On Friday I attended the unveiling of the third window, We Three Kings, in Kinning Perk’s Christmas Windows project. Kinning Perk provide fantastic support for community projects in Govanhill, and the window looks beautiful!
I have had several constituents contact me who have been subject to the DWP’s benefit sanctions regime. My experience of dealing with these constituents strengthens my view that the current sanctions regime is unfit for purpose and that it should be halted and reviewed.
This afternoon. I took the opportunity to highlight some of the awful situations that some of my constituents have been placed in as a result of the benefit sanctions regime in a Westminster Hall debate. One constituent on Employment Support Allowance, who was suffering from severe depression, was sanctioned for failing to attend a work-related interview, despite his condition making him too ill to attend the interview. Another constituent lost their Jobseeker’s Allowance for over a year after failing to attend an adviser interview – the constituent was not given written notification of the sanction and was not given details of appeal.
However, the most ludicrous example of the failings of the sanctions regime is my constituent on Universal Credit who, having received a form offer of employment, was still expected to adhere to the Claimant Commitment even though he was due to start employment in the next few weeks. This case was featured in today’s edition of The National. This represents the ultimate failing of the DWP’s regime – people who are actually in work are potentially subject to sanction. I will continue to campaign for the existing sanctions regime to be halted and for a full independent review into sanctions to take place without delay.
Christmas is a busy time of year, not least for Royal Mail who have to handle a much larger volume of parcels and letters. I visited the hardworking posties at the Victoria Road sorting office, who have been putting in a huge amount of effort to deliver our cards and parcels to us in time. Their efforts were very impressive and will no doubt deliver a first class Christmas for all of my constituents. I would like to thank the team at Victoria Road, and at sorting offices around Scotland, for all of their efforts and I wish them all the best over the busy festive period.
The Scottish Government, in partnership with the Scottish Refugee Council, established an online hub to provide practical support and assistance to refugees in Scotland. I and my SNP colleagues will continue to use our influence to ensure that the UK works in partnership with our European neighbours to devise a long-term solution to the refugee crisis, which should include diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria.
Today I got the opportunity to have a look around the building site of the new Scottish Power HQ in the city centre. Amazing views across the city and it’s going to give a real boost to the local area once it opens next year.
This morning I had a really interesting visit to the Tennent’s Brewery which is on the boundary of my constituency. Directly employing 500 people, they have around 7,000 customers who employ a further 25,000 employees. It was great to hear more about their plans for the future and contribution to the economy.
SNP Leader and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, today (Friday) formally opened the new Constituency Office of Glasgow Central MP, Alison Thewliss.
The SNP MP and her team of five staff have based themselves at Glasgow Cross to serve the residents of the constituency, which stretches from Toryglen to Cowcaddens and from Yorkhill to Dalmarnock.
Speaking after the First Minister formally opened the office by cutting a yellow ribbon, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“I am very grateful to Nicola for taking time out of her busy day to come along and cut the ribbon this afternoon. My new, fully-staffed, Constituency Office is open five days a week and will be the main hub for dealing with constituency casework. During the election, I pledged to be open, accessible and available to my constituents all-year round. The days of Glasgow’s MPs hiding away in the Palace of Westminster are over. We are absolutely clear that – first and foremost – our job is to be a strong voice for our constituency and to speak up for individuals who need our help.
“It is a tremendous honour to be the MP for Glasgow Central and we are here to serve the people as best we can. We all know that Glasgow has its challenges and people need help with a variety of issues, be it on immigration, benefits and housing to name just a few. My office is open and my staff and I are here to help everyone in Glasgow Central”.
This week is National Transplant Week. More than two million Scots have already registered to be an organ donor but more lives can be saved every year. This week show your support for organ donation and register: http://goo.gl/XEHceC
I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Gibson, franchisee of McDonalds in Finnieston this morning and received a tour of the restaurant.
One of the best things about parliamentary recess is getting the opportunity to get out and about and visit local businesses across Glasgow Central. It was great to meet up with Andy and his excellent team of staff today and to learn more about McDonalds and how they operate.
McDonalds have done a lot in recent years to diversify the food they sell and get more involved in the community, which is to be warmly welcomed. Employing over 70 staff is also a great boost for the local economy in Finnieston and it was really nice to meet some of the staff during my visit this morning.
I met with Which on Friday at Central Station to discuss their Calling Time on Nuisance Calls. I’m aware that lots of people find these annoying at best, and intimidating and distressing at worst.
Lots of people just hang up the phone, but Which have created a means of easily logging calls so action can be taken on the companies involved. I’m happy to take up any problem issues, but the website is available here: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/nuisance-calls-and-texts/