A VOICE FROM WESTMINSTER
The Scottish Government’s level system of covid-19 restrictions came into force last week. There are small but encouraging signs that the number of new infections may be starting to fall again, but we are still in a very precarious position. It’s essential that people in Fife comply as fully as possible with the rules and guidance that apply to us. Nobody is finding this easy but it’s the best way to protect lives and to make sure the restrictions are needed for as short a time as possible.
The publicity around the English lockdown has caused some confusion as the UK media haven’t always made it clear that it doesn’t apply in Scotland. For example, churches and places of worship are still allowed to open here. For up to date advice on what restrictions are currently in force in Fife it’s always best to visit the Scottish Government’s website. There’s a lot of information there and it can take a bit longer to find what you want but at least you can be sure that it’s accurate and up to date.
My Bill to protect the NHS from future trade deals has been postponed until January. Although this was very disappointing news, I understand the decision. While England is in full lockdown the parliament in its capital city should be setting an example and only asking people to go there if it’s essential. The SNP are continuing to call on Parliament to use the technology it already possesses to allow MPs to participate fully in debates without needing to be physically present.
I was pleased to hear that the UK Government had partly given in to demands from the SNP to extend their financial support packages for people whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic. I’m still going through the detail of their latest announcement and one major disappointment is that there’s still nothing for the three million or so small businesses and self-employed people who have been excluded from previous support. I raised this yet again in Parliament last week and from the Minister’s reply it was obvious that he couldn’t have cared less.
I took part in another call last week with Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, and raised again the need to keep BiFab in business. The Scottish Government are continuing to do everything the law allows them to do to keep BiFab going because it still has the potential to provide hundreds or even thousands of jobs in Fife and elsewhere in Scotland.