Sandra welcomes latest Scottish Welfare Fund help as Tory poverty policies bite.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin and the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Convener has welcomed Scottish Welfare Fund statistics released by the Scottish Government, and has warned of increasing poverty under callous Tory policies such as the Rape Clause.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a national grant scheme run by Local Authorities, based on guidance from Scottish Ministers to provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency, when there is an immediate threat to health or safety, and to enable people to live independently or continue to live independently, preventing the need for institutional care.

Latest figures from October to December 2016 released today show over 51,000 applications were lodged, with more than 60% of successful applications resulting in a total of £8m awarded. Over half of all awards issued were to applications living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.

Commenting, the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Convener and MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Sandra White said:

“I have been pleased to see the Scottish Welfare Fund has been able to help a great deal of people who have fallen on unfortunate circumstances due to no fault of their own. As a local MSP I have seen this work first hand having referred many constituents facing testings times and whom have received vital support as a result.

“However, it is it is unfortunate that increasingly the Fund is having to create extensions to defend against the worst of cruel Tory policies such as the interim expansion by the Scottish Government to provide support for the 18-21 year olds whose housing benefits have been scraped by the British Government.

“Once again, today in the Scottish Parliament we are discussing the impact on Scotland of another cruel poverty policy from the Tories, where we will consider the morally repugnant Rape Clause under Tory Tax Credit Removal plans which anti-poverty charities say will increase child poverty by 10%.

“We continue to do what we can to fight poverty and Tory austerity, and indeed the Scottish Government spends significant resources attempting to mitigate Tory austerity and poverty policies in our public services, and in fighting terrible policies such as the Bedroom Tax and the removal of housing support for young people. This is money that should be taking the fight against poverty forward rather than covering Tory attacks on the worst off in society.”

Commenting on the latest statistics on the Scottish Welfare Fund, Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said:

“Nobody chooses to rely on grants but at times of crisis it’s essential the right support is there to help those who need it most and that’s what the Scottish Welfare Fund does – it provides support for those who desperately need it.

“It is a vital lifeline for people in times of need and helps with everyday necessities, such as food, nappies or heating, that many of us take for granted. Since April 2013, £124 million has been spent helping more than 241,000 households across the country. We have recently had to extend the fund on an interim basis to ensure housing support is provided to 18 to 21 year-olds who will no longer receive financial assistance with housing costs under Universal Credit.

“It is completely unacceptable that people find themselves in this situation through no fault of their own and we will continue to do all we can to support hard pressed families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet.”

The statistical release is available here: https://news.gov.scot/news/scottish-welfare-fund-1

More information on the housing support for 18 to 21 year-olds: https://news.gov.scot/news/uk-housing-benefit-changes-shameful

Sandra White MSP condemns introduction of Tax Credit Rape Claus

Sandra White has condemned the UK Government’s ‘Rape Clause’ which forces mothers of more than two children to prove they were raped in order to receive additional Child Tax Credits after the family cap on two children per family came into force today.

 

In lodging a motion to the Scottish Parliament, Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

 

“I am utterly appalled with the introduction of the Rape Clause which is one of the most callous, inhumane, and disgusting policies I have witnessed come into force by this government.

 

“The public and women’s advocacy groups area rightly appalled by this outrageous policy, and I join them in condemning this action and in calling on this Tory UK Government to withdraw this draconian policy with immediate effect.”

 

Sandra’s motion to the Scottish Parliament can be found here, please write to your MSPs asking them to support it at www.writetothem.com:

 

Motion Number: S5M-05080

Lodged By: Sandra White

Date Lodged: 06/04/2017

Title:
Tax Credit Rape Clause

Motion Text:That the Parliament condemns the introduction of new measures for entitlement to child tax credits by the Department for Work and Pensions, which limits tax credits and the child element of universal credit to two children, unless a third or subsequent child was the result of rape; understands concerns have been raised by national women’s organisations including Engender, Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid on the impact of limiting social security to only two children, which it considers will deepen women and children’s poverty, including those in Glasgow Kelvin; believes that the so-called “rape clause” will have a traumatic impact, forcing women to disclose sexual violence to the state with the threat of deeper impoverishment if they refuse, and notes calls on the UK Government to withdraw what it considers this draconian legislation with immediate effect.

Sandra welcomes creation of three new University Hospitals in GCU and NHS partnership.

Sandra White MSP has welcomed the new partnership between Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and NHS Lanarkshire to introduce three new university hospitals that will improve research, study, and healthy ageing provision.

Commenting, Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said, “I was pleased to lodge a congratulatory motion to the Scottish Parliament in recognition of this welcomed partnership that will deliver improved provision by utilising GCU’s renowned experience in the areas of health sciences.”

