Visiting the Marie Curie Cancer Care reception at the Scottish Parliament
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Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall has expressed her outrage at Tax Payers money being used to fund a series of YES meetings across Scotland.
The Scottish Government is currently holding a series of Public meetings in the run up to the referendum, the purpose of the meeting is to question Cabinet Secretaries on the white paper ‘Scotland’s Future’, where members of the public will have the opportunity to ask questions about independence.
Meetings are being held over Scotland including North Ayrshire.
Labour MSP, Margaret McDougal said: “It’s outrageous that the Scottish Government are able to use public money to host these meetings, not only did the SNP use at least £554,432 of tax payers’ money to fund the white paper they are now using your money to promote a yes vote.”
“You can bet that if Westminster were doing the same the SNP would cry foul, yet they can get away with this, indeed they already have cried foul when they accused one Scottish council of promoting a No vote in letters that were sent out.”
“The SNP have stated on numerous occasion about how cash strapped the Scottish Government currently is, yet they are using your money to promote their cause. These aren’t public information meetings, if they were they would invited the other side along, they are meetings solely to promote a yes vote at your expense!
“When I questioned Nicola Sturgeon MSP about this in parliament on Thursday the 20th she refused to answer just how much each meeting is costing the tax payer.”
Labour MSP has welcomed the start of the third round of the coastal communities fund, the fund will have around £65 million available in this funding round. The fund is available to local authorities, charities, voluntary and community sector organisations as well as many other groups.
The aim of the fund is to support the economic development of UK coastal communities by awarding funding to deliver sustainable economic growth and create jobs and currently they are looking for fully developed projects that can spend their CCF award by 31st December 2016.
Margaret McDougall MSP, said: “There are many coastal communities in North Ayrshire which might be able to benefit from the third round the Coastal Communities Fund, I would urge any projects in the area that might be ready to go but are limited by their access to funding to apply for the fund.”
“More details for the fund can be found on their website http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/programmes/uk-wide/coastal-communities , good luck if you are applying.”
Commenting on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, After the Council Tax: impacts of property tax reform on people, places and house prices, Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall, said:
“It’s now clear that the Council Tax Freeze is unsustainable, council services are being cutback while backdoor charges are being added for services that used to be free. Councils are currently under severe financial strain and have been left to deal with the impact of an underfunded council tax freeze and a flat cash settlement that leaves them struggling to deliver all the services required. 34,500 jobs in Scottish councils have gone since 2008 hitting service delivery and local economies.”
“The SNP promised seven years ago that they would reform the way councils are funded but their ambitions for a local income tax were discredited by economic advisors and despite fighting a lengthy and costly legal challenge it was revealed that their plans would have left an £800million black hole in council budgets. Despite still claiming they would reform local Government finance during this parliamentary term they seem to have got caught up in the independence referendum.”
“The freeze has now been in place for seven years, the question we should be asking now is what happens after the freeze ends? I’m calling on the Scottish Government to bring forward a sustainable plan that fixes the mess they have created and allows councils to get back on an even keel to deliver for the people of Scotland.”
Visiting the Marie Curie Cancer Care reception at the Scottish Parliament
On the 13th Feb George Osborne announced that if Scotland votes for Independence the rest of the UK will not agree to a currency union, this statement was backed by all three of the major Westminster parties and further backed up by evidence from the chief civil servant of the treasury.
Commenting on the statement, Margaret McDougall MSP said; “This statement appears to take the option of a Currency Union off the table, granted there is nothing to stop the SNP using the pound without the rest of the UK’s permission but this would put us in the same position as countries like Panama, we would have no security and no lender of last resort.”
“The SNP and YesScotland are now in disarray over this issue, we are told this is bullying and bluster from the UK Government, but the fact of the matter is if the rest of the UK don’t want a Currency Union it won’t happen. We now need a credible Plan B from the SNP rather than denial and threats to default on the debt. This is bad governance and is making Scotland look like a laughing stock around the world.”
“All Osborne did yesterday was confirm that if Scotland votes for independence, Scotland would get independence, so this reaction from the SNP is frankly bizarre, and it’s clear YesScotland is nothing more than an SNP front given they still defend a currency Union even though people like Jim Sillars, Partick Harvie and Dennis Canavan chairman of YesScotland have always argued against it.”
“The people of Scotland deserve better than this, the SNP need to stop living in their land of fantasy, face the facts and show us a credible Plan B, this is the future of Scotland the stakes are far too high to gamble with it.”
