MSP Rona Mackay snips ribbon at Lenzie assisted living home

MSP Rona Mackay snips ribbon at Lenzie assisted living home

MSP Rona Mackay officially reopened the reception and hallway of assisted living home in Lenzie after a major renovation.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP snipped the ribbon at ten-resident Abbeyfield House on Friday, April 21.

The interiors project includes a new welcoming entrance and hallway was the concept and design of Alison Harding from AMW Designs, which consulted residents to get ideas and input.

Ms Mackay said: “I was delighted to be asked to officially open the newly-renovated Abbeyfield House and congratulate Alison and Abbeyfield Scotland on this wonderful renovation.

“I am particularly impressed at how the wonderful character of this lovely Victorian house has been enhanced to provide a homely, warm atmosphere. Every improvement has been designed for the residents’ comfort and practical use.

“It is simply a lovely environment in which to live – well done Abbeyfield.”

Carolynn Malone, Service Manager for Abbeyfield Scotland said: “We are thrilled that Rona Mackay has taken the time to join us to mark the completion of the interiors project in Lenzie.

“This investment in the house is a sign of the commitment we have to ensuring that our residents have an environment which is not only practical and modern but homely.

“I want to thank the residents and the staff for their involvement in the project and Alison and S & D Developments who have worked extremely hard to get the project delivered. We are all delighted with the end result.”

ENDS

Rona appeals to decency of Tory MSPs on ‘indefensible’ rape clause and welfare cuts

Rona appeals to decency of Tory MSPs on ‘indefensible’ rape clause and welfare cuts

MSP Rona Mackay is appealing to Tory MSPs to oppose the “sick and inhumane” rape clause and two child limit.

In a letter, Ms Mackay called on the three Tory West Scotland regional MSPs Maurice Golden, Maurice Corry and Jamie Greene not to be a mouthpiece for the Westminster government.

The family cap limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape or during an abusive relationship.

The Tories railroaded through these policies without a parliamentary debate or vote – leaving many outstanding questions with regards to women’s’ rights, the impact on child poverty, as well as how the hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals will be trained to assess evidence of rape.

Many sexual violence support charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK government, not least due to the trauma and stigma that the rape assessment process will cause both survivors and children of rape.

Rona said: “I hope the Tory MSPs in West Scotland can show some compassion for victims of rape, who will have to disclose deeply personal information and relive the horrors of the past.

“There is no need for Tories to sit silently over the rape clause – they should do the right thing and speak out against what is a sick and inhumane policy.

“The two child policy will mean a loss of up to £2,800 every year per child for hardworking families – driving up child poverty after the UK government scrapped their child poverty targets.

“Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories should be thoroughly ashamed of their party but instead they are defending the indefensible welfare cuts coming from Westminster.”

ENDS

COPY OF LETTER

You will be aware of the UK government’s rape clause and family cap policies, limiting child tax credit support for families with more than two children unless victims of rape or abusive relationships are willing to disclose deeply personal information.

These policies were added to the statute books without a parliamentary debate or vote, and analysis has shown that the two child policy alone will drive an increase in child poverty of more than 10% and result in 266,000 more children living in poverty by the end of the parliament.  Rather than working to improve this, the UK government is pursuing a policy that will drive up child poverty.

There are many unanswered questions relating to these policies – including concern that adequate sexual violence training has not been provided to the nurses, doctors and social workers expected to implement the rape clause on the UK government’s behalf. As a result, many sexual violence support charities have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK Government.

You may also have read the letter in the Guardian from a group of psychologists voicing their concern that these assessments force women to disclose details that may cause “flashbacks, renewed shame and emotional turmoil, and consequently affect how mothers bond with their children” as well as having the potential to cause identity crises that carry “significant psychological risks” for children and adults who have been born of rape.[1]

Do you condemn these appalling policies, or do you stand by your party’s statement that forced disclosure of rape is the “most sensitive way possible” to manage benefits?

I look forward to hearing your views on the above matters.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/09/rape-clause-in-family-welfare-cap-harms-mothers-and-children

Some LGBTI children in school are planning their deaths, not their futures

Some LGBTI children in school are planning their deaths, not their futures

MSP Rona Mackay has spoken out the TIE Campaign debate in the Scottish Parliament. She outlined her support for the anti-LGBTI bullying group and highlighted the problems facing many LGBT children in school.

I thank Monica Lennon for bringing this important debate to the chamber.

The First Minister has said that inclusion is the guiding principle for everything that we do and, as we heard in the moving and passionate speeches from members around the chamber, the TIE campaign is doing an amazing job of following that principle in tackling the discrimination and bullying of LGBTI people in schools. I congratulate Jordan and Liam, whose commitment blew me away when we first met.

As well as extensive campaigning, TIE offers free assemblies, teacher training and seminars around Scotland to promote LGBTI inclusion in schools. I am absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government has agreed to work with TIE to promote inclusive education in schools, which will have a huge impact on future generations.

Sadly, our schools are still a focal point of LGBTI discrimination and bullying. Many LGBTI children in Scotland are terrified of going to school, where they are terrorised for simply being themselves. Children are harming themselves as a direct result of the abuse that they receive in school. When they should be planning their future, some are planning their deaths.

Stonewall Scotland’s research has found that one in four of LGBTI children who are bullied in school have attempted suicide. No one should be subjected to that. In conjunction with TIE, we can now bring more inclusivity into education to discourage the ignorance and the bigoted views that are at the heart of the discrimination. It is the least that we can do for our children and it is overdue.

