Mary would like to hear your thoughts on the proposed Private Members Bill as outlined here. Please take part in the poll or email Mary.Fee.MSP@scottish.parliament.uk.
The Labour MP and MSP reaffirmed their opposition to the controversial trade deal after Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy became the first party leader to sign the People’s NHS pledge.
Trade Unions, politicians and health campaigners have been warning that the TTIP trade deal could risk American style privatisation of the NHS and as the UK’s most important institution Mary and Jim would like to see the NHS protected.
UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and Scottish Labour Party leader Jim Murphy MP have both called on the NHS to be protected from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Ed Miliband has promised that a Labour Government elected in May will use a veto to block the NHS inclusion to TTIP.
Mary is also urging voters to support Labour’s ‘Time to Care Fund’ at the General Election by electing a Labour Government that will introduce a Mansion Tax, Tobacco Tax on tobacco companies and by closing down tax avoidance loopholes. The estimated revenue from the ‘Time to Care Fund’ will reach £2.5billion with around £250million being passed to the Scottish Government budget through the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK.
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has already pledged an extra 1,000 nurses using proceeds of the Mansion Tax, and Mary warns that this can only happen under a Labour Government.
Mary Fee MSP said:
“The NHS is far too important to the daily lives of people here in Renfrewshire and across the UK to be put at risk under this trade deal. We are calling on David Cameron to protect the NHS.
Only one party will put the NHS at the top of the agenda and that is Labour. Our mansion tax, raised on properties over £2 million across the UK, will bring great dividends to people here in Scotland and Jim Murphy has pledged 1,000 extra nurses from the revenue generated. Pledges such as the mansion tax, closing tax avoidance loopholes and a tax on the tobacco companies will only be delivered under a Labour Government elected in May.”
Commenting on the TTIP deal, Jim Sheridan said:
“Along with many of my Parliamentary colleagues I have called on David Cameron and the Coalition to ensure that our vital public services including the NHS are protected. Any positives of the TTIP trade deal are greatly overshadowed by power it affords companies and the risks it poses to our public services.”
Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee MSP has warmly congratulated Derek Mackay MSP on his new Scottish Government appointment as Transport & Islands Minister and warns that he must deliver for Renfrewshire, including on rail transport.
In response to the new Scottish Government Cabinet, Mary Fee MSP has welcomed the 50:50 gender balance promoted by the new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and has also congratulated the appointment of Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay. However Mary is warning Mr Mackay that he must deliver on transport links for Renfrewshire after he has repeatedly called for better rail and bus links to Renfrew.
Since his election to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 Derek Mackay has called for a new rail link to Renfrew and now Mary Fee is calling on Mr Mackay to act upon his calls as Transport Minister and deliver for Renfrewshire.
Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee also points out that when Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Derek Mackay supported the Glasgow Airport Rail Link before the SNP Scottish Government scrapped the project and in 2012 said that “Rail to Renfrew could be delivered, which would be good for residents and businesses in Renfrew.”
Speaking from her Renfrewshire-based office, Mary Fee said:
“I congratulate Derek Mackay on his new appointment as Transport and Islands Minister. However he has previously called for rail links to Renfrew and as the Minister with responsibility for rail, Derek must act and I hope to hear how he can deliver for Renfrewshire.
“When Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Derek supported the Glasgow Airport Rail Link and agreed that it would be beneficial to the economy of Renfrewshire and now as an MSP he has said that rail to Renfrew would be good for all, so he must deliver upon what he has already called for.
“The new Scottish Government Cabinet is historic and I welcome the decision by the new First Minister to make gender balance of her cabinet one of the first acts of leadership.”
Shelter Scotland’s “Make Renting Right” campaign has called to reform the sector to make it work for both the people who live in rented housing, and landlords who let out their properties.
Earlier this year, Mary Fee MSP supported proposals by Scottish Labour to reform the private rented market. The proposals including a cap on rent rises to stop tenants being ripped off by landlords, as well as more secure tenancies.
The West Scotland MSP believes the moves would have made a difference to over 7,000 private renters in Renfrewshire.
The proposals were blocked by the SNP and the Tories but Mary Fee MSP believes that it is crucial to reform the market with over 100,000 Scots in the private rented sector living in poverty.
Speaking from her Renfrewshire-based office, Mary said:
“I am delighted to support Shelter Scotland’s ‘Make Renting Right’ campaign. Reform of the market is long overdue.
“There are over 7,000 private renters in Renfrewshire; many of whom are trapped in the private rented sector, unable to access social housing or get on the property ladder.
“The Housing Act earlier this year was a huge missed opportunity to make a difference in for people feeling the stress of a cost of living crisis. I supported reforming the market with a fair rent cap and more secure tenancies.
“The SNP voted with the Tories against a fairer deal for private tenants in Scotland. They were wrong to do so. We must make renting more affordable. People in Renfrewshire and across Scotland deserve a home, not just a roof over their heads.”
Throughout the race for Leader and Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour I will remain neutral; however I want to bring to attention a problem that Scottish Labour can tackle by having the political will to do so. Whilst we rightly discuss our social justice credentials and ambitions, we must also look at justice, and what we should aim to achieve within this portfolio, that rarely gets mentioned out with the headline crime and police staffing statistics.
Reoffending is a continuing problem in Scotland and the Scottish Government estimates that the total economic and social costs of reoffending are about £3 billion a year, while £128 million is spent on services to reduce reoffending. Researchers believe that funding does not encourage reducing re-offending.
The next Scottish Labour Leader must address this issue if we are to truly be the Party that changes lives and communities. What I want to address here are some of the links between imprisonment and re-offending and the effects this has on the offender and their family.
When I entered the Scottish Parliament in 2011 I started the Cross Party Group on Families Affected by Imprisonment with the support of many charities and organisations within the third sector, as well as support from families of offenders and ex-offenders. Over the last three years we have discussed a wide range of topics connected with imprisonment such as media reporting, how women and children are affected and the support available to them, and next month we will be looking at the issue of kinship care. It has been clearly demonstrated since the Groups inception that there is demand for change in how we tackle the issues of re-offending and why keeping people out of prison where possible, better serves the family and the community, and of course the public purse.
Research from the University of Cambridge in 2007 reports that “Crime runs in families” (Farrington et al. 1996) and “that parental imprisonment predicted boys own antisocial and delinquent behaviour through the life course” (Murray and Farrington 2005). So from this we know that the children of current prisoners are too often the prisoners of the future. We can’t pretend that this issue will resolve itself or indeed is unique to this generation. Children experience mental health problems, bullying and difficulties in educational attainment while a parent serves a custodial sentence and for the family, imprisonment can cause financial difficulties and stigma within the community.
Whoever wins the race for Leader must also look at how drugs are a massive problem in our communities and prisons. In 2010 tests were carried out on prisoners on arrival and 73% showed positive signs of drugs use. In 2011 the Prison Survey showed that 21% (866) of respondents reported drugs use within the previous month; of the drugs reported 68% was heroin and 18% non-prescribed methadone. Drugs are a serious problem in prisons and in fact Colin McConnell, Scottish Prison Service Chief Executive, admitted that drugs will always be a problem within our prisons. Mr McConnell recently attended one of the Cross-Party Group meetings and I know that as long as he heads the SPS then we will make strides in some of these issues that have been identified.
We know that in our most deprived communities drugs are rife. On a regular basis I have constituents approach me on the street or in surgeries about problematic drug users in their neighbourhoods.
The issue of re-offending and drug use go hand-in-hand all too often. What Scottish Labour needs is an approach that will deal with problematic offenders, support for families and truly tackle drugs.
climate change, ed miliband, energy efficiency, fuel poverty, Labour, Mary Fee, Mary Fee MSP, Renfrewshire, scottish government, scottish labour, scottish parliament, un climate summit, west scotland msp
Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee has called on the Scottish Government to make home energy efficiency a key part in tackling climate change to meet its own ambitious targets.
Mary Fee MSP has this week called on the Scottish Government to make home energy efficiency a priority following the recent UN Climate Change Summit. The three main contributors to carbon emissions in Scotland are housing, transport and agriculture.
During a Scottish Government debate on the recent UN Climate Change Summit Mary also highlighted that while the Scottish Government have set out highly ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions, these targets have been missed for the third year in a row and now the scale for meeting the end goal on climate change appears harder to achieve.
Ms Fee, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, also emphasised that tackling energy efficiency in housing can “play a key part in reducing our carbon footprint” and set out what a Labour Government next May can achieve by devolving powers to ensure 5 million homes are insulated and by strengthening the Green Investment Bank to invest in new technologies that will make homes more eco-friendly and cost effective to reduce fuel poverty.
The Labour Party has also promised to freeze energy prices for two years next year and Mary also believe that this will help to tackle fuel poverty while the UK energy market is reformed.
It is estimated than around 17% of households in Renfrewshire live in fuel poverty and the Scottish Government is not expected to meet its target of ending fuel poverty where possible by 2016.
Speaking from Holyrood, the West Scotland MSP said:
“For the third year in a row the Scottish Government has missed their ambitious targets in tackling climate change. Scotland has full control over the three main contributors of carbon emissions and Scottish Labour want to see greater work in areas of housing, transport and agrilculture.
“The Labour Party has promised to freeze energy prices while the energy market is reformed and this can go a long way to help tackle fuel poverty. However further investment is needed in making our homes more energy efficient and that is why we have also pledged further devolution to invest in home insulation and reduce fuel poverty.”
Mary Fee MSP has blasted the Scottish Government for failing to back plans to make private rents in Scotland fairer during the recent passing of the Housing (Scotland) Bill in the Parliament.
The West of Scotland MSP supported Scottish Labour proposals to limit rent reviews to once a year and to cap how much rents could rise by, however the proposals were voted down by the SNP and Conservatives.
Mary Fee, also Scottish Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, said the proposals would have offered relief to the 7,000 private renters in Renfrewshire struggling with spiralling housing costs.
The West Scotland MSP has pledged to continue campaigning to reform the market, and insisted that the Scottish Government had got it wrong by ignoring the concerns of private renters.
