Joan McAlpine MSP has welcomed a new scheme allowing men prosecuted for same-sex sexual activity under obsolete laws to have their convictions erased.

The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Act passed by the Scottish Parliament comes into force this week. It grants an automatic pardon to every gay and bisexual man in Scotland convicted under discriminatory laws.

Men with such convictions can now also apply to have them removed from central criminal records under a ‘disregards’ scheme.

Welcoming the news, McAlpine, SNP MSP for South Scotland said:

“I am delighted that legislation which was previously passed by the Scottish Parliament is now in force and that Gay and Bi-Sexual men who have lived with historic convictions for simply being themselves can now set the record straight.

“There is no place for homophobia in Scotland, and I would encourage all Gay and Bi-Sexual men with historic convictions for same-sex sexual activity to take advantage of the opportunity to clear their records of these discriminatory convictions.

“Information on how to apply to have these offences removed can be found on the MyGov.Scot Website.”

Background
Same-sex sexual activity between men was made legal in Scotland in 1980 and the age of consent was equalised in 2001.

In November 2017, the First Minister issued an unqualified apology to those convicted of same-sex sexual activity that is now legal.

Under the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Act, which was passed unanimously in June 2018, the pardon is automatic as of 15 October 2019 .

Separately the disregards scheme, also in place from 15 October, will allow anyone with such a conviction to apply to have it ‘disregarded’ so that it will never show up on, for example, an enhanced disclosure check.

Further information on how applications should be made can be found on the MyGov.scot website.

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Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that police, and the courts will be given new powers to remove suspected domestic abusers from the homes of victims or others at risk.

 
The Scottish Government will introduce a Bill to Parliament which will create new protective orders to keep a suspected perpetrator away from the household of someone at risk of abuse.
 
In contrast with existing civil measures such as Non-Harassment Orders and Exclusion Orders, protective orders would not require the person at risk to make the application to the court themselves. Police would be able to impose a short-term order directly and to apply to a court to put in place a longer-term order.
 
Welcoming the announcement, Joan McAlpine MSP said:
 
“Domestic abuse remains a significant problem for many people in Scotland, and I am thrilled that the Scottish Government will introduce a Bill to strengthen the protections already in place to protect victims in Scotland.
 
“In 2017-18, the highest percentage of incidents of domestic abuse that included the recording of at least one crime or offence also being recorded was in Dumfries & Galloway, which goes to show that victims in our region are particularly at risk of harm. 
 
“I welcome this announcement from the First Minister, and I hope that the new protections, once introduced, will go some way to combatting key issues like Women’s homelessness, which is most often caused by domestic abuse.”
 
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
 
“Parliament came together to pass what campaigners described as ‘gold standard’ domestic abuse laws, creating a specific new offence that includes not only physical abuse but other forms of psychological abuse and coercive, controlling behaviour. The legislation gave clarity for victims and more powers for police and prosecutors to bring perpetrators to justice.
 
“But with many tens of thousands of people reporting domestic abuse in Scotland each year, we can and we must go further – and that includes taking action to reduce the threat of homelessness from those who seek safety for themselves and often for their children.
 
“We need to change the reality that for many women and their children the only way to escape an abuser is to flee their home. It should not be the victims of abuse who lose their homes, it should be the perpetrators.
 
“So we will introduce a Bill in this Parliament to give police and courts new powers to remove suspected perpetrators from the homes of those at risk.
 
“Such orders would allow Scotland’s justice system to safeguard people who, for example, are being controlled to such an extent that they could not initiate court action themselves, and give victims time to seek advice on longer-term housing options.
 
“While violent crime has significantly reduced in Scotland over the last decade, instances of domestic abuse – an appalling, often hidden crime – remain far too high. Our legislative reforms, together with work to promote healthy relationships and tackle the roots of gender-based violence, can help build a safer Scotland.”
 
Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said:
 
“Domestic abuse is the leading cause of women’s homelessness in Scotland. This Bill, if passed, would be an immediate and significant improvement, offering children and women a breathing space as they seek safety. Without this legislation, women experiencing domestic abuse in Scotland will continue to have to choose between staying in the home with an abuser or making themselves and their children homeless to get away from the abuse.
 
“As survivors have asked for years, why should those being abused, rather than the perpetrator, have to leave their homes, pets, and belongings?
 
