Scottish Agriculture headlining at European Parliament
Alyn Smith MEP has joined Scottish Agriculture expert Brian Pack in calling for reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, focusing less on penalties and providing a more supportive regime.
Brian Pack was joined by international experts and raised issues such as;
- Need for more consistent auditing standards
- The end of member state “gold – plating” of regulation through additional guidance.
- The case for more in the interpretation of eligible land for EFA.
- More time to implement the new rules.
- A call for tolerance in the application of new penalties while the new system is bedding in.
Welfare Reform Committee
The Welfare Reform Committee heard from the Your Say initiative on Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This ranged from people who had already been moved onto the payments and people who were still receiving disability living allowance and not yet on PIP. During committee, witnesses expressed their dissatisfaction with how they had been treated by Atos, including highlighting the shortcomings of testing and assessment processes. These were, for example, inaccurate in places, due to a single set of scoring for testing.
What’s happening in Parliament
There have been various events and exhibitions happening with in the Scottish Parliament. One major event campaign within the Parliament was Multiple Sclerosis (MS) week. Others included from The Incredible Power of Light, Euroquiz Final which was a competition for Primary 6 pupils of 30 schools attending the quiz in the debating chamber.
The Scottish Government has announced that A&E waiting times are now getting healthier however makes it clear that there is still more work to do.
Scottish Road Safety Week has been hailed as a step in the right direction,
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said:
“Saving children’s lives and making Scotland’s roads safer has been key the message at the heart of a week of activities around the country. I would like to thank each and every person who has made this important campaign a real success.”
SNP has welcomed business backing for the Living Wage
SNP Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, has welcomed a new poll showing huge support amongst Scotland’s business community for the Living Wage. Ms Cunningham noted that the Living Wage was clearly gathering more and more traction amongst Scotland’s business community.
Commenting Ms Cunningham said:
“The Scottish Government fully supports the Living Wage campaign and we recognise the difference it can make to the working people of Scotland. We have given the Poverty Alliance additional funding to help drive forward the campaign to get more employers on board and we have set a new target to get 500 employers signed up by this time next year.
“ I encourage all public, private and third sector organisations to ensure all staff on lower incomes receive a fair level of pay, and if they have not already done so, to contact either the Poverty Alliance or the Scottish Government to explore becoming a fully accredited living wage employer.”
Newly elected SNP MP calls on MOD to take action on Rosyth jobs.
Again on the theme of fair work, newly elected MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, Douglas Chapman, has written to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon calling for action on reports that shipbuilders in Rosyth are losing their jobs and being excluded from employment opportunities. Concern has also been raised about migrant workers being taken on to work longer hours for less money.
On his first day in the House of Commons, Mr Chapman has written to Michael Fallon calling on the Ministry of Defence to take urgent action to stop migrant workers being exploited and local workers missing out on employment opportunities.
Commenting, Douglas Chapman said:
“We cannot have local workers losing out on the back of the £6.2 billion UK Government defence contract to build two new aircraft carriers – and the UK Government has a duty to ensure that migrant workers are not being exploited.”