- In Local Government and Communities Committee, took evidence from the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers, Cyrenians, Shelter, and Streetwork on homeless. Ruth questioned whether the needs of people with multiple and complex needs were being met by the current system, and explored what opportunities the integration of health and social care could bring about for new ways of working to improve health outcomes for homeless people
- Contributed to the Scottish Parliament’s International Women’s Day debate. Ruth used her speech to call for more progress, underlining that though there may be legislation in place to protect women from discrimination, the reality for women in their day to day lives does not always accord with it. Ruth also highlighted crucial areas in which there does yet exist legislation to underpin the cultural shift that we must ensure follows, referencing the fact that under the current law in Scotland, the buying and selling of sexual access to women’s bodies for profit remains legal.
- Took part in the Local Government Finance Debate, stressing that the Budget presents a strong and fair settlement for Local Government in the face of ongoing cuts to the central budget of the Scottish Government, drawing attention to funding such as the £120 million attainment fund.
- Joined with school girls from across Scotland to speak out on child marriage – an issue which affects more than 700 million women around the world today who have been married as children.
- In Social Security Committee, took evidence from Loughborough University, Reform Scotland, Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland, and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce on the feasability of introducing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme in Scotland. Ruth raised concerns about the possibility of money being diverted into funding a UBI scheme at the expense of measures targeted to assist those on low incomes, along with our other universal social investment, would mean that those with least could end up being left behind.
In the constituency:
- Ahead of a Holyrood debate promoting the importance of play, local MSP Ruth Maguire visited St Luke’s Primary School in Kilwinning to see the primary school’s committed play culture first hand. Ruth was shown around the children’s rich and varied ‘junkyard garden’ play area by nursery pupil, Fin, before joining the Primary One class for a puddle splash in the playground.
- Delivered the keynote address at the ‘Celebrating Recovery’ conference of the North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership in Irvine. Ruth commended North Ayrshire on its many huge local successes, such as the Funky Films and Café Solace projects, and highlighted the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to a recovery-focused approach to problematic alcohol and drug use.
- Together with Philippa Whitford, the local MP, held a special advice surgery on the theme of ‘Money Matters’ in Irvine’s volunteer rooms. The surgery brought together a range of organisations able to offer specific support and advice, and provided an opportunity for many individuals and families to get the help they need in a more informal and welcoming environment.
- Held MSP advice surgeries at Stevenston Library and Whitehurst Park Community Centre