Irvine Office

Constituency Office:

29A Eglinton Street, IRVINE KA12 8AS

TELEPHONE NO: 01294 311976 

I will be holding constituency surgeries on the last Monday of each month in my office. Just telephone the office to arrange an appointment.

Margaret McDougall vows to help charity tackle prostate cancer injustices

PCUK MSPs Pledge 20

Margaret McDougall MSP has pledged to support Prostate Cancer UK in its drive to eradicate the injustices faced by men with, and at risk of, prostate cancer in Scotland.

Despite being the most common male cancer, men continue to face a number of injustices surrounding awareness, treatments and support, geography, age, and ethnicity.

Prostate Cancer UK has published a document outlining these five key inequalities, along with a solution designed to tackle each one. The charity is working with MSPs to call on the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to implement these changes to make the inequalities a thing of the past.

The ‘Men United v Prostate Cancer – Five Inequalities, Five Solutions’ document comes as part of the second wave of the charity’s Men United campaign, which uses the language of sport to engage men in the battle against the disease. Key calls to action include: the incorporation of prostate cancer in the Detect Cancer Early initiative, the introduction of at least one specialist centre for robot-assisted prostate surgery in Scotland and the development of a National Cancer Patient Experience Survey for Scotland.

Margaret McDougall MSP met men and women whose lives have been directly or indirectly touched by prostate cancer at an event at Holyrood to hear at first hand about the inequalities men continue to face, and to show her support for Prostate Cancer UK’s calls.

Margaret McDougall MSP said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is predicted to be the most common cancer overall by 2030. Despite this men and their families continue to face difficulties relating to awareness of risk factors, treatments and support, geography, age, and ethnicity. I want to ensure that all men in Scotland have the information, treatment options and support they need to tackle this terrible disease regardless of their age, ethnicity or post code – and am delighted to team up with Prostate Cancer UK today to work towards this outcome together.”

Dr Sarah Cant, Director of Policy and Strategy at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “For too long men with, or at risk of, prostate cancer in Scotland have faced inequalities of care, information and support. For example, despite being the most common cancer in men, prostate cancer has yet to be included in the Detect Cancer Early initiative. Furthermore, there are 33 facilities for robot-assisted prostate surgery in England, but none in Scotland. Scotland also remains the only part of the UK with no plans for a National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, which would give us key information to help drive improvements in care and support. These are just some of the actions we call for in ‘5 Inequalities, 5 Solutions’ and are delighted that Margaret McDougall MSP has committed to helping us fight for these longstanding wrongs to be righted.”

For more information on the injustices faced by men living with or at risk of prostate cancer in Scotland visit: http://prostatecanceruk.org/media/2385585/inequalities-report-scotland.pdf

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK’s confidential information service on 0800 074 8383 or visit http://www.prostatecanceruk.org. Telephone calls are free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 8pm on Wednesdays.

Still No Answers on Currency and Taxation

Following questions raised by Margaret McDougall MSP and a Parliament Debate we are still lacking key answers on both Currency and Taxation ahead of the Independence Referendum.

Margaret McDougall MSP, said: “I find it incredulous that with less than 5 weeks to go till the Referendum, we still lack answers to basic questions such as what currency Scotland would use in the event of the Yes vote. We are told that Scotland would have a Currency Union, yet this is up to the rest of the United Kingdom to agree to and it would mean handing key fiscal levers over to a central bank in a foreign country while losing our current Political Influence.”

“Sterlingsation is even less viable given Scotland would have no lender of last resort and it could seriously damage our Financial Services Industry as without a lender of last resort banks with Headquarters in Scotland would have to seriously consider relocating their Headquarters to England, the Financial Services Industry accounts for 9% of total Scottish Gross Domestic Product.”

“While on taxation, the Finance Secretary, John Swinney MSP, tells us that there would need to be no tax increases in the event of Scotland voting Yes. However, this flies in the face of expert advice from bodies such as the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the Centre for Public Policy for Regions, the Pensions Policy Institute and Professor Michael Keating of the University of Aberdeen all who tell us that Scotland would either have to raise taxes or cut spending in an independent Scotland and none of the nationalists promises could be delivered unless this happens.”

“So far the nationalists have no answers and no credibility and that’s why it’s a no thanks from me.”

Visit to Street League

Margaret McDougall MSP and Street League
The programme, currently run in the Magnum is an intensive training course over 8 weeks combining 2 hours of football and 2 hours employability training after. The young people also work towards an SQA qualification.

Margaret McDougall, MSP, said: “This is a great programme, using a combination of football and training to engage with and retain young people but to provide them with intensive employability training over an 8 week period.

“Not only does it keep young people fit, but gets them qualifications and hopefully after the programme they can move in to employment, education or training with their new skills.