“We very much welcome today’s announcement and look forward to engaging with the Scottish Government on the detail of the legislation going forward.”
 
Background
 
The Scottish Government held a public consultation seeking views on proposals to create new protective orders that could be used to keep people at risk of domestic abuse safe by banning perpetrators from their homes.
 
Responses to the consultation, which ended on 29 March, showed widespread support for such protective orders, with many respondents highlighting domestic abuse as a leading cause of homelessness for women.
 
The Scottish Government will introduce legislation in the current session of Parliament, which ends in 2021, to introduce a new scheme of protective barring orders to protect people at risk of domestic abuse. The views offered in response to the consultation will inform development of this legislation.
 


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Joan McAlpine, SNP MSP for South Scotland added a dash of pink to her usual attire to support Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink fundraiser, which takes place on Friday 18 October. 

Since launching in 2002, wear it pink has had an enormous impact on the lives of those affected by breast cancer, raising over £33 million to date. Joan McAlpine is calling for her constituents to join her, by signing up for wear it pink and helping to fund world-class breast cancer research and life changing support for those affected by the disease. 

 

Breast Cancer Now supporters Alison Tait and Jane O’Neill, who have both been affected by breast cancer, joined Joan McAlpine at the Scottish Parliament. 

Alison Tait, 49 from Edinburgh, is a single parent living with incurable secondary breast cancer. Commenting on why she is supporting this year’s wear it pink day she said: 

‘“Being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer turns your world upside down. Breast Cancer Now does incredible work that makes a real difference for people like me who are living with this disease. 

“In May 2018, I helped Breast Cancer Now to launch the Perjeta Now campaign in Scotland. It successfully made this extraordinary drug routinely available to women in Scotland living with incurable secondary breast cancer – giving them nearly 16 months of extra life compared to other treatments. 

“Fundraising events like wear it pink help to support Breast Cancer Now’s invaluable work and I would like to encourage people across Scotland to get involved and donate what you can.” 

 

Joan McAlpine MSP, said: 

“Every year in Scotland, around 4,700 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 1,000 women die of the disease. 

That’s why I’m encouraging my constituents to take part in Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day on Friday 18 October. 

“The money raised by this wonderful event has such a huge impact, allowing Breast Cancer Now to fund vital research and support for those living with a diagnosis. I hope that everybody will wear it pink this October and support this very important cause.”

 

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said: 

“Breast cancer still affects so many of us, and our goal as a charity is that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and be supported to live well. The money raised from wear it pink is so crucial to this helping us to fund vital breast cancer research and support for those affected by the disease. 

“We hope that by wearing pink, Joan McAlpine will encourage more people to wear it pink in on 18 October and help us to continue to fund vital breast cancer research and support.” 

Anyone can take part in wear it pink. Some people will choose to hold a cake sale, while others will opt to organise a raffle and some will arrange a pink fancy dress day at their school or workplace. No matter how people chose to wear it pink, all the money raised will help to fund vital breast cancer research and support. 

Wear it pink on 18 October and raise funds for breast cancer research and support. Visit wearitpink.org to register and claim your free fundraising pack. 

 

About Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now: 

Breast Cancer Now is a working name of Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, a charity registered in England and Wales (1160558) and Scotland (SC045584). 

Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now have merged to create one charity for everyone affected by breast cancer, united by the shared ambition that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and receive the support they need to live well. 

 

About Breast Cancer Now: 

· Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity. 

· Breast cancer is still the most common cancer in the UK. Every year, around 4,700 women in Scotland are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 1,000 people lose their lives to the disease. It’s time to act. 

· Breast Cancer Now funds around a third of all breast cancer research happening in the UK. The charity currently supports nearly 380 of the world’s brightest researchers across the UK and Ireland. Together, they’re working to discover how to prevent breast cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to treat it effectively at every stage so we can stop the disease taking lives. 

· Last year, Breast Cancer Now committed over £16 million to cutting-edge research projects, including almost £400,000 to three new studies in Scotland. To date, Breast Cancer Now has invested over £15 million in world-class breast cancer research in Scotland. · For more information on Breast Cancer Now’s work, visit breastcancernow.org or follow us on Twitter or on Facebook. 

