SNP MSP TO CAMPAIGN FOR SHETLAND CANDIDATES

Emma Roddick MSP will visit the isles this week to campaign for local SNP candidates Robbie MacGregor, Shetland South, and Zara Pennington, Shetland West. 

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She said:

“I am really looking forward to getting out on the doors to speak to people and help get our two amazing candidates elected to the Shetland Islands Council in May. 

“I am particularly keen to discuss a way forward with Robbie and Sara to help those most affected by the Tory cost of living crisis. As a local MSP and a member of the Social Justice and Social Security Committee, I hear constantly about how soaring energy prices, cuts to welfare, and the hike to National Insurance are causing stress, fear, and even danger. 

“The SNP has uprated devolved benefits by 6% and doubled the Scottish Child Payment in the last month.  We really are fighting the tide against UK cuts, but I will work with the SNP team on the SIC to get the best possible assistance for the isles.”

HIGHLANDS MSP RAISES ISSUES SURROUNDING DISABILITY BENEFITS TRANSFER

SNP MSP Emma Roddick has raised points to the Minister for Social Security on current plans to transfer some of those receiving the Disability Living Allowance to the Adult Disability Payment scheme.

The transfer, which is set to be completed by 2025 will see around 44,000 people switch to ADP starting this summer.

In Thursday’s [31st] committee meeting, Roddick asked the Minister how they plan to transfer cases from DLA to ADP and what impact this may have on disabled people in Scotland.

Commenting she said:

“I am delighted to see the Scottish Government taking this matter seriously and committing to getting the transfer right the first time. Transferring from one benefit scheme to another can pose obvious issues which will affect the lives of disabled people in Scotland. Therefore, we cannot afford to make mistakes which is why it is reassuring to hear the Scottish Government are committed to making this a priority” 

“As a disabled person myself, I know what it’s like to feel non-secure and I, therefore, know how important the steps in this transfer will be for many. I look forward to hearing more on how the Scottish Government plans to make this process as straightforward for everyone”.

LOCAL MSP CELEBRATES MERKINCH PRIMARY SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS

LOCAL MSP CELEBRATES MERKINCH PRIMARY SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has publicly congratulated Merkinch Primary School on being named Development of the Year title at the Scottish Property Awards 2022.

The school, which recently underwent a significant transformation including 14 classrooms and a new games hall took home the award on Wednesday 30th March in Glasgow.

Roddick, who marked this achievement by submitting a parliamentary motion on behalf of the school said:

“I am over the moon to welcome this huge achievement. The work that has been put in over the years by various people to complete this refurbishment is commendable, I know the award is very well deserved”

“An especially big well done to all the staff, local councillors, community leaders and director of care and learning at the Highland Council who have helped guide this development project. It’s thanks to them that this has been such a great success and I can’t wait to see how the space is utilised over the coming years”

£288,207 FUNDING FOR DRUG & ALCOHOL SERVICES IN ORKNEY

SNP MSP EMMA RODDICK WELCOMES NEWS INVESTMENT IN EARLY INTERVENTION AND FAMILY SUPPORT

Orkney will benefit from nearly £288,207 of new investment to support people affected by drugs and alcohol including earlier intervention and better family support. 

This is part of a nationwide announcement by the SNP Scottish Government. A total of 77 initiatives the length and breadth of Scotland will benefit from £25 million over the next 5 years.  The Children and Family Fund and the Improvement Fund were established to provide direct financial support to front line services and third sector organisations.

SNP MSP EMMA RODDICK said:

‘I am delighted that local services in Orkney will benefit from an additional £288,207 from the national Improvement Fund and the Children and Family Fund that the SNP Scottish Government established last year.

‘This funding will enable services to increase and improve support provided to those affected by drug and alcohol use including their families. 

‘A whole family approach is needed to ensure more people can access treatment and recovery that is right for them at an earlier stage.  Supporting family members in their own right is also important as for every single person struggling with drugs or alcohol there are, on average, 11 other people affected.  

‘This additional investment will help local services in Orkney to work together and respond to problems earlier to prevent children, young people and their families from reaching the point of crisis.’

EMMA RODDICK MSP: DWP REFUSAL TO SHARE SANCTIONS DATA “FUNDAMENTALLY DISHONEST”

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday [31ST MARCH], Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick backed the call by a cross-party group of MSPs on the UK Government’s Department of Work and Pensions to share anonymised data on benefits sanctions with a team of University of Glasgow-based researchers.

Roddick, who herself has experience of living on benefits, said that “the sanctions situation is so bad that the DWP won’t even tell us how bad” and that the UK Government must intervene in order to guarantee transparency.

Commenting after the debate, Roddick said:

“This refusal to share sanctions data is yet another fundamentally dishonest act by the inhumane machinery of the Department of Work and Pensions.

“The Tories would try to reassure us by saying that sanctions aren’t carried out liberally, that they are a targeted intervention not applied to all. That is just not good enough. I frankly don’t care whether someone has missed a job interview for a reason not deemed “good enough” – there is no good reason to deny people money to buy food and pay rent, which is what benefits sanctions do.

“It is paramount that the DWP listens to reason and shares their data on sanctions with these researchers so that we may begin to understand just how many lives their policies have ruined.”

SNP MSP CALLS FOR HIGHLAND-BASED CRISIS CENTRE TO “BRIDGE GAP IN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES”

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick praised the mental health support work developed by Penumbra at their Edinburgh Crisis Centre and called for a similar model to be rolled out across the country, including in the Highlands and Islands.

