FUTURE OF HMRC IN CUMBERNAULD

Today HMRC has informed Cumbernauld staff that it wants to site its proposed new regional centre at a new build office at 1 Atlantic Square in Glasgow. It is scheduled to open in 2021. I have received a letter from the Chief Executive of HMRC that states that the previous timescale for closing the Cumbernauld Office – 2019/20 – is being reviewed “in light of the later opening date of the regional centre and we will update you after we have informed staff”.

Staff and the PCS union have been awaiting confirmation of the location for months creating uncertainty and anxiety for all concerned. I believe the whole “Building our Future project” to be utterly ill-conceived, and now completely unfit for purpose given the implications of Brexit which will require huge additional capacity within HMRC. Cumbernauld and its workforce have been badly treated by the UK government.

As MP for the site I will be meeting with the local trades union as soon as possible to discuss how the announcement will impact on my constituents and the community of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth. Working with the trades union we will consider all implications for HMRC jobs in the area.

But the campaign to retain a presence in Cumbernauld is not over.

January 2018 Newsletter

You can keep up to date with all the work I have undertaken as the local MP by viewing my monthly newsletter online. Last month’s newsletter includes information about my activities in the constituency and in Westminster throughout the month of January.

Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss any of the newsletter’s content or any other matter.

https://mailchi.mp/b17a3682d5e0/january-2018-newsletter?e=%5BUNIQID

 

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.