Motion 24/02/2015

Motion S4M-12414: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015
That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow City Council on being awarded the title of Super Local Authority and being selected to take part in WWF’s Earth Hour, in which the city will turn off the lights of its iconic landmarks for an hour between the times of 20:30 and 21:30 on 28 March 2015; understands that Glasgow will be joined in its efforts by other cities worldwide, including Paris, Athens, and Sydney; understands that Glasgow City Council received this award in recognition of its contribution to Earth Hour 2014 and that this year’s efforts are part of Glasgow’s Green Year 2015 campaign to encourage sustainable living and environmental protection, and encourages everyone to lend their support to Glasgow and WWF by turning off their lights in support of Earth Hour, in order to raise awareness for the environment and sustainability.
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Glasgow MSP Calls for Urgent Action to Address NHS Problems


Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has called on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to address the on-going problems in Scotland’s NHS.

Ms McTaggart made her calls during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 18th February.

During her speech, Ms McTaggart highlighted the chronic lack of parking spaces that will be available for staff at the new Southern General Hospital in Glasgow; the A&E crisis whereby 31% of patients waited longer than 4 hours to be treated at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary in December of last year; and the SNP Governments U-turn on the weekly reporting of A&E figures following repeated pressure from Scottish Labour.

This follows Scottish Labour setting out their vision for a more transparent NHS, pledging to establish regular reporting of operations when in Government, as well as weekly reporting of A&E statistics and a user-friendly website to give people the information they need.

Ms McTaggart said “We know that Scotland’s NHS faces significant pressures while, at the same time, it must make major changes to services in order to meet future needs. However, it is simply unacceptable that our hard-pressed NHS staff should have to worry about parking. Many nurses and doctors work shifts that require them to be in early and leave late in the darkness. Their safety, as well as ease of transport, should be a priority. That should have been monitored by the Scottish Government so that the issue could have been foreseen and tackled.

“It is also clear that our hospitals are understaffed. Scottish Labour has highlighted time and again the daily problems that face hard-working NHS staff across Scotland. More doctors and nurses are needed in our A&E departments. Scottish Labour had one principal demand for the Scottish budget: protect the NHS with an additional £100 million of front-line funds. That would have allowed hospitals that are facing extra pressure to plan surgery at the weekend and diagnostics in the evening.

“There are serious problems in Scotland’s health service and a lot of secrecy about important statistics and I welcome the decision to publish weekly reports on A&E figures. Behind each of those statistics however, vulnerable patients and their families are suffering. That is why the Government needs to take urgent action right now, as there is no time to waste.”

You can read Ms McTaggart’s speech here.

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The People’s NHS Board

Signing the People's NHS Pledge Board, and meeting with David Martin MEP

Signing the People’s NHS Pledge Board, and meeting with David Martin MEP

This week I was pleased to pledge my support to  the Peoples NHS crucial campaign calling for the exemption of the NHS from TTIP.

Scottish Labour want to robustly protect the National Health Service from competitive tendering from private companies. It is important to note nothing in EU trade agreements can force privatisation: this can only be done by the Scottish Government for the NHS in Scotland.

Nonetheless, we strongly agree that all available protections for public services including our NHS should be taken in TTIP as they have always been taken by previous governments in existing EU trade agreements. Scottish Labour MSPs are working with Labour MEPs in the European Parliament to secure this exemption. Indeed, in my role as Shadow Minister for Europe and International Development I was pleased to be able to discuss this with David Martin MEP recently.

Labour has made it clear that we have a number of priorities for any such agreement: this includes the protection of our NHS. We support Unite the Union’s calls to protect the NHS from any changes that could risk any privatisation of our NHS.

Scottish Labour will continue to campaign for The People’s NHS and exert pressure on the Government to exempt the NHS from TTIP.

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Motions and Questions: W/B 02/02/15

Motion S4M-12257: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 

That the Parliament congratulates Celtic Connections on what it considers to have been an extremely successful annual folk, roots and world music festival in Glasgow with more than 100,000 people attending in 2015 and gross ticket sales topping £1.1 million; notes that Celtic Connections celebrates Celtic music and its connections to cultures across the globe; understands that, between 15 January and 1 February 2015, 2,100 musicians from around the world descended on Glasgow and brought the city to life for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops and free events; recognises that the festival has broadened its reach and that, in 2012, it brought a taste of Celtic Connections to the Isle of Skye as part of the Year of Scotland’s Islands and visited Chicago as part of the Year of Creative Scotland for various musical performances throughout the Ryder Cup, including the opening and closing ceremonies along with a number of other hospitality event; believes that the festival brings a boost to Glasgow’s culture and economy; congratulates the organisers of Celtic Connections on what it considers a hugely successful event, and wishes the festival every success in the future.


Question S4W-24340: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to increase cultural engagement in the most deprived areas.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 19/02/2015

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Lorraine Kelly Backs ‘Soft Opt-Out’ as Anne McTaggart Secures Right to Introduce Organ Donation Bill

Lorraine Kelly Duo

TV star Lorraine Kelly has thrown her support behind Anne McTaggart MSP’s proposals to introduce a soft opt-out system of organ donation in Scotland.

Her backing coincides with Ms McTaggart securing the right to formally introduce her Bill to the Scottish Parliament after the deadline for the Scottish Government to indicate whether or not they intended to bring forward similar legislation passed on Thursday.

Anne McTaggart MSP said:
“I’m delighted to have secured the right to introduce my proposal to Parliament and have Lorraine Kelly’s support for my Bill. She has done some fantastic work promoting organ donation in the past and I know her support is greatly appreciated by all those people who have received transplants and those who are on the waiting list.

