Irvine Times, 2 October 2018

Last Tuesday I was pleased to attend an event in Edinburgh to formally launch Garnock Connections, an exciting new venture which aims to connect people within the Garnock Valley to their local environment.

garnockIt hopes to do so by enhancing the local natural habitat, by exploring the area’s rich industrial and agricultural heritage, improving the transport infrastructure, and by creating volunteering, training and employment opportunities through a range of fascinating projects.

You can find out more about this exciting initiative at www.garnockconnections.org.uk, and I wish everyone involved every success as it progresses.

In the Scottish Parliament I was also delighted to participate in an event to promote the first ever Wear Red Day by anti-racism educational charity Show Racism the Red Card.

On Friday 5 October, the charity is asking everyone in schools, businesses and across the public to support a national day of action, by wearing red and donating £1, in order to help facilitate the delivery of anti-racism education for young people and adults across the country.

To find out more about how to get involved, visit www.theredcard.org/wear-red-day.

show racism

Along with my colleagues in the SNP and within the Scottish Government I have been concerned for some time by the assessment process used by the Department of Work and Pensions to assess disability benefits claims.

With Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance now being devolved, such claims in Scotland will soon be administered by our new Social Security Scotland agency.

As part of the work in setting up this new agency, I was delighted to hear the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville, confirm that assessments to determine eligibility for such benefits will be carried out with the support of public sector healthcare professionals, and not the private sector.

It confirms once again that, at every stage, the Scottish Government is making good on its pledge to place dignity and respect at the very heart of the new agency’s work.

When it comes to Brexit, however, dignity and respect are certainly not words that can be used to describe the current shambolic Brexit negotiations.

Last week, the Westminster Government appointed a minister to oversee the protection of food supplies, amidst growing fears that the UK is hurtling towards a damaging exit from the European Union without a deal.

It is nothing short of an outrage that Westminster cannot even guarantee that it will be able to feed its population safely in such an event.

On Saturday I was proud to participate across the constituency with my fellow SNP members in a national Day of Action.

To great interest we highlighted how the UK Government just cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s best interests, and how with each of Westminster’s failures the case for Scottish independence grows by the day.

Finally, last week I hosted a Cuppa and a Cake for Macmillan event at Fullarton Community Hub, at which £262.77 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support.

I would like to thank everybody who came along to the event to show their support, and also the volunteers who helped on the day to make it such a success. Thank you!

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