Shetland’s MSP Beatrice Wishart has spoken in the ‘Making Scotland Equally Safe’ debate in the Scottish Parliament today about the global problem of violence against women, as part of the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
Ms Wishart took the opportunity to highlight the need for legislative changes to make sure that people aren’t forced to give up their family home to escape an abuser.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has questioned the extent to which the islands have been considered in the formulation of Christmas travel plans, following changes to guidance hours after its publication.
At a session of Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee today, Ms Wishart asked Cabinet Secretary Mike Russell what consideration had been given for extra travel days for people to get to and from the islands. Mr Russell reiterated that travel is between 23 and 27 December for the whole country, before then conceding that guidance published earlier today would now be updated to clarify that people beginning their travel on 27 December by overnight ferry can complete their journey within the rules.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today pushed the Scottish Government for answers on when Shetland students will be able to travel home for Christmas.
With students reporting they have received no further details on the government plans for testing and staggering departure dates, and with travel now prohibited to and from Level 3 and 4 areas from Friday, Shetland students on the Mainland and their families have contacted Ms Wishart seeking advice.
Northern Isles representatives Alistair Carmichael MP and Beatrice Wishart MSP have written to Ofgem to seek an urgent meeting to address steep energy price rises and poor customer service from suppliers.
Following a call for public views, Mr Carmichael and Ms Wishart received representations from numerous constituents frustrated with energy price increases and difficulties getting in touch with providers to address billing issues. Mr Carmichael and Ms Wishart are now asking the energy regulator to tackle “energy increases over and above the rate of inflation, staggering billing issues and appalling levels of misinformation.”
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has highlighted concerns about the impact of Brexit on the fish processing and aquaculture sector, following an evidence session of Holyrood’s Europe committee.
Responding to questioning from Ms Wishart, Jimmy Buchan, Chief Executive, Scottish Seafood Association told committee members “labour is a serious concern” for SSA members, with the UK immigration salary threshold affecting seafood companies’ competitiveness in the global market.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has welcomed government acceptance of the need to test students ahead of Christmas travel but warned that rollout of the programme must take account of the needs of islanders.
Further and Higher Education Minister, Richard Lochhead today announced Scottish Government plans to support students to return home for Christmas. Steps include staggered departures from institutions and testing asymptomatic students twice before the end of term.
Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart has today called for an overhaul of SQA bureaucracy after the Scottish Parliament's education committee took evidence from the authors of a review of the 2020 exams process.
Following questioning from Ms Wishart, Professor Mark Priestley told the committee that the SQA saw their role as putting in place a “technical solution” for assessment following cancellation of exams but that subsequent problems with pupils being unfairly downgraded could have been avoided had there been greater engagement with education stakeholders.
Mr Priestly said: “in the exceptional circumstances of this year, we believe that a more collaborative decision-making approach to co-construct a system would have been more effective and would have been more equitable. Simply because it would have been owned by the profession more it would have mitigated a lot more of the subsequent criticism that came,”
Commenting after the Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced the cancellation of exams in Wales in 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP commented:
"The Scottish Government needs to reach out and listen to teachers. Throughout this crisis they have been creative, dedicated and have shown that they know their pupils best.
"Ministers and the SQA need to learn from their mistakes earlier in the year when they cut teachers out of the process, alongside everyone else who was warning that John Swinney's damaging exams algorithm was about to crush ambitions and penalise those from poorest backgrounds the most."
Shetland’s MSP has today secured a commitment for a Scottish Government review of the current rules on indoor contact sports including football training in the isles.
Adult indoor contact sports like football are currently not allowed in Level 1 areas like Shetland. However, as Ms Wishart highlighted during a hybrid question session in the Scottish Parliament, Shetland’s winter means outdoor pitches are often waterlogged and impossible to play on.
Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Beatrice Wishart has this morning warned the Scottish Government not to “repeat the mistakes” of students’ return by failing to prepare for people’s movements at Christmas.
Responding to questioning from Beatrice Wishart about four nations discussions on uniform Christmas restrictions, the First Minister said the devolved nations would “try to reach a common position around Christmas generally” and stated there was a commitment to “try and get as much consistency as we possibly can”.