome of the UK Government consultation, including aligning with UK exemptions in so far as they fall within Scottish Government trade support and promotion activities.

Categories
Carers Coronavirus Mental Health Social Security

Helping Vulnerable Young People Through COVID-19

Almost £1 million to support people into work.

Funding to help more vulnerable young people across Scotland into work has been announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Part of the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, the £986,702 investment will provide specialist pre-employment support for an additional 1,300 16 and 17-year-olds.

Two existing programmes delivered in partnership with the third sector – Our Future Now and Discovering Your Potential – will provide the support.

Ms Hyslop said:

“This pandemic continues to hit us hard – especially our young people who are facing fewer opportunities, and even more so for those who are vulnerable and have recently left school.

“As part of our national mission to create jobs, and through our Young Person’s Guarantee, we must all work together to help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the coronavirus (COVID-19) storm.

“These two dedicated programmes, delivered in partnership with the third sector, will allow us to help even more young people access the support they need to build their confidence and develop valuable skills that employers require.”

Background:

Vulnerable young people are defined as those with multiple barriers to employment. This includes:

  • young people at risk of not being in education, employment, or training
  • young carers
  • young care-experienced people
  • young people with disabilities
  • young people with previous convictions
  • young homeless people
  • young people mental health issues
  • young refugees

Further information regarding the Young Person’s Guarantee can be found here.

Inspiring Scotland (who deliver Our Future Now) will receive funding of £500,702.

For further information please contact enquiries@inspiringscotland.org.uk.

The Young Person’s Consortium, which includes Barnardo’s, Action for Children, and The Princes Trust, deliver Discovering Your Potential. They will receive funding of £486,000.

For further information please contact tommy.mcdade@barnardos.org.uk.

Categories
Children Community Safety Coronavirus Education Health Public Health

New Measures to Tackle Virus

Supervised quarantine and expansion of testing as gradual schools return announced.

A series of new measures aimed at driving down coronavirus (COVID-19) rates in Scotland have been announced.

Current restrictions, including the ‘stay-at-home’ requirement, are set to remain in place until at least the end of February and schools will continue to be closed to most children for the rest of this month.

Nurseries and Primaries 1 to 3 are, however, now scheduled to return full-time on 22 February, subject to final confirmation two weeks from now that sufficient progress in tackling the virus has been achieved.

In an update to Parliament the First Minister confirmed that a managed quarantine system for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland regardless of which country they have come from will be introduced as soon as practicably possible.

In addition to guarding against the increased importation of new cases, access to testing to find cases and interrupt transmission already taking place in Scotland will be stepped up:

  • from the middle of February, routine testing of healthcare workers will be expanded to cover patient-facing primary care workers such as GPs, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists, as will testing for all patient-facing staff who work in hospices
  • from later this month, regular testing will be offered to support the return to schools and nurseries. Senior phase secondary school students, and all staff in primary, secondary and special schools, including school-based ELC staff, will be able to benefit from routine at-home testing two times a week
  • certain workplaces where the risk of transmission is greater and which provide essential or critical services, such as those within the food processing and distribution sectors and staff within emergency service control rooms, will also be supported to introduce routine workforce testing
  • targeted community testing will continue to be expanded – so that testing is available to people locally, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms
  • from mid-February tests will also be offered to all close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-enabling Test and Protect teams to identify their contacts and track, and break further, chains of transmission

In order to promote people’s ability to self-isolate when necessary, financial support will be significantly expanded to include all workers earning the Real Living Wage or less, as well as those in receipt of a council tax reduction because of low income. The £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant will also be extended to people who cannot work because someone they have caring responsibilities for is asked to self-isolate.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“As levels of the virus continue to fall in Scotland, it becomes ever more important that we stop the virus from being imported again. The threat of new variants is real and we must be ever-more vigilant.

“That is why we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

“We want to work with the UK Government to avoid travellers sidestepping restrictions and arriving in other parts of the UK before travelling to Scotland, however the most effective approach to prevent this and to stop new variants being imported is for the UK Government to introduce a compulsory quarantine for anyone travelling into the UK from overseas.

“Since we still have work to do these measures will not be introduced this week and more detail will follow shortly.

“We believe that targeted community testing can play a particularly valuable role in communities where prevalence is starting to rise rapidly which is why we have expanded our testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission.

