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:

Thewliss Calls On Chancellor To Provide More Support

The cost of living crisis is “worsening by the day” as new figures reveal the impact on the Glasgow Central constituency.

The study, released by 38 Degrees and Survation, analyses the impact of the cost of living crisis specifically on Glasgow Central and gives a snapshot of the national impact.

Figures released as part of the report show that 80% of people have experienced more expensive energy bills, compared to last year.

The SNP’s Shadow Chancellor and MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss, has called on Rishi Sunak to use tomorrow’s Spring statement to “right the wrongs” of his Government by providing further support.

Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The cost of living crisis is worsening by the day. Families in the Glasgow Central constituency are being forced into Tory-made poverty – with no sign of support to come.

“The time is now for change. Tomorrow’s Spring statement is a chance for the Chancellor to right the wrongs of this cost of living crisis, by finally providing an emergency package of support.

“This package must include turning the £200 energy loan into a grant, reversing the cruel cut to Universal Credit, delivering a Real Living Wage, and matching the Scottish Government’s game-changing Scottish Child Payment UK-wide.

“The Spring statement provides the platform for the Chancellor to admit the Government’s failings in this crisis – and correct them immediately.

“If the Chancellor continues to shut his eyes and hope for the best, then more families across the Glasgow Central constituency will be forced into a lifetime of poverty.”

Thewliss calls on nominations for taxi awards

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has called upon the people of Glasgow to nominate their favourite taxi driver ahead of the Parliamentary Taxi and Private Hire Awards.

The nominations are set to close on Friday 18th March and the winning taxi driver will be celebrated in Parliament in an event the following week.

Speaking about the awards, Thewliss has praised the awards and asked for nominations for your favourite local cabbie.

Alison Thewliss said:

“I’m delighted to be able to welcome any nominations for your favourite Glasgow Central cabbie ahead of the Parliamentary Taxi and Private Hire Awards.

“Cabbies all across the city have always been reliable, but this is a chance to highlight the true unsung heroes of the taxi industry.

“This would be another way to celebrate those who do so much for the Glasgow Central constituency.

“With nominations closing on Friday 18th March, any nominations before then would be very welcome.

“To nominate your favourite cabbie, please contact me via email or on any of my social media channels.”

MP URGES THE GOVERNMENT TO GO FURTHER ON BREASTFEEDING ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

On International Womens Day, Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has urged the Government to go further to support breastfeeding mothers.

Speaking in her capacity as the chair of the APPG on Infant Feeding, Thewliss will lead a debate in Parliament today calling for new policy to support new mothers to make informed decisions regarding their child’s nutrition in the face of unclear messaging and manipulative advertising by formula producers.

Thewliss has been a champion for new policies that encourage breastfeeding, such as urging football clubs across Scotland to declare their stadiums breastfeeding friendly.

The debate is expected to commence at 16:30 and can be watched on parliament.tv.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The debate today is a great opportunity to highlight the many challenges which breastfeeding mothers face.

“A recent report by the World Health Organisation shows that more than half of pregnant women and new parents have been targeted by formula marketing.

“I hope the debate today will be a chance to highlight the findings of the report by WHO – drawing attention to the predatory marketing of formula milk all over the world.

“The formula milk industry is worth $55 billion globally, and this report shows that profits are made from unethical marketing targeting new parents at a vulnerable time.

“The implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in the UK would be a huge step towards ensuring that proper, impartial information is provided to new parents.

“The Government should listen to the debate today and ensure that action is taken sooner rather than later to tackle the aggressive marketing of formula in the UK.”

Thewliss Calls on Chancellor To Lift Benefits Freeze

Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, has today called on the Chancellor to use next week’s budget as an opportunity to lift the ‘benefits freeze’.

Thewliss, who is the SNP’s shadow spokesperson on Treasury, called it “appalling” that individuals and families who are struggling financially are being forced into poverty by the UK Government’s refusal to allow social security benefits to keep pace with inflation.

Generally, working-age benefits including Working and Child Tax Credits, and Employment Support Allowance (ESA), would increase in line with the annual rate of inflation. Instead however, the UK Government has actively chosen to restrict these benefits since 2015. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has previously estimated that the measure will push half a million families over the poverty line by 2020.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The callousness of this Tory government never ceases to shock me. It is truly appalling that they have presided over a freeze on working-age benefits for hundreds of thousands of people across the country, while living costs have increased.

“It seems that the UK Government will pursue a budget surplus at any cost, and if that means forcing thousands of families below the poverty line, then so be it. This is purely ideological and cruel, and it must stop.

“The Tories have rightfully received harsh scrutiny on their shambolic Universal Credit policy, but the benefit freeze could potentially be even more damaging to low-income families.

“In September this year, inflation stood at 2.4%, meaning that everything is 2.4% more expensive than it was 12 months ago. The Institute of Fiscal Studies has estimated that this will translate to a £150 shortfall in household budgets over a 12 month period, leading to families being up to £800 a year worse off by 2020.

“Theresa May has the audacity to say that austerity is over. It certainly isn’t in my constituency.

“This government has form when it comes to balancing the books on the backs of low-earners, but to perpetuate a benefits freeze – particularly against the backdrop of the Brexit shambles – would be particularly malevolent. I urge the Chancellor to lift the freeze, and to give ordinary people a break”.

Thewliss Condemns Home Office During Highly Skilled Migrants Debate

MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss, has poured scorn on the Home Office and their treatment of highly skilled migrants during a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday.

There is growing evidence that the Home Office has been pursuing a number of migrants for removal from the UK, as a result of errors made on their tax returns and income declarations. A majority of those affected travelled to the UK under the now obsolete Tier 1 (General) route; many are skilled professionals and others business owners.

In May, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, wrote to the Home Affairs Select Committee detailing that all applications falling for refusal under the character and conduct guidance of the Immigration Rules would be put on hold pending the findings of an internal review. Evidence from the Highly Skilled Migrants campaign group suggests however that decisions are still being made.

Commenting following the debate, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The response from the Minister today fell way short of what was required, and will give little hope to the many hundreds of people across the UK who are left with the unenviable task of trying to clear their names and rebuild their lives in light of this Home Office malevolence. I am utterly appalled by the Minister’s lack of compassion and knowledge of this issue.

“It’s blatantly clear to me, and to scores of other MPs, lawyers and campaigners that the Home Office has made a calculated decision to pursue people in this way, using 322(5) rules in an attempt to legitimise their actions. Policies like this have no place in modern society. Indeed, this scandal is akin to Windrush part two.

“What is particularly striking about the actions of the Home Office is that they seem to be out of step with other government departments. HMRC, for example, have said in a number of cases that individuals who have corrected their tax information have done the right thing. Similarly, a Treasury Minister confirmed recently that they would encourage people to continue to correct their returns as and when they notice an error.

“It is incumbent on the UK Government to get their house in order here. The immigration system is clearly broken, and it’s innocent people like those we heard about in the debate who are bearing the brunt. I urge the Home Office to act now, and retract this vile policy”.

The letter from the Home Secretary to the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee can be accessed here – https://tinyurl.com/y9kxtgpg

Thewliss welcomes funding award for Kinning Park Complex

MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss, has today welcomed the news that the Kinning Park Complex in Glasgow is to receive £197,650 from the Scottish Land Fund, following a recent funding application.

It is understood that the complex – which is popular with local groups such as artists and musicians – will use the funding to purchase the main building, as well as the former nursery that lies adjacent to the site. It is the centre’s intention to renovate and extend the existing space, with a view to offering additional activities and services to the local community.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“It really is marvellous to see the Kinning Park Complex benefitting from the Scottish Land Fund, and taking this key local asset into community ownership.

“I have been lucky enough to host my surgeries at the centre for a number of years now, and it is clear what high regard it is held in by the local community, many of whom attend classes and meetings on a regular basis.

“The range of services on offer at the Kinning Park Complex is remarkable, and includes dance and music classes, theatre and drama rehearsals, public meetings and art exhibitions, with a chance for everyone to get involved. The prospect of extending these activities given this new funding award should be a real cause for celebration.

“The Kinning Park Complex is a unique example of cohesion between the various volunteers, organisations and individuals from the community, who all pull together to make it such a success. I look forward greatly to this new, exciting chapter for the centre, and continuing to support it in any way I can.”

Thewliss challenges Treasury on highly skilled migrants

MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss, today quizzed Ministers during Treasury Questions on the government’s use of paragraph 322(5) of the immigration rules, and their treatment of skilled migrants.

The Home Office has come under fire recently for pursuing the removal of a number of migrants – some of whom have been resident in the UK for more than 10 years – after they made minor corrections to their tax returns. As a result, many have been sent correspondence stating that the Home Office believe them to be of questionable character and that they represent a threat to national security.

During the exchange, Thewliss urged Ministers to take this matter up with their colleagues in the Home Office.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The Treasury have confirmed to me today that it is entirely reasonable and sensible for people to make legitimate corrections and amendments to their tax returns. Yet, in the case of skilled migrants, these are the very actions being interpreted by the Home Office as somehow unacceptable.

