Last week Ruth:

  • Joined MSPs from all other parties apart from the Scottish Conservatives to condemn the UK Tory Government’s two child cap and associated rape clause in a Holyrood debate on the issue. The Scottish Conservatives were visibly uncomfortable and unusually quiet throughout the debate, and refused either to take, or make, a single intervention. Commenting after the debate, Ruth said: “This afternoon I joined SNP, Green, Labour and Liberal colleagues to speak against the abhorrent two child cap and rape clause. West of Scotland Tory MSPs sat in silence and all Tory speakers refused to give or receive interventions – treating our Parliament like a lecture theatre rather than a debating chamber. The Scottish Tories are attempting to defend the indefensible and it is showing.”

 

  • Welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that there will be no private sector involvement in benefits assessments in the Scottish social security system –  rejecting the failed assessment model of the Tories which has caused so much harm to disabled and ill people

 

  • In Social Security Committee, took evidence from the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security, and Equalities on the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill. Ruth asked about the role of community planning partnerships in the implementation of the bill. The Cabinet Secretary clarified that although there was a shared instinct with COSLA to look at making duties applicable to community planning partnerships, she received very strong advice that that was not possible, because community planning partnerships, unlike health boards or local authorities, are not legally constituted bodies and do not employ people. The Cabinet Secretary explain that it was thus with regret that the reporting duty is on health boards and local authorities, but that they will need to exercise their duties in partnerships, which will inevitably bring in and involve community planning partnerships.

 

  • Pledged her support for MS nurses in Scotland during MS Awareness Week 2017, which aims to raise awareness of the vital role the MS nurse has on the lives of people living with the neurological condition. Ruth praised the vital role played by MS specialist nurses in the care and support of people with MS – from initating and monitoring treatment with relapsing forms of MS to providing information and support on how best to manage MS. Ruth also cited the good work of NHS Ayrshire and Arran, noting that NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s health board operates a highly effective MS multi-disciplinary team with MS specialist nurses at its heart, with the MS Society Scotland describing it as working in ‘a very collaborative way that ensures timely and appropriate support for patients and as ‘a model of good practice

 

  • Met with Family Friendly Working Scotland, a group which works to support and promote the development of family friendly workplaces across Scotland, to discuss ways in which Ruth can get involved with their work in her constituency and to make plans to hold an event

 

  • In Education and Skills Committee, took evidence from Education Scotland on its response to the Committee’s report on the Performance and Role of Public Bodies