SNP MSP WARNS OVER ‘ASTRONOMICAL’ COST OF LIVING FOR ISLAND COMMUNITIES IN MOVE TOWARDS NET-ZERO

Emma Roddick has today highlighted the need to find balance in achieving net-zero whilst also not pushing island communities further into fuel poverty.  The Highlands and Islands MSP expressed her support for Scottish Government plans to achieve carbon-neutral status in the Isles whilst also sharing concerns on how this could be achieved fairly.

Commenting she said:

“There are obvious extra challenges to living in an island community. Islanders need ferries and planes to survive, this is non-negotiable. Many homes and buildings are very old now and some are not compatible with air source heat pumps or other greener heating systems.

“Fuel poverty is at its highest in parts of my region and it is vital that when we talk about doing away with oil boilers and such, we also think about the impact this could have on household energy bills.

“A greener country cannot just mean flashy statistics; it has to also mean that those living here can afford to heat their homes in winter without starving. “I will continue to make the case with the Scottish Government that, while many of the levers of power around energy policy lie with Westminster, more has to be done at home to support those bearing the brunt of bad decisions down south and more consideration has to be given to island contexts when we create Scottish policy

HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS MSP HIGHLIGHTS ENGENDER WORKPLACE HARASSMENT EFFORTS

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has lodged a motion in Parliament highlighting a report by Engender which sets out the extent of workplace sexual harassment experienced by women in Scotland.

The motion has already garnered cross-party support, with SNP, Labour, Conservative and Green MSPs all signing their name to it.

Emma said:

“More needs to be done across the board to tackle sexual harassment, but employers in particular need to recognise that it is unacceptable for their female employees to be subject to it just for turning up to work.

“As a society, I think we are developing a better understanding of what counts as sexual harassment, but action against it hasn’t quite caught up yet.  Men still appear to have impunity when it comes to tackling their abusive behaviour, and that needs to stop.

“Enough is enough, and this report by Engender will provide an important foundation for the Scottish Government and stakeholders when considering their next steps in making workplaces in Scotland a safer place for women.  Peers, particularly male peers, should be calling this behaviour out, and employers must make sure that it is not tolerated under their watch.”

HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS MSP: WESTMINSTER ‘TAKING FOOD OUT OF KIDS’ MOUTHS’ WITH BENEFITS CLIFF EDGE

“It’s impossible to leave politics at the door on this”

Social Justice and Social Security Committee member Emma Roddick MSP has condemned what she described as the UK Government’s hamstringing of the Scottish Government’s efforts to end child poverty in Scotland.

The Highlands and Islands MSP pressed witnesses on the difficulties of a hybrid social security system, with the SNP Scottish Government’s budget and policies still heavily dependent on the choices made by the UK Tory Government down south.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“The innovative Scottish Child Payment is administered by the Scottish Government, but to deliver these payments, they are forced to rely on the UK Government’s Department of Work and Pensions. They hold the data for who is in receipt of Universal Credit and other reserved benefits, and as such is entitled to Scottish Child Payment as well.

“The problem with this is that while the Scottish Government wants the Scottish Child Payment to support parents throughout the journey into work, if the recipient finds a job the DWP reaction is, ‘well, okay, you’re in work now, so you shouldn’t be receiving benefits anymore.’ This is not in line with our values here in Scotland and it is taking food out of kids’ mouths.”

Criticising colleagues who wanted to “leave politics out of” the discussion, she said:

“It isn’t hard to see that our ability to help people, to end child poverty and to build a fairer country, is hindered severely by the current devolution settlement.

“It’s impossible to leave politics at the door on this. If you have a left-of-centre government here in Scotland, and a Tory government in London, and both have partial responsibility for our social security system, then we are clearly hamstrung no matter how closely ministers from both Governments work together.  It is political, you can’t get away from that, and it simply doesn’t work.”

SNP MSP LEADS DEBATE ON LGBTQI+ ALCOHOL HARM

“Given we are more likely to experience harm, it is vital that alcohol services are equipped to specifically support LGBTQI+ people.”