The Edinburgh Crisis Centre is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and provides community-based, emotional and practical support to people in mental health crisis. After initial contact via email, phone or video call, the Crisis Centre then offers further mental health support including in-person consultations and rest in the centre.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“Penumbra helped me during a difficult time in my own life, helping me recover from financial hardship and mental health issues, and assisting me in returning to Inverness. I will always be grateful to them for their support and kindness.

“It is absolutely vital that we encourage the growth of similar crisis centres across the country, including in our region, so that we can bridge the gap in mental health provision between emergency and community help with mental health in the Highlands and Islands.”

RODDICK ON OSCARS GIFT BAG SCANDAL: “OUR LAND IS NOT A COMMODITY AND NOT A JOKE”

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has weighed in on the recent land ownership scandal surrounding the “Everyone Wins” gift bags for top nominees at the Academy Awards, where recipients were given informal certificates from Highland Titles Ltd claiming they are now ‘lords’ and ‘ladies of Glencoe’ and granting them ownership of 1 square foot of Highland land.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“I don’t have a high opinion of this sort of ‘land gifting’ at the best of times, but there is something particularly grotesque about giving very wealthy people a tiny parcel of our home as a souvenir.

“You can argue that souvenir land ownership is purely symbolic, but, when the symbol is that our land is a commodity, that attitude has real-world effects, validating the actions of others who treat the Highlands as an amusement park.

“I also understand that the company doing this is based in Guernsey and so, despite owning land in Scotland, is not obliged to publish their accounts or subject themselves to public scrutiny.

“Think about how this sounds: a company based in a tax haven is gifting our land to Oscar nominees as a wee bit of, in the recent words of their owner, ‘harmless fun.’

“Our land is not a novelty gift for some of the wealthiest people in the world to amuse themselves with. It belongs to our communities who live, work, study, grow and prosper in the Highlands and Islands.

“I ask all the recipients of these ‘goodie bags’ and therefore these ‘deeds’ to do the right thing and speak out against this sort of gifting practice. You did not have an option in whether to receive this – but you do have an option to reject this gift and contribute to the campaign to make Highland land truly our own.”

SNP MSP OPENS HOLYROOD EVENT ON TRANSFORMATIONAL ENERGY RESEARCH IN HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS

On Thursday [24TH MARCH], speaking at a briefing for MSPs on globally significant energy research in the Highlands and Islands, SNP MSP Emma Roddick said that ‘people are screaming out across the world for the lessons that only the Highlands and Islands is ready and able to teach’ and emphasised the importance of researching the potential of the region’s natural resources at home.

The event, organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands Acting Vice-Principal Professor Donna Heddle and sponsored by Ms Roddick, showcased the revolutionary potential of the energy research undertaken in the region by the University and by international groups such as the Bryden Centre.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“I was delighted beyond words to sponsor this event, my first sponsored event as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament. I believe with all my heart in the potential of the Highlands and Islands and their people, and it was wonderful to have this opportunity to highlight to my parliamentary colleagues just how much of not just the development but the study of what we can do with our resources is being done here, by UHI and its international partners.

“Something I in particular feel excited about is the benefits of international cooperation in this area, through international consortia such as the Bryden Centre, funded by the EU through the Interreg VA programme, which works on marine renewable potential in western Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“Though this work is vital, there remain huge battles to win. Many of my constituents ask – why is electricity in the Highlands and Islands so expensive, when the renewable energy potential is right there, on our shores? It is a good question and a problem that I am 100% convinced we must resolve. The UK government must listen to the clamour from Highlanders and Islanders and abolish the unfair Ofgem surcharges which continue to make energy prices in our region so expensive.”

HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS MSP THROWS SUPPORT BEHIND NUS SCOTLAND STUDENT HOUSING CAMPAIGN

SNP MSP Emma Roddick, attending a rally outside the Scottish Parliament in support of the Fix Student Housing campaign on Wednesday [23RD MARCH], expressed her support for the campaign’s aims and pledged to work to end substandard housing conditions experienced by Scotland’s students.

The campaign, organised by the National Union of Students, seeks to increase awareness of problems with the cost and quality of student housing, end student homelessness and highlight the limited rights students have compared to other tenants.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“Thanks in no small part to a decade of Tory austerity, our students face remarkable housing precarity that no one should be going through.

“A recent survey by NUS Scotland has found that 12% of students have experienced homelessness and 8% have had to rely on foodbanks to survive. As someone whose entire life has been deeply shaped by both of these experiences it breaks my heart to know many are struggling in this way while also facing the usual challenges of student life.

“Fixing student housing will have positive knock-on effects on the entire housing market, and I hope to help play a part in this in my work as an MSP.”

SNP MSP: RISHI SUNAK’S ATTACK ON VULNERABLE HOUSEHOLDS ENDANGERS COVID RECOVERY

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has lambasted the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spring Statement, noting recent polling that suggests over 80% of people in Scotland are worried about the cost of living crisis.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“The Tories can talk about responsible government all they like but the truth is that they are hiking National Insurance contributions while cutting income tax, shifting more of the burden off the wide shoulders of the rich and onto the backs of the poor.

“The cost of living crisis they have inflicted on us with more than a decade of austerity and cuts isn’t enough for Rishi Sunak – he wants to make vulnerable households pay for it while the friends of the Tory Party profit.

“At the same time as the Scottish Government increases the Scottish Child Payment, the UK Government undermines us with a horrendous cut to Universal Credit while it pats itself on the back for cutting tax. This is precisely the sort of thing that Better Together once assured Scottish households ‘the most powerful devolved parliament in the world’ was meant to have the power to prevent, and precisely the sort of thing that only independence can protect us from.”