Margaret McDougall MSP has welcomed the SNP’s announcement to commit the full funds required to mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax in Scotland.
Speaking about the decision, Labour MSP Margaret McDougall, said: “This u-turn on the bedroom tax is great news for the thousands of social tenants who would have the burden of the bedroom tax removed. While this should have been months ago I now fully welcome this commitment which should effectively rid Scotland of the Bedroom Tax.”
“If these measures are confirmed in parliament on Wednesday we will on balance be able to support the Scottish Government’s budget for next year.”
“Even if the Department of Work and Pensions state that the Discretionary Housing Payment cap will not be lifted, Scottish Labour has provided numerous workable schemes such as the Council Tenant Assistance Fund which is legal and gets round the issue of the Discretionary Housing Payment cap.”
“I would like to pay tribute to all the groups that have been working tirelessly to scrap the bedroom tax, and while a future Labour Government in Westminster would abolish it immediately, this commitment will fully mitigate the effects of the tax in Scotland until that can happen.”
A recent poll from the Law Society of Scotland asked in a poll how well informed people felt about the issues that were being debated ahead of the referendum. The poll found that while 62% of men said they were very well informed or fairly informed, but only 49% of women said the same.
Margaret McDougall MSP, said: “Whether you are voting yes or no, it should worry us all that women across Scotland don’t feel as if the independence debate is engaging with them. This is one of the biggest decisions Scotland will take and it is the duty of both sides to make sure everyone across Scotland feels like they are part of the process.”
“Instead of engaging with women the SNP seem to see us as “political pawns”, promising more childcare, but only if you vote the right way, when they can deliver these changes now. Instead of a vision for changing women’s lives, they are only offering a vision to win your vote. Independence is being placed before our needs and that uncertainty needs to change.”
“The Labour Party have a clear commitment to women and we won’t let the independence referendum get in the way of delivering real change and we will deliver if we win the 2015 General Election. On Equal Pay, if the big companies don’t start to publish how much they really pay women and men, we’ll bring back the legislation we passed before the election, but that the Tories ditched.”
“Secondly we’ll change the law to require employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate new mums returning to work after maternity leave, in order to end the abuses by employers that leave around 5,000 women a year in Scotland with no job to go back to after their maternity leave.”
“In addition to this we will introduce ‘Make Work Pay’ contracts to incentivise firms to pay the living wage. Not just waiting for big companies to take action, but giving them a positive reason to increase pay.”
“These are tangible benefits that will be gained from a no vote in this year’s referendum. I believe we are better and stronger together, and so far all the SNP have offered are empty promises on changes that they could start to roll out now.”
On the 27th of December they Scottish Government released a consultation on “Promoting responsible dog ownership in Scotland: microchipping and other measures”.
Margaret McDougall MSP said: “I welcome the Scottish Governments U-turn on microchipping and other measures, because when I first raised questions on the control of dangerous dogs in 2012 the Scottish Government had no plans to introduce the compulsory microchipping of dogs or any additional measures. While they said they would monitor this situation I got the feeling they were content with the status quo.”
“As someone who has been a keen campaigner on these issues, having asked written questions and questions in the chamber, I’d like to thank the Daily Record on raising these issues and starting the Stop the Danger Dogs Campaign. It’s unfortunate though that the Scottish Government were seemingly unwilling to do anything about the situation until Daily Record ran this campaign.”
“I hope that the Scottish Government approach the consultation with an open mind and don’t rule out any option until this is complete. I would urge anyone with an interest in this issue to submit your views to the consultation.”
Link to Consultation:
Margaret McDougall MSP has visited Royal Mail’s Irvine delivery office to pass on Christmas wishes and encouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.
Ms McDougall was shown round the office by local Delivery Office Manager, Bruce Connell, and was introduced to the postmen and women who are working hard sorting and delivering all cards and parcels in the Irvine area in the run-up to Christmas.
Margaret McDougall MSP said: “It was great to meet the dedicated, hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at Irvine delivery office and to see first-hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year.
“Postmen and women do such an important job at this time of year. I like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”
Bruce Connell, Royal Mail Delivery Office Manager at Irvine, said: “Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail. Our people pull out all the stops throughout the year to ensure mail is delivered quickly, but even more so over the busy festive period. We are grateful that Margaret McDougall MSP came along to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.”
“Our people do a fantastic job at this time of year to ensure that friends and families stay in touch through their Christmas greetings and gifts. We’d like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings!”
The recommended last posting dates for mail are:
The recommended International posting dates for 2013 are:
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