“From the Minister’s response today, it’s manifestly clear that there is a lack of joined up thinking across government. Many of the individuals affected by this merciless policy are working in highly skilled occupations, and have put down roots in this country and contributed greatly both to their communities and to the economy.

“The UK Government should be doing its utmost to make the UK an attractive place for these people to stay, instead it is actively presiding over a hostile environment policy which is ruining people’s lives.

“I urge the Treasury to bring what pressure it can to bear on the Home Office, to make clear that legitimately correcting a tax return should not later lead to a threat of removal from the UK”.

Alison Thewliss MP shows her support for Christian Aid Week

Alison Thewliss, the local MP for Glasgow Central, this week attended a Christian Aid Big Brekkie event in Parliament, to show her support for Christian Aid Week (13-19 May). This year Christian Aid Week is encouraging the British public to stand together with the millions of displaced people who have been forced to leave their homes around the world.

Ahead of Christian Aid Week, Alison Thewliss MP attended the event in Parliament to find out about activities and events taking place during the charity’s annual fundraising week in Glasgow Central. Last year, £12,614 was raised in Glasgow Central during Christian Aid Week.

Today, more than 40 million people are internally displaced by conflict, accounting for approximately two thirds of those who find themselves forced from their homes. A further 24 million were displaced by disasters in 2016 alone. Yet, because they haven’t crossed a border, the general public rarely hear about them.

Despite the huge number of people affected, situations of internal displacement receive almost no political attention, funding or support.

Christian Aid works with local partner organisations around the world to help internally displaced people. This includes working with partners in Haiti, where thousands of people have been displaced by natural disasters in recent years.

Vilia was left homeless by the earthquake in 2010 and her mother was killed. Bereaved and homeless, for Vilia, her husband and their seven children, life became a struggle. They didn’t even have a safe place to sleep.

Christian Aid’s local partner, KORAL, helps local people prepare for disasters. In the aftermath of the earthquake, it reached out to Vilia and built her and her family a new home, that was safe, stable and strong enough to stand up to natural disasters.

Ahead of Hurricane Matthew, KORAL was able to warn local communities, helping to evacuate around 5,000 families and saving many lives. In the immediate aftermath Christian Aid and KORAL distributed urgently-needed shelter materials, hygiene products such as soap, food seeds and cash, so people could buy other items that they really needed. Disaster-resistant homes were built, giving people safe, secure places to live. Of the dozens built before the hurricane hit, only one lost its roof in the disaster, and Vilia’s home was able to shelter 54 people over several days following the hurricane.

Alison Thewliss said: “I was pleased to meet with Christian Aid this week, to hear about the great work that is being done in Glasgow Central and across the country to help people around the world who have been forced from their homes. For millions of people across the globe, Christian Aid’s work provides vital support. I encourage my constituents to get involved in Christian Aid Week events in Glasgow Central where they can.”

Simon Kirkland, Christian Aid’s UK Parliamentary and Political Adviser, said: “We are very grateful for Alison Thewliss’s support for Christian Aid’s important fundraising events in Glasgow Central. Everyone can do something to help this Christian Aid Week, whether it’s attending a local event, giving money or praying for the world’s many displaced people at this difficult time. Thank you to everyone who is able to take part in this year’s Christian Aid Week.”

Alison Thewliss MP celebrates Nurses’ Day 2018

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, celebrated the work of nursing staff in the UK and around the world by meeting frontline nurses as part of the RCN’s International Nurses’ Day celebrations on Wednesday 25 April.

The event in Parliament brought together MPs and nurses and give Ms Thewliss the opportunity to hear about the valuable contributions nursing staff make to patient care. Nursing is a highly-skilled profession and nursing staff care for patients in a variety of settings such as, at music festivals, in prisons and in accident and emergency departments.

Nurses’ Day is an international event held annually on Florence Nightingale’s birthday (12 May). This year, the RCN is showcasing nurses’ dedication to delivering outstanding patient care and the innovative and diverse roles nurses have in healthcare teams. The RCN is also encouraging nursing staff to use the hashtag #ThisNurse to share stories of colleagues who went the extra mile to provide patient care and times which reminded them why there are nursing in 2018.

Alison Thewliss MP said:

“Nurses’ Day is a fantastic way to show our support for nursing staff in our health and care services. It’s our chance to thank them for the care they provide to our families, friends, neighbours and colleagues. I encourage everyone to celebrate the remarkable work of nursing staff in Glasgow and across Scotland.”

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said

“Nursing is a dynamic profession with caring for people at its heart. Nurses’ Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the incredible work nursing staff do every single day of the year.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ rule for nursing staff. They work in a variety of settings and have a diverse range of skills. But what unties them all is their dedication, even in difficult circumstances, to delivering outstanding patient care.”