SNP MSP Emma Roddick led a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the LGBTQI+ community’s experience of alcohol services in Scotland.

The debate was prompted by cross-party support for a motion by the Highlands and Islands MSP noting the publication of SHAAP’s report What are LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of alcohol services in Scotland? A qualitative study of service users and service providers.

Commenting, Emma Roddick said:

“I haven’t been able to shake this report since I read it.  LGBTQI+ people are not genetically programmed to drink more alcohol than our cisgender, heterosexual neighbours: this is a societal issue.

“I’ve heard people say they have to drink before they can have sex, or just so that they can live with themselves, because they have internalised this idea that’s been pressed on them for most of their lives that their sexuality is wrong.  That feeling can be intensified when you live in a rural area or small town where it seems like everyone knows your business.

“From learning how to shave to learning how to have safe sex and relationships, queer people learn from WhatsApp groups, online forums, and whispers about the things that schools and families teach cis, straight people by default. If alcohol services are designed for straight people and only prepared to deal with straight people, or if that’s even just the perception, then you’re immediately less likely to get queer folk through the door, let alone be able to help them through it.

“Given we are more likely to experience harm, it is vital that alcohol services are equipped to specifically support LGBTQI+ people.”

SNP MSP WELCOMES NEWS OF VACCINATION CLINICS PLANNED FOR NAIRN

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick, who has previously raised concern over the decision to move the Nairn booster vaccination programme to Inverness has today been assured by NHS Highland that some clinics will still take place in Nairn.

Roddick commented:

“It is my understanding that those who have been invited for their Spring boosters have been asked to attend vaccinations centres outside of Nairn, making vaccination inaccessible for many of my constituents”

“I was pleased however, to hear that clinics have and will continue to take place in Nairn over the coming months. Getting a booster vaccine is essential in tackling Coronavirus and therefore we need to make sure this is a possibility for everyone. Whilst this situation has caused both confusion and concern for many people living in Nairn, I am glad to hear that team at NHS Highland is working to solve it”.

Clinics have been planned for Nairn for the 18th May, 1st June and 29th June. Information will be updated on the NHS Highland website to reflect this in due course.

“STOP THE WORLD, SCOTLAND HAS IDEAS, AND YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO HEAR THEM” SAYS SNP MSP

“This is not just leadership of a government and a party, but global leadership. I am delighted to see the work that is going on internationally off our own back, sharing best practices, like the Baby Box, and promoting human rights across the globe. We don’t just have a presence on the world stage, but an influence”.

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has highlighted the international work the Scottish Government has undertaken in building relationships and influencing policy at a global level.

 Speaking in the Parliament she said:

“This is not just leadership of a government and a party, but global leadership. I am delighted to see the work that is going on internationally off our own back, sharing best practices, like the Baby Box, and promoting human rights across the globe. We don’t just have a presence on the world stage, but an influence”.

“In my region of the Highlands and Islands perhaps more than anywhere else, the sharing of knowledge, innovation and talent in sectors from renewable energy and transport to property and land rights is something we can all take pride in”.

“It’s no longer just “stop the world, Scotland wants to get on” – it’s “stop the world, Scotland has ideas, and you’re going to want to hear them!”

SNP MSP JOINS NAIRN COMMUNITY IN TREE PLANTING EFFORT

Emma Roddick MSP recently grabbed a shovel and went out to plant fruit trees with local volunteers at the Cemetery Brae Community Orchard in Nairn.

The local community has been involved in the project, which the SNP representative described as “wholesome”, to plant a great variety of fruit trees in the area.

Roddick said:

“It was great to get out in the fresh air and talk to the people involved about the varieties of fruit trees, and to hear about the community event where local people, families and children planted trees.  It was such a wholesome experience to be able to take part in this community effort, and it’s always a joy to see the passion that the people of Nairn have for their local area.

“There is a wealth of knowledge in the Highlands and I look forward to seeing these trees produce fruit for the local community. I truly believe that if you involve local people who have a stake in the area in the management of open spaces, they will look after nature and contribute to the sustainability of their environment.