“I’m now looking forward to introducing my Bill to Parliament and will relish the opportunity to put forward the case for positive change to my fellow MSPs. With three people dying across the UK whilst waiting for a transplant it’s clear that we need to change the system of organ donation here in Scotland.

“Scotland has the highest proportion of registered organ donors in the UK, with 41 per cent of the population registered in 2013/14. However, we have the second lowest donation rates across the four nations with only 20.3 donations per million people compared to 20.6 people per million in the rest of the UK.

“With a switch to soft opt-out we could help tackle this shortage of available organs and ultimately save lives.”

Lorraine Kelly said:

“I’m delighted to be able to offer my support for Anne’s proposals. I believe introducing a ‘soft opt-out’ system is important because despite their being widespread support for organ donation, less than half of Scotland’s population is registered on the NHS Organ Donation Register. With three people dying every day across the UK waiting for a transplant, it’s clear to me that we need to take a different approach.

“In the past, I’ve encouraged people to speak to their families about organ donation and I’m glad that I’ve had that discussion with my own loved ones. I hope that the introduction of a ‘soft opt-out’ system will encourage more people to make the decisions about donation during their lifetime and have this important conversation with family and friends.

“Being an organ donor is a unique opportunity for people to leave behind an amazing gift. Throughout the Opt for Life campaign, I’ve read some of the incredible stories of people who have been lucky enough to receive a successful transplant. The heart-breaking reality however is that 38 people died in Scotland in 2013/14 whilst waiting for a transplant. We need to stop this needless loss of life and that’s why I’m proud to be able to support Anne’s Bill.”

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Anne McTaggart MSP Welcomes Transplant Recipients to Scottish Parliament

Twitter Picture

Glasgow Labour MSP yesterday welcomed a group of organ transplant recipients to the Scottish Parliament to discuss her proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill.

Also present at the event were representatives from a number of medical organisations including the British Medical Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Scottish Kidney Federation.

David McColgan, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at British Heart Foundation Scotland and Terri Smith, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, both spoke at the event and expressed their support for Anne’s proposals to introduce a soft opt-out system of organ donation to Scotland.

The seven people present at the event who had either received a transplant or are currently on the transplant waiting list, travelled from across the country with their families for the opportunity to discuss the Bill and speak with each other and the various medical organisations present.

Ms McTaggart said

“I was absolutely delighted that yesterday’s event was so successful. I am bringing forward this legislation as I believe that we need to address the lack of available organs for transplants in Scotland. It’s only by speaking with transplant recipients and those still on the waiting list that you get a true understanding of the real consequences of the inadequacies of our current system. With three people dying across the UK waiting for a transplant it’s clear to me that something needs to be done and I strongly believe that adopting a soft opt-out system would help save lives.”

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: 

“The Scottish Youth Parliament is delighted to be able to support the Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill. We know from engaging with young people in communities that this is an issue they are passionate about and one that is important to them, and it is our job to represent those views by supporting this proposed legislation.

“We know from the evidence from other European countries that soft-opt out systems result in higher numbers of available organs and a greater number of successful transplants which, in turn, saves lives. I recently published an open letter appealing to all Members of the Scottish Parliament to support this vital legislation, and I sincerely hope they do so. We look forward to continuing to work on and support the Bill as it progresses through Parliament to ensure the voices of young people are heard.”

Ewen MacLean of the National Kidney Federation said:

“We are acutely aware that Anne’s proposals would directly affect hundreds of our members in Scotland who are waiting for an organ transplant and we are hugely supportive of Anne’s Bill. Every day there are senseless deaths due to the lack of available organs and with the stroke of a pen we could eradicate this and we believe that we need this change now.”

Jenny Marra Organ Donation Meeting

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Scottish Labour Will Guarantee a Triple Lock Against Fracking Plans


I’m delighted that Scottish Labour has announced that, if elected in 2016, we would use the new Smith powers to stop onshore fracking in Scotland.

We believe that the environmental and safety case for fracking has not been made, and that is why we are calling for no onshore fracking in Scotland until it has been shown beyond all doubt that it can be carried out safely.

We know that our communities are rightly concerned about shale gas. They are worried that it will be imposed on their community against their will and without their consent.

We want local communities to have full control over onshore fracking in their area through a local referendum. No development will be able to take place without a majority of local residents endorsing any planning decision

We also want to protect our beautiful landscape and its fragile ecosystem. Almost all of Scotland is considered to be a drinking water protection area, which makes it reckless and unnecessary to push ahead with fracking without a thorough and comprehensive review of the baseline conditions in Scotland before any applications can be permitted.

The Scottish Government has always had a veto on fracking through the planning process, but now with other decisions on shale gas effectively devolved, it’s time for Scotland to set our standards high.

Because the UK government have also failed to ensure the wider regulatory conditions are tough enough, Labour have tabled an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill going through the UK Parliament to block fracking until the right regulation and inspection is in place which Scottish Labour MPs will vote for on Monday 26th January.

Scottish Labour would introduce a triple-lock system to halt any onshore fracking taking place in Scotland until environmental and health safeguards are in place.
This involves:

  • A local referendum before final planning approval is given;
  • Halting any fracking in Scotland until the lessons of fracking in the rest of the UK are learned;
  • A comprehensive review of the baseline conditions before any planning application is granted;

With the new powers coming to Scotland through the Smith Agreement, all decisions about fracking will soon be made here.

The SNP Government already have the power now to stop any onshore fracking in Scotland immediately, Scottish Labour believe they need to use it now.

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