Local MP Alison Thewliss calls on community to join the army of 1379 local stem cell donors

Alison Thewliss MP campaigning with the Anthony Nolan Trust to increase stem cell donor numbers in Glasgow

Anthony Nolan and Alison Thewliss MP calling for more local lifesaversAlison Thewlis MP - 2

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, and the charity Anthony Nolan are searching for more local lifesavers in Glasgow to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register and help in the fight against blood cancer.

The charity has revealed that, in Glasgow Central, there are now more than 1379 selfless people willing to donate their stem cells, or bone marrow, to save the life of a stranger. In total, more than half a million people are currently on the Anthony Nolan register and the average per constituency is 905.

Now Alison Thewliss is encouraging more 16 to 30-year-olds to sign up. She says it is particularly important that young men and people from ethnic minorities join the register as they are currently under-represented.

The blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan created the world’s first stem cell donor register, and has been saving lives for over four decades by matching remarkable people willing to donate their bone marrow or stem cells to patients in desperate need of a transplant. It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

Two thirds of UK patients will not find a matching donor from within their families; instead they turn to Anthony Nolan to find them an unrelated donor.

Anthony Nolan wants to give people the very best chance of life by finding the best possible match for them. But the charity can currently only find a perfect match for 60 per cent of transplant recipients, so they still urgently need more people to come forward.

Ms Thewliss said:

“I am delighted that 1379 people in Glasgow Central constituency are registered on the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. It is fantastic to see that there are so many heroic and selfless people in my constituency.

“I hope that more local people will also now be inspired to sign up and to become potential lifesavers for people in desperate need.”

Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said:

‘We are delighted that Alison Thewliss has been inspired to encourage others to sign up as donors. Donating is an incredibly selfless thing to do and will give someone with blood cancer the best possible chance of survival. What many people don’t realise is that it is also surprisingly simple.’

To join the Anthony Nolan register you must be 16-30 and in good health. It involves filling out a simple online form and spitting into a tube. About 90% of people who are asked to donate will do so through a process similar to giving blood.

The charity needs supporters of all ages to champion the register at a local level and help us spread the word – from schools, communities and workplaces to your own friends and family. To find out how you can help, go to www.anthonynolan.org/communitiesvscancer


City MP calls on Chancellor to freeze fuel duty

Alison Thewliss MP calls on the UK Government to freeze fuel duty in the 2016 Budget

Glasgow SNP MP, Alison Thewliss, has today (Monday 14th March) called upon Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to cut fuel duty when he delivers his budget to the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Speaking from Parliament in advance of Wednesday’s budget, the SNP MP said:

“Drivers in Glasgow can’t afford a hike in fuel duty. Raising the price of petrol and diesel just now would be bad for the economy and bad for household budgets. A raid on fuel duty by the Chancellor would squeeze the pockets of Glasgow families – it would put at risk crucial economic growth and job creation. Small businesses in particular have benefited from the freeze on fuel duty and I know that any increase in business costs would also be unwelcome at this difficult time.

“We know that over 70% of the current fuel price constitutes tax in the form of vehicle duty and VAT. The 5 year freeze on fuel duty has, as of January 2016, saved UK households on average £104 per year. Things like the freeze on fuel duty, as well as the SNP Government’s council tax freeze, have helped alleviate pressure on family budgets but we know that economic recovery is still fragile and that can’t be put at risk by a hike in fuel duty.

“I am therefore calling upon the Chancellor to give Glaswegians good news on Wednesday and continue the fuel duty freeze.”

City MP visits inspiring Family Addiction Support Service

Alison Thewliss MP meets with representatives of the Family Addiction Support Service to hear more about the services they provide to recovering alcohol and drug users

Glasgow MP, Alison Thewliss, today (Friday 11th March) visited the Family Addiction Support Service (FASS) which is based in the Tradeston area of her constituency.

Visiting FASS as they celebrate their thirtieth anniversary, the city MP said she was “incredibly inspired” by the dedication of the staff and volunteers who provide a lifeline service to families affected by alcohol and drug use.

Speaking after her visit to the FASS offices in West Street, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“I am really grateful to Alicia, Katie, Andrew and Dot for taking the time to tell me all about FASS’ work this morning. I was incredibly inspired to hear of the team’s dedication to offering confidential support to those who are affected by alcohol and drugs. In one form or another, FASS have been doing this important work for thirty years now.

“It’s clearly important to help those with alcohol and drug addictions with their recovery and rehabilitation. FASS goes that one step further and offers vital practical support, advice and guidance to the family members of those who are affected by alcohol and drugs. What is even more impressive is the support they give to kinship carers, who are often the unsung heroes in our community.

“With over twenty-one local support groups in the city, I would very much commend FASS to anyone who has a family member affected by drugs and alcohol. It’s really simple to just pick up the phone and dial 0141 420 2050. I know from meeting them this morning that the staff at FASS are compassionate, kind people who are dedicated to providing a first class service to families who need help at an incredibly difficult time.

“A number of interesting policy issues were also raised this morning and I look forward to pursuing these on behalf of the service in the coming months.”

Alison Thewliss MP backs campaign to #MakeTaxFair in Malawi

Alison Thewliss MP joins ActionAid to call on the UK Government to tackle tax avoidance

Alison Thewliss MP has backed a campaign calling for a fair tax deal for Malawi, a country with strong historic links with Glasgow Central.

ActionAid’s #MakeTaxFair campaign is pushing for reform of the 1955 UK-Malawi tax treaty, which makes it possible for UK companies operating in Malawi to dramatically reduce their tax bill. The call is part of a wider campaign to reform unfair tax treaties.

