Press releases

JOB CENTRE PLUS PLANS ARE ‘COMPLETELY INCOHERENT’

TORY PROPOSALS NEED TO GO ‘BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD’

SNP MP and member of the Scottish Affairs Committee Margaret Ferrier has said the closure of Job Centre Plus offices around Scotland is ‘completely incoherent’ – and ‘need to go back to the drawing board’ urgently.

The comments come as the cross party Westminster Committee publishes its report into the Tory plans to axe a long list of office locations – including a total of eight in the Glasgow area – causing needless uncertainty for staff and for service users.

SNP MPs have raised the issues at Westminster on many occasions and it has become abundantly clear that the Tories have completely failed to make any kind of plans and demonstrate a complete lack of any kind of strategic thinking.

Margaret Ferrier MP commented:

“These Tory plans are rightly condemned by the committee for what they are – completely incoherent and inadequate. The government needs to go back to the drawing board urgently.

“The Tories present this as some kind of well thought out, planned programme long-term planning but we have found that it is anything but – and is more of an opportunistic cost cutting exercise.

“Our report also find that the treatment of staff and service users fell short of what should be expected. This scattergun and ill thought through plan will disrupt so many people who depend on the centres for help and advice on getting into work.

“Jobcentre Plus offices are there to serve their communities, when people are often at their most vulnerable, these proposals will fail to do this adequately. The UK Government must look at this policy again and come back with a coherent solution that works for the people who use the service, as well as being value for money.”

ENDS

NOTES

Link to the Scottish Affairs Committee report

LOCAL STATE PENSION CAMPAIGNERS PLAN NEXT MOVE

WASPI WOMEN TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING

Burnside pensions campaigner Anne Potter is calling for women who have been adversely affected by steep rises in the state pension age to attend a public meeting this week. The Glasgow and Lanarkshire branch of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign have organised the event to share information and map out the group’s next moves.

WASPI are calling for transitional measures for 1950s-born women who have been hit by the equalisation of the state pension age – a change which began in 1995 and was compounded in 2011. The group support the gender equalisation of the pension ages, however they are seeking recognition and recompense from the UK Government for the unfair and discriminatory way the changes were implemented. WASPI argue that many affected were inadequately notified by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which has resulted in many having no proper time to make alternative plans.

The meeting will take place on Saturday 29th April at the Glad Café on Pollokshaws Rd in Shawlands at 12pm.

Commenting, Anne Potter, co-ordinator of WASPI Glasgow and Lanarkshire said:

 “We welcome all affected women to come along to this public meeting to discuss our next plan of action and help others begin the formal complaints process against the DWP.

“State pensions are under attack – the threat of the end of the triple-lock in addition to these sharp rises in age of eligibility means will see more and more older people struggling to make ends meet and forced to work much later in life.

“Several women from Cambuslang and Rutherglen have already joined our group however with more than 5000 women affected in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency we want to see more of them turning their anger into action.”

Rutherglen MP Margaret Ferrier, commented:

“I have been working closely with the local WASPI women for over a year now, fighting their corner at Westminster and giving regular updates to the many affected constituents who have contacted me about this.

“Given the huge numbers of women adversely affected by two separate increases to the state pension age, it is vital that they continue to come together and challenge the Tories – be that through protests, through their MPs at Westminster, or through the official complaints procedure. I have faith that the WASPI women will win – but it will take all of them to keep pushing the issue.

“The Tories may think they can get away with doing whatever they want to our pensions but as we’ve seen from recent U-turns, people and political power can stop them in their tracks.”

ENDS

NOTES

WASPI Glasgow and Lanarkshire meeting takes place on Saturday 29th April at the Glad Café, 1006A Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G41 2HG. The workshop on how to complain to the DWP starts at 12pm, then full meeting takes place from 1pm to 3pm.

FERRIER TO STAND FOR RE-ELECTION

CURRENT MP RESELECTED AS A STRONG VOICE FOR RUTHERGLEN AND HAMILTON WEST

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier has been confirmed as the SNP candidate in the upcoming General Election on 8 June. The announcement was made on Saturday (22 April) following a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee which ruled that Ms Ferrier was reselected with immediate effect.

The local MP has welcomed the news, saying that she wants to build on her “strong track record of holding the Tories to account at Westminster”.

Since 2015, Scottish National Party MPs have outperformed Labour and Tory MPs by participating in far more debates at Westminster than either party. In 2015-16, SNP MPs spoke in an average of 61 debates. This is almost double the number of their Labour predecessors, who spoke in an average of just 27 debates in 2014-15.

Recently Ms Ferrier was named the top talking Scot at Westminster, having contributed to 173 different debates, question, and statement sessions in the House of Commons in 2016 – more than any other Scottish MP.

Commenting, Margaret Ferrier MP said:

“Representing Rutherglen and Hamilton West in London has been an enormous privilege, and I look forward to asking voters to once again place their trust in me so that I can continue my strong track record of holding the Tories to account at Westminster.”

