NLC MUST BACK HMRC WORKFORCE AND CUMBERNAULD

NLC MUST BACK HMRC WORKFORCE AND CUMBERNAULD

It is an understatement to say I was massively disappointed at the letter I received from North Lanarkshire Council today, regarding a request for the Council to undertake an impact assessment of the UK Government’s planned closure of Cumbernauld HMRC.

More than 5 months after Jamie Hepburn MSP and I first wrote to NLC – asking for an impact assessment to help fight the UK Government’s plans – we FINALLY have a reply, after publishing an open letter to the Council last week.

And it is incredibly frustrating. As you can see, NLC are for now refusing to undertake an impact assessment, and seem almost to have given up the fight to keep the office open – looking instead at what to do with the site once HMRC have left Cumbernauld. This is just not good enough. They need to get their finger out and start putting up a fight for our communities.

So we will be writing back to the Council to tell them just that.

And local Labour and Tory politicians who also want to see jobs kept in Cumbernauld, must also try to make their administration see sense.

It must not be the case that the Council just sits back and lets a major employer walk away from the area, without putting up a fight for these jobs. The closure of Cumbernauld HMRC will have a massive impact on the workforce and potentially devastating impact on Cumbernauld. This is simply not good enough.

Summer Surgeries

As part of my summer tour of the constituency I’ve organised a number of additional surgeries in communities right across our area.

If you have an issue you would like to raise with me, please feel free to attend one of these surgeries, no appointment necessary.

Alternatively, if you are unable to attend a surgery, you can contact me by emailing stuart.mcdonald.mp@parliament.uk or phone my office on 01236 453969.

Cumbernauld Road Closure

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned about the planned road closure between Dullatur Roundabout and Queens Drive on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2017.

I am aware that signs were put up earlier this week, informing drivers that the road would be fully closed and the diversion road would be a single track B road travailing through Kilsyth, then Croy.

People are understandably apprehensive about the significant inconvenience caused by this road closure, the lack of notice provided to drivers as well as the likelihood of traffic congestion along the diversion routes.

Additionally, concerns have also been raised about the problems this decision will pose for emergency vehicles and the health and safety aspects of fully closing this road.

I have contacted North Lanarkshire Council to raise concerns about the manner in which this closure has been handled and sought reassurances that all of these issues have been taken into consideration.

If you would like to be kept updated regarding this road closure then please email me at stuart.mcdonald.mp@parliament.uk and I will ensure you are made aware of any developments.

CUMBERNAULD WATER NETWORK UPGRADE

Scottish Water have announced that they will be investing in major improvements to the water network in Cumbernauld.

This will come as welcome news to local people after a number of incidents have caused disruption to the water supply, most notably in May when thousands of Cumbernauld residents were affected.

This has understandably been causing a great deal of concern and frustration locally. That’s why Jamie Hepburn MSP and I have been pursuing this matter with Scottish Water and we recently met with them to discuss some of the issues that people have been experiencing.

I’m glad that they have confirmed this major investment and I hope this will go some way to improving the security of the water supply, reducing the risk of any incidents in the future.

You can find out more information by following the link below:

http://www.scottishwater.co.uk/…/cumbernauld-water-mains-up…

FUNDING FAYRE: OPPORTUNITY FOR LOCAL CHARITIES AND VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS

If you’re involved with a local charity or voluntary organisation you may be interested in attending the Funding Fayre I will be hosting alongside Jamie Hepburn MSP.

We are aiming to connect local groups and charities with potential funding opportunities and it would be great if you could join us on Wednesday 23 August in Cumbernauld New Town Hall.

The event will run form 10.30am unil 12pm and National funders such as the Big Lottery Fund and Sportscotland will be on hand to provide information on grants that they offer as well as how to apply for them.

For more information or to let us know that you plan to attend this event, please email: stuart.mcdonald.mp@parliament.uk

 

 

Postcode Lottery Dream Fund

Charities and community groups are being encouraged to apply for their share of a massive £3million funding pot. Launching today (Friday, July 14) People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund is looking for charities to apply for funding to bring their dream project to life.

The Dream Fund encourages collaboration between charities and good causes, bringing them together to apply for funding to finance their dream project – an idea they have always wanted to deliver but never had the opportunity to develop.

Funding from the scheme, now in its eighth year, will be offered over two years from 2018. This year’s prize fund is the largest ever with a top award of £1million and a total award fund of £3million. To date the Dream Fund has invested more than £7.3 Million in 24 projects across Great Britain, with previous winners including Heritage Heroes, a joint project between Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes, and Missing People’s ‘Child Rescue Alert’.

Postcode Dream Trust is encouraging applications to Dream Fund 2018 from projects that fit within one or more of the charitable purposes which include: supporting families; improving people’s lives through animals; green communities and increasing life chances for young people.

Applications for the Dream Fund are open from Friday, 14 July until Tuesday, 22 August. Winners will be announced in January, 2018. Please visit www.postcodedreamtrust.org.uk to apply today.

Microbeads

I welcome today’s news that the Government have decided to implement a ban on ‘rinse off’ plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.

Microbeads are tiny microplastic ingredients that are added to a huge variety of products but the particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean – endangering marine life.

I know that many constituents feel strongly about this issue and you may already be aware that I have contacted the Environment secretary about this issue on a number of occasions.

While this decision is a step in the right direction I hope the UK Government will consider evidence surrounding a comprehensive ban on microbeads and I will continue to monitor this issue.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/microbeads-ban-bill-uk-cosmetic-products-government-outlaws-microplastics-a7852346.html

Spouse Visa Rules

Yesterday the UK Government attempted to sneak out changes to it’s immigration rules for spouses, partners and children on the last day of Parliament. This is in response to a Supreme Court ruling which found the UK Government were failing to protect children and refusing to take into account alternative sources of income, support or savings.

The UK has some of the most draconian immigration rules in the world with an unnecessarily harsh income requirement, ludicrously complicated rules and ridiculous restrictions on how that income requirement can be met. Shockingly, almost half of the UK population would be excluded from ever being able to sponsor the person they love to come and join them, if that person happened to be from outside the EU.

The treatment of these families, and their elected representatives, has been totally disgraceful, and I look forward to returning to this issue after the recess.

Cumbernauld HMRC

Today, Parliament met for the last time before the summer recess and I used this opportunity to condemn the ‘bonkers’ proposal to close the Cumbernauld HMRC office and to demand that MPs are allowed to debate this issue.

A number of concerns have been raised about the centralisation of staff in expensive city centre accommodation, ridiculous assumptions about how far staff can travel and the complete lack of any assessment of the impact caused by this closure to the local economy.

It’s abundantly clear that these proposals just don’t stand up after scrutiny but the UK Government have failed to listen to damning reports from the National Audit Office or the Public Accounts Committee. Instead, they have carried on regardless and even signed contracts for new centres during the Purdah period.

We need a halt to the closure programme now and MPs must have the opportunity to debate this issue. The local community and thousands of HMRC staff deserve nothing less.