Motion S5M-05035: Sandra White, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/04/2017
GCU and NHS Lanarkshire to Introduce New University Hospitals
That the Parliament congratulates the partnership between Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and NHS Lanarkshire that will establish three university hospitals at Monklands, Wishaw General and Hairmyres; understands that the initiative will see world-leading academics working alongside health staff to tackle key health challenges facing people; believes that work is underway to benefit people, including measures to reduce waiting times and improve access to healthcare, with treatment being carried out by GCU physiotherapists at the university’s clinic; notes that GCU’s mission is to “support the common good” and believes that this will helped to be met by using the institution’s world-renowned specialisations in healthy ageing, long-term health conditions such as stroke, MS and diabetes, HIV and sexual health and substance misuse, and considers that this will be a welcome partnership that will improve health provision as well bring wider professional and academic development in health research and delivery that will support the growth of Scotland’s vibrant life sciences sector.
Supported by: Gordon MacDonald, James Dornan, Graeme Dey, Richard Lyle, Stuart McMillan, Kenneth Gibson, Bob Doris, Ivan McKee, David Torrance, Jenny Gilruth, Joan McAlpine, Bill Kidd, Fulton MacGregor, Gillian Martin

Sandra White MSP congratulates Aamer Anwar on election as Glasgow Uni Rector

Sandra White MSP has congratulated the University of Glasgow’s new Rector Aaemer Anwar on his recent election to represent students as Convener of the University’s governing body.

Anwar, a respected human rights lawyer in Glasgow and has played a prominent role in Scottish political and legal affairs, was elected with over 4,000 votes and will take office on the 31st of March 2017.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“I am absolutely delighted that Aamer Anwar has overwhelmingly been elected to serve as the University of Glasgow‘s Rector from 2017 to 2020. I’m proud of all those students who voted for Aamer, a man of integrity and substance, rather than one of division and hate. Aamer will be a fine successor to departing Rector, Edward Snowdon.”

“I was pleased to recognise this success in a motion to the Scottish Parliament today, I look forward to working with Aamer and all at the University in his term ahead, and wish him a successful tenure as Rector.”

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Rector Board at the University of Glasgow – Photo courtesy of Kirsteen Fraser

Lodging a congratulatory motion to the Scottish Parliament as Aamer prepares to begin his term as Rector, Sandra noted:

Motion Number: S5M-04996
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 30/03/2017

Title: Congratulations to Aamer Anwar on Election as Rector of University of Glasgow

Motion Text:

That the Parliament welcomes the election of the respected Glasgow human rights lawyer, Aamer Anwar, as Rector of the University of Glasgow; notes 8,210 students took part in the vote with Anwar winning 4,458 votes; understand that he will represent over 24,000 students in his role as Convener of the governing body of the institution; notes that the new Rector was elected with plans to maintain a working presence in the institution, improve mental health provision, widen support for EU students following the UK’s plans to leave the EU and to improve accommodation costs with rent controls in Glasgow’s West End; commends the efforts of candidates opposing racism, sexism and hate speech; congratulates Aamer Anwar on his election as Rector, and wishes him success in his term ahead.

 

Sandra White MSP says Tories must respect Scottish Parliament’s decision.

SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, Sandra White has said that the will of Scotland’s parliament must be respected by the UK government – after MSPs backed the Scottish Government’s plans to hold a referendum on independence after the terms of Brexit have become clear, but before it is too late for Scotland to choose a different future.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU last June, with 66.6% of voters in Glasgow voting to Remain. This week, the Scottish Parliament pledged its support to giving the people of Scotland the right to choose between either a damaging Tory hard Brexit or Scottish independence.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of holding an independence referendum, once the terms of Brexit are clear, to give people in Scotland a choice over their future. It is would be undemocratic, indefensible and completely unsustainable for the Tory government at Westminster to ignore the will of the Parliament and block a referendum.

“The Scottish Government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to bring forward a referendum on independence, giving the people of Scotland the right to choose a different future from the hard Brexit that the Tories are intent on delivering. The First Minister has set out a clear, fair timescale for a future vote – and it is up to the UK government to engage with the Scottish Government over this timing.

“The lack of respect afforded by the UK government to the Scottish Government’s compromise proposals sets a worrying precedent – and triggering Article 50 before securing the promised a UK-wide agreement proves that the Tory government has no interest in working with the other administrations across the UK.

“The Tories must not ride roughshod over the will of Scotland’s Parliament and drag Scotland out of the European single market against our will. To do so would be completely ignoring Glasgow’s overwhelming vote to remain as part of the EU.

“The Scottish Government is committed to standing up for Scotland’s interests and giving the people of Scotland a choice on this country’s future. Anything else would be simply undemocratic, and the Tories will rue the day that they stood in the way of giving the people a choice over their future.”