“Lockdown is starting to slow down the virus. But we also need to pick up the pace in our vaccination programme. We are doing that and will accelerate the programme further over the next fortnight – providing that we have sufficient supplies of the vaccine – as we work towards being able to vaccinate 400,000 people a week by the end of the month. We are making rapid progress in protecting those who are most at risk from COVID-19.”

On schooling, the First Minister added:

“I am acutely aware of the pressure school closures is putting on working parents and on family life more generally.

“Our room for manoeuvre, given the current state of the pandemic, is limited. But the government is determined to use every inch of headroom we have to get children back to school.

“Based on the advice of our expert advisers, if we all agree to abide with the lockdown restrictions for a bit longer so that our progress in suppressing the virus continues, we can begin a phased, albeit gradual, return to school from 22 February.”

Background

Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay at home guidance – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Community testing schemes have already been agreed across seven local authorities, within the health board areas of Fife, Grampian and Ayrshire and Arran, with agreed community testing proposals across the majority of mainland Local Authority areas expected to be agreed by the end of the week.

Categories
Community Health Social Security

More Help With Free Personal and Nursing Care

Savings for people with dementia and other care needs.

Adults who pay for their residential care in Scotland will be better off from April as a result of a change to the rates of allowances they receive for personal and nursing care.

Those who ‘self-fund’ their residential care receive an allowance in recognition of their personal and nursing care costs.

Regulations laid in Parliament will raise these allowances by 7.5 per cent, well above the normal annual increase, in recognition of the increasing cost of providing care, particularly for people with dementia.

The change is backed by an additional £10.1m in Local Authority funding to cover the increases.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“I am pleased to confirm that we will increase the allowances paid to people who are paying self-funder rates for their residential care by 7.5%.

“Care home costs have been rising above inflation for a number of years and this is an important step towards to bringing the rates closer to the actual cost of personal and nursing care.

“The Independent Review of Adult Social Care will be published later this week and in responding to its recommendations there will be opportunities to consider wider reforms to the way residential care is funded and delivered, to ensure the highest standards of care and wellbeing for people who use adult social care, and support for their families, carers and the workforce.”

Background

The Scottish Government has legislated to ensure that adults of any age, no matter their condition, capital or income, who are assessed by their local authority as needing personal care, are entitled to receive this without charge.

Free nursing care is similar and has been available to all who are assessed as requiring nursing care services, without charge.

People resident in care homes who have capital above the higher Capital Limit (currently £28,500) are known as self-funders. Local Authorities make payments to cover the personal care (currently at £180 per week) and nursing care (currently at £81 per week) part of self-funder care home fees. These are paid directly to the residential care provider on a weekly basis.

Under the normal inflationary measure used to calculate allowances, these payments would have increased by 1.94% this year. This year’s increases are shown in the table below.

Year Personal Care Nursing Care Annual Increase

1 April 2019 £177 £80 1.57%

1 April 2020 £180 £81 1.84%

1 April 2021 £193.50 £87.10 7.5%

Categories
Business Community Coronavirus Environment

Budget to Support Net-Zero Transformation

Record funding to deliver Scotland’s green recovery.

The Scottish Government will invest a record £1.9 billion in tackling climate change and creating good, green jobs in 2021/22.

Delivery of a ground-breaking £1.6 billion investment to transform heat and energy efficiency of buildings will get under way, directly supporting up to 5,000 jobs and tackling fuel poverty while rapidly accelerating the decarbonisation of an area which makes up a quarter of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Other highlights include delivering the first wave of the £2 billion Low Carbon Fund, including, in the first year alone, £14 million for the Green Jobs Fund. The heat in buildings budget will increase by £30 million to £213.4 million, while spending in forestry has been increased by £26.9 million to £121.2 million.

Further investment will support the delivery of major, multi-year commitments, including:

  • a £250 million peatland restoration programme
  • £120 million for zero-emission buses
  • over £500 million for Active Travel
  • £70 million to improve waste and recycling infrastructure
  • over £500 million for bus priority infrastructure.

To ensure Scotland realises the full benefits of COP26 in Glasgow, £8 million will be targeted to showcase the country’s global leadership in tackling climate change, accelerate climate goals both domestically and globally, and develop Scotland’s international influence whilst attracting green investment and innovation. An ongoing commitment to support countries most affected by the climate emergency will be met with £3 million for international climate justice.

Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“This is a Budget which rightly focuses on tackling the COVID-19 crisis and supporting our people, health service and economy in the immediate term, but it also lays the foundations to rebuild a fairer, stronger, and greener Scotland.

