Thursday, 14 September 2017

SFA Warn Linesman and Part-Time Tory MP Douglas Ross Over Gypsy Comments

Football Chiefs Join Boys' Brigade in Taking Firmer Line on Prejudice than Tory Leader

Double-jobbing Tory MP Douglas Ross has been warned by his employer the SFA over his call for a crackdown on gypsy travellers – despite Ruth Davidson’s refusal to discipline the MP.

The SFA has joined the Boys’ Brigade in taking a firmer line on prejudice than Ruth Davidson’s Tories, after the Boys’ Brigade disciplined Tory councillor Alastair Majury following his derogatory remarks about Catholics – only for the Tories to readmit him to the party after a short suspension.

When asked in an interview what his priority would be if Prime Minister for a day, Douglas Ross answered “tougher enforcement against Gypsies and Travellers”. He was criticised for his remarks by Amnesty International.

Now the SFA have warned Mr Ross that he should “give careful regard to the association’s rules while under its jurisdiction” and warned the MP about his use of language.

Commenting, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said:

“Part-time politician Douglas Ross has been a constant embarrassment to Ruth Davidson since being elected – choosing to run the line at football matches instead of turning up for his parliamentary duties.

“But now it seems the SFA take his offensive and divisive comments about gypsy travellers more seriously than the Tory party.

“This is beginning to look like a pattern – with the Boys’ Brigade taking more serious action than the Tories over their disgraced councillor Alastair Majury and his sectarian tweets.

“Ruth Davidson clearly thinks her party can do and say whatever they want and get away with it.”

Friday, 1 September 2017

SNP Demand of Tories: Fill Phantom Oil Ambassador Role or Apologise

Following the revelations in yesterday's P&J that the Tories’ much heralded Oil and Gas Ambassador role remains vacant 19 months after it was announced by former Prime Minister David Cameron the SNP is demanding the UK government finally comes clean.

The SNP’s Kirsty Blackman has called on the UK government to get on with the appointment of an oil and gas ambassador as a matter of urgency, now that they have been exposed for their inaction. Otherwise the Tories must come clean, admit that the plan has been ditched and apologise to oil and gas businesses which have faced challenges through the global downturn and to those who have lost their jobs.

Furthermore, the Tories promised that the Ambassador would “ensure the best possible access for UK companies to markets overseas, promote the North Sea around the world and boost inward investment”. Mrs Blackman has challenged the UK government to outline how they will make up for the loss that businesses have suffered as a result of 19 months of idling – and whether it will take steps to compensate the sector in light of these broken promises.

Commenting, Kirsty Blackman MP said:

“Now the UK government has had a grudging admission dragged out of them it’s time they were completely transparent on what became of their proposed Oil and Gas Ambassador. Was the initiative simply forgotten about or was it actively ditched and they tried to hide it from the public? There is an overwhelming public interest in getting the full picture.

“But what the Tory government chooses to do next is the litmus test when it comes to how much they actually care about the oil and gas industry. Will they now appoint an oil and gas ambassador as a matter of urgency, and put them to work in helping to revive the North Sea and our economy?

“Or are they planning to ditch the proposal altogether, in which case they owe businesses and former oil workers a solemn apology?

“By now a well-established Oil and Gas Ambassador should have had 19 months to help leverage investment into the North Sea, promote this vital sector on the global stage and widen access to global markets for Scottish firms.

“So potentially Tory inaction has diddled the Scottish economy out of millions. What will they do to make up for lost time and income – to compensate businesses, the supply chain and the workers who have paid the price?”

Thursday, 31 August 2017

UN Condemn Tory Cuts as "Human Catastrophe"

Scottish Social Security System Praised
- But Tories Damaging Living Standards

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has praised the Scottish Government for their inclusion of disabled people in designing the Scottish social security system; their Fairer Scotland for Disabled People and the adoption of the Accessible Travel Framework whilst criticising the Tory Westminster government for a range of policies that led to the head of the Committee saying the UK Government had created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.

