27th November 2020

History was made at Holyrood on Tuesday when The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously by MSPs. It was the culmination of a campaign led by Monica Lennon MSP, who had support across the parties and she is to be congratulated for her tireless campaign for period dignity for all.

It is estimated that period products cost around £8 a month but when girls and young women, or their families, can’t afford this monthly hit they don’t go to school. Missing out on education because sanitary products aren’t affordable is an inequity that will no longer exist, thanks to Monica’s bill. It should also mean that no-one will be left in the upsetting situation of not having the period products they need.

This week sees the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign that began in 1991 to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.

One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence, usually by an intimate partner, and the immediate and long-term impacts of living in fear can be devastating.

Help for anyone in Shetland dealing with domestic abuse or gender-based violence is available for women and children at Shetland Women’s Aid, www.shetlandwa.org or phone 01595 692070.

Opposition to HIAL’s centralisation of air traffic control continues with the Prospect union balloting members on whether to take strike action in the new year. Modernisation isn’t the issue. Removing highly skilled jobs from our communities for a project that HIAL’s own consultants identified as the most risky and costly is.

The islands’ lifeline services will be impacted by any strike action and it’s time Scottish Ministers stepped in to try and resolve the issues.

Four weeks until Christmas. There was a cautious note to the announcement of a four-nations approach to restrictions easing for five days over the festive period. Up to three households can form an exclusive ‘bubble’ to meet at home during this period. The bubble is fixed and can’t be changed or extended.

It’s been a year of sacrifices and now the balance has to be struck between spending time together with family and friends against the possibility of an increase in the spread of the virus in the New Year. As scientists keep reminding us, the virus doesn’t recognise Christmas.

National Carers’ Rights Day is another annual event brought into sharp focus this year by the pandemic. Caring for someone who can’t live independently can take its toll on a carer’s physical and emotional wellbeing, no matter how devoted they are.

A “Caring for the Carer Fund” launched by the Life Changes Trust is aimed at supporting the wellbeing of unpaid carers of people living with dementia. The fund is open until January 2021 and further information is available from Voluntary Action Shetland.

Finally, there’s still time to tell me your energy costs story. You can do this by e-mailing me at [email protected], or calling the constituency office on 01595 690044.

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