 

About Breast Cancer Care: 

· Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist UK wide charity providing support for women, men, family and friends affected by breast cancer. We’ve been caring for them, supporting them, and campaigning on their behalf since 1973. 

· Today, Breast Cancer Care continues to offer a unique range of support including reliable information, one-to-one support over the phone and online from nurses and people who’ve been there. They also offer local group support across the UK. 

· From the moment someone notices something isn’t right, through to their treatment and beyond, Breast Cancer Care is there to help anyone affected by breast cancer feel more in control. 

· For care, support and information from day one, call Breast Cancer Care free on 0808 800 6000 or visit breastcancercare.org.uk. Follow us on twitter, facebook or Instagram





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Joan McAlpine MSP for South Scotland region is backing the Scottish Powerchair Football Association in their call to give more people across Scotland the chance to play powerchair football. Joan met with representatives of the SPFA who were visiting the Scottish Parliament to promote the growing sport. 
 
Powerchair football is a growing sport in Scotland with teams competing in the Scottish Powerchair Football Association Leagues. Players can either compete by having special bumpers attached to their own wheelchairs or, for more serious competition, they can use specially modified chairs sports Powerchairs that are faster and more responsive.
 
Currently, Scotland has 6 powerchair football clubs with 9 teams, all of which are giving disabled people the chance to take part in exciting competition as well as helping to reduce isolation, improve mental wellbeing and build the self-confidence of players. Played by 4-a-side teams on a pitch roughly the size of a basketball court, the sport is open to powered wheelchair users and is currently the only team sport open to disabled athletes who use a powered chair.
 
Scotland has its own national league with two divisions and two Cup competitions. In addition, a national powerchair football team, formed from players across the country will be hosting a tri-nations tournament against Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at the Sportscotland National Centre in Inverclyde. Ms McAlpine met with the South Ayrshire Tigers Football Club in parliament.
 
The SPFA used the opportunity of a stand outside the debating chamber in Holyrood to bring the sport to the attention of more MSPs. To support the continued growth of the game across Scotland and allow more disabled individuals to take part, the SPFA are asking MSPs to write to Sports Minister Joe Fitzpatrick MSP and back their calls for the Scottish Government and Sportscotland to provide funding.
 
After signing a pledge in Holyrood to support powerchair football in Scotland Joan McAlpine MSP said:
 
“The SPFA is doing great work in giving power wheelchair users in Scotland the opportunity to play football and to participate in a team sport has so many benefits; allowing players to compete locally, nationally and even internationally. Powerchair football allows people to develop skills, discipline and friendships as well as giving players a focus that benefits them both physically and mentally. It would be great to see more provision, especially in the South of Scotland.
 
“I welcome the decision by the Scottish Government to require Changing Places toilet facilities in all new build Sport Centres, however many existing sports facilities across Scotland are not accessible to Powerchair footballers. By improving disabled facilities and supporting the work of the SPFA, the Scottish Government has the chance to make a real difference to Scottish Para footballers.
 
“I will be writing to the Joe FitzPatrick MSP, the Minister for Sport, and asking him to consider greater funding and support for powerchair football and other sports aimed at disabled individuals.”
 
“I would encourage all local authorities and SportScotland to consider their current facilities and ask if they meet the needs of all Scottish Para athletes”
 
PHOTO – Joan McAlpine MSP at the SPFA Stand in Parliament with Clyde Alba player Thomas Pettigrew
 
For More information about powerchair football and the SPFA:
Website – www.thespfa.org
Twitter – @The_SPFA
Facebook – @TheSPFA
E-mail – info@thespfa.org
Telephone – 07903030028 (Willie Pettigrew, Chairperson)





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South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has signed an open letter from MSPs condemning the US withdrawal of forces from North-East Syria, leaving the Kurds vulnerable to Turkish aggression.

 
Ms. McAlpine added her name to the letter along with other MSPs following news that Turkey has launched a major military operation in North East Syria three days after President Donald Trump agreed to withdraw U.S Forces.
 
 
Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
 
“This decision is a terrible betrayal of the Kurds who are historically persecuted in Turkey and who are owed a great debt in for leading the fight against Isis fanatics. President Trump’s administration encouraged its Kurdish allies in the area to pull down their defences. Now America has exposed them to attack. Trump’s action is dishonourable and an affront to the international community.
 
