Glasgow MSP backs CHILDREN 1ST

In response to the publication of a report by children’s charity CHILDREN 1ST, Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has resolved to help Scotland’s children’s wishes come true in 2015.

The report gathered nearly 600 wishes from children and families, supported by the charity and its staff and volunteers who presented them to MSPs and decision makers. Wishes range from everything from “stopping abuse” to having “a flying pony” and highlight the difficulties and threats facing children, as well as their hopes and dreams.

When asked what would make Scotland a better place to live one 11-year-old girl said: “I wish there is no violence.” Another said: “I wish to win the lottery so there’s enough food for my family.” Many of the children simply requested opportunities to play.

Ms McTaggart said “When I first read these wishes of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children, I felt saddened, then angry and finally, determined. How can Scotland claim to be the best place for children to grow up when in the 21st Century when children still wish to be safe from violence, to do something as simple as visit a park or play a board game with their family and to have enough to eat?

“The report also showed how aspirational and thoughtful our children are. They want to help the world to be a better place, wishing for world peace and for children and animals to be treated better.

“Everyone should read this report and think about what more they can do to help the wishes of Scotland’s children come true. Every child deserves the best start in life. No child should be growing up in fear of abuse and violence. We can help by supporting children’s charities like CHILDREN 1ST and by doing small things ourselves for children we know or who live in our area. I’ll be thinking hard about what I can resolve to do in 2015 to make Scotland’s wishes come true”

Wishes for Scotland’s children can be downloaded here.

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Parliamentary Motions and Questions

New Motions
Motion S4M-11538: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014

That the Parliament congratulates the management and staff at Glasgow Central railway station on it being named Europe’s station of the year at the European Rail Congress Awards 2014; understands that, with over 38 million visitors each year, it is Scotland’s busiest station and, with an estimated 350,000 people using it, was the main rail transport hub at the Commonwealth Games; praises everyone at the station for the completion of the comprehensive refurbishment programme that it undertook ahead of the Games, and wishes them and the station every success.

Motion S4M-11528: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014

That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow Airport on its 21st consecutive month of growth in terms of the number of passengers passing through the airport; notes that numbers are 2.7% higher than in October 2014, making this the busiest October in six years; understands that the airport has started 20 new routes in 2014 and has invested more than £20 million in refurbishing large parts of the terminal building; recognises that the success of the airport supports 7,300 jobs across Scotland, and wishes it continued success.

Motion S4M-11508: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/11/2014

That the Parliament welcomes the return of Rock the House Scotland, the annual parliamentary showcase for live music supported by MPs of all political parties; considers that the event celebrates the very best of Scottish musical talent; understands that the aim of the event is to raise the political profile and importance of intellectual property rights and copyright among UK parliamentarians and key opinion formers; acknowledges that Rock the House Scotland is now in its third year and that Rock the House Scotland 2015 will take place on 8 March at the Oran Mor in Glasgow, hosted by John Robertson MP, the founder of Rock the House Scotland; further understands that the overall final will take place with a live music showcase at the residence of the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and hopes that MSPs will encourage their colleagues from the UK Parliament to make a nomination and help promote the music industry in their own constituencies.

 

New Questions

Question S4W-23129: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to tackle the (a) production and (b) use of counterfeit money, and whether it plans to introduce any special initiatives in the run-up to the festive season.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 26/11/2014

Question S4O-03704: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/11/2014

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to promote the benefits of organ donation.

Current Status: Due in Chamber on 19/11/2014

 

Answered Questions

Question S4W-23016: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to tackle the reported increase in Glasgow of purchases of illegal tobacco.

Answered by Michael Matheson (12/11/2014):Our most recent Tobacco Control Strategy, Creating a Tobacco-Free Generation, recognises that enforcement continues to have a key role in our overarching ambition for a smokefree Scotland.Under the Enhanced Tobacco Sales Enforcement Scheme all Scottish councils receive funding of £1.5 million per year to rigorously enforce tobacco sales law, including test purchasing and joint working with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Each council decides how their allocation of the £1.5 million funds are spent.

