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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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Fantastic to be at the official opening of the New Kilwinning sports Clubhouse today. Proud to have been involved.
North Ayrshire SNP lead council have been accused of failing the Garnock Valley over their inability to consult local communities regarding the location of the new super campus.
The SNP are pushing forward with a motion to on this Wednesday (25th June) which states that:
“This Council fully supports the existing democratically approved site for the new Garnock Academy and wishes to move forward to construction as soon as possible.”
This is despite strong opposition locally from parents of children who would attend the new school.
Margaret McDougall, MSP, said: “It seems that the SNP council have not consulted the local communities affected by this decision, they now want to push through this motion with their fingers in their ears rather than listening to the genuine concerns of local people.”
“I commend Labour councillor John Bell on championing the concerns of local people and putting forward a counter motion that requests that: “that the council finally listen to the local community, that we instruct officers to halt the current planning application in light of the new, more accurate, information, carry out a full option appraisal on the 4 previously short listed sites with the addition of the current school site and report back to council within 3 months””
“Hopefully the SNP will see sense on this issue, but it looks like they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to respond to the concerns of the local communities effected.
Notes to Editors:
1. SNP Motion
(a) a Motion by Councillor Gibson, seconded by Councillor McMillan, in the following terms:
“This Council fully supports the existing democratically approved site for the new Garnock Academy and wishes to move forward to construction as soon as possible.”
2. John Bell’s Motion
(b) a Motion by Councillor Bell, seconded by Councillor Highgate, in the following terms:
“The full ground condition surveys for the Longbar site proposed for the
Garnock Campus have now been published, they identify its significant limitations with poor drainage, undermining, and difficult terrain limiting the useable building space and impacting on the extent of facilities planned.
This has resulted in less room for sports facilities and the building having to be pushed to the far side of the site originally shown to councillors, close to the busy main road on one side a railway line on another and no clear safe access points or travel routes identified.
I move that the council finally listen to the local community, that we instruct officers to halt the current planning application in light of the new, more accurate, information, carry out a full option appraisal on the 4 previously short listed sites with the addition of the current school site and report back to council within 3 months. This will ensure the council receives best value for this significant expenditure, prevent further money being thrown at a site which is not fit for purpose and allow the views of the local community, who will actually have to use the facility, regarding the relative accessibility of each of the locations to be taken into account.”
Currently Scottish bank accounts are protected by up to £85000, under the UK Government’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme. In the event of another financial crash this Scheme shall make sure savings are safe. However, in the event of a Yes vote this scheme is not guaranteed.
Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall, said: “Currently through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which is a UK Government Scheme, our savings are protected up to £85000, this is in doubt in the event of a Yes vote.”
“So far the SNP Government has failed to give any assurances on whether an Independent Scotland would have its own version of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, how the initial start-up cost of this would be funded and how the service would be maintained with a smaller amount of firms contributing to its costs. Furthermore, no certainty can be given on the issue if an Independent Scotland is not in a Currency Union with the rest of the UK and we know that is unlikely”
“Before the referendum people need assurances that their savings would be safe in the event of a Yes Vote, it’s not enough for the SNP to bluff and bluster their way out of the issue. Currently there is a petition lodged with the Scottish Parliament asking the Scottish Government to give clear answers to these questions, I have also submitted questions. It’s not good enough for the SNP to pretend everything will be alright on the night people need answers before September the 18th. ”
Link to the petition: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/bankaccounts
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the firms that would contribute to the cost of a financial services compensation scheme in an independent Scotland and what levy they would be charged.
To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to the establishment of a financial services compensation scheme in the event that an independent Scotland did not have a currency union with the rest of the UK.
To ask the Scottish Government whether an independent Scotland would have its own financial services compensation scheme and, if so, what it would cost to establish; how the (a) start-up and (b) operation of the service would be funded, and what thresholds would apply.
Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall visited the GlaxoSmithKline plant in Irvine for Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
Margaret McDougall, said: “It was a very informative visit to GSK and great to see the work that they are doing on their Apprenticeship Programmes. All the apprentices employed across a diverse array of departments within GSK seemed to be really enjoying the programme while gaining many skills and experience, including interacting with schools and communities and working together in designing a garden within the grounds of GSKs site. We need more companies to work with young people to support them to develop skills and opportunities in this crucial industry.”
West Region MSP Margaret McDougall has started a campaign to protect Places of Worship from potentially crippling water charges.
Under current rules, most Places of Worship in Scotland are exempt from water charges, however the Scottish Government are proposing a change to the exemption scheme which could see many forced to pay high water bills.
Margaret McDougall MSP has said this will have a knock on effect on North Ayrshire with funding for community activities potentially threatened, such as the free hire of church halls for community groups.
Margaret McDougall MSP said; “Our Places of Worship play an absolutely key role in our community here in North Ayrshire not just through moral and religious guidance but also as a means of serving the community they inhabit.
These proposed changes to water charges could mean the difference between Place of Worship running a small surplus and a large deficit. This difference could mean running community activities in the area, for our children, pensioners and vulnerable people are jeopardised.
The importance of Places of Worship to North Ayrshire through its community work is more important than ever. That is why I have written to Nicola Sturgeon to urge her to rethink these changes and protect our Places of Worship.
I will not stand back whilst the Scottish Government change the rules to deliver a backdoor charge which will raise relatively little in comparison to what could it could cost people in North Ayrshire”
The Scottish Government will announce their final decision in the summer. Any constituents who wish to contact Margaret McDougall MSP to register their concern can contact my office at 29A Eglinton Street, IRVINE KA12 8AS or phone on 01294 311976.
This comes as the MS Society revealed that people with MS often face significant barriers in accessing licensed treatments, the information to decide what is right for them and the specialists who can help.
This MS Week (28 April – 4 May) the MS Society launched its new campaign Treat Me Right. The charity’s campaign calls on decision-makers and the MS community to tackle the barriers in the way of people getting the right treatment at the right time.
Backing the campaign Margaret McDougall MSP said; “I’m pleased to be able to show my support for this important campaign. MS affects many of my constituents and it is unacceptable that licensed treatments that could help people with the condition should be out of reach. I will continue to work with my constituents, fellow MSPs and organisations to drive this campaign forward.”
Stewart Long, Interim Director for the MS Society in Scotland said, “There are over 11,000 people living with MS in Scotland and it is essential the people living with the condition can access the right treatments, services and support. Unfortunately, many people are in the dark about or unable to access medicines that could potentially help manage their condition. This needs to change. We have been delighted by the support we have received from MSPs for our Treat Me Right campaign. By working together we can make that change happen”.