“It has left thousands of civilians open to attacks and abandons the Kurdish-Syrian people who gave so much in the fight against Isis barbaric rule. The Kurds lost many of their soldiers during this time, under American direction. 
 
“I, along with many of my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament, am calling on immediate remedial action to be taken to reverse this decision, which puts thousands of innocent lives at risk, and risks hard won stability in the region.”
 
A picture of Joan McAlpine MSP is attached 
For further information, please contact below
 


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SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine has said that farmers across Dumfries and Galloway will feel “betrayed” by the Tory Government’s latest plans for a No Deal Brexit.

 

The UK government has this week announced plans to remove import tariffs in the event of a No Deal – a move that the SNP and the National Farmers Union says puts homegrown produce at a serious disadvantage.

 

More than half of all Scottish goods exports were sent to Europe in the last quarter but leaving without a deal means that we will face the EU’s Common External Tariff – with tariffs of around 84% on Scotch Beef, 53% on wheat, 48% on Scotch Lamb and 30% on pork.

 

Joan McAlpine MSP, who convenes the Scottish Parliament committee scrutinising Brexit, has previously raised concerns about the UK Governments proposed Tariffs for ‘no-deal’, many of which were introduced earlier this year without consultation.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine hit out at the plans:  

 

“Local farmers will quite rightly feel betrayed by the conscious decision of this Tory government to sell-out Scottish produce.

 

“Almost half of our exports go to Europe, so a No Deal Brexit would be seriously damaging for Scottish businesses, jobs and the economy.

 

“With tariffs of up to 84% on our world-renowned Scotch Beef or 57% on Cheddar cheese, it’s no exaggeration to say that a No Deal will devastate key sectors of our local economy, particularly businesses like ARLA in Lockerbie who have told me they export over 2000 tonnes of cheese to the EU each year.

 

“I have previously highlighted the negative effects that UK Government measures like dropping tariffs on imported eggs will have on local suppliers, with the potential to flood the market with cheap, poor quality eggs from abroad. Many of these measures were introduced by the UK Government earlier this year with no consultation, which is completely unacceptable and shows a complete disregard for Scotland’s farming community.

 

“The Scotland Office was telling farmers recently that the No Deal free for all would be reconsidered, but these latest tariffs show that Alister Jack as Secretary of State for Scotland has done nothing to protect the interests of food and drinks producers in his constituency or in Scotland more broadly. This is completely reprehensible.

 

“The SNP has consistently called for Scotland to remain in the EU so that we can maintain free trade, with no tariffs or other barriers that we currently benefit from within Europe’s Single Market.”

 

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said:

 

“Setting a low or zero tariff rate on the importation of key agricultural products, like cereals, eggs, pork, fruit and veg and some dairy produce will place many of our farmers at a significant disadvantage and undermine any efforts to negotiate new trade arrangements.

 

“Exports of Scottish produce like lamb and beef to the EU face the prospect of crippling tariffs as we are forced to operate to WTO rules. When we have the ambition to double the size of the farming, food and drink industry in Scotland to £30 billion, the tariff schedule, as proposed by the Government, would place that ambition in jeopardy.” 

 

 Attached: NFU infographic detailing UK Govs proposed No Deal Tariffs

 

https://www.gov.scot/news/europe-buys-50-percent-of-scottish-goods/

 

 

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South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that the Scottish Government have made payments of over £327 million to farmers and crofters to help them plan for the impacts of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

 

The news comes as the MSP asked deputy First Minister John Swinney what action the Scottish Government was taking to protect the interests of Farmers and Crofters against a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

 

Responding, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that the Scottish Government has already made payments totalling over £327 million to 13,400 farmers and crofters as part of a basic payment scheme designed to provide earlier cash-flow and certainty of payment date instead of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.

 

These advance loans are the single biggest mitigation action that the Scottish Government can provide to support farmers and crofters.

 

The payments, which were made last Friday (Oct 4th), are the first such payments to be made in the UK.

 

Commenting, Ms. McAlpine said:

 

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government are taking such decisive action to protect the interests of Scotland’s farmers and crofters with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit looming.

 

“Rural parts of Scotland like Dumfries and Galloway will be disproportionately affected, with our farmers losing their Common Agricultural Policy payments and devastating tariffs on exports like sheep and beef.

