IAN BELL AWARD FOR NEW WRITING

Entries close on 30th November for the Ian Bell Award, for young writers who have yet to break into professional journalism. The winner will be announced in early February 2020, and will receive a prize of £500; runners-up will receive £100.  Entries should be in the critical spirit of Ian Bell and written in a style – lively, taut, provocative but thoughtful – suitable for online and newspaper publication. The subject can be drawn from politics, culture, modern society, history, international affairs, Scotland, or related topics, and can be investigative reporting or informed commentary.

GENERAL ELECTION: THE SNP MANIFESTO

Call on the UK to immediately withdraw from the Chagos Islands
Build a cross-party coalition to scrap Trident as quickly and as safely as possible
Call on the UK government to carry out a new defence review
Fight for the delivery of all contracts for Royal Navy fleet solid support ships to be restricted to UK shipyards
Press the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to use vacant MoD homes to house homeless ex-service personnel

INVESTIGATION: DISABLED PEOPLE NEGLECTED

Poverty has risen dramatically over the decade. Almost one in five people in Scotland now live in poverty, and for children the situation is worse, with one in four in poverty. The use of food banks doubles when Universal Credit is rolled out, homelessness increased, crime rates are up, as well as hospital waiting lists. The UK government says austerity is now over. It expects to lift the freeze on working age benefits in April 2020 in line with inflation and says public spending increased this year by 4.1 per cent.

A DOG IS A HOMELESS PERSON’S BEST FRIEND

Having a pet can be vital for a homeless person’s mental as well as physical health, and the guidance includes ‘pet friendly policies across housing and support services that dog owners sign and agree to in order to access accommodation, how to provide ‘dog friendly’ communal rooms in temporary shelters and risk assessments to ensure there are no issues with staff members being allergic to, or afraid of, pets.

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