“Our commitment to tackling the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss is unwavering and this cross-government investment ensures we support the transformational change required to become net-zero by 2045 – doing so in a way that protects our environment, creates good, green jobs and ensures no-one is left behind.

“Our commitment to ensuring Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19 is green has been prioritised despite the significant financial challenges of COVID-19, delays to the UK Budget, the UK Government Spending Review worsening our capital position and key powers remaining reserved to Westminster.

“2021 is a vital year for climate action and COP26 in Glasgow puts Scotland at the centre of a global to protect our people and planet. This Budget enhances Scotland’s role as an international climate leader, backing up the world’s toughest climate target framework with on-the-ground delivery.”

Categories
Children Community Coronavirus Social Security

Tackling Poverty and Inequality

Increased Budget investment for a Fairer Scotland.

Tackling deep-seated poverty and inequality will be supported by increased funding from the 2021-22 Scottish Budget.

To ensure all children have the best start in life, £68 million will be invested in the Scottish Child Payment, and £53 million will fund universal Free School Meals to all children in primary one, two and three.

Communities impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will continue to be supported through funds aimed at helping them recover and rebuild.

The 2021-22 Scottish Budget includes:

  • a near doubling of spending through the Tackling Child Poverty fund with £23.3 million of investment, and providing £6 million to local authorities to continue providing a school clothing grant worth at least £100 to every eligible child
  • £3.6 billion for social security to carers and those on low incomes
  • £150 million for fuel poverty and energy efficiency measures
  • £711.6 million for affordable housing and a new £55 million programme to support town centres
  • £32 million to promote equality and human rights, including actions to ensure this approach is embedded across government and the wider public sector
  • £15 million to further support children and young people with Additional Support Needs
  • more than £26 million of investment in the vital Third Sector
  • £81.6 million for projects to support community regeneration, town centres and 20 minute neighbourhoods – where people can meet their needs within a 20 minute walk from their home
  • over £12 million to support the Ending Homelessness Together action plan, including specific actions to scale up Housing First, end the use of communal night shelters, advance legislative protections for people experiencing domestic abuse and explore alternative routes to reduce migrant homelessness


Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“We are putting tackling poverty at the heart of the Budget. In two weeks we introduce our new game-changing Scottish Child Payment, backed by investment of £68 million.

“As well as mitigating the impact of UK Government welfare cuts, we are supporting carers, young people, and low income families through our range of new benefits. This year also sees the start of the introduction of the first disability benefits as we continue to establish a social security system that is based on dignity and respect and investing in our people.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“In addition to responding to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, this budget is investing in actions designed to tackle deep-seated poverty and inequality including almost doubling our child poverty budget to £23.3 million. This means we will deliver our £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund commitment in full, continuing with investment in actions including our Parental Employability Support Fund, Access to Childcare Fund and innovative Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland programme.

“Funding for more affordable, greener housing is at the heart of the Scottish Budget, contributing to our net-zero ambitions while helping to ensure everyone has a home that meets their needs.

“We will also invest over £26 million in the local and national Third Sector infrastructure, support the capacity and growth of social enterprises, and ensure the Third Sector can help people and communities recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

Background

Scottish Budget

Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget Statement

Communities and Local Government 

Categories
Business Community Coronavirus

Rebuilding the Economy

Investing in jobs and skills.

Supporting people into employment and equipping them with skills they need will be at the heart of the economic recovery, backed with £1.1 billion of investment under the proposed Scottish Budget 2021-22.

Additional investment of £125 million will go towards the Young Person’s Guarantee, the National Transition Training Fund and other initiatives ensuring the future workforce has the skills needed for a green recovery and supporting those at risk of long term unemployment. This includes personalised employment support and retraining for those who have been made unemployed or are at risk of redundancy due to the pandemic.

Since November the Young Person’s Guarantee has provided funding for around 18,000 opportunities for people aged between 16 and 24 to help them into work.

Other funding for 2021-22 includes:

  • £230 million for Skills Development Scotland to deliver training
  • £100 million Green Jobs Fund to be delivered over the next Parliament
  • £27 million for national employability service Fair Start Scotland
  • £21 million towards Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships
  • £5 million for Community Jobs Scotland to create job opportunities for unemployed people aged 16 to 29

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted economies throughout the world and while Scotland’s economy has performed slightly better than the UK as a whole, the necessary restrictions to suppress the virus are continuing to impact economic activity.

