Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick was pleased with the announcement made today by the Scottish Government regarding the £2 million Island Communities Fund. Twenty-nine successful community groups and businesses across twenty-three islands have been awarded grants of up to £150,000 each. This fund is managed by Inspiring Scotland and comes from the £9.5 million committed to the Islands Programme for 2021/22.
Roddick highlighted the importance of supporting island communities and projects with a core emphasis on developing sustainable economic activities on the islands.
“I am delighted that so many of our beautiful islands will benefit from this funding which has a keen focus on creating resilient and sustainable projects, with many also having a net-zero theme.
“Shetland will receive £399,308.74 of funding for six fantastic projects.
“One of which includes the installation of a range of spinning mills to allow full processing of fleece into yarn on Foula, which will use electricity from Foula’s off-grid renewable network.
“Empowering our islands to continue to flourish and stay sustainable is very important to me in my time as an MSP. I feel very encouraged by the news of funds to support island communities and I look forward to seeing how all of these brilliant projects progress”.
Emma Roddick, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has advised that she is keeping endometriosis on her agenda following a meeting with Kirsteen Campbell from Endometriosis UK North Highland branch.
Roddick, who has spoken in the past about the need for better diagnosis times and treatment for endometriosis, said that improving access to medical care continues to be a focus for her, particularly in rural areas.
Following the meeting, Roddick said:
“It was great to meet with Kirsteen to talk about the barriers women face when trying to access diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis in Caithness and Sutherland.
“It is well known that there are significant barriers to women’s healthcare, and endometriosis, which affects roughly 10% of women, is notoriously one of the most difficult conditions to have investigated, diagnosed and treated.
“There is a clear inconsistency in support and care for sufferers in the region – something I am dedicated to improving.
Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has reacted to the sexual misconduct allegations regarding Police Scotland and forces across the UK. Channel Four’s Dispatches has reported lodging Freedom of Information requests with police forces across the UK and information was returned by 39 forces. It revealed that almost 2000 officers, special constables, and Police Community Support Officers were accused of some form of sexual misconduct over the past four years; only 8% of allegations led to a dismissal.
Roddick highlights the disgust involved regarding allegations involving public services that are meant to be there to ‘protect’ us.
Speaking on this subject, Roddick says:
“We are consistently told that we can ‘trust’ the police. Those who are designated to protect us in society should be held accountable for their actions and not put in a position of public trust. Every allegation should be taken seriously and investigated to the fullest in order to keep people safe. No one should be able to behave this way with impunity.
“There is a systemic problem with normalised misogyny. This is prolific in workspaces and across all parts of society. This is completely unacceptable and those who perpetrate or perpetuate it must be held responsible.
“My heart goes out to all of those affected by sexual harassment, rape, and abuse in all forms who have been harmed and who will be further traumatised by this issue not being taken seriously and not having their voices heard. No one should have to be subjected to these types of abusive behaviours and abuses of power.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick slammed the UK Government’s record on women’s rights on Wednesday, condemning statements made by a Tory police commissioner that suggested Sarah Everard should have been more “streetwise” when confronted by her murderer.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Roddick highlighted the different approaches of the UK and Scottish Governments, noting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s work on widening the rights of women and girls, which led to her being named the inaugural UN Global Advocate for Women’s Rights in 2019.
Speaking after the debate, Roddick said:
“Boris Johnson tells us we can trust the police, but he has spent the last week doing nothing but ruling out measure after measure that could keep women safe. He ruled out a public inquiry into the Sarah Everard case and refuses to even consider methods to recognise misogyny as hate crime.
“I am proud to be able to say that I share a party with a First Minister that takes an entirely different approach, whose government is spending half-a-million aiding women and girls in Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda in accessing education.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has attacked the Conservatives on their record of human rights at home and abroad in a debate which took place on the 6th of Octoberon Scotland’s place in the world.
“Only this morning, the UK Government was successful in overturning a unanimous decision by this Parliament to enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Scots Law.
“They are so petty that they would rather take human rights away from children than have the Scottish Parliament make the decision to implement them.
“They are so intent on ensuring Scotland knows its place, they don’t care that they are trampling over the lives of kids to do so.”
