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Scottish Parliament Weekly Round-Up

Find out what happened this week at Holyrood....

The parliamentary week began with MSPs from all parties showing their support on social media for World Social Work Day! 31 MSPs from the SNP, Labour and Green parties have also signed the parliamentary motion committing to protecting and strengthening the future of Scottish social work.

Back in the chamber, the First Minister gave a statement on the latest Covid-19 situation. Given the notable spike in case numbers, the First Minister announced that the legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport and most indoor public settings will continue until at least early April.

Later in the afternoon, the parties clashed on whether ongoing restrictions are required or not, with some of the attention turning to the government’s proposed Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Bill which would extend or make permanent certain measures.

The Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee also brought to the chamber for debate their report on the petition to end conversion therapy practices. MSPs overwhelmingly agreed on the need to bring in legislation to ban this unethical and abhorrent practice in Scotland.

In other committee business, the Health, Social Care and Sport committee heard evidence on alternative pathways to primary care while the Criminal Justice committee considered evidence on stage one of the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Bill.

On Wednesday, the Justice Secretary led a debate on the need for a public health approach to tackling substance use in the justice system based on treatment and prevention as opposed to criminalisation and imprisonment. The debate came on the back of the latest quarterly report on the number of suspected drug deaths during 2021.

The First Minister also gave a statement to parliament announcing an additional £15million to support Scotland’s response to the atrocities in Ukraine. The funding will be used to help Ukrainian nationals arriving in Scotland, with money being allocated to local authorities and set aside for temporary accommodation.

On Thursday, the Covid-19 Recovery Committee took evidence from the Health Secretary and the National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, on excess deaths in Scotland since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, at FMQs, the First Minister was questioned by opposition leaders and backbench MSPs on issues such as risk assessments of prisoners, the cost of living crisis, the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees and tackling child poverty. Politicians from all parties also turned their attentions to the appalling news that P&O Ferries sacked 800 staff without notice.