Thewliss supports Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention Week

Last week, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the national charity and leader in lifesaving and lifeguarding training across the UK and Ireland, brought its annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign to Westminster.

Alison Thewliss came together with the RLSS UK CEO and Charity Director, lifeguards, Olympian Professor Greg Whyte OBE, Paralympian Ellie Robinson MBE, and over 50 other Parliamentarians to discuss the importance of spreading water safety awareness, as well as what practical steps could be taken in Glasgow Central to address the issue.

At the event, Thewliss had the chance to see this guidance first-hand, including how to use throw lines, how to respect bodies of water, among other resources and also check out the cutting-edge equipment that is now being used to keep our shorelines and lakes safer than ever.

The RLSS UK also showed MPs the charity’s brand-new animation aimed at educating parents and their children about water safety and starting conversations of how their family can enjoy the water safely this summer. 

Over 400 people die every year in the UK and Ireland from accidental drowning, yet every drowning is avoidable. Of those who drown, some 40% had no intention of entering the water in the first place. Yet people should still feel free to enjoy the water, as with the correct education and awareness, this can be done safely.

Drowning Prevention Week, which began on 18th June and continues until 25th June, encourages the public to be ready to enjoy being in, on, or around water this summer by ensuring that they and their families have a good understanding of water safety. 

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK said:

“With June, July, and August proving to be the months with the most fatalities, it is vitally important that everyone understands water safety, especially during the summer months. 

“We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy their summer break and enjoy being in or around water but be safe in the knowledge that they, and their children, have the skills and understanding about water safety, which could potentially save a life.”

“It is fantastic to have Alison Thewliss supporting our Drowning Prevention Week campaign and highlighting the issues surrounding water safety education and helping to educate communities in Glasgow Central.”

Olympian Professor Greg Whyte OBE, said:

“I have been privileged to work with the Royal Life Saving Society UK for many years, as we strive to spread awareness around water safety and help people to enjoy water safely.

“Every MP who came along to our event, and who helps us spread the message and awareness of this important campaign is helping us reach our ultimate goal of zero water deaths, and for that I am grateful.”

Paralympian Ellie Robinson MBE, said:

“While swimming ability is of course crucial, far more worrying is the statistic that some 40% of people who drown had no intention of entering the water in the first place. Only by spreading greater awareness of water safety can we help people to enjoy water safely and reduce fatalities.”

The event came quickly after the inaugural meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Water Safety. This took place earlier this month and aims to establish more accessible water safety education across the UK to prevent future drownings.

Damien Moore MP, Chair of the APPG on Water Safety, said:

“Every drowning is a tragedy, and despite the RLSS UK’s excellent education campaign having reached an estimated 20 million people across the UK, these horrific accidents continue to happen.

“It is my sincerest hope that by hosting this event in Parliament, we have helped to further spread awareness of how best to enjoy water safely, so that ultimately lives can be saved.

“I want to thank the RLSS UK, along with every MP who came along to our event, for the vital work that they are doing in spreading awareness.”

THEWLISS DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ACTION ON FOOTBALL INDEX IN PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE

Alison Thewliss, Shadow Chancellor for the SNP and MP for Glasgow Central, has demanded that the Government takes immediate action on collapsed betting company, Football Index.

A debate was held today, Tuesday 6th June, on the impact of the collapse of the company, which took place in March of 2021. The company had its licence stripped by the Gambling Commission and was forced to enter administration.

It has been estimated that customers collectively have over £90 million in open stakes trapped in the platform following its collapse – leaving average losses of around £3,000 per customer.

Following confirmation that a debate would be taking place on the company, Thewliss has demanded that the time is now to ensure the customers affected by the collapse are compensated for.

Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The Government have been tiptoeing around the issue of Football Index for over a year now. Constituents in Glasgow Central have contacted my office and explained the distress they felt, having invested significant money into the company. They now feel completely betrayed by the lack of support following the collapse, and frustrated by the lack of action by regulators.

“A support package must be put in place for victims of the scandal, particularly given the precedent set by the UK Government on the London Capital and Finance failure. It is entirely unfair that those who continue to have money locked away in the accounts of the now-collapsed firm are being left in the dark.

“There remains a real worry that scandals such as Football Index could be repeated unless action is taken by the Gambling Commission. The Government must acknowledge the recommendations made by Michael Sheehan QC and implement these as soon as possible. 