Trading standards determination to tackle this important safety issue has involved the service working with partners including the police, and HMRC. To date, in Glasgow, trading standards have carried out a number of operations at markets and shop premises that have resulted in the seizure of illicit tobacco products. These seizures have then been the subject of reports to the Procurator Fiscal.

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Anne McTaggart MSP – “Welfare System Must Protect Most Vulnerable”

INP

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has called on both the Scottish and UK Governments to do more to ensure that people with disabilities receive sufficient welfare benefits in order to live a dignified and fulfilled live.

She made her calls during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 12th November on welfare benefits for people living with disabilities.

The Tory-led coalition Government at Westminster’s welfare policies have been extremely controversial, attracting criticism from many disability rights charities regarding their impact on people with disabilities. Some households and individuals, notably sickness and disability claimants, are hit by several different elements of the reforms. Combined with the sanctioning of claimants and the subsequent delay in welfare payments, this has resulted in many people with disabilities being pushed into poverty and forced to rely on hand outs such as crisis grants, food banks, and financial assistance from friends and family.

Ms Mctaggart said “I was pleased to be able to contribute to this debate as this is an on-going matter which is of great concern to many of my constituents in Glasgow. As a society, we are responsible for looking out for those who are in need, including people with disabilities. In the past few years, the Tory government has done little to protect this group of people and has threatened their wellbeing in the name of budget cuts and new policies.

“The Scottish Government has yet to offer a comprehensive solution to fixing this issue. The most frequent suggestion for mending the broken welfare system is to simply have the powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This solution is simplistic and unworkable, as it would put an already strained system on shaky, un-tested, grounds. Simply waving the wand of devolution is not going to work here either.

“Instead, we should support the existence of the UK-wide welfare state where a social union exists and where we work together to protect the basic entitlements enjoyed by all British people.”

The Labour Party has made 5 pledges for disabled people:

  • Scrap the bedroom tax
  • Devolve control over the Work Programme to Scotland
  • Transform the Work Capability Assessment
  • Get a grip of the huge Personal Independent Payments backlog
  • Make rights a reality for disabled people in Scotland

 

 

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Anne McTaggart MSP – “Have Your Say on Community Empowerment”

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has called on members of the public who have experience of allotments and community food growing to have their say on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill aims to empower community bodies through ownership of land and strengthening their voices on decision making, and by increasing the pace and scale of public service reform.

It is currently being scrutinised by the Local Government and Regeneration Committee, which Ms McTaggart is a member of. They are paying close attention to the community growing aspects of the Bill and Ms McTaggart is taking the lead on this issue. She is therefore keen for individuals and groups who have experience of allotments and community food growing, including those who have found it difficult to acquire an allotment, to come forward and voice their views on the Bill.

Ms McTaggart said “This Bill is a real opportunity for the public to become more involved in the futures of their local communities, giving them the right to make changes for the better at grassroots level. It’s really important that people provide feedback to the Committee on the issue of allotments and community food growing as it’s a key part of the Bill so I would encourage as many people as possible to do so.”

The questions the Committee would like feedback on are:

  1. What are the benefits of having access to an allotment?
  2. What other types of spaces could be used to grow food and plants?
  3. How could a food-growing plan assist you?

You can let the Committee know your views using the following methods:

Email: communityempowermentbill@scottish.parliament.uk

Telephone: 0131 348 6040

Address: Local Government and Regeneration Committee
Room T3.40,
The Scottish Parliament,
Edinburgh,
EH99 1SP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scottishparliament

Twitter: @SP_LocalGov #spgrowingcommunity

 

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Parliamentary Motions and Questions

Motion S4M-11460: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014

That the Parliament welcomes what it considers the continued success of the affordable warmth dividend for Glasgow’s older citizens; notes that, for the fourth year running, Glasgow City Council is offering every resident aged 80 and over money to help heat their homes during the winter; acknowledges that the affordable warmth dividend was introduced in 2011 by the council leader, Gordon Matheson, as part of the council’s efforts to eradicate fuel poverty in the city; recognises that around 44,000 of Glasgow’s most vulnerable older people have taken up the offer and received the £100 payment since it was introduced; understands that Glaswegians struggle to heat their homes adequately and the older residents are most at risk, and hopes that Glasgow City Council will continue to help older people to keep warm without worrying about how they can afford their heating bills.

