Weekly Bulletin 27th March – 2nd April

  • In Social Security Committee, took evidence on the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill at Glasgow City Chambers from individuals and organisations including John Dickie (Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland), Naomi Eisenstadt,  Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality, and Eddie Follan (Barnardo’s Scotland). Ruth questioned the witnesses about income maximisation and what difference it would make to poverty levels if everyone claimed everything to which they were entitled, as well as the reasons behind people not claiming those benefits. Ruth also asked about the issues around funds for the benefits that are being devolved being transferred at current take-up levels, as opposed to funds being transferred according to the number of people who are eligible for them, so that the Scottish Government can work to ensure that everyone gets what they are entitled to.
  • In Local Government Committee, took evidence on the Disabled Persons’ Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009 from organisations including the Scottish Disability Equality Forum and the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland. Ruth asked about action taken by local authorities to make disabled parking enforceable.
  • In a historic vote on Tuesday 28th March, endorsed the Scottish Government’s plans to give the people of Scotland another choice about the nation’s future in the wake of Brexit. The Government motion called for a referendum to take place at a time when the terms of Brexit are known, around 18 months from the triggering of Article 50, but before it is too late to make a choice. After an intense two debate, a majority of MSPs voted for the Government motion entitled ‘Scotland’s Choice’, which opened with the powerful statement that ‘the Parliament acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs’. This reflects a long tradition of Scottish popular sovereignity from as early as the Declaration of Abroath in 1320, and, echoes in particular the opening lines of the 1989 Claim of Right for Scotland, which marked a crucial step in the path towards devolution. Ruth was amongst those who contributed to the historic debate on Scotland’s future, using her speech to set out how the people deserve another right to choose, as the United Kingdom that people voted for, and were promised, in 2014 no longer exists. Ruth also stressed how important it was that politicians and parties honour their manifesto commitments, and highlighted that the manifesto upon which she as an MSP, and the SNP as the Government, were elected, explicitly reserved the right to hold another referendum if ‘there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.’
  • Lodged a parliamentary motion congratulating Adam Lee, an S6 pupil from Greenwood Academy in Irvine, on his marvellous success at the 2017 Glasgow Music Festival in winning the McNair Trophy for best instrumental performance
  • Lodged a parliamentary motion congratulating Greenwood Academy in Irvine on becoming the first school in North Ayrshire to be selected for the School Ambassador Programme, which is organised by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework to raise awareness of its efforts in helping people to access education and training
  • Lodged a parliamentary motion noting with concern the findings of the Zero Tolerance report, “Sexism is a waste…”: the need to tackle violence and misogyny in Scotland’s workplaces, in which, for example, 70% of respondents described experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment, teasing or innuendo, and 73% of respondents were either unsure or unaware of any violence against women (VAW) policy in their workplace. Ruth also commended Zero Tolerance on its ongoing efforts towards tackling and overcoming VAW, and encouraged everyone to promote and work towards a society that does not tolerate VAW in any form.
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