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Commenting on the release of the Scottish Independence: Referendum White Paper, Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall said:
“The SNP promised us all the answers to our questions in this white paper, instead all we got was a fantasy wish list of uncosted promises by a Party desperate to do anything and say anything to get independence. This was the chance for the SNP to outline a vision but many crucial questions remain unanswered: on currency, we still have no Plan B; on the EU, we still have no legal advice.”
“Now more than ever Scotland is on pause till after the referendum. This was demonstrated at yesterday’s press conference, where they promised to extend childcare provision if Scotland votes yes, yet this is something that they could do now with powers that they already have. Other flagship policies include cutting cooperation tax by 3% and scrapping air passenger duty, while at the same time claiming we could vastly increase public spending. These promises are not honest nor are they credible.”
“This document is not a mandate it is a starting point for a negotiation with the rest of the United Kingdom, who will obviously wish to defend their interest. Nothing in the document is assured it is all if, buts and maybes. The SNP are asking you to vote for something that is nothing more than a concept and idea that is not based in reality.”
“The best that can be said about this white paper is that it is nothing more than an SNP manifesto, funded and promoted at tax-payers expenses. None of the tough questions have been answered. It is 649 pages of the SNP asking you to vote for independence and hope for the best.”
“In 2011/12, £1,197 more was spent per head in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK, while Scotland generated £56.9 billion in revenue but received £64.5 billion in spending. The UK is also our biggest trading partner and being part of it protects us against additional risk from our shared poll of resources. These are real reason to stay part of the UK community; we are not asking you to hope for the best but presenting a positive case”
“This is a biggest decision Scotland will ever make, we need a lot more than just a wish-list and keep your fingers crossed, I for one will be using the independence referendum as an opportunity to democratically vote to reaffirm Scotland’s place within the Union, we are stronger and better together.”
After last year’s success of the ‘Shoes Brothers’ video the two clergymen from Ayrshire, Father Willie Boyd and Reverend Neil Urquhart were back again at the Scottish Parliament looking for MSP’s to challenge sectarianism through positives examples, messages and dance.
Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall said:
“I had great fun taking part last year and this year, it’s an amazing way to put forward a serious message but in a fun way. We need to do all we can to tackle sectarianism in Scotland and this is one of the best ways to put the message across, it is about bringing everyone together not just for Christmas but throughout the year”.
The film will be screened at the Odeon in Kilmarnock on the 4th of December so if you fancy your chance at dancing on the big screen you can post clips on the “ShoesBrothersDance” Facebook page and the best ones shall be picked for the film.”
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘It was fantastic to see so many MSPs getting behind this campaign and it can’t be too long until the producers of Strictly Come Dancing come calling to Holyrood.
The ‘Shoes Brothers’ videos are a brilliant way of bringing people together and we are delighted to be supporting them.’
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ShoesBrothersDance
The past two weeks have seen two votes occur on the Bedroom Tax, one in Westminster where the Labour motion to scrap the policy was defeated by 252 votes to 226 and another in the Scottish Parliament, during the Welfare Reform Committee where the SNP voted with the Tories to vote down the Govan Law Centre’s petition which would have protected all tenants from eviction over Bedroom Tax arrears.
Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall, said: “It would seem to me that both Kenneth Gibson MSP and Margaret Burgess MSP have demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding how Westminster works based on their comments this week in the Irvine Herald and Irvine Times. They claim that the Bedroom Tax could have been scrapped had 47 missing Labour MP’s turned up, this is flat out untrue due to the system of pairing operated in Westminster.”
“Pairing cancels out votes so had the 47 turned up, there opposites would have also voted, meaning that the end result would have been no different. This is a disgraceful piece of spin from the SNP and they should know better, as elected officials they should have a basic understand of how the system in Westminster works. They have also failed to criticise the times when their members have failed to turn up for Bedroom Tax votes.”
“It could also be that they are using this issue to deflect from the fact SNP members on the Welfare Committee voted with the Tories to kick the Govan Law Centres petition in to the long grass. This petition would have offered real hope to people and would have protected all tenants from eviction over Bedroom Tax arrears.”
“So while we have Labour in Westminster standing up for people, fighting to get the tax scrapped we have the SNP in the Scottish Parliament standing toe to toe with the Tories to vote down real help for tenants.”