“I’m looking forward to visiting my trees for years to come as they grow alongside those planted by the community.”

Local tree planter from Nairn Allotment’s Orchard Group Des Scholes added:

“The support for recent orchard plantings in Nairn has exceeded expectations and it is excellent to see local groups working together to build on the community enthusiasm to improve the local environment.  The potential for further activities based around a network of Nairnshire orchards is tremendous and will benefit both the environment and the community. 

“It’s fun, too, and it was delightful to see all the happy faces in what was a huge, colourful, inter-generational event.  We look forward to more of the same in the coming months and years.”

HAND WASHING STILL IMPORTANT IN FIGHT AGAINST SUPERBUGS, SAYS LOCAL MSP

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has emphasised the importance of continued regular handwashing in maintaining continued resistance to spread of viral and bacterial infections.

Speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate on antimicrobial resistance, the SNP MSP pointed out that handwashing carries far less risk of encouraging bacteria to develop a resistance than constant use of hand sanitiser, which many have taken to using daily since the COVID-19 outbreak, does.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“It might seem like a little thing but continuing to regularly wash your hands is something that all of us should try to maintain as we progress in our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Handwashing is invaluable in maintaining antimicrobial resistance. It is an essential part of how we avoid the pandemics of the future – just washing your hands for forty seconds will prevent bacteria from developing resistance to antimicrobials, becoming what is typically known as a ‘superbug’.

“You should also avoid overuse of alternatives to handwashing, such as hand sanitiser. Anti-infectives absolutely have their place in hygiene but if they are used too widely, this may result in them becoming less effective over time as bacteria adapt. We all have a responsibility to ensure this does not happen.”

SNP MSP SPEAKS UP ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH IN THURSO

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick took to the stage at Thurso’s We WANT Festival to share her own experience and reflections on women’s health.

Speaking at the event, she said:

“I think even a few years ago, a politician talking about their periods would have been quite a strange thing.  I’m really glad that it’s not anymore.  I’m on the Women’s Health CPG in the Scottish Parliament, and I get to chat with amazing women about menstruation, menopause, men, and so much more.  It makes a huge difference when you’re able to be open about these things.

“Far too often, young women and girls, and others experiencing abnormal pain and bleeding for the very first time, are subject to the same old story – they tell their parent or carer something’s wrong, and are taken to the doctor, who tells them it’s a normal part of growing up, and they are sent away with a cheeky eyeroll and a knowing smile, told to use a hot water bottle and paracetamol, or maybe some mefenamic acid if they’re lucky.

“A lot of us believed them when they told us this pain, which made us vomit and curl up on the cold bathroom floor covered in sweat, is just something that happens. Which makes sense – it is a conclusion perfectly consistent with everything else we were taught up to that point.  Women have to grow up with misogyny, with being talked over constantly and laughed at for trying to take control over our own bodies. We’re even told things like “don’t be upset, that boy is only punching you in the face because he likes you”.  No wonder we accept so easily that it’s normal to be in agony, too!”

Following her visit, Emma added:

“Going through tough medical ordeals can be really isolating, so it was such a special experience to attend the We WANT Festival and share bad experiences with other women from across the country who really get it.  Huge congratulations and thanks have to go to Kirsteen Campbell for all her work in organising this event and supporting women across the North Highlands and beyond.”

SNP MSP BRINGS SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT TO SHETLAND

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has brought the Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee virtually to Shetland, to share Anchor’s work in the isles.

Visiting the organisation last year, the SNP MSP said that organisations across Scotland could “learn a lot” from their approach.  Following this, she recommended the group to the committee as witnesses for an inquiry into debt and low income.

She said:

“I am so glad that my fellow committee members got the chance to hear directly from Anchor about the work they are doing around early intervention.  It is vital that best practice can be shared so that we truly get things right for every child.

“I was delighted that the organisation could speak with us and give evidence on a wide range of issues, contributing to our inquiry into low income and debt.  Not only is this important in terms of hearing what’s already being done, but it is also valuable for my colleagues on the mainland to get to hear about the specific considerations needed to best serve rural and island communities.”