“I am deeply disappointed that the Minister didn’t recognise that the Football Index scandal isn’t about people being compensated for gambling losses – it is a clear failure in regulation. On that basis, compensation should be due to those that have lost their life savings to a government-regulated Ponzi scheme.”

THEWLISS PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR IMPROVING LIVER HEALTH IN SCOTLAND

Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss demonstrated her support for improving liver health in Scotland by attending the Love Your Liver roadshow, hosted by the British Liver Trust, in Glasgow on Thursday 19th May 2022.  

Ms Thewliss is an advocate for the British Liver Trust’s work and recognises the importance of improving early diagnosis of liver disease. She encouraged her constituents and the people of Glasgow to attend the roadshow and find out the steps they can take to improve their liver health.  

90% of liver disease is preventable and if caught at an early stage liver damage can be reversed. However, the alarming reality is that three-quarters of people with cirrhosis are diagnosed when it is too late for effective intervention or treatment. 

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said: “I am delighted to support the Love Your Liver campaign and the charity’s work to improve early detection.  Liver disease is a public health crisis and thousands of Scots are at risk.  The Love Your Liver roadshow is a really important campaign, which is helping people better understand the importance of looking after their liver.”

Members of the public were encouraged to pop along to the Love Your Liver mobile unit in Argyle street to take a free liver screener, which assesses the potential for liver damage against the three main risk factors of alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis. A free FibroScan was offered to those who had a potential risk and those with high readings were recommended to speak to their GP.

Scotland has a significant liver disease crisis with around 900 deaths each year. In 2020, it was one of the leading causes of death in Scotland in those under the age of 75. Mortality rates are also four times higher in deprived areas compared to more affluent areas.  

Pamela Healy OBE, Chief Executive of British Liver Trust, said: “One in five of us are at risk of liver disease and the numbers of people being diagnosed have been increasing at an alarming rate. Liver damage develops silently with no signs or symptoms and people often don’t realise they have a problem until it is too late. Although the liver is remarkably resilient, if left until symptoms appear, the damage is often irreversible.

“Our Love Your Liver roadshows are a great opportunity for people to find out their risk of liver disease and receive a free liver scan to see if there is any early damage. Approximately one in five people that are scanned are advised to have further checks.”

The British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver campaign focuses on three simple steps for liver health:

1.    Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive days off alcohol every week

2.    Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat, and take more exercise

3.    Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk

You can find out if you are at risk and check your liver health online by doing the online screening test at https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/screener

For more If you couldn’t attend the events you can still find out if you are at risk and check your liver information on our Roadshows, visit: Love Your Liver Roadshows

THEWLISS CALLS ON IMMEDIATE GOVERNMENT ACTION ON PASSPORT WAITING TIMES

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has called upon the Government to step in immediately to stop the rising waiting times for passport applications.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office has warned that applicants for new passports should “be prepared” for significant delays to applications in the coming months.

The impact of the pandemic saw over five million people delaying their renewal of passports between 2020 and 2021. With travel returning back to normal, applications for new passports for travellers are now reaching record highs.

Speaking on the impact of these delays, Thewliss described how difficult it has been for Glasgow Central constituents to receive their passports after applying for them.

Alison Thewliss said:

“Glasgow Central constituents have been contacting me to express their concerns over lengthy delays from the Passport Office – despite applications going in months ago.

“With a huge backlog of applications to deal with after the pandemic, I completely appreciate how difficult it must be for the workers in these offices to process the requests in a timely manner. I am hopeful that the UK Government will acknowledge the pressure being put on Passport Offices across the country and employ more people to deal with the backlog of cases.

“I am deeply concerned, however, by accounts from my constituents of being let down and lied to about their applications during a time of stress and uncertainty for them. One constituent in particular, Scott came to me with a list of false information he was given in relation to his passport application.

“This ranged from being told people could go to collect their passport, which he said was not possible, to being told he would only need to wait 10 weeks to receive his passport, despite eventually waiting 12 weeks to receive it.

“It is clear that there is immense pressure being put on Passport Offices across the country, but it remains completely unacceptable that my constituents are being given a false sense of hope during a time where they will no doubt be extremely nervous about being able to receive their passport in time.

“The Government must ensure that the information being provided by Passport Offices is honest and accurate.”

UK GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF “ALL TALK NO ACTION” OVER TORY COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS

The SNP has accused the UK government of “all talk no action” over the spiralling Tory cost-of-living crisis, with new research revealing that people face another hit to their pockets with continued higher food bills this year.
 
Analysis by Kantar found that grocery prices were 5.9% higher this month than a year ago – the biggest rise since December 2011 – and that the average food bill could increase by £271 this year.
 
It follows recent figures this month that highlighted that prices are increasing at their fastest rate in decades with inflation rising to 7% – a staggering 30-year high.
 
It comes after the scandal-hit Boris Johnson urged his Cabinet today to promote the UK government’s inadequate measures and to look at ways to tackle the crisis – despite ignoring the SNP’s repeated calls for an Emergency Budget to deliver real support to struggling households.
 
Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said:
 
“The Tory government is too engulfed in scandal to get on with the day job of tackling the cost-of-living crisis spiralling out of control under its watch.
 
“With new research revealing that people face yet another hit with the average food bill potentially increasing by a staggering £271 this year, families need action not more hot air from this out of touch Tory government.
 
“The reality is that the Prime Minister’s remarks are all talk and no action.
 
“The SNP has been consistently clear that the UK government must deliver an Emergency Budget that finally puts money into people’s pockets.
 
“That Emergency Budget must include at the very minimum converting the £200 energy loan into a more generous grant, scrapping the National Insurance tax hike, reversing the £1040 cuts to Universal Credit, matching the Scottish Child Payment UK-wide, introducing a Real Living Wage to boost incomes, reducing or removing VAT on household energy bills, and following the Scottish Government’s 6% uprating of benefits.
 
“On 5th May, people in Scotland can send a message to Boris Johnson and prioritise action to tackle the cost of living by voting SNP in the local elections.”

THEWLISS TO LEAD DEBATE ON ‘UNSPEAKABLY CRUEL’ TWO CHILD CAP

SNP MP, Alison Thewliss, will lead a debate today in Westminster Hall calling on the UK government to scrap the two child cap and ‘rape clause’ on working tax credits and Universal Credit. 

The Glasgow Central MP described the policy, which limits the social security claimants can receive based on how many children they have, as ‘unspeakably cruel’ and demanded Tories end their dystopian policies punishing families and forcing survivors of sexual assualt to relive trauma.

Over 1.1 million people are affected by the policy which the UK is alone in the world in implementing, being the sole country to limit benefits past 2 children.

Alison Thewliss, the party’s Shadow Chancellor, said that due to the cost of living crisis the Tories must reconsider the policy and introduce further measures to alleviate households’ cost concerns.

The SNP are also calling for the introduction of the Real Living Wage, a reversal to Tory Universal Credit cuts, the turning of the energy support loan into a more generous grant and a u-turn on national insurance hikes. 

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“This is an unspeakably cruel policy that hasn’t worked to achieve its dystopian purpose and is now only exacerbating the cost of living concerns families are experiencing – with over 1 million people affected by this policy. 

“Families shouldn’t be punished for having children, nor have limits placed on them by the government over how many they can have, and in no civilised country should survivors of sexual assault be made to relive trauma to prove they’ve been raped to access vital benefits – that is disgusting. 

“The policy has been wrong from the beginning, that the Tories haven’t scrapped it on moral grounds is nothing short of a disgrace but they must at least now listen to our concerns given its impact on the cost of living crisis.

“This policy is yet further proof that it hasn’t just been Tory inaction that has led to this crisis, but also direct Tory action with cruel policies such as this one.

“In stark contrast the Scottish Government is providing for families with a, recently doubled, Scottish Child Payment – putting over £1,000 a year into the pockets of families in Scotland.

“If the Tories won’t listen to us now it’ll prove, once again, that only with the full powers of independence can we provide support to families with the dignity and fairness they deserve and put more support on the table for households.”

THEWLISS SHOWS DISGUST AT RWANDA PLANS

In response to UK government’s recent announcements that it will begin sending people claiming asylum to Rwanda, and also that it will open a new asylum accommodation centre in Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire, Alison Thewliss MP, Chair of the APPG on Immigration Detention, has made the following statement: 

“The plans introduced by the UK government to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from Britain are utterly appalling. 

“The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has already condemned these plans on ethical and legal grounds, while senior Home Office officials say there’s no evidence the arrangment will provide value for money. There are serious questions of transparency and how the Home Office can ever be held to account for what happens to the individuals it sends to Rwanda. But this is just another example of the Government abandoning its responsibility to offer sanctuary and support to those fleeing persecution. 

“My recent visit to Napier Barracks allowed me to see first-hand how profoundly unsuitable and dehumanising such sites are for asylum seekers. The dilapidated former barracks used by the Government to house asylum seekers are inadequate, lacking in facilities and people there struggle to get access to lawyers and adequate healthcare. It is frightening to imagine what a facility located in another country thousands of miles away from scrutiny will be like.