“As the minister responsible for housing and welfare, Margaret Burgess needs to explain why this decision to vote down protection for tenants was taken. The SNP need to start standing up for ordinary Scots, instead they seem more focused on spinning to cover up their failings.”
“I hope that the SNP will join us in supporting Jackie Baillie’s bill. Through this bill we have an opportunity to make it clear that all victims of the bedroom tax, whether council or housing association tenants, will be protected from eviction from their homes. I would urge constituents to write to their MSPs and urge them to support this bill.”
Margaret McDougall MSP has committed to working with patients and the local NHS to ensure high quality and safe care is secured for all bowel cancer patients in the West of Scotland.
At last night’s Scottish Parliamentary Reception, Margaret McDougall MSP heard from both bowel cancer patients and the charity Beating Bowel Cancer about the importance of good experience for all patients.
Margaret McDougall MSP, said:
“I’m happy to sign this pledge and support the principles in any way I can. I shall be working with my local NHS board to ensure they are providing the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to treating bowel cancer patients.”
Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said:
“We strongly believe that patient experience should be an integral part of the NHS in Scotland and it is vital that better care is secured for all bowel cancer patients.
“We know of cases where patients aren’t getting the level of care they need. We are therefore pleased to launch our Service Pledge as a measure of how the NHS should be providing a good experience to the bowel cancer patients they treat.”
To find out more about bowel cancer and to read the full Service Pledge, please visit the charity’s website: www.beatingbowelcancer.org.
Margaret McDougall MSP backs Usdaw’s call for shoppers to ‘keep your cool’ and not abuse shopworkers
Labour MSP Margaret McDougall has joined with members of the retail union Usdaw to campaign for respect for shopworkers as part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff.
The campaign event took place on Wednesday 13 November, in the middle of Usdaw’s Respect for Shopworkers Week, at the Scottish Parliament.
Margret McDougall MSP, said: “Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important we stand together and ask people to ‘keep their cool and respect shopworkers’.
“I support Usdaw’s call for a change in the law to provide stiffer sentences for those who assault workers. It was very disappointing the SNP Government blocked Hugh Henry’s Workers (Aggravated Offences) Scotland Bill 2010 in the last Parliament. That Bill would have included all workers serving the public in the protections we have already given to emergency service workers.
“I hope that we will get an opportunity in this Parliament to vote on such a measure and that the Government will have a change of heart and offer more than warm words this time. There is a real need to address the scourge of workers being assaulted and I am concerned that assailants are getting away with it too easily.
“Cases like Val, a Scottish shopworker, who was punched on the jaw when she asked a persistent shoplifter to leave, because the thief had been barred from the store. Val gave a statement and the police saw the CCTV footage. The attacker was arrested but nothing more has happened.
“I am not convinced that the issue of violence against shopworkers is being taken seriously. I will continue to campaign with Usdaw for a change in the law to ensure that proper punishments are given out and to give a clear message that assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable.”
Lawrence Wason Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says: “We are grateful for the support of MSPs like Margaret McDougall who support our campaign to keep our members safe at work.
“Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to enforce the law, whether that is preventing under-age purchases or detaining shoplifters until the police arrive, they can be put in real danger. Parliament passes these laws and expects shopworkers to enforce them, so we are asking Parliament for better protection for these workers.”
Following the Scottish Labour Party debate in the Scottish Parliament Margaret McDougall MSP is urging everyone to support Scottish Labour in their fight to Save Our Police Stations.
The party hopes that with enough public support they can force the SNP Government to call a halt to these changes which will leave Ayrshire without a 24 hour police service. We have already seen the consultation be extended by 30 days, yet the Scottish Government seem unwilling to act.
Margaret McDougall MSP said:
“Everyone appreciates the great work done by our Police service but rightly many of us are worried that without a 24hour counter service in Ayrshire the streets will no longer be as safe. It’s not right that the SNP take credit for the falling crime levels yet pass cuts off as operational matters for police Scotland.”
“This SNP Government has taken great pride in achieving 1000 more police on the street but with cuts to police stations and support staff make them nothing more than “backroom bobbies”. What benefit do these extra police actually have to keep the streets safe, we need police officers who understand our communities in North Ayrshire, officers who are on the street, we don’t need policemen filling the role of postmen and support staff by delivering citations and filling in paper work!”
