Ruth started the week with an MSP@YourSchool session at Pennyburn Primary School in Kilwinning where she answered a range of interesting and thoughtful questions from P5 pupils.
Ruth convened a meeting of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee which took evidence on the Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1. The meeting is available to view on the Scottish Parliament’s website here.
Later on Thursday, the Scottish Parliament passed the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill. The outcome of this has granted refugees and prisoners serving sentences of less than 12 months the right to vote in Scottish Parliamentary and Council elections.
Ruth was one of a cross party group of MSP’s who signed their name to a joint letter to the First Minister to express deep concerns that an investigation into the use of Scottish airports for US torture and rendition flights will fail to establish a true version of events without “concerted action” by the Scottish and UK governments. A news report on the letter by the Scotsman can be read here.
This week, the UK Government announced plans to introduce a points based immigration system, effectively blocking most European workers from entering the country. These plans have been denounced by employers and industry leaders.
A cross-party report by Holyrood’s Finance Committee previously warned that demographic changes could pose risks to Scottish public spending, and our ability to fund the NHS, if Scotland does not have powers to grow our population.
These proposals are an insult to Scotland which completely disregards the needs of our employers, our public services and our communities.
The Scottish Government put forward a clear, workable proposal of devolving immigration powers by introducing a Scottish Visa which was dismissed out of hand by Boris Johnson’s Tory government.
This would allow Scotland to attract and retain people with the skills and attributes we need for our communities and economy to flourish. These proposals have widespread support across the business and third sector communities in Scotland, and it is time the UK Government listened to those voices.