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International Day to End Violence against Women

Today is the International Day to End Violence against Women. I’m aware that many women and girls in Motherwell, Wishaw, Bellshill and beyond don’t feel safe in their own communities. This is simply not good enough and we all have a responsibility to stamp out the language and attitudes which enable violence.

At the root of the issue is men’s attitudes and behaviour towards women. It can only be challenged if each of us play a small part in changing the attitudes and behaviour of our brothers, friends, colleagues or whoever. Men must speak to men as well as women speaking to men to challenge what isn’t appropriate.

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Abolish the Lords!

Despite bringing our democracy into disrepute, the Tories want the House of Lords and all their cronies who are in it to remain. Unelected legislators have no place in any democracy – let alone a 21st century democracy. Just like this Tory government, the House of Lords is unfit.

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Scottish Child Disability Payments Now Live

The Scottish Government’s Child Disability Payment is now open for applications across Scotland. It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children and marks a major milestone in the foundation of Social Security Scotland.

Those who currently receive Disability Living Allowance for children from the DWP will also be transferred to Social Security Scotland. They will be told when this is happening and will find their payments transferred safely and securely within the next 18 months. Payments will be made at the same rate and there will be no break in entitlement.

Find out more: https://bit.ly/ChildDisabilityPaymentOpens

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October 2021 Newsletter

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September 2021 Newsletter

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PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT 2021/22

Today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined the Scottish Government’s Programme for the Parliamentary term ahead. This is an ambitious policy programme to secure a fairer, greener Scotland, founded on doing politics and governance better.

The Programme commits billions of pounds to tackle the challenges and grasp the opportunities by reducing inequalities, protecting our public services and creating a green economic recovery where the people of Scotland are the priority.

Just some of the actions the Scottish Government is taking include:Putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands by aiming to secure a referendum on Scottish Independence within the current parliamentary session.

110,000 affordable homes – 70% of which for social rent.

£1.8 billion investment in making homes greener and easier to heat.

Scotrail to be taken into public ownership by March 2022.

Free bus travel for everyone under 22 year old.

A National Care Service to oversee local delivery of community health and social care, ensuring consistent and high standards and embedding the principles of fair work for care workers.

Abolishing all dental charges.

Doubling of the Scottish Child Payment.

Extending free school meals to ALL primary pupils.

Provide every child with an electronic device and online connection.

Introduce changes to how fireworks can be used and sold in Scotland to address the misuse of pyrotechnics.

Introduce the Miners’ Pardon Bill to provide a collective pardon for those convicted of certain offences during the 1984/85 miners’ strike.

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Suicide Prevention Week

The past 18 months have been especially difficult and they have placed considerable stress on many. Suicide is preventable. We can all do our bit to look out for warning signs in those close to us. Even if those signs come and go, ask your friend, family member or colleague how they’re doing. Just talking about how we feel can lift a load. But there are several services that you or someone you know can turn to for long term, professional help.

Samaritans – 116 123 (24hr). Calls are free & confidential. For people experiencing distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide.

Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87 (6pm – 2am daily and 24hr weekends). A free and confidential phone-line service for any individual, who is experiencing low mood or depression.

For help and support for your mental health, speak to your GP or if out of hours, call NHS 24 on 111.

Lanarkshire Suicide Prevention App – search for SP Lanarkshire with your App store provider.

ChildLine – 0800 1111 (24hr). A free 24-hour helpline for children and young people in the UK.

HopeLine UK – 0800 24 20 24. A free service for childen & young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide & for anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide.

Elament – for more focused supports and services, click here.

Lanarkshire Mind Matters – run by NHS Lanarkshire Adult Psychological Services. It aims to link you to mental health information, advice and help, wherever you live in Lanarkshire. Click here for more info.

There are more services available via my Health & Wellbeing Support Directory here.

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Education Qs: Supporting International Students and Universities against COVID

University of Stirling is taking steps to support international students from red list countries arriving for the new term to keep them and other students safe. The UK Government must provide financial assistance for all universities to replicate the good practice at Stirling.

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July 2021 Newsletter

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TORY GOVERNMENT BETRAYS SICK AND DISABLED AGAIN AND AGAIN

The SNP’s Disabilities spokesperson has described the UK government’s Health and Disability Green Paper as “long overdue but still lacking real ambition” to support those with disabilities and long-term illnesses.

Marion Fellows MP has said the Green Paper fails to address key issues affecting disabled people in the UK social security system including benefit sanctions, the payment cap within Access to Work, and accessibility of its Kickstart scheme – all of which the SNP has long called for.

After putting disabled claimants through years of degrading assessments, the UK government should use this opportunity to follow the Scottish Government’s lead by moving away from face-to-face assessments and taking a person-centred approach.

The paper also fails to acknowledge the higher costs that disabled people have faced during the pandemic, and makes no mention exploring the widespread calls from the SNP and organisations to make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

Commenting, Marion Fellows MP said:

“This paper has been long overdue but is still lacking in real ambition. 

“The Tories at Westminster have been failing those with disabilities and long-term illnesses for years. A decade of brutal Tory welfare cuts, coupled with benefit sanctions, have had a hugely damaging impact on the living standards of disabled people – and now the impact of coronavirus and lack of a proper social security net is exacerbating that.

“The Green Paper was an opportunity to right these wrongs and finally offer the welfare and employment support that disabled people deserve and is already on offer in Scotland. The Tories have refused to take it.

“Scotland cannot keep waiting for Westminster to act – we can, and must, do better than this. The people of Scotland have made it clear that they want a fairer society – not a system that is disproportionately failing people with disabilities.

“The only way we can achieve that is with the full powers of independence.”