Central Scotland Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon has today called on people across the region to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support available for anyone struggling with winter energy bills.
Her calls come during Debt Awareness Week (January 26 – February 2) which is organised by StepChange Debt Charity. It aims to raise awareness of the help available to those who are struggling to keep on top of their finances at a time of year when the arrival of big bills is particularly unwanted.
She also highlighted the work done by the Scottish Gas Energy Trust, which helps individuals and families living in fuel poverty who are struggling with their gas and/or electricity debts by awarding grants to clear those debts. The aim of the Trust is to give vulnerable individuals a fresh start and enable them to keep free of fuel debts going forward.
Ms McMahon said: “I’m pleased to be able to back this campaign as nobody should suffer in silence. There is a range of help and advice for any constituents who are having problems paying their energy or other household bills.
“One million households in Scotland are now living in fuel poverty which is disgraceful. It is therefore vitally important that we elect a Labour Government in May that would enforce and energy price freeze while reforming the energy market.
“I want all my constituents to understand what help is available for them. Keeping on top of winter bills and managing debt is so important and I urge people across Central Scotland to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”
NHS Forth Valley are currently consulting a wide range of partners on the draft integration schemes which have been developed for each of the new Health and Social Care Partnerships. They also wish to consult with stakeholders on the draft integration scheme. The integration schemes describe how the Partnerships plan to involve local communities and partners in planning and delivering integrated services and develop the workforce who deliver these services.
They will also set out joint arrangements for managing clinical and care governance, finance, information sharing and complaints on a joint basis. Much of the content is defined by legal requirements and there is therefore limited scope for change. They would, however, welcome any feedback and comments, particularly in relation to the draft vision and outcomes. You can do this by completing the short online questionnaire below or emailing your comments to the address listed at the bottom of this page.
- Draft Integration Scheme – Falkirk
- Complete the online survey
- Download the survey and return by post to the address below
Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership Contact
Programme Manager, Health & Social Care Integration, Falkirk
Address: Denny Town House, Glasgow Road, Denny FK6 5DL
Central Scotland Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon has supported Coalition of Carers in Scotland’s New Year’s Resolution to ensure that carers across the country get the support they need and that their rights are enshrined in the Carer’s Bill.
Scottish Labour is committed to stopping the postcode lottery of support and services for carers and agree that they should have the right to support based on a National Framework. This commitment was reaffirmed by our pledge to give the Care Inspectorate the authority over carers’ services and support.
Ms McMahon said:
“It is vital that the 66802 carers in Central Scotland have the same access to support as every other carer in Scotland, that is why I support the Coalition of Carers in Scotland’s calls to have the right to support for carers based on a National Framework. The SNP need to ensure that their Carer’s Bill is not just kind words but ensures that carers have the right to support and services. Too often they are forgotten and taken for granted; they deserve our support and appreciation.”
Carers’ Champion Clare Lally said:
“As Carers’ Champion, I know the struggle that many of my fellow carers face trying to get the support they need to carry on caring. It is a simple ask to have a right to support, regardless of where you live in the country. ”
“Currently in Scotland, the support carers receive depends on their Local Authority provision. This situation cannot continue, which is why I hope the SNP government supports the Coalition of Carers in Scotland New Year’s Resolution. This will empower carers to demand the support they are entitled to.”
This calls on the government to improve the lives of carers in 2015 by taking up their New Year’s Resolution:
Central Scotland Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon has backed the Turn 2 Us ‘Cut out the Cold’ campaign. The campaign focuses on the problems experienced by low income families living in cold homes, the impact it has on the health and wellbeing of children and the support and information offered by the charity.
From 14 January – 14 February 2015, anyone struggling with rising energy costs can use Turn2us’ free tools and information to see how they can increase their household income and manage their energy costs. These include checking welfare benefits entitlement, searching for grants and schemes to help with bills, and getting help with managing debt.
Ms McMahon said: “I’m happy to be able to support this important campaign. New research by Turn 2 Us has shown that 77% of low income families in Scotland struggled with their energy bills last year which is simply unacceptable. This can have real negative effects on children’s health and wellbeing.
“Worryingly, one in six families are considering pay day loans to cover the costs they are unable to meet. This campaign is vital in raising awareness of the help that is available to people and I pay tribute to Turn 2 Us for all their hard work.
“The Scottish Government needs to take action on this and Nicola Sturgeon would do well to back Labour’s plan for an energy price freeze while we reform the energy market rather than her own plan of giving a massive tax cut to the big energy companies.”
Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us said: “More people than ever before are worried about finding the money to pay for their energy bills. People have no option but to cut back on essentials and borrow money. It’s alarming that for the first time in a decade, over one million families are struggling in fuel poverty, and at the same time the poorest fifth of households have seen the amount they spend on energy leap up. With cold homes affecting children’s health and even their attainment at school, they risk being caught in a cycle of poverty as they grow up.
“We need to see more done to help raise awareness of the financial support and help available to manage energy bills. That is why we have launched our Cut out the Cold campaign, to ensure that struggling families get the help they need this winter. With household costs continuing to rise, the effects on family finances could be felt for some time. It is vital that people on low incomes are not left behind.”
- Low income families classed as households with annual incomes under £25,000 and less before tax and deductions
- National survey of 2,060 adults with household income under £25,000 carried out in November 2014. Results were then analysed by region
- Families make up 45% of households in fuel poverty – Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) 2014
- One million families experiencing fuel poverty: Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report – DECC 2014
- Turn2us helps people experiencing financial hardship to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help for free – online, by phone and face to face through their partner organisations
- The Turn2us free, accessible website – turn2us.org.uk is designed to help people access the money available to them – through welfare benefits, charitable grants and other help
- Turn2us is part of Elizabeth Finn Care
As part of its broader work on attainment, the Education and Culture Committee, which I am Deputy Convenor of, recently agreed to survey parents and guardians to inform the following future evidence session: how parents (including guardians) and schools can best work together to raise all pupils’ attainment, particularly those whose attainment is lowest. It is aimed at parents and guardians who currently have children in Scottish schools, and will run until 7th March 2015. I would encourage as many people as possible to complete the survey and help inform the Committee’s work.
Central Scotland Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon has welcomed the continued growth of Scotland’s economy but warned the Scottish Government against complacency, highlighting the significant job market challenges that the country faces.
Ms McMahon, Scotland’s new Shadow Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, was speaking in a debate on Scotland’s economy at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 8th January.
Whilst acknowledging recent positive economic performance and employment figures, Ms McMahon drew attention to the high underemployment rate, the continued pay gap between men and women, and the lack of flexibility in the jobs market as real challenges for the Scottish Government to face up to. She also urged the Government to consider the findings of the Smith Commission and devolve more powers to local authorities in light of their £440 million underspend in 2013/14, despite repeated complaints from the SNP administration about Westminster austerity cuts squeezing its budget.
Ms McMahon said:
“Whilst I welcome the fact that Scotland has the lowest levels of unemployment in the UK, it’s clear we still have a lot of work to do if we are going to have a jobs market that meets the needs of both women and young people.
“We still face real problems with underemployment. 58,600 people aged 16-24 are regarded as underemployed which means our country is not working to its capacity. It also means that our most valuable resource, our people, are not reaching their full potential which for me is a real tragedy
“In addition, there still remains a 17.5% pay gap between men and women in Scotland which is simply not acceptable. To address this, I believe we need more flexible working patterns and I would therefore urge the Scottish Government to produce a plan for flexible working in the public sector.
“I want to see a jobs market that works for all but without the ambition and plans to do that, I fear that that it might not be achievable given the other challenges that we face. As a result, our economy cannot reach its full potential. The Government must address that now.”
You can read Ms McMahon’s speech in full here.
Stuart McMillan MSP has introduced a Draft Proposal into Parliament entitled Proposed Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Scotland) Bill. The consultation will be open until 30th March. You can read the consultation below.