Welcome to my October Newsletter.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I’ll be wearing it pink on the 19th in support of Breast Cancer Now in the fight against the disease!
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Scotland voted by nearly two thirds to remain in the EU. But if the UK is to leave the EU, we need to ensure the best possible deal for Scotland. The Tory UK Government is driving us towards a hard Brexit, outside of the Single Market and the Customs Union, which according to the UK Government’s own figures would cause major damage to our economy, jobs and living standards.
The SNP have been relentless in their calls to minimise the damage to Scotland by ensuring we remain in the Single Market and Customs Union, allowing us to continue to trade freely with Europe. However, it is looking increasingly likely that we will be dealt a cliff-edge hard Brexit. It will soon be too late for the UK Government to prevent this damage – they must act now.
Universal Credit – Partick and Drumchapel rollout imminent
The UK government are rolling out Universal Credit across Glasgow – at Partick Jobcentre on 31st October and Drumchapel Jobcentre on 5th December.
Universal Credit combines six benefits: Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Housing Benefit.
Since its launch under the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government several years ago, it has been beset with problems.
Once moved onto Universal Credit, people have to wait five weeks before receiving payment – however, waits of ten or twelve weeks are not uncommon.
The overall effect has been to plunge people already on low incomes into rent arrears and debt and, in some cases, homelessness. Due to these concerns the SNP have repeatedly called for a halt of the rollout but the Tories have refused to listen or act. Over the summer I have had a number of meetings with local organisations about how we will work together to support people who are struggling with the new system. If you, or anyone you know needs support with Universal Credit claims, please get in touch.
Theresa May’s apology to the Windrush generation is simply not good enough, and the UK government continues to fail them. One of my constituents has lost his job, and remains ineligible for benefits. Charities cannot be expected to pick up the pieces of the mess created by the UK’s hostile immigration policies – this must lie at the door of the Prime Minister and her legacy as Home Secretary.
The Green Place
I dropped in to see Caroline at The Green Place in Whiteinch to find out about her range of natural and biodegradable household and decorating products.
I was delighted to sample some of their lovely toiletries and to learn more about the small steps we can all take to improve our environmental footprint. Marcel from The Common Grind was on hand with the fabulous coffee and cakes. If you’re local, drop by and check out the full range.
Asylum seeker evictions in Glasgow
Glasgow was united in our shock and deep concern at Serco’s plan to evict 300 asylum seekers currently resident in our city, in a decision that could leave many, including families, young children and the elderly, on the streets.
I wrote to Serco, urging them to reconsider this alarming decision, and asked the Home Secretary to personally intervene and demand that they cease their pernicious lock change programme. I am please to say that the unity demonstrated by the people of Glasgow on this matter ensured Serco reversed this policy. Well done to all who were involved in this campaign!