 

“The Scottish Government continue to demonstrate that our farmers are an invaluable part of our society and economy, while the Tories continue to make a mess of things at Westminster.”

 

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South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine is encouraging farmers in Dumfries and Galloway to have their say on animal health legislation for Livestock.
Announced as part of the Programme for Government, a consultation is now underway on proposals to introduce fixed penalty notices for certain animal health offences, similar to those which are proposed for animal welfare offences. 
 
At the same time, views are also being sought on how the Animal Health Act 1981 might be strengthened, updated and modernised, including on whether current powers are sufficient to continue preventing serious diseases in livestock.
 
Joan McAlpine MSP said:
 
“The Scottish government is committed to the highest welfare standards for all animals, and in recent years has been successful at preventing serious diseases affecting our livestock in large numbers – for this to continue, we need to make sure that the right approach is in place.
 
“The Animal Health Act is now almost 40 years old, and a review would help to keep Scotland’s animal welfare legislation at the cutting edge of best practice, and especially to ensure that we can continue to keep pace with EU standards and regulations.
 
“I would encourage all invested parties to have their say as part of this consultation in order to make sure that our approach to animal welfare is sustainable, fair, and takes into account the best interests of Livestock in Scotland’s rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway.” 
 
Background

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MSP Joan McAlpine says a £300k windfall from the Crown Estate should help support Nith Inshore Rescue and other coastal community projects in Dumfries and Galloway.



The South Scotland MSP made her call after discovering that the Scottish Government has allocated Dumfries and Galloway Council £309,041.03 of Scottish Crown Estate marine profits. Control of the Crown Estate, which mainly raises money from activities on the shoreline and seabed, passed to Scotland under additional devolution powers following the 2014 independence referendum.


The MSP wrote again this week to Council boss Gavin Stevenson after the Scottish Government published annual allocation figures for 2019-2020 confirming Dumfries and Galloway will receive £309,041.03 from the total net revenue of £7.2 million across Scotland.


Mr Stevenson previously promised Ms McAlpine they would examine the issue when the allocation was announced after she wrote to him highlighting the Crown Estate opportunity.

The MSP had previously taken up the case of independent based inshore and inland water search and rescue charity, Nith Inshore Rescue after touring their Glencaple premises. She  commented,
 
“Nith Inshore Rescue is a volunteer-run lifeboat service serving Upper Solway and the surrounding area, providing a life- line to local people and visitors to the area. It is a great example of a charity run by dedicated and skilled volunteers which sits at the heart of the coastal community. Such a service cannot run on fresh air, and Nithshould be at the front of the queue for assistance from the Scottish Crown Estate marine assets fund.
 
“Running costs of over £30k per annum could be met from the local authority revenue allocation if Dumfries and Galloway Council agree with me that Nith, like other fantastic local services, must be funded to sustain and develop what they offer to communities.
 
“Now that Councils have the power to manage how funds are spent, I hope  Dumfries and Galloway Council let us all know what plans are in place to directly benefit coastal communities using this money,”

Attached letter to Gavin Stevenson. 
Picture features Joan with Nith Inshore Rescue volunteers Robbie Cowan and Gwilym Gibbons 
 

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SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has urged parents to “trust the facts” and make sure their child is vaccinated for flu this winter.

 
This week, the Scottish Government has launched its annual national flu vaccination programme – with a focus on people with health conditions and children aged 2-5.
 
Every year thousands of children are hospitalised with flu. Even healthy children can become seriously ill from it. Protecting children can also stop the virus from spreading to family, friends and others.
 
To date more than 1.6 million doses of the nasal vaccine have been given to 2-11 year olds as part of the Scottish childhood immunisation programme. But more parents and carers are being urged to take up the offer.
 
Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS.
 
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
 
“Getting your kids vaccinated is free and only takes a few minutes – but it helps to protect against the flu bug for around a year.
 
“The flu is no joke. There’s plenty of misinformation about vaccines online – but it’s important that parents in Dumfries and Galloway trust the facts.
 
“Staff at NHS Dumfries & Galloway are doing a tremendous job with a tough time of year ahead and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.
 
“If you or your children are eligible, make sure that getting the vaccination is a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible.”

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