New session

September 5th, 2011

After a summer in the constituency, it is back to Edinburgh this week for the new session of the Scottish Parliament and there is a lot to be getting on with.

The First Minister will this week set out his legislative agenda for the coming year and alcohol and sectarianism are two areas we are likely to see a focus.

The rest remains to be seen but I expect there will be plenty of common ground that we can work together on as a parliament.

And I hope that the Scottish Government spell out a plan to make Scotland a better place with the powers they do have, rather than obsess over the powers they don’t have.

It will also be the start of the new term for the Health Committee, and there are many important areas we will be looking into, not least the massive challenge we face in delivering appropriate and quality care for the elderly.

To that end, we have Lord Sutherland, the architect of Labour’s free personal care policy, as our first witness to the committee on Tuesday and I have spent the weekend leafing through more 300 pages of submissions and library briefings on the subject to prepare for our inquiry.

Of course, we have a wide variety of work to do here in Inverclyde aswell, and two sets of visitors to welcome.

This week, I have invited the Community Safety Minister to Inverclyde to meet with our drugs action team.

It is not acceptable that drug deaths should continue to rise in this area, particularly when the trend is downwards elsewhere in Scotland and I hope that Roseanna Cunningham can work with us to make progress on this front.

And I look forward to welcoming the makers of Waterloo Road to Inverclyde now that they have agreed to look at sites in Inverclyde for the relocation of the hit series.

I believe this would bring a much-needed boost to the area and provide another excellent showcase for our community.

All in all, it is going to be a busy week, and a busy year at the Scottish Parliament and here in Inverclyde.