Carers in Fife have missed out on vital support to the tune of over £6 million according to charity Carers Scotland. The report, which puts the number of carers failing to receive their full allowance across the Kingdom at over 2,000.
Whilst we are currently in a cost of living crisis every little helps and it is vital that carers throughout the Kingdom are receiving the help and support that they deserve.
Many carers take on that role not through choice but due to a sense of duty and love. For over £6 million to sit unclaimed whilst carers face making tough decisions between heating and eating must be addressed. It is not acceptable that nearly half of carers are cutting back on food and heating when they are carrying out such an invaluable role. Continue reading
The other week I signed up to the Living Wage pledge at a lobby of Parliament organised by the Scottish Living Wage campaign, alongside the Scottish Trade Unions. The campaign was organised to push for a living wage to be implemented at the heart of procurement policy in Scotland.
At a time where so many households across Fife are facing a cost of living crisis it is important that we take all opportunities to ensure that work pays by having employers adhere to the living wage. Continue reading
Yesterday in Parliament I called for the Scottish Government to use its Climate Change Fund to help low income households tackle fuel poverty and address climate change targets.
During General Questions I asked the Minister for the Environment what meetings had taken place between the Minister and his Housing counterpart to discuss measures to tackle fuel poverty. Continue reading
Yesterday in Parliament I met with StepChange Debt Charity as they launched their Scotland in the Red research report. The report found that Scotland has the highest volume of payday lending among Stepchange Debt Charity clients in the UK. It shows that over 10% of total client debt in Scotland was the result of payday loans, and almost 20% of clients had at least one payday loan.
In Fife, Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline’s average debt was much higher than the Scottish average by £6,778 and £1,700 respectively. Both areas also join with North East Fife in having an above average payday loan debt. Kirkcaldy is also a cause for concern with more people there taking out a pay day loan than average across Scotland. Continue reading
Yesterday in Parliament I held a debate on National Parks in Scotland following a joint report by the Scottish Campaign for National Parks and the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland. The report, titled Unfinished Business: a National Parks Strategy for Scotland, rightly highlights that our landscapes in Scotland rank among the best in the world and that there should be a national strategy and a Scotland-wide debate on the way forward for national parks.
The establishment of national parks in Scotland was one of the early achievements of the Scottish Parliament and the Labour led Government with the legislation being steered through by my colleague Sarah Boyack. Our experience of existing national parks shows that they can bring a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits. Continue reading
Today in Parliament I joined with members of the retail union Usdaw to campaign for respect for shop workers as part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff.
Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important that the people of Fife stand together and ask people to ‘keep their cool and respect shopworkers’. That is why I support Usdaw’s call for a change in the law to provide stiffer sentences for those who assault workers across the Kingdom. Continue reading
Last week during Health Questions I quizzed the Public health minister on the issue of food banks within the region after reports of a high demand for Levenmouth Foodbank since it was launched in September.
I asked the Government what action they would be taking to target resources to address health inequalities after concerns were raised that a number of people referred to food banks also suffer from other health conditions such as mental ill health. Continue reading
Last week during Health Questions in the Scottish Parliament I quizzed the Cabinet Health Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil MSP, to ask for assurances from the Scottish Government that Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy will be able to deal with the winter months ahead as pressures and demand increase.
I called for assurances after previous concerns over patient care and A&E waiting times at the Victoria were raised for the same time period last year. Last winter we saw that NHS Fife had the third highest number of patients waiting over 12 hours in A&E across Scotland. That is why I have pushed Alex Neil for a commitment that we won’t see this happen again in Fife. Continue reading
Commenting on the Scottish Government review on agricultural holdings legislation, Scottish Labour’s Claire Baker MSP
“This review is to be welcomed and Scottish Labour looks forward to seeing the review’s work and recommendations in due course.“The review must be seen in the wider context of land ownership, which remains one of the most glaring areas for reform in Scotland. The SNP cannot address one without the other. So while this review is welcome, it raises more questions about why there is no Ministerial lead over the vexed question of land ownership in Scotland.”
Commenting on the UK Government’s announcement on Common Agricultural Policy allocations,Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs Spokeswoman, Claire Baker MSP, said:
“Whilst I am disappointed that Scotland has not received an immediate uplift, as called for on a cross-party basis by MSPs, it is important that all sides continue to try and work together to achieve a fair deal for farmers across Scotland. Continue reading