That the Parliament notes that National Transplant Week 2015 is being held between 7 and 13 September; recognises that the campaign aims to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK; understands that the theme of this year’s awareness campaign is “7 days to say I do”, which aims to highlight the importance of encouraging people to discuss their decision about organ donation with those closest to them; believes that the latest figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show that 534 people were on the transplant waiting list in Scotland as at 30 June 2015; notes with concern that the number of patients successfully receiving organ transplants in Scotland fell by 11% to 378 in the 12 months up to March 2015, with the number of donors in Scotland falling from 106 to 98 in the same period; understands that family refusal rates increased by nearly 8% from 38.6% to 46.1%, a larger increase than the UK average of 1%, and considers that National Transplant Week plays an important role in raising awareness of the need to address the shortage of available organs for transplant in the UK.
Meeting the Consul General of Italy for Scotland and Northern Ireland & the Ambassador of Italy to The United Kingdom
It was an honour to to meet with Carlo Perrotta (right), Consul General of Italy for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and H.E. Pasquale Terracciano, Ambassador of Italy to The United Kingdom in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25th August.
As the Scottish Labour Party‘s Shadow Minister for Europe and International Development, it was a great opportunity to discuss the importance of the UK’s continued membership of the European Union.
We also talked about the big Italian community in my Glasgow constituency and the fantastic contribution they have made to the city and to Scotland.
You can keep up to date with all my latest news by liking my facebook page.
The Finance Committee at The Scottish Parliament has issued a call for evidence on the financial memorandum for the Organ Donation Bill.
The closing date for written evidence is Friday 28 August.
You can read the call for evidence questions and guidelines on how to submit evidence by clicking on the link below.
That the Parliament notes with disappointment that players in the British Men’s Deaf Football Team had to raise all the monies required to cover the costs of travel and accommodation to allow them to compete in the finals in the European Deaf Football Championships 2015 in Hanover as there is no financial support from the Football Association or UK Sport; further notes that the British Men’s Deaf Football Team finished in third place; understands that UK Deaf Sport does not qualify for any funding as deaf athletes have never been designated Paralympians; believes that the 2012 Olympics in London was a disaster for deaf sportsmen and women following the withdrawal of funding of £42,000 at the time by the UK Government, which was distributed by UK Sport in order to allow greater focus on athletes competing in the Beijing and London Games; considers this funding gap to be discriminatory and unacceptable as there are more than 10 million people who are deaf and hard of hearing in the UK, yet participation in sport by people who are deaf is much lower than average, and notes calls for the UK Government to address this issue and establish funding for deaf athletes to increase participation and provide equal opportunities for athletes with all disabilities.
That the Parliament welcomes the introduction of a new Facebook page, Szkocka Policja, which will post messages and appeals for Polish people living in Scotland; understands that there are around 85,000 Polish nationals living in Scotland, with a large Polish community in Glasgow, and considers that it is important to use all available media to try and focus on issues and concerns that are of interest to them; believes that Polish speakers in Scotland will now have the ability to interact with the police through Facebook in their native language as it will overcome language barriers; notes that this was made possible by the joint efforts of Police Scotland and the Polish Consulate General to Scotland, and hopes that this initiative will be rolled out in more languages.
You can find the facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Szkocka-Policja/873075406092980
Anne McTaggart, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow visited Which’s Calling Time roadshow when it dropped in at Glasgow’s Central Station to pledge support for the campaign to help end to nuisance calls and texts.
Visitors to the event could press a giant six foot, four inch flashing telephone to register their frustration about unwanted calls and texts and show their support for the Which? Calling Time campaign, which currently has more than 200,000 supporters
Recent Which? analysis of data from the Information Commissioner’s Office shows there have been around 61,500 official complaints about nuisance calls and texts since December. With just 2% of people who receive unwanted calls reporting them to the regulator, it means millions more are still being received.
Which?’s campaign is urging the Government, regulators and businesses to renew their efforts to help cut down on the number of nuisance calls and texts. It is also making it easier for people to report unwanted calls with its new complaints webpage where people can log the details to help identify offenders.
Anne McTaggart MSP said:
“I was delighted to be able to support this vitally important Which? campaign. Being bombarded with nuisance calls and texts is not only an annoying interruption to people’s lives, it can be threatening and intimidating to the millions who endure them on a daily basis. The Government needs to look at whether the rules around how our data is collected, used and traded need to be tightened.”
Which? Executive Director, Richard Lloyd said:
“People are sick of being bombarded with nuisance calls that invade their privacy and waste their time so we’re giving people in Glasgow a chance to vent their frustrations and support our campaign.
“The Government knows what’s required to tackle nuisance calls so we need to see more sustained action, with senior executives held to account, to help put an end to this everyday menace.”
Anne McTaggart MSP is asking people affected by nuisance calls or texts to pledge their support for the Which? Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign at www.which.co.uk/callingtime
- Which?’s Calling Time campaign is lobbying for:
– the Government to make directors accountable for their company’s nuisance calls;
– businesses to show their number when they call;
– regulators to give people more power by putting them in control of how their personal data is used.
- The ICO had 61,500 official complaints reported from Dec 2014 to April 2015.
Scottish Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has called for rising private sector rents to be tackled by new laws.
Information released by letting agents Your Move this week show the average rent in Glasgow and Clyde standing at a new high of £570.
National figures from the research also show a spike in landlord returns, and more tenants struggling to pay their rent on time.
Glasgow MSP backs banning rip off rent rises, and supported Scottish Labour proposals to the Housing (Scotland) Act last year to deliver them, only to see them blocked by the SNP Government.
With over 36,000 renters in Glasgow city Anne McTaggart has said that the SNP Government should admit they got it wrong and revisit Labour’s plans.
Scottish Labour MSP for Glasgow Anne McTaggart said:
“These new figures show Landlords making more whilst more tenants struggle, the SNP Government in Edinburgh cannot continue to turn a blind eye to rent reform. The 36,000 private renters in Glasgow deserve better than that.
“We need to reform the private rental sector to make it work for everyone, rather than simply act as a cash cow for landlords it needs to serve families unable to get a foot on the property ladder or access to social housing.
“I back Scottish Labour plans to ban rip off rent rises. This is about making the system fit for purpose. When the SNP opposed our plans last year they sided with Tories and bad landlords, rather than with tenants in Glasgow and across Scotland.”
Information from Your Move:
|Rents June||1 month change||Annual Change||Yields June 2015||Yields June 2014|
|Edinburgh & Lothians||£604||1.7%||0.8%||3.0%||3.4%|
|Glasgow & Clyde||£570||0.6%||4.6%||4.7%||4.9%|
|Highlands & Islands||£563||2.4%||4.3%||4.0%||4.2%|
The Scottish Government’s own Expert Working Group on Welfare recommended rent caps
“We believe it is important to strike the right balance between supporting a well-functioning private rental market and preventing excessive rents that can arise through pressures in the private rental sector in areas of high demand and low supply. This means looking at the nature of tenancies, for example, giving tenants in the private sector longer-term tenancies than generally exist at present, as well as building into tenancy agreements that rents should increase in line with inflation but not above it, at least for the duration of a tenancy.”
Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report on Housing:
“The number of households in poverty in the PRS has doubled in the last decade to 120,000, while the number in social housing has almost halved to 190,000.”
“At the start of the 2000s, poverty in Scotland was predominantly in the social rented sector but this is no longer the case. Two fifths of households in poverty live in social housing, compared to three fifths a decade ago. Meanwhile a quarter live in the PRS, up from 1 in 10.”
Nearly half of the private rented sectors in Scotland are families