My Interview with the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office

I was delighted to be interviewed by the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office recently.

The interview, which mainly covers the Organ Donation Bill but also looks at issues such as women’s role in politics, can be read here.

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Questioning the The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning

 

  • 13. Anne McTaggart (Glasgow) (Lab):

    To ask the Scottish Government when it last met the management of Glasgow Clyde College and what was discussed. (S4O-04500)

  • The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Angela Constance):

    There have been no recent meetings with the management of Glasgow Clyde College. One of my officials attended a meeting of the college’s board on 19 May 2015, at the invitation of the board’s chair, to outline the expectations of the Scottish ministers in relation to compliance with the “Code of Good Governance for Scotland’s Colleges”.

  • Anne McTaggart:

    Although the cabinet secretary has not met the management of Glasgow Clyde College recently, although one of her officers has, has the Government had a discussion with the college’s management in order to reassure students and to secure nominations for executive positions? What implications are there for the funding of the college if it does not have a students association?

  • Angela Constance:

    Ms McTaggart has raised a very important issue about student representation. A few weeks ago I, with the sector, launched guidance and a body of work about how the sector should pull together to support the sustainability of student associations. I am disappointed to hear that, for a variety of reasons, no students have put themselves forward at Glasgow Clyde College. That concerns me greatly. I am paying close attention to a number of issues around that matter. I am in regular contact with my officials and with the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council. Having students involved and on board is not an optional extra: it is part and parcel of what we do.

– See more at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=10037&i=92108&c=1842274#sthash.pOGzdh0x.dpuf

 

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Glasgow MSP Brings Holyrood Rocks to Parliament

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Anne McTaggart MSP was delighted to welcome Holyrood Rocks, a cross party, Scotland-wide music initiative by the Scottish Political and Cultural Partnership (SPCP) to the Scottish Parliament for its launch on 27th May.

The event featured performances by Rock the House Scotland 2015 winner, Euan Ryan, known as Yew and Musichoir, a modern music choir which fuses Pop, Rock, Funk, Gospel, Soul, Jazz, RnB and Musical Theatre.

There will be 8 regional events across Scotland, open to musicians and acts of any kind, taking place as part of the Rocktober Festival in October this year. One winner from each regional heat will then play at the Holyrood Rocks final at the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 31st October at the Scottish Parliament.

Anne McTaggart MSP said “I’m delighted to have brought this event to the attention of the Scottish Parliament and to support the aims of the SPCP.

“Our young people are hugely enthused in politics after the independence referendum and it is vital that all parties do what they can to sustain and improve on the progress made so far.

“I’m particularly pleased that this project is cross-party, as I firmly believe that by working together as a Parliament, we can achieve great things.

“Given that Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music and is home to perhaps the most vibrant music scene in the world, I’m delighted that Holyrood Rocks will have a Glasgow heat and encourage Glaswegian acts of all kinds to apply and become involved in this fantastic project.”

More information, including how to apply, can be found http://www.holyroodrocks.com or at scottish.parliament.uk/holyroodrocks.

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Glasgow MSP Travels to Canada to Discuss Youth Engagement In Politics

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With other Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart MSP recently attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) Parliamentary Seminar in Ottawa, Canada.

The CPA’s common mission is to promote knowledge and understanding of parliamentary democracy in all its aspects.

The topic of this year’s Parliamentary Seminar was strengthening ‘Democracy and the Role of Parliamentarians; Challenges and Solutions.’

Alongside this, Ms. McTaggart was invited to present to delegates her views on how all Parliamentary democracies can improve their engagement with young voters to ensure more representative democracies in future.

Ms. McTaggart said:

“I was thrilled to attend this year’s Parliamentary seminar. In addition to hearing a broad range of views and policy ideas, I was also able to present to my Parliamentary colleagues my thoughts on youth engagement in politics.

“After the referendum, we in Scotland have seen an increased engagement from our young people in the political process, which is something I am committed to continuing. In a recent debate at the Scottish Parliament, I argued the case for 16 & 17 year olds to be able to vote in the EU Referendum and was disappointed to see a Labour amendment to the EU Referendum Bill which would have enabled this defeated in the House of Commons.

“I know that all of my colleagues share this view, across all political parties, and initiatives such as the recent launch of Holyrood Rocks, a Scotland-wide music project which seeks to improve young voter turnout in the Scottish Parliament elections are crucial in continuing that good work.”

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Anne McTaggart MSP Blasts SNP Underspend on Public Services

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has blasted the Scottish Government for denying public services in Glasgow vital funding

Figures released this week revealed the annual underspend in Scotland’s budget for last year is £376 million.

Of this amount, £151 million is the amount of cash the Scottish Government has chosen not to spend funding our schools, hospitals, housing and other public services.

This comes on the day that Glasgow City Council announced that it may need to make a further £100m of cuts and savings in the next two years.

