East Dunbartonshire SNP Group to Fight Redundancies

Tory councillors and their LibDem assistants on East Dunbartonshire Council are treating council employees in a shocking way. Even before a statutory consultation with the workforce they voted together in a private session at the Council on 9th November to impose sweeping cuts to the council’s redundancy framework.

The Tory and Lib Dem vote instructed management to issue 90-day notices next March to all staff who do not agree to changes in terms and conditions, terminating their current contracts and re-engaging them on the new terms and conditions. Those new terms and conditions will put East Dunbartonshire at the bottom end of Scottish local authorities in terms of redundancy packages.

The SNP council leader Gordan Low and his team are absolutely right to fight this, and will seek to overturn the decision at December’s meeting. Lib Dem and Tory councillors urgently need to rethink their appalling treatment of the workforce.

Universal Credit Meeting

MPs met with the Trussell Trust, CAB and others today to discuss the awful impact of the ongoing roll-out of the new Universal Credit benefit, and to hear how it urgently needs reformed.

Next week, my colleague Dr Philippa Whitford will be seeking to introduce a 10 minute rule bill making the case for key changes before the UK government decides to carry on rolling the benefit out across the UK, including:
– scrapping the 7 day wait before someone can apply
– ensuring applications take no more than one month
– reducing the burden of advance payment repayments.

It would also see changes introduced by the SNP Scottish Government replicated elsewhere, such as the ability to receive bi-monthly payments, and more options for direct payment to landlords.

All of these measures would be really helpful for constituents suffering because of Universal Credit issues.

Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Care

Cannot speak highly enough about the work of Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Careand Cumbernauld & Kilsyth School Uniform Bank. Yesterday they hosted another school uniform exchange at St Lucy’s in Abronhill – knowing that often uniforms are ‘grown out – not worn out’. The charity also provides a Baby Bank for parents and carers of young children who need a little help.

Please visit and like their pages to show support, or if you or someone you know might benefit from their excellent work.

EU Withdrawal Bill

This week Parliament started debating the detailed provisions of the EU Withdrawal Bill. I think as every day passes it becomes more and more apparent how undesirable leaving the EU is – particularly if we leave the single market and customs union. I spoke on Wednesday about the legal confusion that the draft bill will create for individuals and businesses who want to know exactly what their rights and obligations are under those EU laws that we would retain if and when we leave.

Today, the Home Affairs Committee that I am a member of, published a report expressing significant concerns about preparations for customs checks on goods coming in and out the UK if we exit. We are concerned that there are quite simply not even close to sufficient resources to undertake that work, meaning significant delays for moving goods, and possibly reliance on moving immigration staff away from their posts. You can read more about that report here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41990906

FULL IMPACT OF NORTH LANARKSHIRE SCHOOL TRANSPORT PROPOSALS REVEALED

Thanks to Jamie Hepburn MSP for revealing the full impact of North Lanarkshire Council’s proposals to cut school transport on pupils living in the council area.

85% of primary school children and 40% of secondary school pupils will lose their entitlement.

This will have a big impact on families locally. Jamie, the local SNP councillors and I will continue to work to inform people about the council’s plans and argue for them to be revisited.

EQUAL PAY DAY

To mark this year’s Equal Pay Day here is my #PayGapPledge: argue for better maternity and paternity leave.

According to the Fawcett Society, the average pay gap for full-time workers stands at 14.1%, a figure that hasn’t changed in the last three years. In the Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency, the pay gap now stands at 11.9%.

It is more important than ever that we work together to close the gap for good and take a stand against gender inequality in the workplace.

PROTECTING CUMBERNAULD AND KILSYTH UNEMPLOYED WORKERS’ CENTRE

Together with Jamie Hepburn MSP I’m trying to save the funding for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers Union. To that end we wrote to all 40 councillors on North Lanarkshire Council’s Infrastructure Committee who are being asked to cut all funding for the independent advice centres across North Lanarkshire. Our view is that this proposal should be voted down when it appears before the committee on Wednesday.

We know that the demand for these services is increasing as Tory welfare reform is impacting on more people across the area.

The council’s cuts are over £50,000 more than their savings target for this part of the budget. These proposals should be revisited and a sensible solution found that keep the independent advice centres open.