As SNP Westminster Mental Health Spokesperson, I was pleased to be allocated time this week to speak in the Queens Speech debate on importance of health and social care. I was able to highlight why I think it’s crucial that funding reaches the clinical front line, the impact of Brexit upon workforce planning in our NHS and the injustice of the UK Government’s ongoing Public Sector Pay Cap. I am proud to have voted in parliament in favour of scrapping the public sector pay cap. Inflation has meant that our nurses and public sector have effectively over recent years suffered a pay cut. We rely upon our health and emergency services in our times of utmost crisis, and it must surely follow that we reward them fairly in terms of pay and conditions. Although ‘scrapping the cap’, was ultimately voted down at Westminster, I am pleased that there is commitment from our Scottish Government to address this issue justly in terms of implementation of Pay Review Body guidance.
Last week, I was very proud to attend the ceremonial prize giving at Sanderson High School and to champion our students’ endeavours. Sanderson is an inspirational local school for children with special needs which makes sure that everyone, no matter their difficulties, achieves their full potential. I was extremely impressed by the range of talent, skills and experience being celebrated and to meet personally and to speak with the students and teachers after the ceremony. I am sure that our students will go on to make us proud time and time again in years to come, and throughout their lives.
This week I attended my second meeting of the East Kilbride Task Force taking forward the agenda of developing business investment in East Kilbride and protecting our jobs and livelihoods. I am pleased to inform that I will be joining the sub-group of the EK Task Force focusing upon HMRC and the importance of retaining Centre One as one of our pivotal employers in the face of UK Government plans to close our site. The campaign to support ‘Stay in EK’ continues strongly.
I am pleased to inform that I have now been accepted onto the parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme 2017 and that I will be undertaking a placement with the Royal Air Force during my summer recess. This will enable me to take the time needed to learn about strategic defence, planning, policy needs and defence funding. Coming from an armed forces family background, I think it is important to make time to listen to and to learn from our armed forces personnel.
Finally, I would like to wish the East Kilbride Police Officer who was injured recently in the line of duty, a speedy recovery. We know only too well the dangers that our emergency services face day in and day out and are grateful for their service and all that they do. My thoughts are with he and his family at this time.