CELEBRATING SCOTTISH-SCANDINAVIAN TIES
30 July 2015
MSP hails Nordic House arts initiative at this year's Edinburgh Festival
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has championed a parliamentary motion fostering cultural links between Scotland and its Scandinavian neighbours. The motion, tabled by Christina McKelvie MSP, calls for Holyrood to welcome the arts showcase 'Nordic 'House' that is to be hosted by the Scottish Storytelling Centre at next month's Edinburgh Festival.
The motion by the MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse also highlights Scotland's "long history with the Nordic nations, which...can be seen today in the Northern Isles in the strength of feeling toward the history shared and the identity that many people feel part of".
An impressive, state-of-the-art multimedia exhibition of landscape art from all five of the Nordic nations - namely Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Denmark - is to form the backdrop of this creative outreach programme at the Storytelling Centre on Edinburgh's Royal Mile (pictured above).
Earlier this year, Angus MacDonald, who has cherished a lifelong interest in Scandinavia and the region's association with Scotland - culturally, historically, economically and linguistically - called for the Scottish Government to strengthen these ties by improving ferry services across the North Sea. The Falkirk East MSP stressed that "Norway and the Scandinavian nations are some of the wealthiest on the planet, so the economic benefit to increasing travel between the two islands is obvious".
Mr. MacDonald added that "the cultural and social benefits of closer ties between the Nordic progressive social democracies and this country can likewise only be a good thing. The Nordic House initiative uses the positive and popular medium of the creative arts both to embody and to encourage this spirit of mutual friendship and pan-national cooperation. I therefore commend that the thrust of Ms. McKelvie's motion be embraced by my fellow parliamentarians and by the nation as a whole."
"As a native of the Outer Hebrides, the wealth of Nordic place names around me growing up provided me with a tangible reminder of Scotland's Scandinavian legacy. Our key trajectory should now be to build on this historic relationship and look forward to enhancing Nordic-Scottish collaboration in all spheres of culture and commerce. And where better to encapsulate and showcase this theme than at the world renowned celebration of culture and cross-cultural appreciation that is the Edinburgh International Festival."
SCOTTISH WELFARE FUND HELPS NEARLY 5000 FALKIRK HOUSEHOLDS
29 July 2015
MSP praises Scottish Government for protecting vulnerable constituents from Tory cuts
The MSP Angus MacDonald has welcomed new statistics showing that a total of 4902 households in Falkirk have benefited from the Scottish Government’s landmark welfare grant over the past year.
Latest figures demonstrate that between 2014 and 2015 more than £1 million from the Scottish Welfare Fund was spent in the area, which comprises Mr. MacDonald's Holyrood constituency of Falkirk East and Justice Sectretary Michael Matheson's constituency of Falkirk West. The statistics also highlight that almost 10,000 Falkirk residents were assisted by the government scheme during this period.
Grants from the fund - which are divided into the remits of Crisis and Community Care - are used to help those in need pay for essentials such as food and energy bills. More than a third of the grants issued supported lone-parent households and people suffering with disabilities or mental health problems.
Mr. MacDonald commented, “Vulnerable people in communities across our area are struggling to make ends meet in the face of a relentless assault on the poor-waged by this Tory government. These grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund provide a real and present lifeline for many individuals and families in my constituency and that of my parliamentary colleague, Michael Matheson, in Falkirk West. The fund helps those struggling to make ends meet obtain basic necessities like food and clothing. It also helps them be able to afford energy bills such as electricity and gas: imperative for maintaining health and wellbeing in a cool climate".
The Falkirk East MSP continued, “While it is worrying that so many people in Falkirk are struggling with the cost of living, it is absolutely right that the Scottish Government does everything it can to bridge the socio-economic gap. It is encouraging to see some 9,955 Falkirk residents benefitting from this national funding initiative and I applaud its positive impact upon other communities across the country."
"Of course, Scotland should not be in the position of having to mitigate the social security cuts of a Tory government in London which people here completely reject. But until full fiscal and social jurisdiction are in Scotland’s hands, we in the SNP will do everything in our power to protect and support vulnerable people suffering from Westminster austerity”.