This Week at the Scottish Parliament: Delivering progress

Holyrood marks Holocaust Memorial Day

This week the Scottish Parliament mark Holocaust Memorial Day by reflecting on the trauma and tragedy of genocide.

The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, ‘Torn From Home,’ encourages the public to reflect on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call ‘home’ is part of the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution.

SNP MSP Emma Harper reflected on her on our personal experience of the Holocaust, and to urged everyone in Scotland to ensure that racism, sectarianism, bigotry and anti-Semitism are never allowed to go unchallenged.

No-deal “clearly not in national interest”, Holyrood committee says

This week a report from the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee, unanimously agreed that uncertainty around tax forecasts are “exacerbated by the continuing uncertainty around Brexit”.

The report states: “the Committee is strongly of the view that a no-deal Brexit would be damaging to the Scottish economy and public finances and therefore is clearly not in the national interest.”

The SNP is crystal clear: it’s time for the UK government to end the political games, end their intransigence, and rule out the threat of a no-deal cliff edge.

Debate on Scotland’s City Deals

This week, SNP MSPs called on the UK government to match the funding and ambition committed to city and regional growth deals by the Scottish Government.

Figures show that while the SNP government has injected over £1.5 billion into City Region deals, the UK government is delivering £382 million less.

The Tory government has repeatedly failed to match Scottish Government investment in city region and regional growth deals – most recently by refusing to commit to an extra £50 million of funding pledged to the Tay Cities Deal by the Scottish Government.

SNP MSP Bill Kidd said: “The SNP in government is demonstrably committed to driving economic growth, encouraging innovation in our cities and regions, and laying essential foundations for jobs and prosperity through city region deals.

“The Tories consistently over-promise and under-deliver in Scotland. It seems odd that they could afford a £1 billion pay-off for the DUP, but can’t find the funds to match the Scottish Government’s vital contribution to our regional economies.”

SNP MSPs demand urgent “re-think” of Santander branch closures

SNP MSP’s this week called on Santander to undertake an urgent “re-think” of the 15 branches in Scotland which face closure this year.

This is just the latest round of bank closures to hit communities across Scotland. Since 2015 more than 230 bank branches in Scotland have been shut or marked for closure and research suggests that local branches are closing faster in Scotland than any other part of the UK.

Santander intend to close 140 branches, putting almost 1,300 jobs at risk. The branches are due to close throughout the year, with the first Scottish closure scheduled for April.

A group of SNP MSPs and MPs have now written to Santander’s Head of Retail and Business Banking, to ask for an urgent review of the planned closures.