“I would have hoped that the Tory Government would learn from the comments made after our visit. Yet despite the warnings given to them about the conditions in Napier, the government is proceeding with plans at Linton-on-Ouse. With other members of the APPG, I have repeatedly called for Napier Barracks to close and for the UK government not to open any further similar sites. I reiterate that call today.

“It is time for the government to get a grip and stop with these tactics to divert the attention away from the chaos within this Government. Thousands of human lives are at risk here, they must be protected. During the worst cost of living crisis to date, the Government should be focusing on allowing all people to have enough money to feed themselves, rather than pandering to the dog whistle politics of the far right.”

THEWLISS SLAMS THE GOVERNMENT OVER HOME OFFICE NEGLECT

Alison Thewliss, Shadow Chancellor for the SNP and MP for Glasgow Central, has launched a blistering attack on the Home Office as Glasgow Central constituents are left waiting years for a decision.

Thewliss described how calls to her constituency office are increasing by the day – with the calls primarily relating to Home Office issues.

A number of constituents in the Glasgow Central constituency have described how they have been waiting years for a decision, with no sign of one to come.

But Thewliss has called on the Government to act now on the failings of the Home Office.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The attitude of the Home Office towards asylum cases all over the UK is benign neglect. I have had constituents in tears over the phone, asking why the Home Office seem to be forgetting about their cases and leaving them helpless.

“Its record to date has been utterly awful. With the war in Ukraine going to cause an increase in those claiming asylum in the UK, it is deeply concerning to think that the situation with the Home Office is only going to get worse in the months ahead.

“It sickens me to think that there are people in my constituency who feel like they are being forgotten or mistreated at the hands of the Home Office. In a country like Scotland, who takes pride in being so open and welcoming, this is not on.

“This mistreatment of citizens is completely unacceptable. There are systematic failures within this Government which are causing great danger to the lives of vulnerable people all across the UK, and it must end.

“If the Government does not act now on these failings, we could be on the brink of a systematic catastrophe within the Home Office.”

Thewliss Calls On Nominations For Pride Of Scotland Awards

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has welcomed nominations for the upcoming Pride of Scotland awards.

The awards, set to take place in June, will be celebrating the unsung heroes of Scotland and will be attended by dozens of the biggest stars from the worlds of show business and sport.

Speaking about the awards, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The Pride of Scotland awards is such a great opportunity to nominate someone who has gone above and beyond in life.

“Every year, the award night allows for the unsung heroes of Scotland to get praised for the work they have done, and the public acknowledgement that they deserve.

“There will be so many people across Scotland who have put in incredible work during the pandemic and these awards are a chance to nominate these individuals.

“It would be great to see as many people as possible from the Glasgow Central constituency being nominated for the awards.”

To nominate a special someone for a Pride of Scotland award, all you have to do is provide your name, a contact number and a short paragraph about the nominee and why you’re nominating them by emailing Florence Freeman at florence.freeman@reachplc.com, or contacting 07983712384.

THEWLISS LAUNCHES BLISTERING ATTACK ON TORY IMMIGRATION POLICY

Alison Thewliss, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor and MP for Glasgow Central, has launched a blistering attack on the Tory-led Nationality and Borders Bill.

The Bill has reached the amendments stage in the House of Commons after many debates on the subject.

Among many amendments, Conservative MPs voted to reinstate proposals which would give the Government powers to strip people of their British citizenship.

Peers had voted to remove the clause from the Nationality and Borders Bill, but the Commons voted 318 to 223, majority 95, to disagree with the Lords.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The Nationality and Borders Bill is deeply damaging to this country. Scotland takes pride in being a country that is open to refugees, but this new bill would make this all but impossible.

“Constituents all across Glasgow Central have contacted me to show their anger towards the bill, yet this Tory Government seem to care only about their narrow ideology rather than the views of refugees, asylum seekers, and those who wish to welcome them.

“I am proud to be amongst those who opposed this cruel bill and share my thanks to those constituents who wrote to me about it – not one was in support of the Nationality and Borders Bill.

“Refugees in this country should be welcome – not shut out. But this bill would give the Tories the powers to do exactly that.

“I call on the UK Government again, not least in the face of the ongoing crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine, to scrap this cruel bill completely.”

See Alison speak in the House of Commons about this bill below: