SCOTTISH BUDGET MEANS £76.7 MILLION BOOST FOR GLASGOW’S NHS

Health services in Glasgow will receive a £76.7m boost next year, the Scottish Government unveiled in the budget.

 

The inflation busting increase will see NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde funding increase 3.6% year on year.

 

The budget saw SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay increase total health and care funding by £729m, putting the future of the health service at the centre of the Scottish Government’s financial plan.

 

The Finance Secretary did however highlight the risk Brexit plays to this investment, with the potential for the Scottish Government to be forced to review the budget should the UK face a ‘No Deal’ scenario.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“People across Glasgow Kelvin will welcome the significant investment in our local NHS services, with a real-term increase in spending.

 

“The SNP value our NHS and are determined to ensure it stays fit for the future.

 

“In contrast, the budget exposed the Tory proposals as completely hollow – with their plan to hand high earners a tax cut leaving a £1 billion hole in our public spending.

 

“Meanwhile, even Labour insiders have admitted that their plans are a ‘shambles’ with the party failing to cost their spending demands.

 

“The SNP budget delivers for our NHS in Glasgow.”

 

Tackling the disability employment gap

Addressing workplace barriers for disabled people.

More disabled parents will be helped into work following an additional £6 million aimed at reducing both the disability employment gap and child poverty.

With only around 40% of working age disabled adults in employment, compared with more than 80% of non-disabled adults, the new funding is part of an action plan outlining how this gap can be at least halved over the next 20 years. The plan sets an initial ambition to increase the employment rate of disabled people to 50% by 2023 then to 60% by 2030.

The action plan also includes:

  • Up to £1 million to develop solutions to the barriers employers face in hiring and retaining disabled people
  • Up to £500,000 to pilot the provision of support similar to Access to Work to disabled people undertaking work experience or work trials
  • A new support service to help disabled people for who more mainstream employment support is not suitable
  • Appointing a business leader to advise Ministers on the steps to reduce the perceived risk of recruiting those with fluctuating health conditions
  • Developing targets for the employment of disabled people within the Scottish Government’s own workforce

Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“Everybody who can and wants to work should have the chance to find rewarding jobs. Unfortunately, far too many disabled people are currently denied this opportunity.

“I am determined that we do everything in our power to address inequality in the workforce and ensure disabled people are supported to have fair and sustainable working lives. The action plan is a significant step forward in making this happen and helping achieve our aim of at least halving the disability employment gap.”

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT UNITES AGAINST TORY BREXIT

SNP MSP SANDRA WHITE VOTES AGAINST DAMAGING BREXIT DEAL

 

The Scottish Parliament has overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s false choice of a bad Brexit or No Deal.

 

The joint motion agreed by the SNP, Labour, Greens and the Lib Dems stated that a better alternative must be found – leaving the Tories isolated in their support for Theresa May’s discredited proposals.

 

Commenting, local SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but our interests have been ignored by the UK government since day one.

 

“With the Scottish Parliament now overwhelmingly against the false choice of Theresa May’s ‘Deal or No Deal’, it is time for the UK government to listen.

 

“Theresa May’s deal is at this point little more than a hypothetical exercise, with all sides of the House of Commons determined to defeat it on Tuesday.

 

“The clock is ticking. It’s time for a new approach and to look at the real alternatives which will protect jobs and livelihoods throughout Scotland and here in Kelvin – whether that be a second referendum giving Scotland the opportunity to remain in the EU, or the compromise proposal of staying in the single-market that the Scottish Government unveiled two years ago.”

UNIVERSAL CREDIT CREATES CASH FLOW CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS

Claimants face lengthy wait for payment.

Anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit faces spending the festive season without money, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said today.

The in-built wait of a minimum of five weeks before payment means that anyone making a claim this week will need to survive until January without money to which they are entitled.

Ms Somerville criticised the delay as she met with people receiving benefits on a visit to a Citizen’s Advice Scotland office in Leith –  the full service roll out of Universal Credit by the UK Government  began to be rolled out in Edinburgh last week.

Ms Somerville said:

“Christmas is a time of additional expense for most people but it’s particularly hard for families with little money to begin with.

“It is therefore unacceptable that anyone making a claim for Universal Credit from last week will not see their money until after Christmas. This is an appalling situation for many across Scotland and why we have repeatedly called for a halt to the roll out of Universal Credit.

“The minimum five week wait for a first payment is just one of the many problems with Universal Credit, the roll out of which has led to sharp rises in the use of food banks and rent arrears.

“While the DWP do offer advance payments, this needs to be paid back from future payments, locking families in to further debt at the start of a new year.

“The Scottish Government cannot change Universal Credit.  It’s a benefit delivered by the UK Government. However, we do have limited powers to make the delivery of Universal Credit better suited to the needs of people. Since last year, our Universal Credit Scottish choices have given people the choice to receive their Universal Credit award twice monthly and have the housing costs paid directly to their landlord.

“We are spending significant amounts to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government cuts and support those on low incomes – £125 million this year alone – £20 million more than last year.

“Previous calls for the roll out to be halted have been ignored and Universal Credit will be available in all areas before Christmas. The UK Government must now make the fundamental changes needed to make Universal Credit fit for purpose before the managed migration of people on legacy benefits begins next summer.”

LOCAL COUNCILS SPEND MILLIONS MITIGATING UNIVERSAL CREDIT

SNP MSP CALLS ON IMMEDIATE HALT TO FAILED TORY POLICY

 

SNP MSP Sandra White has renewed calls for an immediate halt to Universal Credit after it was revealed that councils are spending millions of pounds attempting to undo the damage of this failed Tory policy.

 

A series of Freedom of Information requests discovered that local authorities in Scotland have spent more than £24 million to mitigate the harmful effects of Universal Credit, which has faced huge backlash since its introduction.  Glasgow City Council has set aside a massive £2,523,254 for spending related to Universal Credit.

 

Universal Credit has been beset by problems since its rollout. This week, one of the UK’s biggest housing associations said that more than 100,000 children could face hardship over Christmas because families are being forced to wait for more than five weeks for their first benefit payment, and the Trussell Trust has warned that they are preparing for their busiest month ever – after a 15% rise in foodbank use in Scotland in the past year.

 

SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“Universal Credit is a broken system – it’s leaving people destitute, driving kids into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks in Kelvin.

 

“And these latest eye-watering figures show that GCC has been left picking up the pieces, being forced to shell out over £2 million in an attempt to mitigate the impact of Universal Credit on our most vulnerable.

 

“Money is being diverted away from key public services to cover the costs and mitigate the damage caused by this appalling change being imposed by the UK Government on Scotland. That is fundamentally unfair.

 

“But there’s an easy solution – halt the rollout of Universal Credit and fix this broken policy. Or better still, put all welfare powers in the hands of the Scottish Parliament – so we can build a social security system which puts dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.”