“As well as providing emergency support to businesses to help them through this crisis, it is vital that we plan for the future. By providing our workforce with the support, skills and experience needed to drive a green economic recovery, we will ensure that our investment in a just transition protects and creates jobs.

“The Young Person Guarantee has to go hand in hand with economic recovery in Scotland. During this crisis we have taken action to support our young people who have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. This funding allows us to build on that success and meet additional demand.

“It also provides opportunities for those already in employment to upskill or retrain and supporting those who are further from the labour market in partnership with local authorities, third and private sectors to ensure no one is left behind.

“Underpinning everything will be our commitment to working in partnership with employers to invest in workforce development, create diverse and inclusive workplaces and pay people fairly for the work they do.”

Background

The Young Person’s Guarantee aims to give every young person the opportunity to study, take up an apprenticeship, a job or work experience or participate in formal volunteering within the next two years. £60 million was allocated to support the Young Person’s Guarantee in 2020/21.

Information about the 18,000 opportunities the Young Person’s Guarantee has provided funding for has been published. 

Categories
Children Coronavirus Education Health Mental Health

Physical and Emotional Welfare of Children

COVID support for teachers.

Hundreds of teachers who are new in post, or working in pastoral or child protection roles, are to be offered support to manage the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Scotland and the General Teaching Council for Scotland have partnered with social enterprise organisation KnowYouMore who will provide coaches for the new online one-to-one sessions. Sessions are already being offered to headteachers as part of a support package funded by the Scottish Government in 2020.

The new programme now includes support for more than 500 teachers in their first four years of post-probation to discuss any personal or professional pressures they are facing as a result of delivering remote learning.

Education Secretary John Swinney, said:

“COVID-19 has placed unprecedented strain on school staff and none more so than those who have pastoral care and child protection responsibilities ensuring the emotional welfare of our children and young people as we recover from the pandemic.

“The teacher support package I announced last year will complement the existing professional training and support already taking place for staff in schools across Scotland. Teachers need to be part of a supportive online community and have the space to stop and think about issues that are causing concern.”

Gayle Gorman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Education Scotland Chief Executive, said:

“Education Scotland is fully committed to ensuring the education workforce feel supported and I’m delighted this next phase of our coaching and mentoring offer is available more widely.

“We have found that it really benefits teachers to know there is someone with a listening ear who are there for them. Our 1:1 coaching and mentoring sessions for Headteachers have proved a really popular way of supporting their wellbeing and now the offer is also open to post probation teachers, teachers new to role and those with pastoral responsibilities. I would encourage more practitioners to sign up.”

Ken Muir, Chief Executive, of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, said:

“GTC Scotland is pleased to be working with our partners in education to deliver this important coaching to support hard-pressed teachers who are doing all they can to maintain quality learning in challenging circumstances. In addition to this coaching, GTC Scotland itself has invested heavily in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of education professionals and will continue to do so throughout the pandemic.”

Background

In September, 2020, the Scottish Government offered school staff new support as part of a £1.5 million funding package to help manage additional pressures as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Categories
Community Environment Health Mental Health

City MSPs Welcome Regeneration Funding

CAMPERDOWN COMMUNITY GROWING HUB TO RECEIVE REGENERATION FUNDING

Dundee’s SNP MSPs Joe FitzPatrick and Shona Robison have welcomed funding to support the Camperdown Community Growing Hub in Dundee through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF).

Schemes around Scotland are to receive a share of £25 million from the RCGF – including the Camperdown Community Growing Hub in Dundee, which will receive £899,305.

The RCGF will support 1,220 jobs and as well as thousands of training places by refurbishing and bringing back into use 26 empty buildings to provide space for community enterprises.

Joe FitzPatrick MSP (Dundee City West constituency) said:

“The Camperdown Community Growing Hub will be a fantastic initiative that will provide vital support for people across Dundee, so I am delighted to see that the SNP Government will be providing this extra funding.

“This project has the potential to help local people to eat more healthily, tackle food poverty, as well as support people with mental health issues.”

Shona Robison MSP (Dundee City East constituency) said:

“The SNP Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund has been vital in supporting community-led regeneration projects and has invested more than £200 million since 2014.

“As we look towards our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, this investment in our communities will be vital.

“The hub at Camperdown will help to tackle inequalities, enable people to develop vital skills, and provide a facility that allows local people to grow healthy food for themselves and others, whilst simultaneously helping to reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint.”

* Photo shows view from City Road Allotments.