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POLITICS: It’s time to work together as we welcome a new leader for the SNP

By Gillian Martin

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The announcement of John Swinney as leader of the SNP and as incoming First Minister is wonderful news. A stalwart of the party, John is also able to work collaboratively across the parliament and with opposition parties.

I welcomed the announcement of John Swinney as leader of the SNP
I welcomed the announcement of John Swinney as leader of the SNP

Our politics has been incredibly divisive in recent years, and I am pleased we will have someone who has such a wealth of experience to bring to the role. As John Swinney has said, his appointment marks a new chapter that will be about coming together, uniting, and dedicating ourselves to the service of Scotland. Something which I think we can all agree is in our common interest. I would also like to thank outgoing First Minister Humza Yousaf who has led our parliament during challenging times amid a cost-of-living crisis and during the desperate humanitarian crisis in Palestine. Politics is not for the faint-hearted and it is an honour to be able to represent both your constituency as well as work in a Ministerial role. Humza Yousaf’s passion for social justice – in particular our work on the Scottish Child Payment and lifting families out of poverty – has been inspiring.

After I was contacted by constituents concerned about anti-social behaviour in Ellon, I was able to meet with the policing team for the area in Ellon recently. It was great to meet Chief Inspector Steven McDonald and hear about the work he and his team have been doing to manage and prevent anti-social behaviour. We also spoke about some of the work the police are doing in local communities and how they work to ensure they are as responsive as possible to local concerns. It was great to meet the Chief Inspector and some of his team and if you have any concerns, you’d like to be passed on to them please do get in touch.

At Holyrood, MSPs voted last week to call for “compensation in full” to be paid to women impacted by changes to their State Pension age. The motion brought forward by Humza Yousaf was supported by every SNP MSP – however both Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives abstained. Scottish Labour tried to push for an amendment stating that “must be clarity on how any compensation scheme would operate”. The Scottish Government motion echoed the campaign of WASPI women which calls for a “higher level of compensation to properly reflect the financial harm” that has been suffered. Similar redress campaigns and petitions are also urging the UK Government to provide justice for all women born in the 1950s affected by changes to the official age of retirement. It is disappointing that both Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives abstained in the motion to support calls for full compensation for WASPI women whose lives have been significantly impacted by the actions of the UK Government.

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