Scottish Government providing £10m for funding school meals over the holidays – 5447 children in West Lothian to benefit
More than 5447 children across West Lothian will benefit from extra funding to extend free school meals over the Christmas and Easter holidays. £10 million has been made available by the SNP Government so that councils can continue providing free school meals through the winter breaks with future funding confirmed to extend support over Easter. Last week, Conservative MPs voted rejected a plan to extend free school meals into the school holidays, arguing that it was not the job of schools to “regularly provide food during the school holidays”. Local MSP Fiona Hyslop, representing the Linlithgow constituency stated, ”Many families in West Lothian are under considerable financial pressure, especially at this time, and the Scottish Government are committed to helping. “The pandemic has put incredible stress on families, and with less than two weeks until the UK government prematurely shuts down the furlough scheme, that’s unfortunately only set to get worse. “This important investment will support around 5447 children and young people in West Lothian, helping families meet the cost of meals over Christmas, February and Easter holidays. “I hope the Scottish Government’s decision to extend the free school meals scheme will be a great relief for many hard-pressed parents in West Lothian, and in Scotland overall. “The Tories at Westminster had an opportunity to support thousands of families worrying about how they will put food on the table in the weeks ahead, but they refused to do so. “It’s clear that Westminster has a lot to learn from the SNP’s approach to tackling food insecurity and building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect.”
Local West Lothian shops urged to go enter national Best Small Shops Competition
Martyn Day MP has called on West Lothian small shopkeepers to enter the Best Small Shops Competition, celebrating the role they play in their communities.Shopkeepers have until Friday, September 11th to nominate their businesses via www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. The competition is open to any small shop operating in the UK. The competition is free to enter and all shops who enter will also be promoted to consumers through an online Indie Retail Directory.
The judges are looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit, ways that they have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a lasting positive impact on their community. A shortlist will be announced in October with the winners announced in November.
Mr Day (SNP) said: “This year has been an extremely challenging retail environment for independent shops.
“Yet, I have witnessed businesses across Linlithgow and East Falkirk adapt to combat the impact of Covid-19.
“These shops are at the heart of our community and deserve to be recognised, that’s why I’m encouraging all small shops in my constituency to enter the UK Best Small Shops Competition.”
Helpful advice from Scottish Canals – Towpath Code of Conduct
The coronavirus lockdown has seen an increased volume of walkers, cyclists and other users along the towpath of the Union Canal. With the increased footfall, questions have arisen as to who exactly can use the towpaths and who has right of way. Questions on social media have included whether horse riding is permitted and whether the towpath allow vehicular access. On motorbikes and scramblers, the rules are clear : ‘Unauthorised vehicles, motorcycles, quad bikes, scramblers etc are strictly prohibited’. On access for horse riders, the advice is more nuanced: ‘Some sections of the canal towpath are unsuitable for equestrian access – understand your route before you venture out and check with the local Scottish Canals’ office if in doubt’. The Code of Conduct also adds, ‘Please clear up any horse dung’! To cyclists, the Code of Conduct asks them to ‘please give pedestrians priority’, to ‘slow down and make yourself heard with a bell ring or friendly voice to warn of your approach’, and to ‘be polite and say thank you’ to pedestrians stepping to the side. Pedestrians are asked to move to the side of towpath and allow cyclists to pass. Big groups and those pushing buggies are also asked to make way for other towpath users to pass by. You can read the full Code of Conduct advice here.
Linlithgow Constituency MSP Fiona Hyslop Welcomes £256,424 Funding Boost for West Lothian Schools
Local Linlithgow Constituency MSP Fiona Hyslop has been happy to share the news this week that West Lothian Council will receive £256,424 from the Attainment Scotland Fund to help close the poverty-related attainment gap. The Scottish Government Announcement means that pupils living in West Lothian’s most deprived communities will benefit from targeted funding from the Attainment Scotland Fund. To help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, schools and local authorities will have flexibility to redirect some of this funding from existing plans to best support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families, with a continued focus on equity in education. The SNP MSP commented, “I am pleased that the Scottish Government has announced that West Lothian Council is to receive £256,424 investment to support pupils from deprived backgrounds. “This latest funding boost for West Lothian demonstrates this Government’s ambition to transform our schools and ensure that every young person gets the chance to succeed in life, regardless of their background. The Education Secretary, John Swinney, has also handed councils the flexibility to use this funding to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic so no child gets left behind. “There’s still a lot to do in reducing poverty and inequality in Scotland – but universal benefits like free school meals for our youngest pupils, free prescriptions and free higher education are helping keep more money in the pockets of hard working families here in West Lothian.”
Linlithgow MP Martyn Day joins campaign to support catering industry
SNP Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Martyn Day is one of 40 MPs backing a cross-party campaign for the UK Government to support the catering industry during the public health emergency.
In the letter to Rishi Sunak MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the group of MP’s wrote: “We are concerned by the exclusion of the UK’s Catering industry from the Government’s proposals to support businesses in the wider hospitality sector. The UK’s Catering industry is made up of thousands of small and medium sized businesses, contributing significantly to the UK economy every year. Most of these businesses have minimal reserves to help them ride out the crisis, with many expecting to go bankrupt without the urgent support of the Government.”
Martyn Day MP stated: “These measures would provide a lifeline to this vital industry and would help them to continue their immense cultural, social and economic contribution to this country.
“Unlike other industries, the UK’s catering sector is unlikely to be permanently scarred by the crisis, with large events such as weddings likely to be deferred until 2021, instead of being lost forever.
“It is therefore essential that these small and medium sized businesses are supported at this time, which would allow them to play their part in helping the UK to recover from this crisis.”