MSP report

Lothian Green MSPs’ report – Oct 2020

The future of outdoor education centres, Covid-19 testing capacity and care home testing, ban on winter evictions, Mossmorran plant, and more.

Alison Johnstone MSP and Andy Wightman MSP report to Party colleagues, focusing on their work as MSPs in recent weeks.

To keep up with their work from day-to-day, you can follow us via our social media pages, and the Party website:

Twitter@alisonjohnstone and @andywightman
Facebook@Alison.Johnstone.Green and @AndyWightmanMSP

  • After proposing a cross-party working group to seek to secure the future of outdoor education centres, Alison hosted an online meeting with service providers and MSPs of all parties in Holyrood, who co-signed a letter to the Scottish Government calling for emergency funding. In response, £2m of support has been promised – a step in the right direction, but the campaign continues to protect this key sector.
  • Andy responded to the decision by SNP, Labour and Tory councillors in Edinburgh to reject Green calls to investigate and act on unlawful short term lets uncovered by Andy’s research. An update on Andy’s Homes First campaign is here.
  • Having won Parliament’s support for her proposals to scale up Scotland’s Covid-19 testing capacity to better control the spread of the virus, Alison reiterated her call for the Scottish Government to step up and take responsibility for covid-19 testing, with little sign that the UK Government will resolve the problems created by its privatised system any time soon.
  • Andy launched his campaign for a ban on evictions over winter, with eviction orders having been handed down since July despite repeated claims from the Scottish Government that evictions had been banned.
  • Alison said it was completely unacceptable for there to be a six- or seven-day wait for care home residents to be tested, with the apparent failure to learn lessons from the spring being extremely worrying.
  • With new fire safety regulations taking homeowners across Scotland by surprise, Andy rejected claims from the Housing Minister that the failure to communicate the changes was due to Covid-19, given that the law was passed in January 2019.
  • Alison has consistently pressed for long overdue action from the Scottish Government to tackle the misery caused by ExxonMobil’s Mossmorran plant. With yet another flaring incident in October, the number of people backing our calls for the Scottish Government to finally take action passed 5,000, and led to the First Minister finally agreeing to look into holding an independent inquiry.
  • Andy and Alison have been speaking to UCU members about threats to jobs at Heriot-Watt. Alison met with the Principal and with UCU representatives and Andy took part in an online rally to defend jobs and protect education.
  • To mark the beginning of Challenge Poverty Week, Alison wrote about the steps we can take to tackle poverty in Scotland, including addressing local housing costs and the bureaucracy of the benefits system.
  • Andy spoke to COSLA about local democracy, the local voice, and his Bill on The European Charter of Local Self-Government.
  • MSPs backed plans to allow survivors of rape and sexual assault to provide forensic evidence without reporting it to the police. Alison highlighted that constituents have told of being retraumatised after reporting their assaults, and said it is important that those affected are referred on to other key services.
  • Andy welcomed the latest report on actions to end poverty in Edinburgh, from the Edinburgh Poverty Commission.