Motion S4M-11424: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014

That the Parliament welcomes the online petition system that has been introduced by Glasgow City Council; understands that it is very similar to that used by the Public Petitions Committee, allows the public a voice in the legislative process and will help citizens to take action to help improve their communities, and believes that, with only 25 signatures required for them to be considered by the council, many petitions will be able to be successfully brought forward.

Question S4W-23016: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to tackle the reported increase in Glasgow of purchases of illegal tobacco.
Current Status: Expected Answer date 19/11/2014

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Glasgow Needs a Pay Rise

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has argued that the city needs a pay rise, following new research which shows an estimated 58,000 thousand Glaswegians are paid less than the living wage.

Ms McTaggart said that the figures from accountancy firm KPMG should act as a wake-up call for politicians, showing that the fight for fair pay is far from over.

The Glasgow MSP is a passionate campaigner for the living wage, and supported extending it to staff on public contracts earlier this year, only to see the SNP vote with the Tories to block the move.

Ms McTaggart believes that for the living wage to make a difference to people in Glasgow it must be promoted in low paid professions such as cleaning, hospitality and retail.

She is backing plans to establish a Living Wage Unit and a National Living Wage Strategy which will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament. The strategy will target specific job markets and areas to deliver a pay rise in jobs where it will make a real difference so that the living wage is the expectation, not the exception.

Anne McTaggart said “It is time to get serious about better pay for workers in Glasgow, and across Scotland.

“Hundreds of thousands of Scots are living in working poverty. An estimated 58,000 thousand workers in Glasgow are earning less than the living wage.

“The hospitality and retail industries employ thousands of people in dire need of a pay rise. A National Living Wage Strategy would be able to target and work with these industries to delver a pay rise to workers who need it the most.

“The SNP were wrong to vote against the living wage, but I hope they see sense and work with Scottish Labour to help deliver better pay for workers across Scotland.

“Campaigners across Scotland got plenty of experience this summer arguing for what they believe in. I believe in better pay and conditions for working people in Glasgow and across Scotland. Promoting the living wage where it will make a difference is a step towards a better nation. It is time to make work pay.” 

 

Scottish Labour Low Pay Action Plan

  • Establish a Living Wage Unit to promote the living wage in the private sector.
  • Establish a National Living Wage Strategy to be laid before each Parliament.
  • Extend the living wage to public contracts
  • Make work pay contracts which will see a £1,000 rebate to companies who pay the living wage
  • Increase the minimum wage to £8 by 2020
  • Ban the use of exploitative zero hours contracts

 

Table 1: Industries with the lowest median hourly rate excluding overtime in Scotland Median hourly pay (£) (excluding over time) Number of Jobs (’000)
Food and beverage service activities 6.42 72
Accommodation 6.92 30
Gambling and betting activities 7.09 8
Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles 7.28 182
Services to buildings and landscape activities 7.57 34
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Equal pay for women, fair pay for all

Labour-Hame-rose-150x150 (2)

To mark Equal Pay Day, I have written an article for LabourHame setting out how we can all play our part in closing the gender pay gap and delivering fair pay for all.

“Women are now working for free until the New Year, and earn 80% of every pound a man is paid for the same work. That is the stark reality facing the women of the UK as a result of the continuing inability of government to ensure equal pay.

“The gender pay gap was cut by a third under the Labour government between 1997 and 2010. Sadly, under the Conservative coalition in Westminster, and the SNP administration in Holyrood, that gap is once again widening.”

Read the whole article here.

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