Surgery – Friday 8th January 2016

This week’s surgeries – the first surgeries of 2016! – are taking place on Friday 8th January at the Kinning Park Complex (9.30am) and Calton Heritage and Learning Centre (1pm). Constituents are welcome and there is no need to book an appointment in advance.


If you cannot attend surgeries and require assistance, feel free to contact me and we can make alternative arrangements.

Press release – MP challenges UK Government on minimum wage record

SNP MP, Alison Thewliss, has written to Prime Minister, David Cameron, challenging his Government on its ‘scandalous’ record at enforcing the National Minimum Wage (NMW).  Ms Thewliss tabled a series of parliamentary questions.  The response, issued by the National Statistician’s Office suggest that over 100,000 people in Scotland still earn below the minimum wage.

Commenting on the data, Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss MP said:

“These figures shine a very bright light on the UK Government’s awful record on pay and more specifically, pay inequality.

“One of the main reasons cited for increased food bank usage – in addition to benefit sanctions – is low pay which is absolutely scandalous for twenty first century Britain. It is perhaps one of the clearest signs that we are not all in this together and people aren’t benefiting from the UK continuing to have decision making powers over pay.

“So often we hear this UK Government’s much coveted long term economic plan, but it’s not working if tens of thousands of people aren’t even being paid a minimum wage, let alone a living wage.

“Serious questions need to be asked about how, 18 years on from minimum wage legislation being introduced, so many people are still being exploited and let down by this Government.

“One of things these figures reveal is that young people in particular lose out big time. The SNP is clear – we believe that pay shouldn’t be based on your age. That is discriminatory and we will resist any moves, particularly with the new con trick that is the UK Government’s living wage, to further penalise young people with their pay slips.”

MP backs Age UK campaign to tackle loneliness at Christmas

Glasgow Central MP, Alison Thewliss, has given her backing to Age UK’s campaign “No one should have no one at Christmas”. Ms Thewliss is calling upon constituents to spare some time over Christmas and New Year, to pop in and visit elderly neighbours, who might otherwise be on their own.

Official statistics, published by Age UK, show that 17% of older people have less than weekly contact with family, friends and neighbours, and 600,000 older people leave their house just once a week or less.

The Glasgow MP’s call to action came as she spent the final few days before Christmas delivering over 1,000 ‘Hot Tips’ calendars to sheltered housing complexes around her constituency. The calendars give practical advice to elderly residents about keeping homes warm during the winter months.

SNP MP, Alison Thewliss, said:

“As we approach Christmas, I would encourage all constituents to spare a bit of time over the festive period and pop in to visit elderly friends, neighbours or family. Although many of us are incredibly busy at this time of year, we could still spare an hour or two visiting someone and enjoying a cup of tea and a chat”.

Benefit sanctions

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.

Press release – Alison Thewliss MP welcomes child refugees in the UK

Alison Thewliss MP provides a welcome message for unaccompanied child refugees

Alison Thewliss MP is urging constituents to write a welcome message for lone child refugees arriving in the UK. Almost 2,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the UK this year, many of whom have fled wars and persecution. Save the Children’s campaign calls on members of the public to write a welcome message, which will be printed in books being distributed across the UK to help these children learn English. This will help children to integrate in their new communities, and to learn and thrive.

Ms Thewliss wrote a message on Tuesday 15th December and is now asking his/her constituents to join the two thousand campaigners that have already taken part.

After the traumatic experiences child refugees have been through, it’s vital these vulnerable children feel safe, and get help to build a new life. Save the Children has teamed up with Pearson, the world’s largest education company, to give child refugees arriving in the UK a welcome gift – a special pack of books, appropriate to their age and ability, to help them learn English. 7,000 books are being delivered in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

To make these children feel truly welcome, members of the public are being encouraged to write a personal ‘welcome to the UK’ message to be printed into every pack of books.

Alison Thewliss MP said:

“I’m delighted to support Save the Children’s campaign to welcome child refugees in the UK. These children have been through so much – fleeing conflict and persecution. I’m glad that the UK can help provide them with a safe home and a fresh start.”

“As winter sets in I’m remain concerned about the plight of child refugees in Europe who are all alone and have no family with them. I’m supporting Save the Children’s call on the UK government to offer to relocate up to 3,000 of these children to the UK”

Anyone can join the campaign by submitting their message online:


Scottish National Party MP, Alison Thewliss, has demanded that the Department of Work & Pensions urgently close a loophole, whereby a benefit claimant, who has been offered work, can still be sanctioned for not looking for a job, even in the intervening period between being offered a job and starting work.

The Glasgow MP was prompted to write to Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, after a constituent – who has chosen to remain anonymous – was sanctioned by the DWP for not looking for work in the intervening period before being offered a job and starting their new job – at the DWP of all places.

Ms Thewliss has written to the Secretary of State to demand that he issues urgent guidance to all DWP staff that sanctions shouldn’t be applied on cases such as this.

Alison Thewliss said:

“Week in, week out, I sit in the House of Commons and listen to this callous Tory Government batter on about getting people back into work, often at any cost – be that disgraceful zero hour contracts or on appalling national minimum wage rate jobs.

“What we can see from this case is people trying very hard to get back into work.  So they find a job but then have the rug pulled from under their feet at the eleventh hour with a sanction.

“My parliamentary question reveals a serious discrepancy in DWP policy which effectively means it is pot luck whether you get a sympathetic work coach or not.  That is no way to run a social security system.

“I have written to Iain Duncan Smith and demanded that he immediately issues guidance to DWP officials that no-one should be sanctioned in the intervening period of being offered a job and starting work.  The UK Government need to shake off this unhealthy obsession with slapping sanctions on people who are just trying to get on in difficult times.

“It is also time to shine a very bright light back onto the wider issue of sanctions because leaked evidence from the PCS, the civil servants’ union, clearly suggests that they are in fact target driven, despite the Government’s less than convincing claims that they are not.  The Secretary of State needs to come clean once and for all and he should make this government’s New Year’s resolution to ditch its unhealthy obsession with sanctions”.

Christmas Post!

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.

FREE FIRST USE MP Alison Thewliss visits Glasgow G41-G42-G5 Delivery Office to see how it is getting ready for Christmas. L-r Ian McInnes, Kevin Plunkett, MP Alison Thewliss, Daniel Connolly, Les Peyto Lenny Warren / Warren Media 07860 830050 01355 229700 All images © Warren Media 2015. Free first use only for editorial in connection with the commissioning client's press-released story. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.
(Credit: Lenny Warren/Warren Media)
FREE FIRST USE MP Alison Thewliss visits Glasgow G41-G42-G5 Delivery Office to see how it is getting ready for Christmas. MP Alison Thewliss chats to Harry Blackburn and Fraser Matthew. Lenny Warren / Warren Media 07860 830050 01355 229700 All images © Warren Media 2015. Free first use only for editorial in connection with the commissioning client's press-released story. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.
(Credit: Lenny Warren/Warren Media)