Scotland has had close links with Malawi, dating back to when Scottish explorer David Livingstone arrived in Malawi in the 1850s. Each year, more than 94,000 Scots are involved in organisations that link with Malawi, according to the Scotland Malawi Partnership, the national network which exists to coordinate, represent and support Scotland’s civic links with Malawi, and which is supporting ActionAid’s campaign.

The Scotland Malawi Partnership has a number of member organisations in Glasgow Central which have links with Malawi.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with GDP per person of just $255 per year. This is a country where 10.5 million people live in extreme poverty – surviving on less than US$1.90 a day. More tax revenue is desperately needed to improve public services and pay for more doctors and teachers. Malawi has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world with more than one in twenty children dying before the age of 5.

UK companies are the third largest investor there, with investments worth a total of US$157 million in 2010. Yet the outdated and unfair tax treaty has tied the hands of the Malawian government. The treaty was signed in 1955, prior to Malawi’s independence, by the British Governor on behalf of the governments of the British colonies of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The treaty is so out-of-date that it does not cover the taxation of television related income. The treaty also makes it possible for British multinationals to easily move money out of Malawi untaxed using methods such as interest or management fee payments, dividends or royalties.

Ms Thewliss is supporting a joint campaign with Malawian and UK activists, calling on the Government to replace this treaty with one that is fairer, and that supports Malawi in its fight against poverty.

Since the campaign launched, both the UK Government and the Government of Malawi issued statements in which they say they hope a treaty can be renegotiated soon. ActionAid and the Scotland Malawi Partnership welcome this progress, and will continue campaigning to ensure that any new treaty is fair and helps Malawi raise revenue to fight poverty.

Commenting, Ms Thewliss said:

“Corporate tax scandals show how angry the British public are that big business isn’t paying its fair share.

“Scotland’s long and enduring relationship with Malawi stretches back over 150 years, and today many local people in [INSERT MP’s CONSTITUENCY] are actively engaged in building up social, cultural and economic ties. But the UK-Malawi tax treaty is not fit for the 21st century.
That’s why I’m calling on the UK government to agree a better deal with Malawi – one that ensures that UK companies pay their fair share in one of the world’s poorest countries.”

Charlie Matthews, ActionAid UK’s Senior Advocacy Adviser, said:

“Malawi is losing out due to an outdated and unfair treaty, which makes it possible for UK businesses operating there to dramatically reduce their tax bill. Women and girls living in poverty are the ones paying the price as public services like schools and hospitals are starved of funding.

“ActionAid is working with the Scotland Malawi Partnership to call on the UK government to negotiate a new, fairer treaty, one that makes tax fair for the people of Malawi.”

David Hope Jones of the Scotland-Malawi Partnership said:

“Scotland is rightly proud of its many links with Malawi which date back more than 150 years to Dr David Livingstone. This dignified two-way people-to-people partnership unites our two nations in solidarity and friendship. Many of our 800+ member organisations across Scotland are concerned at the out-dated 1955 UK-Malawi Tax Treaty. We applaud both the UK and the Malawian Government for their commitment to update this colonial-era treaty, helping Malawi retain more tax revenue for the benefit of the people of Malawi. We look forward to seeing the outcome of the re-negotiation as soon as possible.”

Alison Thewliss MP and Linda Robson ‘get behind the daffodil’ for Marie Curie this March

Alison Thewliss MP meets with actress Linda Robson and shows her support for Marie Curie Cancer Care

Glasgow Central MP, Alison Thewliss and actress and presenter Linda Robson have joined forces to ‘get behind the daffodil’ this March and help Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

Alison Thewliss and Linda Robson were pictured together with Marie Curie Nurses, Leonie Christian and Elisabeth Goze, at a parliamentary event in Westminster to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.

Ms Thewliss pledged her support to the appeal and is encouraging local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across the country, or Superdrug and WH Smith’s shops, and Wyevale garden centres, during March.

Ms Thewliss said: “Marie Curie carry out hugely important work in supporting people who are suffering from terminal illnesses. They are a fantastic organisation and I will be wearing my daffodil with pride this March”.

Linda, who plays Tracey in the hit television show Birds of a Feather, and co-presents ITV’s Loose Women, is a long-time supporter of Marie Curie, having experienced first-hand the vital work of the charity. She said: “Our mum Rita was cared for by Marie Curie and we could never have coped without their constant support and care in her final months. Our family still cannot put into words just how grateful we are.”

“I’m delighted to be here with Alison Thewliss to help launch the 30th anniversary of the Great Daffodil Appeal – and to thank personally Leonie and Elisabeth for their incredible care and support when we needed them the most.”

Scott Sinclair, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said:

“Having the support of Alison and Linda makes a huge difference to Marie Curie in terms of raising awareness about what we do and helping us to reach more people who need us.

“We know that seven out of 10 carers say people with a terminal illness don’t get all the care and support they need. We don’t think that’s good enough. That’s why we are asking MPs to commit to ensuring that everyone has the right to palliative care when they need it and help support our annual fundraising appeal.”

“Our services rely on charitable donations, so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who gives a donation and wears a daffodil pin during March.”

The money raised from the Great Daffodil Appeal will help Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones at home and in one of the charity’s nine hospices.”

To coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie has also published a new report which shows that people living with blood or brain cancer – which together account for around 10% of all cancer deaths annually – are more likely to miss out on care and support focussed on providing relief from symptoms, pain and emotional stress. The report, backed by Bloodwise and the Brain Tumour Charity, argues that all people with cancer should have their palliative care needs assessed when they are first diagnosed.

For more information about the Great Daffodil Appeal and to volunteer to collect for Marie Curie, please call 0845 601 3107* or visit mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil. To donate £5 text *DAFF to 70111 or call 0800 716 146 and donate over the phone.