Jenny Gilruth MSP's column in the Glenrothes Gazette and East Fife Mail - 9-15 September 2020

Published date : 15 Sep 2020

Working together to respond to coronavirus

Last week, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, unveiled the Scottish Government’s ambitious Programme for Scotland 2020/21. The programme for government happens every September and it sets out the actions the government plans for the year ahead.

This year’s programme includes help to support our young people aged 16 to 24 with a guaranteed job, education, apprenticeship or formal training place through the new Scottish Youth Guarantee. The Scottish Government has also committed to invest £25 million in a new National Transition Training Fund to support up to 10,000 Scots who are most at risk of redundancy due to the coronavirus pandemic. For those whose finances have been impacted by coronavirus, a new £10 million Tenant Hardship Fund will open later this year to offer interest-free loans additionally.

Leven, Glenrothes and the surrounding villages in the Mid Fife area will also stand to benefit from a £275 million fund for community regeneration and town centre revitalisation. The town centres of Leven and Glenrothes have very different needs and challenges; but it’s also important to recognise that community regeneration needs to reach wider to the smaller towns across Central Fife, which have been hit hard by the financial effects of COVID-19.

During lockdown, many of us have been enjoying use of local cycle paths, walkways and green spaces. In July, I welcomed £2.4 million funding for Fife Council to help normalise the increasing number of people walking or cycling in the local area. The Programme for Government commits £500 million for infrastructure for active travel, and I hope Fife Council will work to secure funding for local projects.

In my last column, I wrote at length about the Scottish Child Payment. The First Minister confirmed that applications for the payment, which will give families £10 a week for each eligible child under 6, will open this November and the first payments will be made from the end of February 2021. This policy will help to tackle child poverty and deliver a fairer Scotland.

I visited Auchmuty & Dovecot Tenants & Residents Association last week to learn more about how they’ve been supporting the local community in lockdown. ADTRA are the beating heart of Auchmuty; I’m always heartened when I visit but it does give me pause for reflection.

Our recovery from this virus will not be achieved by the Scottish Government alone. It will rely on us all pulling in the same direction, looking out for each other, and trying new approaches. ADTRA is a heart-warming example: a volunteer-led organisation that knows the local area’s needs and has helped hundreds of individuals and families affected by the challenges posed by coronavirus. Meeting some of the volunteers at the community flat in Auchmuty last week certainly gave me hope that we can get through this crisis. That strength of community spirit has never been stronger and we are all going to need it as we approach the winter months.

As ever, if you or your family are in need of any assistance then please don’t hesitate to contact my office on 01592 764 815 or email Jenny.Gilruth.msp@parliament.scot.

You can read the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government in full at: www.gov.scot/pfg.
 

East Fife Mail, Glenrothes Gazette
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