“I have been the strong voice that I promised during my 2015 election campaign – contributing more than any other Scottish MP at Parliament – and a champion for the diverse and distinct communities across Rutherglen, Cambuslang, Halfway, Blantyre, and Hamilton West.

“This general election is fundamental to the kind of country we want to be. We simply cannot allow the Tories to inflict deeper cuts and further austerity on Scotland and, with Labour in complete disarray, only the SNP are offering any real opposition to the Tories.”

ENDS

NOTES

Prior press release on Ms Ferrier’s speaking record at parliament – http://margaretferrier.scot/2017/02/24/ferrier-ranked-top-talking-scot/

SNP SECURES BLANTYRE ‘INCINERATOR’ CONSULTATION

Blantyre SNP politicians Margaret Ferrier MP and Clare Haughey MSP have secured an undertaking following a meeting with the developer of a controversial ‘incinerator’ that a consultation event will be held in Blantyre.

The victory comes after locals were angered that Blantyre was seemingly overlooked for discussion of fresh plans recently submitted by Clean Power Properties for an energy recovery centre at Whistleberry Road in Hamilton.

The proposed plant, which has received significant opposition from locals, is currently undergoing pre-application consultation over changes which include increasing the stack size from 25 metres to 90 metres.

The developer behind the project held events similar events in Bothwell and Whitehill over the past weekend.

In a joint statement, Clare Haughey MSP and Margaret Ferrier MP said:

“We were not prepared to accept the developer’s pre-application consultation stage as sufficient while Blantyre was being ignored, and are glad that they have now agreed to hold one. The local community in Blantyre deserve to be heard, and this event will give them the perfect opportunity to engage with those behind the project.

“This project has been massively controversial, and these consultation events cannot just pay lip service – they must genuinely engage with residents over their worries. The size of the stack, the potential environmental impact and the negative influence of property value are all of concern to our Blantyre constituents.

ENDS

NOTES

The meeting between the developer, Margaret Ferrier MP and Clare Haughey MSP took place on Friday (21 April) as a result of a letter sent by the parliamentarians. Details of this can be found at http://margaretferrier.scot/2017/04/11/snp-politicians-demand-blantyre-incinerator-consultation

Further details of the Blantyre consultation event are expected to be announced next week.

Rape Clause Needs To Be Scrapped

The following is Margaret’s column from the 19th April 2017 edition of the Rutherglen Reformer:


Contained within the small print of the Tory Government’s 2015 Budget was a proposal to limit tax credits to two children and, in order for a third child to qualify for tax credits, women would have to provide evidence of exceptional circumstances, such as rape.

This restriction, effectively a two-child policy, was a horrifying prospect – but made much worse by a proposal that would force survivors of rape to relive a gruesome and traumatic ordeal, simply to receive social security payments.

It is absolutely abhorrent the Tories think that this policy – which came into effect earlier this month – is morally acceptable.

And despite it also being very difficult to implement, the UK Government has pressed ahead regardless – issuing forms that need to be completed and effectively wrapping rape in red tape.

Requiring a woman to prove that her child was conceived as a result of rape is utterly appalling and must be one of the most vile policies ever to come from Westminster, yet it has been totally railroaded through Parliament without debate or the approval of MPs. 

The SNP has been resolute from the outset that these policies are immoral, unworkable, and must be scrapped.

My party colleague Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has been tireless in her campaigning on this issue, and her dogged determination has ensured that this issue has not only been kept in the spotlight for almost two years now, but has gathered significant opposition from across the political spectrum and civic society.

Tory ministers even conceded in the consultation response document that “most respondents felt it was unacceptable for the UK Government to ask women to re-live the ordeal of a rape just in order to make a claim for benefit”. 

The rape clause and two child policy is now opposed by faith leaders, trade unions, women’s rights campaigners and MPs from every party in the House of Commons. 

Reputable charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid are refusing to “collude” with any scheme to assess entitlement for rape victims.

SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has now written to the UK Government, to advise that there will be no co-operation from the Scottish NHS on what she has called a “terrible policy”.

As a result, Scottish NHS workers will not receive Whitehall guidance on how to implement it.

This resistance from womens’ charities and the Scottish Government raises very serious questions about how the Tories will be able to operate the rape clause in Scotland in practice.

You may wonder where the Scottish Tories have been throughout this.

After months of silence, Ruth Davidson initially tried to hide behind her official spokesperson, then last week came out in open support of the rape clause.

She did so with a pathetic attack on the Scottish Government, attempting to deflect attention from her party’s direct responsibility for this policy.

No amount of misdirection or fuzzy photo opportunities will help Ruth Davidson out this time.

She may think that she has detoxified the Tories in Scotland, but this particular episode has left it brutally clear for all to see that the Conservatives truly are the nasty party.