“This is an amazingly innovative programme aimed at finding positive destinations for young people. The participants I met were enjoying the course and were feeling confident about their future. I wish them every success and hope other employability charities follow Street League’s example and start looking at other ways to engage and retain young people.”

Arran Outdoor Education Centre – Scrapping of Mainland Service

SNP lead North Ayrshire Council conducted a review in to Arran Outdoor Education Centre’s has earmarked the centre’s Mainland services to be scrapped in a plan that will allegedly improve the sustainability of the centre and will deliver a saving of £53,843.

Last year the mainland centre provided access to activities to 7000 young people and adults within North Ayrshire and beyond.  They also provide services to schools, community groups and events, working with people from Nursery to Retirement age.

Margaret McDougall MSP, said: “Cutting the mainland services is not consistent with North Ayrshire Council’s objective of maintaining a high quality service for young people within North Ayrshire. Last year the mainland service provided access to activities to 7000 young people and adults within North Ayrshire and beyond. The service also takes bookings from School in the area but as of November was told it should take no more bookings, which had an adverse effect on the centres income.

“Through-out the whole review process no consultation has taken place with the Arran Outdoor Education Centre despite North Ayrshire council claiming they have conducted a range of consultations with both internal and external stakeholders.

“By removing this service they appear to be reducing the opportunities available for thousands of children and hundreds of adults which is not consistent with NAC Commumity Planning objectives. By not engaging with the centre they are falling to give them an opportunity to look at ways they could increase their commercial viability and equally increase the promotion of the service. SNP lead North Ayrshire Council should be looking at ways to better utilise the service to increase sustainability rather than cutting it.

Marine Station

Following a visit to the Marine Station, Margaret McDougall, MSP said:

“It was a great pleasure to visit the Field Studies Council (FSC) Marine Station in Millport.  There were great concerns last year when it was feared it would close through lack of funding. However, after receiving funding from the FSC, North Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government the marine station is undergoing a transformation.

“Although some posts have been lost, Daniel Moncrieff, Head of the FSC in Scotland is enthusiastic about the future of the Marine Station. Already internal restructuring has been carried out in the main building, providing modern teaching rooms and student facilities. Bigger changes are yet to come with the modernisation of the student accommodation block and work to both the aquarium and museum.

“Daniel and his team are full of ideas to revitalise the Marine station and make it more sustainable. The reputation of the station has meant that they have retained many of the University clients and are hoping to attract more as well as attracting primary and secondary schools. Eventually they hope to provide short course for adults and families to explore marine and wild life in their natural habitats.

“I was greatly encouraged to see the work that has been done already and very much look forward to seeing the completed works in spring next year.”

Daniel Moncrieff, Head of FSC Scotland, added:

“It was a privilege to have the opportunity to show Margaret McDougall around FSC Millport and discuss our building and development plans for the site; particularly after the support she gave last year helping to ensure the station continued beyond 2013.”

Margaret McDougall MSP Has Sixty Reasons To Celebrate

ENABLE at 60!

Local MSP Margaret McDougall joined more than 100 ENABLE Scotland members and friends  at the Scottish Parliament recently for an event to mark the charity’s proud 60th anniversary.

To coincide with Learning Disability Awareness Week, the event included a debate hosted by Jackie Baillie MSP, convenor of the cross-party group on learning disability in the Scottish Parliament.

More than 20 MSPs, who each received commemorative ENABLE Scotland tartan scarves and ties, flocked to the event for news and debate about the most pressing issues facing people with a learning disability and the services on which they rely.

Among the visitors was ENABLE Scotland member, Liam Clark, of Cambuslang.

Liam said: “It was a pleasure to visit the Scottish Parliament and to meet Jackie Baillie. The building is impressive, inside and out, and it was great to have the opportunity to take lots of pictures.

“I was pleased to be able to witness the debate and hear about current issues. I was very proud to be a part of this important day in ENABLE Scotland’s 60th year.”

Commenting after the event, Margaret McDougall MSP said:  “I was delighted to be able to attend the ENABLE Scotland 60th anniversary celebration in the Scottish Parliament, and it was a real pleasure to see so many members and volunteers from the organisation come together from communities across Scotland, including my own.   I was happy to sign the motion in Parliament recognising the rights of people who have learning disabilities, and to wear my ENABLE Scotland tartan to raise awareness throughout Learning Disability Week.  I wish ENABLE Scotland and all of its members and supporters another successful 60 years!”

Peter Scott, CEO at ENABLE Scotland, added: “Our anniversary year and our mission to give every person with a learning disability the choice and control to live the lives they choose was again brought into sharp focus during our recent pilgrimage to the Scottish Parliament.