Roddick highlighted the contrast with the approach of the Scottish Government, noting Scotland’s world-leading human rights legislation on hate crime, discrimination against women, and disability rights.
Referencing a recent ruling which found the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, had breached human rights by not investigating deaths in immigration detention centres, she added:
“The Tories down south can’t even govern without breaching existing human rights – they certainly cannot be trusted to strengthen them.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick today spoke out against big businesses purchasing land to offset their carbon emissions, who she claims “lack self-awareness”, while pointing out the need for further land reform in Scotland.
She also raised the need for those proposing “rewilding” projects to understand the social context of why the Highlands are so sparsely populated and consider those who currently live in or work the land.
“One SNP policy I was elected on the strength of is the presumption towards community buy-outs of land – this not only will help us in improving the diversity in land ownership, but it will ensure that local people are involved in decisions on how the land is used.
“I am certain that most would not choose to have it used as an indulgent, conscience-easing vanity project for big business.
“The complete lack of self-awareness of many do-gooders when failing to recognise that they are just another wealthy, private buyer of our land, who is contributing to the continuation of a skewed and unjust land market, is astounding.”
On rewilding, she said:
“Rewilding is so often raised as an action to be taken in my region by people with little to no understanding of those who currently live in and work the land, or, indeed, those who could or should be living in and working the land but are not due to enduring effects of the Clearances two centuries ago.
“The attitude that the Highlands are a playground for the gentry or eco-tourists is also one which persists from those horrific events.
“Rewilding can and should happen in conjunction with repeopling, but it will not if you dream up your big rewilding ideas based on a romantic or Cumberland-esque vision of a sparse, deserted Highlands rather than on the voices and experiences of the local community who currently use and live in it.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has asked the Scottish Government what work they are doing to support councils to buy back homes sold off under Right to Buy.
Cabinet Secretary Shona Robinson confirmed that local authorities are encouraged to buy back ex-council properties in order to help tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.
“We are currently experiencing a housing crisis, exacerbated by the disastrous Right to Buy scheme – a short-sighted, damaging plot to reduce local government involvement and cut costs.
“Thousands of ex-council properties across Scotland are now rented out by private landlords at extortionate rates or used as short-term lets. Homes that were originally built for people on low incomes are now inaccessible to the very people they were intended to house.
“The Social Justice and Fairness Commission paper published earlier this year included a policy that would see councils have first refusal on ex-council properties placed on the market. I think now is the time to see action on that front.
“Regaining ownership of ex-council properties, alongside building new homes and regulation of short-term lets and second homes, will allow us to tackle the housing crisis much more quickly.
“I’m glad to see that the Scottish Government considers this a viable option, and I hope to see progress on this policy going forward.”
The SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands challenged the UK Government in a Scottish Parliament debate today, describing plans to end the £20 Universal Credit uplift as “as ridiculous as it is morally reprehensible.”
The Universal Credit uplift was introduced six months ago in response to rising household bills and formed a vital lifeline for many claimants throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
In a speech to the Scottish Parliament, Roddick called UK Government plans to end the uplift “the biggest overnight cut to social security in my and most people here’s lifetimes” and accused the Conservatives of “using poverty as a punishment for not working hard enough”. She also noted that removing the uplift could plunge tens of thousands of residents of Scotland, including over 20,000 children, into poverty.
Speaking on the subject after the debate, Roddick said:
“This measure can only be described as a direct attack by the UK Government on the poorest in our society. According to statistics provided by the Trussell Trust, 1 in 5 Universal Credit claimants would struggle to get to work or pay their heating bill over winter, and over 115,000 people would likely have to skip meals.
“Boris Johnson’s government cannot be described as compassionate in the best of times but to cut Universal Credit at a time when household bills are continuing to rise due to rising fuel prices is particularly cruel. It contrasts with the actions of the Scottish Government, which has recently announced a national roll-out date for the new Scottish Child Disability Payment and whose Scottish Child Payment has already helped more than 108,000 children across Scotland.
“This is truly a tale of two governments and illustrates well why Scotland requires the powers of independence to truly transform our society into the kinder and more caring one we all desire.”