“Make no mistake, these are political choices, I would urge everyone to join me in supporting Scottish Labour in this campaign to save our stations and keep Policing local”
Anyone can sign up to support the Save Our Station Campaign on the Scottish Labour Party Website at www.scottishlabour.org.uk
Alex Salmond recently announced plans to renationalise the Royal Mail in an independent Scotland, however, Margaret McDougall has called on the Scottish Government to provide more clarity on the issues after it transpires the they have had no discussions with either Royal Mail or the UK Government.
Margaret McDougall MSP, said: “This appears to be another example of Alex Salmond making it up as he goes along, telling us he would renationalise the Royal Mail makes for a great sound bite but it isn’t backed up by any discussions or plans. Before making the announcement the Scottish Government failed to hold any discussions with either Royal Mail or the UK Government.”
“They need to explain exactly how they would pay for renationalising the Royal Mail and where this money would come from, while, privatisation was done on the cheap by the Westminster government it certainly won’t be cheap for Holyrood to buy back.”
“It’s becoming increasing clear that the SNP are becoming increasing panicked at the polling results regarding independence and will promise people the earth to make sure they get the result they want. If the SNP really do want to buy back the Royal Mail they need to tell us – exactly how would they fund the purchase given the value has risen by hundreds of millions of pounds.”
“If they can’t explain how they would go about this then how can anyone be expected to trust any policy they claim will be delivered after independence?”
Margaret McDougall has backed calls from the Scottish Living Wage campaign along with Scottish Trade Unions to use the Procurement Reform Bill to legislate for the Living Wage in Scotland.
The Scottish Living Wage campaigning is asking MSPs to pledge to:
- Actively explore potential amendments to the Procurement Reform Bill to put the Living Wage at the heart of procurement policy in Scotland.
- Ensure that Scottish Government issues a policy note and relevant guidance with the Procurement Reform Bill outlining all proactive steps which public bodies can take to deliver the Living Wage through procurement.
- Support the creation of a Scottish Living Wage Unit to promote the case for the Living Wage.
- Ask the Scottish Government and COSLA to convene a Living Wage Summit to explore all opportunities and to maximise the impact of their shared commitment to eliminating poverty pay for those who deliver public services.
Speaking about the campaign Labour MSP, Margaret McDougall, said: “Labour have led the way on the Living Wage and I’m happy to lend my support for this campaign, we hear from the SNP that they also support the living wage, but it is time for them to actually act on this commitment rather than just saying they support the living wage.”
“Through the Procurement Reform Bill they have a chance to legislate for the living wage in public contacts, yet they have decided to exclude the Living Wage from the Procurement Reform Bill. This is a missed opportunity for the Scottish Government to tackle the problem of low pay.”
“The living wage is now at £7.65 and could potentially see an annual pay uplift of £350 per week, it’s time for the Scottish Government to stop telling us they support the principle of the living wage and start using the opportunities they have to act on it.”
On 23/02/2012 – The SNP welcomed news that the majority of councils are now paying employees the Scottish living wage of £7.20 per hour.
With Margaret Burgess MSP stating:
Ms Burgess, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, said:
“This is fantastic news that will help households deal with the increasing pressures on family budgets caused by rising food and fuel prices.
“The SNP Government and its agencies already pay employees a living wage and encourage all Scottish employers to do likewise.
“More people than ever are now benefitting from the living wage and I would encourage the remaining Scottish councils to implement this.
“Trade unions, churches, charities and political correspondents all support the living wage, which is helping to improve the standard of living for people across Scotland.
“This policy supports lower paid workers, giving them a fairer wage they are able to live on and not just simply survive.
“There is cross-party support for the living wage and it is encouraging that more and more councils are adopting this policy.”
On the 28 October Margaret McDougall MSP popped in to North Ayrshire Foodbank to provide two donations for both Ardrossan and Vineburgh.
Margaret McDougall MSP, said: “I would like to thank the Foodbank and all their volunteers on all the hard work that they do, it’s a great service and many people give up their free time to get involved, I would also like to thank everyone that donates food to this service and hope it continues. Over 2300 food parcels have been given out so far and these numbers are increasing, so every donation means a lot.”
“It is a sad reflection on our society that these Foodbanks are needed, many people are facing a daily struggle thanks to the Condems. It has become increasingly clear that their idea of the big society is nothing more than a big mess.”
“The Coalition Government needs to look at the suffering that they are causing to people around the United Kingdom. Far from dealing with the cost of living crisis they are fanning its flames and seem to be in complete denial about the damaging effect their policies are having, Britain deserves better.”