Mary Fee MSP said;
“This was a bitterly disappointing move from the Scottish Government; they had no interests in listening to the concerns of private renters and have no plan in place to tackle poverty in the sector.
“Rents are rising fast in Scotland, racing ahead of inflation. The challenge of the cost of living is placing a tremendous burden and our proposals would have helped thousands of families across Renfrewshire and more across Scotland.
“There are 7,000 private renters Renfrewshire these proposals would have offered some relief to people who are struggling with housing costs. People are choosing between heating their homes and the weekly shop to pay rent, it was absolute madness to ignore their concerns.
“The Scottish Government, including Derek Mackay, was wrong to vote with the Tories rather than in the interests of families renting in Renfrewshire North & West.
“I will not give up on renters as local SNP MSP’s have, and will continue to make the case for fair rents in Renfrewshire and across Scotland.”
The SNP Scottish Government has failed to stand up for working people and for Renfrewshire according to Mary Fee MSP after SNP MSP’s, including George Adam MSP and Derek Mackay MSP, voted against proposals for the Living Wage to be paid in procurement contracts across Scotland.
Scottish Labour amendments to the Procurement Reform Bill were voted down by the Scottish Government in Parliament this week meaning that many workers in Renfrewshire will lose out on an additional £2,600 per year.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that 12,702 people in Renfrewshire are earning less than the Living Wage, which currently sits at £7.65 per hour, and Mary Fee has criticised the SNP for failing to stand up for the almost 13,000 working people across Renfrewshire.
The West Scotland MSP has also pointed out that recent polls show that 90% of Scots believe more companies should be paying the Living Wage.
Now Mary wants local SNP MSP’s George Adam and Derek Mackay to explain to local people why they voted against the Scottish Labour proposals, despite legal advice showing that the proposals can work within EU law.
Speaking from her Renfrewshire-based office, Mary said:
“Almost 13,000 people in Renfrewshire earn less than the current Living Wage and our proposals would have seen many of these people take home an extra £2,600 per year.
“Instead the SNP Government, Derek Mackay and George Adam voted against a Living Wage for all employees working on public contracts in Scotland.
“The vast majority of Scots support the principles behind the Living Wage campaign, which started in late 2007, and the Scottish Government should be listening to people in Renfrewshire and making sure that a fair days work is rewarded with a fair days pay.”
Latest press release from Mary.
Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee MSP has backed a new Scottish Police Federation campaign to highlight the challenges faced by police officers in our communities.
Mary Fee MSP has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament recognising the new Scottish Police Federation #itswhatwedo campaign. With over 16,500 members, the Scottish Police Federation is the largest organisation in Scotland that provides a voice for Police Scotland officers.
The campaign aims to highlight the multitude of different outcomes which face police officers when they attend to what, at first sight, appear to be routine call-outs.
Mary is calling of local people to think twice in how they act with police officers and think how their actions can affect the safety of the officers and the impact on their families.
Speaking from Renfrewshire based office, Mary said:
“This campaign tries to show people the dangers that officers face on a daily basis.
“Police officers have to make split second decisions, even life or death decisions, that have an impact upon themselves and the public whom they are there to help.
“The campaign highlights that each officer has a family. Police officers do an extraordinary job, placing themselves in harm’s way so that others don’t. They often deal with events and tragedies that others struggle to even imagine or comprehend.
“The tagline of #itswhatwedo is already being used by other police forces through the medium of social media and I would urge as many people as possible to go to the Scottish Police Federation’s website, watch the videos and just think, what they would do if in that situation.
“Every day police officers put their safety and lives on the line to protect us. It is only right we show our appreciation and back the ‘It’s What We Do’ campaign.
“People need to think twice about how they behave in their community and what consequences their actions could have on police officers and their loved ones’
“A career in the Police is not for everyone. That is why I have today lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament recognising the campaign by the Scottish Police Federation and congratulating the men and women of Police Scotland for their courage, determination and strength as they undertake their duties to keep Scotland and all of us safe.”
Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee has re-emphasised the need for a National Housing Plan after recent statistics showed the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme is failing to meet demand.
Last year Mary led on a Scottish Labour debate in the Scottish Parliament calling for Margaret Burgess and the SNP Government to implement a National Housing Plan after Audit Scotland warned of the dire consequences facing housing in Scotland. Now the statistics for 2013 have been released, Mary has called again for the SNP to make housing a priority and bring forward a plan.
Commenting on the latest statistics, Scottish Labour’s housing spokeswoman Mary Fee said:
“The Housing Minister, Margaret Burgess is selectively using the latest statistics to look like she is taking action on Scotland’s housing crisis.
“The reality is that under her stewardship housing building is at its lowest levels since after the Second World War and the budget has been slashed. We also now know that the number of council and housing association homes being completed has fallen dramatically and the number of homes started has dropped by a third over the last year.
“The SNP’s lack of vision for Scottish housing means more people are on waiting lists and less people can afford their own homes. It’s time for the SNP to take control and bring forward a national housing plan that supports social landlords, helps Scots into their own homes and stimulates the economy through increased construction.”