FOBTs APPG

Great to attend the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) AGM yesterday and hear abut proposals to reduce the maximum FOBT stake to £2.

FOBTs allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookie environment.

I recently obtained figures which show that a staggering £2,029,404 million was lost on these machines in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East over a 12 month period.

You can find out more about my work on FOBTs here: https://stuartmcdonaldmp.com/…/stuart-mcdonald-mp-demands-…/

British Red Cross Event

Today in Parliament, I was honoured to host the British Red Cross for the launch of their new report ‘Can’t Stay, Can’t Go’ – which examines the plight of refused asylum seekers, trapped in a life of limbo after their application to remain in the UK has been refused – through no fault of their own.

The British Red Cross have adopted the motto: ‘refusing to ignore people in crisis’ and, by listening to the recommendations of this report, the UK Government have the opportunity to show compassion, protect some of the most vulnerable people in society and ensure that refused asylum seekers who cannot return home due to such issues as lack of
documentation are not forced into a lifetime of destitution.

You can read more about how this issue is affecting people here here: https://www.theguardian.com/…/asylum-seeker-stuck-15-year-l…

Fairtrade APPG

Delighted to attend the All-Party Parliamentary group for Fairtrade meeting yesterday and hear about all the exciting products and campaigns Fairtrade has been launching over the past year.

There are now over 1.66 million Fairtrade farmers and producers in 75 different countries. It’s through buying Fairtrade products, such as bananas, tea and coffee, that we help to improve the income, living standards, food security and wellbeing of farmers and plantation workers all over the world.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Fairtrade through the APPG and I’m excited to hear about the new innovative products and campaigns they’re planning to launch in the coming months and years. Notably, their plans to explore the implications of Brexit for less developed countries, as well as their focus on contributing to the achievement of living wages and living income.

WHAT’S IT CALLED?

Enjoyed being able to talk up Cumbernauld in Parliament this afternoon in a debate about challenges facing New Towns today. Aside from the famous advertising campaign, Cumbernauld is lucky to benefit from a wonderful community spirit, some fantastic local organisations and a surprising amount of green space for a town of its size.

However, constituents would rightly be concerned if I didn’t use this opportunity highlight some of the major challenges facing the town – including transport issues, the regeneration of the town centre and the proposed closure of the HMRC office.

Also really interesting to hear about the experiences of other new towns and to start up a dialogue about how we can tackle some of these problems. While the solutions aren’t always straightforward, I hope and expect we can make some progress towards overcoming these challenges over the next few years.

Tackling Period Poverty

Brilliant that Scotland will lead the way in tackling ‘Period Poverty’ after the Scottish Government have launched a pilot project in Aberdeen, which will mean at least 1,000 women and girls from low-income households will receive free feminine sanitary products.

This pilot will help to inform how we can make feminine sanitary products freely available to low-income groups.

In Westminster, I’ll be working with our team of SNP MPs to hold the UK Government to their commitment to remove VAT from sanitary products.

You can also read more about tacking period poverty here: https://www.snp.org/pb_how_are_the_snp_tackling_period_pove…

Ivory Trade Ban

The WWF estimate that around 55 African elephants are needlessly slaughtered each day by poachers in order to demand for ivory – that’s one elephant every twenty five minutes.This is a truly shocking statistic and more must be done to stop poachers and prevent the trade in ivory before elephants are pushed to the brink of extinction.

However, there is also increasing evidence that the UK’s legal ivory market has been used as cover for the illegal trade in ivory so this morning I asked the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, whether the UK Government would consider an all out ban on the ivory trade in the UK.

The Foreign Secretary said the UK Government are committed to ending the sale of ivory in this country and that they will be pursuing an all out ban on ivory sales.

Universal Credit Report

Citizens Advice Scotland have this week called for an immediate halt to the roll out of Universal Credit and highlighted a number of “major flaws” which are plunging people into poverty.

In areas where Universal credit has been introduced in Scotland, there has been a ten-fold increase in people contacting the charity about crisis grants, and a 600 per cent increase in clients with rent arrears.

I have had a number of constituent’s contact me about this issue and these statistics will come as no surprise to people who have experienced dealing with the Universal Credit. You may also recall that I recently spoke about the tragic effects of the Universal Credit roll out in Kirkintilloch and surrounding villages during a debate in Parliament. A video of my speech is available below.

The UK Government must halt this disastrous roll out now and listen to the voices of MPs and organisations such as CAS, who have been left to pick up the pieces after the damage caused by Universal Credit.

 

Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

Disappointing the High Court has ruled that the UK can continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

The UN and other organisations have already highlighted the serious human rights breaches by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and the catastrophic number of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes.

Our SNP Westminster Group will continue to press for the UK Government to immediately suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia and support calls for an independent investigation into Saudi Arabia’s conduct.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-sale-of-arms-saudi-arabia-lawful-high-court-rules-legal-trial-theresa-may-a7832961.html

Parliamentary Meetings

Among interesting meetings this week, were events held by Age UK and Arthritis Research UK.

Arthritis is the single biggest cause of disability and pain across the UK with 10 million people living with arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain. The pain, fatigue and lack of mobility caused by arthritis affects every aspect of a person’s life, making everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea, travelling to work or getting out of bed extremely difficult.

MPs heard how we can help tackle issues affecting older people locally and across the country, including loneliness and isolation, social care and ‎the importance of a decent income.

June Newsletter 2017

After a hectic few months of campaigning for the snap General Election, it’s great to be back at Westminster to continue to represent the people of Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East.

My monthly newsletter is now available and you can follow the link below to find out more information about some of the work I have undertaken as the local MP, both in Parliament and in the constituency:

http://mailchi.mp/…/working-hard-for-cumbernauld-kilsyth-an…