“Our members and supporters took many valuable messages and ideas from the visit, and our thanks go to everyone who contributed to such a memorable milestone event.”

Enable scotland

VOLUNTEER SCOTLAND CELEBRATES THREE DECADES OF VOLUNTEERING

Scottish charity Volunteer Scotland is celebrating the diversity of volunteers this year. 2014 is a   significant year for volunteering in Scotland and a great time to be celebrating the contribution volunteers make – from the 15,000 Clyde-siders at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to thousands of volunteers who keep their local sports clubs alive. Volunteers everywhere are at the heart of Scotland’s communities and making them better places.

As Scotland readies itself for the Commonwealth Games, this year also marks three decades of promoting the value and worth of volunteers through two major events – 30th anniversaries of both Volunteer Scotland, the national body for volunteering, and Volunteers’ Week which is an annual event celebrating the difference millions of volunteers make across the UK.

The Scottish Parliament took the opportunity to join celebrations marking 30 years of Volunteer Scotland and Volunteers’ Week. 

George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland, says: We’re delighted with the tremendous cross party support and leadership for volunteering shown by our MSPs. In Scotland each year, 30% of adults give over 160 million hours of precious time in a vast range of community settings. This makes a huge difference to people, to the economy, to services, and the environment… and all done with a smile! Volunteers’ Week celebrates the good in volunteering and as we look ahead to the changes of the next 30 years one thing I’m sure is that volunteering will continue to be friendly, uplifting and rewarding.”

Pledging their support for Volunteers’ Week and Volunteer Scotland, MSPs stressed the value to local communities of greater local involvement in voluntary action and pledged to help raise awareness throughout Scotland.

Margaret McDougall MSP was among the first to support the campaign.

“I’d like to congratulate Volunteer Scotland on their 30th anniversary and wish them continued success in the important work they do.”

“With the buzz around the Commonwealth Games now is a great time to be involved in volunteering, volunteers are at the heart of communities and its vital that we offer them support and opportunities. We should also be looking to get more people involved in volunteering even if it’s only an hour a week.”

“We have a rich tapestry of community involvement and those involved should be recognised for their efforts and the positive perspective of the West Region that they contribute towards.”

Recent photos of Parliament and Constituency Work

I’m Voting No

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The referendum campaign has now entered its final straight, with less than 100 days to go until Scotland decides whether it will remain in the family of nations which make up the United Kingdom.

I’m voting no, and thought I would share with readers the reason why.

As a Labour MSP I believe in the sharing and pooling of resources across the United Kingdom. I believe in the social solidarity which sees the income tax in paid in North Ayrshire support a pensioner across the UK.

I’m voting no because I believe in fairness, social justice and equality, and do not believe that passion should stop at the border. The Labour movement have delivered great things for people not just in Scotland but across the United Kingdom, from the NHS to the minimum wage. A worker in North Ayrshire has as much in common with a worker in any other area as they do someone in another part of Scotland. I see no sense in walking away from a political union with our friends, family, comrades and colleagues in the other home nations.  We achieve more when we work together.

I’m voting no because I believe staying in the United Kingdom is the best thing for the Scottish economy.  One in five Scots are employed by UK wide companies, and Scotland sells more to the United Kingdom than it does to every other country combined.

I’m voting no because it is the best thing for our pensions. By pooling and sharing our resources across the family of nations we can deal most effectively with the challenges of an ageing population to ensure dignity in retirement for our elderly people today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

I’m voting no because it is the best thing for our schools and hospitals. Our stronger economic position in the United Kingdom allows us to spend more on public services, and decisions on these schools and hospitals are taken here in Scotland, in the Scottish Parliament.

I’m voting no because we have the best of both worlds.  We have a strong Scottish Parliament making decisions on public services, keeping the pound and backed by the strength and the security of the United Kingdom.

In Scotland we have our own education system, our own NHS, our own legal system, and much more, but it makes sense for us to share things like pensions, welfare and defence across 60 million people rather than just five. It means we can spread the risks and share the rewards.

I’m voting no because I believe in a positive future for Scotland in the United Kingdom, working together across the family of nations to deliver a better future for us all.

A better future which means extending the living wage so people get a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work, cracking down on zero hour contracts, reforming the banks and taxing bankers bonuses, more child care for our families, tackling the cost of living crisis by freezing energy bills and reforming  the private rented sector, improving our schools and hospitals, building more homes and delivering more jobs.

Together we can do this. We do not need  to leave the UK to achieve it; we can lead the UK in achieving it.

That’s why I’m voting No.

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New Kilwinning Sports Clubhouse

Fantastic to be at the official opening of the New Kilwinning sports Clubhouse today. Proud to have been involved.