As there have been a few weeks of no positive news from Scotland I have decided to share some of the things that are happening here with links to the full stories.
New hospitals and health centres due to open in 2017-18
Nearly £500 million of new healthcare facilities, including two new hospital buildings, are expected to open to patients in 2017-18.
Funded through Scottish Government investment, these new NHS and local council facilities will provide patients across Scotland with treatment in purpose-built, 21st century settings.
Ms Robison said: “As we enter a new year, it seems apt to reflect on the significant progress made in delivering some key new facilities, which are already beginning to transform the care thousands of patients receive every day.
“Looking ahead, nearly half a billion pounds of hospitals and health centres will be completed in 2017-18 – making care more effective, efficient and safe.
“Our investment in these new facilities will help us to achieve our ambition of transforming the way health and social care services are delivered, keeping NHS Scotland at the forefront of delivering world-class care.”
Grants of £1.65m to help homeless and vulnerable people.
Organisations that work with homeless people and give housing support to vulnerable will benefit from £1.65 million of Scottish Government grant funding.
The Housing Sector Voluntary Grant Scheme helps third sector organisations to deliver housing-related projects and services.
The 2017/18 allocation will benefit 17 different organisations whose work includes helping older and disabled people to live independently, improving access to housing for homeless people and supporting refugee, asylum seekers and new migrant communities.
Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing, said:
“It is a sad fact that many of Scotland’s most vulnerable people are faced with anxiety over their housing situation and the possible threat of homelessness.
“The Scottish Government recognises the role that third sector organisations play in helping people who find themselves in housing need. Some of these projects are small in scale, but the benefits they bring to the individuals concerned are tremendous.
“I’m delighted that, through the recent draft budget settlement, we have been able to invest in vital projects and organisations that can be a lifeline for so many across Scotland.”
Candidates for the March Crofting Commission elections can now be put forward.
The process of nominating candidates opens today, with Scotland’s 16,000 crofters able to put forward candidates or stand themselves for election to the Commission’s board as commissioners.
The Commission regulates and promotes the interests of crofting. March’s postal election is to elect commissioners from the six crofting constituencies: East Highlands, Orkney and Caithness, Shetland, South West Highlands, West Highlands and Western Isles.
Crofters can get a nomination pack from their local council returning officer. The deadline for returning nominations is Thursday 26 January and the deadline for returning ballot papers is Thursday 16 March. Results will be announced on 17 March.
Funding to support children and young people who go missing.
“We are delighted that the Scottish Government has renewed its commitment to supporting vulnerable missing children and young people with this funding.
“By building key partnerships with Police Scotland, other charities and local councils, the charity is committed to finding and supporting more missing children and young people across Scotland.
“When a child goes missing it is nearly always a sign that something is very wrong. These funds from the Scottish Government will help ensure that we can be here for free, 24/7 without judgement at the end of the phone when a missing child needs to talk through their options or get help to stay safe.”
Keith Brown meets Consular Corps.
Giving a trade and investment briefing to the Consular Corps, Mr Brown highlighted that the Scottish Government firmly believes that EU membership delivers many social, economic and cultural benefits for individuals, business and communities.
The paper published by the Scottish Government last month – “Scotland’s Place in Europe” – puts forward proposals to keep Scotland, and preferably the whole of the UK, in the European Single Market.
The Scottish Consular Corps represent 57 countries, 15 of which are full diplomatic consulates while the others are honorary consulates.
Mr Brown said :-
“After the EU referendum result, we committed to explore all options to protect Scotland’s national interests, in order to respond to the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland, and the national Parliament of Scotland.
“Our paper, “Scotland’s Place in Europe” meets that commitment and is the first, and only, detailed plan for dealing with the implications of Brexit to be published by any government in the UK. At its heart are proposals to keep Scotland, and preferably the whole of the UK, in the European Single Market of 500 million people and stop the disaster of a hard Brexit, which could cost 80,000 Scottish jobs within a decade and cost people an average of £2,000 in wages.
“Keeping our place in the world’s biggest single market – which is around eight times larger than the UK’s alone – matters hugely for our economy and to jobs, trade, living standards and investment.
“The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to maintaining our place in the European Single Market, and that is the message I reinforced to our European partners.”
Membership of the single market has reduced barriers to trade with the EU by:
- eliminating tariffs, quotas and duties;
- harmonising rules and regulations;
- allowing Scottish businesses in various sectors to establish companies to provide services in other member states;
- allowing financial service firms in Scotland to provide services to the EU;
- allowing EU citizens to live and work anywhere in the EU.
Can I just finish by making a comment on the baby box pilot. I heard a middle class female comment on the radio that giving new parents nappies, baby grows and all in one suits was not necessary as most babies were inundated with gifts and that this was just an extravagant gesture. She said we should be looking at the children born into poverty, drug using households etc.
Maybe in this woman’s world she feels this is so. I wonder if it really is. To my thinking the most important piece of this kit is the box and mattress. Is cot death only relegated to the poor and the addicted? I think we all know it is not. Providing a secure place for baby to sleep is essential whether you have the latest high tech cot or not. Our elders were not so daft putting the newborn in the drawer.
The other items are all things that no mother would say no to when you run out of energy to wash or get to the shop. To some they are a guide to the basics that you need, the fancy outfits are a nice little extra. The scheme is about providing a connection between the parent(s) to be and the services out there to help and guide them.
I don’t often commend the BBC but this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35834370 gives a good insight into why this project was chosen and a summary of how the original idea has changed over the years to suit changes in society.