Emma Roddick MSP “There is much work to do”

After a hectic Easter recess, where I travelled the length and breadth of the Highlands and Islands, including Orkney, for a full two weeks, it is back to Holyrood and moving time for me as I shift into my ministerial office.

Having been appointed into a government role just before recess, it was a slightly different time away from the parliament as I was starting to balance my role as a regional MSP with my new one as Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees, including doing my ministerial ‘box’ each night and dealing with more journalists than usual!

During my time in Orkney, I enjoyed a visit to Employability Orkney and Restart Orkney to chat about how they are getting folk into work that works for them. It was also great to hear how local charities have benefited from the Deposit Return Scheme that Restart Orkney has been piloting.

I also look forward to following the development of the Hope Cohousing project, having visited the site where this innovative community-led housing solution will come to life.

And as for my meeting with Lynne Spence of Orkney Charitable Trust, I was in awe of her passion for tackling poverty and loved hearing about the cash-first approach that the charity takes to helping bairns and young people in need with their support grants and schemes to help families across Orkney.

This is very much in line with Scottish Government policy aimed at reducing child poverty, which we are doing by ensuring those who need it get judgement-free and flexible financial support, through the Scottish Child Payment and other Social Security Scotland benefits. It will take work, but ending poverty is possible.

These meetings and visits, along with many others across Shetland, Caithness, Lochaber, Argyll, and Inverness are crucial to me in understanding the issues being faced across the Highlands and Islands.

I am already following up on casework that I picked up along the way. However, you don’t need to wait until a surgery to raise an issue with me. I am contactable by email any time at emma.roddick.msp@parliament.scot or my office phone number is 01463 563036.

Elsewhere, I was delighted to see the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, announce last week that the Scottish Government will challenge Whitehall’s veto of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which was passed with cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament after hours of scrutiny and many amendments. Whatever your views on the bill, we must challenge the UK Government’s shameful Section 35 order and stand up for Scottish democracy; otherwise, all our other efforts to improve the lives and uphold the rights of the people of Scotland are at risk.

Of course, we know that the only way that Scotland’s democracy can be fully protected is through gaining the powers of independence. Until that day, we need to ensure that we ensure the Tories get no further opportunities to undermine devolution and the Scottish Parliament, as we know they will, given the chance.

There is much work to do.

This is a regular column by SNP MSP Emma Roddick. All Highlands and Islands MSPs have been offfered the same space in the Orkney News to share their personal views.

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2 replies »

  1. Anyone can see that Yousaf is the wrong leader to manage this unfolding disaster for the Scottish Government. He and his supporters are burying their heads in the sand.

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