The Glasgow MSP blasted the decision, saying it was “astonishing” that local services were being underfunded whilst the Scottish Government sit on millions

In 2008 SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney boasted that the days of hundreds of millions in underspends were over – but for the second year he has been sitting on millions whilst local communities suffer brutal cuts to budgets.

Ms McTaggart said:  

“It is absolutely astonishing that, during a time of unprecedented austerity, the SNP Government in Edinburgh has decided to deny millions of pounds worth of funding for public services in Glasgow.

“Every single day I am contacted by constituents feeling the brutal effects of austerity, and only today we have learnt that Glasgow City Council may have to make a further £100m of cuts and savings over the next two years

“Across Scotland we are seeing a NHS which is failing on nearly every measure, an unacceptable attainment gap between rich and poor children in education, and a social housing crisis which sees waiting lists stretch into decades – why isn’t the available money being spent to help communities in Glasgow and across Scotland?

“Underspending a budget is a sign of poor financial management, and it is vulnerable people in our poorest communities who feel the effects.” 

 

 

This year’s underspend is the second highest under the SNP, beaten only by last year.

This year: (2014-15): £376m in total

Last year (2013-14): £444m in total

John Swinney previously said:  “Long gone are the days when hundreds of millions of pounds of government money would be underspent each year, doing nothing to help communities around the country.”

Source – http://www.scotsman.com/news/brian-wilson-snp-government-underspend-is-a-waste-1-3656877

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Anne McTaggart MSP calls for Football Act Review

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has called on the Scottish Government to conduct a review of the controversial ‘Football Act’

The MSP believes that the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 is not tackling Scotland’s problem with sectarianism.

The Act has attracted criticism previously, with one Sherriff describing it as “mince”

This week the SNP Government backed away from plans to conduct a review of the legislation.

Ms McTaggart said: “The Football Act has been a huge source of controversy, criticised not just by football fans but by legal experts too. It has created a culture of mistrust between football fans and the authorities which does nothing to help Scotland have an honest debate about how we tackle, and beat, sectarianism.

“The reality is that bigotry and intolerance are not confined to 90 minutes on a Saturday at football matches. If we want to be the generation that makes sectarianism a thing of the past we must address the issue head on, in our classrooms and communities in Glasgow.

“That is why I am calling on the Scottish Government to deliver what they promised – a thorough review of the Football Act.”

 

Sheriff Richard Davidson has previously described the Football Act as “mince”

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/crime/crown-office-appeal-after-celtic-1826448

The previous Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham said that a review should wait until August 2015, once the research released today was complete

“Minister for community safety Roseanna Cunningham had earlier insisted that the review would not be moved from August 2015; when Stirling University researchers are due to publish findings.

Source – http://news.stv.tv/west-central/266111-celtic-condemn-negative-football-laws-and-call-for-urgent-review/

For more information please contact david.mackenzie@scottish.parliament.uk

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Anne McTaggart MSP – “We Need a Cultural Shift in Our Attitude Towards Alcohol”

alcoholspeech

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has spoken of the need for a cultural shift in Scotland’s attitude towards alcohol.

Ms McTaggart was speaking during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on 4th June.

Alcohol consumption in Scotland has reduced since 2009, but alcohol sales remain higher than in 1994. Scotland’s consumption of alcohol was twice the world average in 2010 and well above the European regional average. Alcohol-related hospital admissions in Scotland are four times higher than they were in the early 1980s. That is on average 700 hospital admissions as well as 20 deaths that are directly related to alcohol each week.

During her speech, Ms McTaggart spoke of her dismay at these statistics and highlighted the fact that alcohol today is affordable, available and heavily marketed. She stressed the need to combat Scotland’s pro-alcohol society where drinking is seen as the norm by denormalising alcohol for children and teenagers.

While acknowledging positive data from the Scottish schools adolescent lifestyle and substance use survey, which reports a substantial reduction in alcohol consumption among young people since 2010, Ms McTaggart insisted that tougher measures and more education for young people is needed. She also argued that the advertising of alcoholic drinks should be restricted, especially near places that children use, such as schools, as well as at events targeted at children.

Speaking in the debate Ms McTaggart said:

“Alcohol misuse and its consequence for health and community safety remain a significant challenge, not only in Scotland but throughout the UK.

“Our drinking habits have to change, because if we condone that behaviour and do not make substantial attempts to change it, we will be left with a chronically ill young adult population. The earlier teenagers are exposed to alcohol, the more likely they are to face challenges in later years. Therefore, we must address the problem at its root, and provide more support and education in schools on the harmful side effects of alcohol consumption.

“Alcohol consumption cannot go on at the current rate. The strain that alcohol puts on public services is costly and time consuming. If we could work together to safeguard our population from alcohol, we would have fewer alcohol-related challenges. Members from across all political parties are determined to tackle Scotland’s drink problem. However, in order to be successful, a shift in Scotland’s culture is essential. We must contribute to delivering that change right away.”

Read Ms McTaggart’s speech in full.

 

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