The final UN report has been published following a long investigation after the Committee last year found that the UK government’s welfare cuts had led to "grave and systematic violations" of disabled people's rights. The report highlights numerous concerns on the impact on disabled people including “the impact of austerity measures and antipoverty initiatives”; the “detrimental impact of the Employment and Support Allowance’s conditionality and sanctions” and the “negative impact on living standards of persons with disabilities” due to reductions in social support, unemployment allowances, Universal Credit, PIP and the introduction of benefit sanctions.

It specifically calls on the UK Government to “conduct a review of the conditionality and sanction regimes concerning the Employment and Support Allowance and tackle negative consequences on mental health and situation of persons with disabilities” and to “Repeal the Personal Independent Payment (Amendment) Regulations”.

Commenting, SNP MSP and convener of Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee, Christina McKelvie, said:

“The UK Government should be totally ashamed that the pursual of welfare cuts and an austerity agenda at all costs has led to this damning criticism from the United Nations Committee. After a wealth of evidence and reports from people with disabilities and the organisations that represent them that have shown the damage Tory policies have had on vulnerable and disabled people across the UK people, they have carried on regardless. Now the UN is telling them to change the sanctions regime and Personal Independence Payments will they finally listen?

“The UN’s report needs to act as a wake-up call. The UN could not be clearer – UK ministers’ record on disabled rights is shameful, whether that is over Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payments, sanctions or reductions in social support has led to ‘grave and systematic’ violations on disabled rights and must be changed.

“Their dangerous policies stand in contrast to the action the SNP Scottish Government is taking to support persons with disabilities – and the UN’s report welcomes action we have taken to include organisations of persons with disabilities in shaping our social security system, our incorporation of the Convention on the rights of disable people and the adoption of the Accessible Travel Framework.

“The Tories must urgently rethink their disastrous welfare cuts, which have driven people into poverty, caused an exponential rise in the use of foodbanks, lowered living standards of vulnerable people across the country, and has now been condemned, yet again, by the United Nations.

“If they are not prepared to change course, then they must give the Scottish Government the full powers to make different choices and allow us to support rather than neglect communities across Scotland.”

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Record high in Scottish employment

Unemployment and inactivity falls over the quarter

More people in Scotland are in work as the latest jobs figures show an increase in employment to a record high and a fall in inactivity.

Scotland’s employment rate increased by 1.1 percentage points to 75.2% over the quarter, meaning 30,000 more people in employment, according to the Labour Market Statistics for April to June published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). There are now 2,650,000 people in employment in Scotland - 86,000 more than the pre-recession peak and above the UK rate.

Over the quarter, the inactivity rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 21.8%. The unemployment rate fell over the quarter to 3.9%, below the UK figure of 4.4%

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:

“These latest figures show continued resilience in our labour market with 30,000 more people in work compared with this time last year and the unemployment rate falling by 1.2 percentage points over the year. The employment rate has risen to 75.2%, its highest on record, with more people in employment than ever before, while the unemployment rate of 3.9% is close to record lows.

“This is a further vote of confidence in our economy, coming after GDP figures showing Scotland’s growth rate was four times faster that of the UK over the last quarter, and recent reports of accelerating growth across the private sector.

“It is also encouraging to see that we continue to perform strongly in female participation, with the female unemployment rate falling by 0.9 percentage points over the year to 3.6%. Scotland’s female unemployment rate continues to be lower than the UK rate. Youth unemployment has fallen from 14.6% since 2007 and now stands at 8.4%, and is now among the lowest of all EU countries.

“These figures are encouraging but there is much still to do. A hard Brexit would cost our economy up to £11 billion a year from 2030, and 80,000 jobs over a decade. The Scottish Government will continue to do all that we can with the powers available to us to grow our economy, protecting and creating jobs.”
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