Discrimination and bullying does not just affect life in school. The experience of being emotionally and physically abused, and of children being forced to reject their identity to try to assimilate, has long-lasting effects. Ninety-five per cent of LGBTI people believe that their experiences in school had long-lasting negative effects on them.

Scotland is regarded as the best country in Europe for LGBTI equality. That is an incredible success and, by pledging to promote inclusivity, we will be the world leader. To monitor and ensure progression, TIE’s pledge calls for information on the steps taken to increase LGBTI inclusivity to be collected at local authority level and I totally agree with Jeremy Balfour’s words on that.

At a time when children should be building and developing their confidence, many are being broken down. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that that never happens to any child. The TIE campaign uses the hashtag #bethatvoice. Together we need to be one voice to change the completely unnecessary and immeasurably damaging discrimination in Scottish schools. That is why I am delighted that our Government has agreed to work with TIE and others to promote education in schools, and I look forward to that happening as soon as possible. We must end that horrible discrimination and get it right for every child now—we cannot wait any longer.

MSP Rona Mackay condemns Tory rape clause as ‘abhorrent’

MSP Rona Mackay condemns Tory rape clause as ‘abhorrent’

The Tory rape clause is one of the most “abhorrent” policies to come out of Westminster, MSP Rona Mackay has said.

If a woman wishes to claim tax credits for a third child, she must prove the infant was conceived as a result of rape.

The rape clause and two child policy is sparked outrage from the public, faith leaders, trade unions, women’s rights campaigners and politicians from all parties.

Critics say the two child policy will only worsen child poverty that scars many communities in Scotland, that the SNP is taking radical action to tackle with the upcoming Child Poverty Bill and more.

Ms Mackay said: “Asking a woman to prove that her child was conceived as a result of rape is utterly appalling and must be one of the most abhorrent policies ever to emanate from Westminster.

“Ministers even conceded in the consultation response document that ‘most respondents felt it was unacceptable for the UK Government to ask women to re-live the ordeal of a rape just in order to make a claim for benefit’.

“Despite receiving that loud and overwhelming message, this appalling and crass Tory Government refused to listen to some of the most vulnerable women in society.

“I challenge Tory politicians in East Dunbartonshire to justify this disgusting policy – their leader is too cowardly to make a statement herself.”

ENDS

Facts & stats

  • There are 870,000 families in the UK with 3 or more children.
  • Less than half of the 870,000 families (310,000) are out of work.
  • Just 280,000 families have 4 or more children.
  • Limiting of child element equivalent loss of up to £2,800 per child.
  • We estimate an additional 200,000 children in relative poverty by 2020.
  • 52% of Jewish families have three or more children.
  • For the Muslim community, the proportion is 60%. That stands in stark contrast to the population as a whole, out of which only 30% of families have three or more children.
Social security minister Jeane Freeman MSP set for Kirkintilloch public meeting

Social security minister Jeane Freeman MSP set for Kirkintilloch public meeting

RESIDENTS in Kirkintilloch will have the opportunity to listen to and meet the minister for social security in an upcoming public meeting.

It follows the devolution of 11 benefits to Scotland from the UK, including Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, PIP and more.

Jeane Freeman MSP will give a talk and answer questions from the public about shaping Scotland’s new social security system.

The event is being hosted by Kirkintilloch SNP on Monday, April 24 from 7.30pm to 9pm in the Park Centre, Kirkintilloch (G66 1LF). All members of the public are warmly invited to attend, light refreshments will be available.

Jeane Freeman, minister for social security, said: “I look forward to meeting with people in Kirkintilloch to discuss the new social security powers that will devolve a total of 11 benefits to the Scottish Government and the chance this gives us to build a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect.”

Rona Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said: “It will be great to have Jeane Freeman along to talk about the new social security system we are shaping in Scotland. This is an opportunity to put your questions to the minister who will be at the head of this new department.”

Booking ahead for free tickets on Eventbrite is advised but feel free to turn up on the night.

ENDS

Rona Mackay: Labour must apologise to public for disaster PFI schemes

Rona Mackay: Labour must apologise to public for disaster PFI schemes

RESEARCH has shown duff PFI deals made by Labour while they were in power at Holyrood continue to rip off the public.

An independent study by the Scottish Parliament Information and Research Centre (SPICe) says the East Dunbartonshire Schools project will cost £14.4 million this year.

It follows the former Labour government a decade ago making deals where corporations walked away with huge sums of money for building schools and public facilities.

From 2007 to 2009, six secondary schools were constructed around the local authority area by Morgan Sindall, which the public are paying “significantly more than they are worth” over 30 years.

The situation is echoed across Scotland where the duff deals will cost the public purse £430 million this year alone.

Rona Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said: “PFI schemes have been described as ‘wealth machines’ for private corporations. Thanks to the Labour Party, we are tied into decades worth of toxic legacy payments due to botched deals, where the companies gain significantly more than what the projects were worth.

“Every day, the SNP government fights off Tory austerity to protect the people of Scotland from extreme budget cuts. At the same time, Labour politicians carp from the sidelines at the SNP’s record, while knowing we are mitigating the scandalous deals they set up just 10 years ago.

“It shows clearly why the Labour Party’s reputation has crumbled in recent years, with more and more people becoming angry at mismanagement of public finances by their politicians.

“I call upon the Labour Party to issue an apology to the public as we once again see the true effect these PFI schemes have on our national finances.”

PFIs are agreements in which companies fund the construction of buildings and creation of infrastructure, such as roads and IT systems, which are then effectively leased to the public sector in contracts which can run for decades.

The private sector makes a profit out of unitary charges – a combination of loan repayments and fees for services, such as property maintenance.
ENDS
NOTES: