You can keep up with recent press releases and news articles below.
A recent Question SNP MSP James Dornan Asked the Scottish Parliament
To ask the Scottish Government what impact the council tax reduction scheme has had in helping people in Glasgow on low incomes.
P.E levels at record high in Local Schools.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION LEVELS AT RECORD HIGH IN LOCAL SCHOOLS
SNP MSP JAMES DORNAN WELCOMES SUCCESS OF SNP SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT DRIVE TO GET KIDS ACTIVE
James Dornan MSP has today welcomed new figures showing that - 100% of school children OR more school children than ever before - in Glasgow City are now receiving the recommended amount of exercise at school.
The SNP Scottish Government is committed to the target that every primary school child gets two hours a week of physical education and secondary school pupils get two periods a week.
In 2010 55 per cent of Scottish primary schools received at least two hours of PE a week compared to just 5% in 2005 – and now that figure stands at 99% across Scotland and 99% here in Glasgow City.
Welcoming this James Dornan said:
“Physical education is the best possible way to promote and ensure a level of fitness for young people in Scotland. And it gives our athletes of the future a chance to excel at an early age – so these figures are a credit to our schools and teachers here in Glasgow City.
“The continuing rise in the number of schools meeting PE provision - with 99 % of primary schools meeting the target of at least two hours for each child - shows that Scotland’s children are becoming more active and Scotland is steadily becoming a healthier nation.
“Today’s figures are a strong sign of the great progress that is being made in Scotland’s schools – only with the SNP can we continue to build on this progress and make Scotland’s education system even better.”
Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol (Video inc)
SNP MSP James Dornan’s speech from the Making Progress on Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol Scottish Government debate.
I stopped drinking about 20 years ago, for a number of reasons. I did not like the person that alcohol sometimes made me, although many of my friends did. I recognised that I was struggling physically to cope with the aftermath of a typical Saturday night session and I realised, even at around 40 years of age, that unless I stopped drinking I would never achieve my full potential. I have no doubt that I would not have become a politician and be speaking in the chamber if I was still drinking.
It took me almost two years from the time that I decided to stop to actually stop. What held me back? What was the hardest part of giving up the drink? It was not the going teetotal and it did not relate to the change that drink could make to me—sometimes good, sometimes less so; it was the social pressure to continue to drink. People who did not drink were not seen as one of the lads. The “You think you’re better than us” attitude still prevailed back then. I have no doubt that, if I was in the same situation now, I would find it much easier to give up drink because, thankfully, society has moved on. It is much more socially acceptable to be a non-drinker, and we are all better for it. People no longer have to put up with people saying, “Come on, just have one, it won’t do you any harm—blah, blah, blah.”
I was not an alcoholic. I could have taken a drink or left it. However, I knew that drinking was not doing me any good and that it was not helping me to create the life that I wanted to create for myself. I realised that when I was nearly 40.
Previous speakers, including Mary Fee, have spoken about the damage that is done to retail workers. My partner is a nurse. She works in a neonatal unit, but she used to work in accident and emergency and she tells me that there was never an A and E shift during which she did not get some kind of verbal or physical abuse, almost without fail from somebody who was drunk, although it was sometimes from someone who was on drugs.
As the cabinet secretary said, there is no room for complacency. We spend £3.5 billion every year on the direct and indirect costs of alcohol misuse. We need to get that figure down, but we must do it by continuing to change our relationship with alcohol at a societal level while supporting those who are affected by alcohol misuse.
We know that that misuse affects not only the individual but their family and friends, as well as their community. It continues to be a concern that there is still a huge difference in hospitalisation and discharge rates between the most and least deprived areas of Scotland. That has a knock-on effect in those communities, most prominently in antisocial behaviour that relates to drunkenness, be that general vandalism, antisocial neighbours or the creation of an unsafe environment for people on Friday and Saturday nights. There cannot be an MSP who has not had to deal with constituents’ complaints about neighbours whose drinking makes them antisocial.
Tackling alcohol misuse at a community level is also key to changing our relationship with alcohol. We have heard a lot today about many fantastic organisations that work across the country to help folk who have a problematic relationship with alcohol to get the appropriate support and help that they need in their community.
FASS, which is for families affected by drug and alcohol abuse, is a confidential service that works in my constituency and across Glasgow. It offers support, counselling, advice and information to parents, spouses, partners and adult family members who are feeling the negative impact of a loved one’s alcohol or drug problems.
I visited FASS, which has a project whereby bereaved family members get the opportunity to participate by putting something on to a quilt. The stories on the quilt would break members’ hearts. The squares are made by families who have lost someone close—perhaps a son, daughter, sister or father—through addiction. One family had three squares on the quilt because they had lost three family members to drugs and alcohol.
FASS offers support to kinship carers. That includes practical support, such as helping them to get the right level of access and assisting with paperwork, and it involves working with FASS’s partner, Geeza Break, to offer respite.
FASS runs a clothing project, which started in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength. The original idea of the project was to help kinship carers with clothing items for children who were put into their care at short notice. Many families are affected in such a way that, although there is a long-standing alcohol problem, there is one trigger that brings the services in to protect the children—perhaps there is a death in the family or someone is hospitalised, which means that the children have to be taken elsewhere to be looked after, usually by a grandparent. That service has grown over the years and FASS is now able to offer adults’ as well as children’s clothing.
FASS is one of many organisations and support groups that work across my constituency and the city of Glasgow to help people who have a difficult relationship with alcohol.
One of the most recent ways in which the Scottish Government has taken a lead on alcohol is through lowering the drink-drive limit on our roads, which has been mentioned several times. That change will undoubtedly save lives.
The drink-drive limit change will save lives and show that our thoughts can shift. I am of the generation that used to think that drink driving was okay. It was not uncommon for people who were drinking at house parties to think nothing of driving home, despite their condition. I shudder when I think back to the number of times when I as a young man—there were cars when I was a young man—got a run home or was driven to a party by someone who, we would now recognise, was clearly over the limit. That is—rightly—not socially acceptable now.
The introduction of the legislation, which has taken us in line with the rest of Europe, has had an impact. As we have heard, since the introduction of the new lower drink-drive limit, there has been a 17 per cent reduction in drink-driving offences. That is a positive story for Scotland that shows that we are again leading the way on social and legislative change in the UK.
The Police Federation of England and Wales recently asked for the legal limit in England and Wales to fall into line with that in Scotland. Given the impact that has been felt in such a short period here, I hope that that will be considered. The new lower drink-driving limit shows that legislative changes can have a positive impact by changing attitudes to drink, so the other legislative changes that we are looking to make, including those on minimum pricing, could have the same impact.
We are all in this together; there is not a person in Scotland who has not in some way been affected by alcohol misuse, directly or indirectly, and it is incumbent on us all to do what we can to change our country’s relationship with alcohol through changing legislation, challenging attitudes and supporting people and organisations, such as the police and the NHS, that deal day in, day out with the effects of alcohol in our society. It is not inevitable that Scotland has to have such a relationship—we can, will and must change it.
SNP MSP James Dornans speech begins at 1:56:37.
BBC's Big Debate comes to Rutherglen Parish Church
GENERAL ELECTION 2015: RUTHERGLEN OLD PARISH CHURCH TAKES CENTRE STAGE AS BBC'S BIG DEBATE COMES TO TOWN
Panel of Tom Greatrex MP, James Dornan MSP, Kyle Thornton, Anna Burnside and Colin Borland tackle the big political issues of the day
Rutherglen Old Parish Church was turned into a hot bed of political debate last week as BBC Scotland’s Big Debate programme arrived in the town.
Dozens of locals turned out to quiz the panel, who were chaired by former Newsnight presenter Gordon Brewer.
Pupils from Cathkin High were among the audience, which ranged in age from teenagers to pensioners, all keen to hear what was on offer from the politicians.
The live show was broadcast throughout Scotland, as Ruglonians focussed on issues like the proposed national database, the lack of social housing, the TV debates and tuition fees.
Among the panel was Rutherglen’s own Labour MP, Tom Greatrex.
There representing the SNP was James Dornan MSP, whose Glasgow Cathcart constituency covers Castlemilk, King’s Park and Croftfoot.
Kyle Thornton, former member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and Conservative candidate, journalist Anna Burnside and Colin Borland from the Federation of Small Businesses made up the rest of the panel.
The day started in jovial manner as Gordon Brewer spoke about the history of Rutherglen, pointing out a parliament was held on the site of the church in 1300, saying they had standards to live up to, before joking: “But as one of the participants was later murdered by Robert the Bruce in another church, perhaps not.”
The show soon turned to serious issues though, and the first question saw James Dornan MSP asked if the SNP was displaying “political naivety” on the creation of a national database.
Mr Dornan said: “There’s been a lot of scaremongering from political opponents that this is a backdoor ID system, it is nothing of the kind.”
The debate moved on to the issue of social housing, a topic Mr Greatrex said was “ the single biggest issue” at his surgeries. He said the SNP had to get the balance between social housing and private housing correct.
Next up was the issue of the leaders televised debates, with David Cameron coming in for a great deal of stick from the majority of the panel. One audience member suggested he was “shaking in his shoes” at the prospect while Tom Greatrex insisted he should go head to head with Labour leader, Ed Milliband.
Rutherglen South councillor, Gerard Killen asked James Dornan who he wanted to win the leader’s debate. The MSP admitted he didn’t want David Cameron to be Prime Minister but refused to say he wanted Labour to win the election, adding more SNP MP’s would be “better for the people of Scotland.”
The most heated debate was on tuition fees, particularly Labour’s announcement that they supported no tuition fees in Scotland, but only a reduction south of the border.
Mr Greatrex said it was Labour who had scrapped tuition fees under Donald Dewer in 2000, but Mr Dornan said the graduate endowment fee was “exactly the same thing as the tuition fee.”
Again, there was disagreements between the Labour and SNP representatives while all panellists seemed to agree more had to be done to help working class kids attend university.
Afterwards, Mr Greatrex said: “I am pleased that the Big Debate came to Rutherglen and enjoyed being a part of the panel discussing a wide range of issues of interest to Ruglonians.
“With such a good turnout from locals, it is also good to see that many people of all ages are interested and engaged in subjects as diverse as housing, electronic data and the prospects (or not) for a TV debate between David Cameron and Ed Miliband as the two alternatives who will be Prime Minister after the General Election.
“If they wanted to have that debate in front of a lively and engaged audience they could do worse than to come here to Rutherglen to do so.”
A Letter Sent to Councillor Gordon Matheson about the Caseworkers strike
Cllr Gordon Matheson
Glasgow City Council
03 June 2015
Dear Cllr Matheson,
RE: Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers Strike.
We are contacting you with regards to the on-going homeless case-workers strike which is now entering week 10 without any real signs of resolution. As MSP’s for Glasgow who deal day in and out with constituents who are requiring assistance from the homeless casework team, we appreciate the work they do under difficult circumstances to try and help some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We firmly believe that they should be paid fairly for the work that they do. We have been made aware that Glasgow City Council refused to meet with the workers on strike for almost 9 weeks and consider this to be complacent, disrespectful and counter-productive if the council is truly seeking an amicable solution to this dispute. However we are glad to see that talks have now taken place that, at least, is a start.
We note the most recent proposal laid in front of the union has at least conceded that PCS5 Grade 6 is a requirement to deliver the service, a point the union have always argued. Where the proposal appears to fall short is in putting every striking caseworker in to the appropriate band – this proposal would only put 2/3 in to the appropriate band with the other 1/3 of the workforce redeployed at current grade or offered voluntary severance. This would cause a shortage in staff in one of the most vital services that the local authority provides.
We know from recent undercover reports in the Evening Times that the homeless service is one that is under considerable strain, and we agree with our colleague Cllr Aitken that Cllr Cunning can no longer continue to bury his head in the sand and hope that the problems that he is presiding over go away without intervention. They won’t.
We believe that the council need to retain the workforce that they have - all of whom should be appropriately graded – and end the cycle of perpetual under resourcing of this crucial service. At the very least you need to put in place a budget neutral proposal that the union can take back to their striking members.
We look forward to hearing from you urgently on how you are planning on proceed in order to bring this strike to an equitable and fair resolution.
James Dornan MSP Bob Doris MSP Bill Kidd MSP
John Mason MSP Sandra White MSP
Caseworker Strike: Motion put forward by SNP MSP James Dornan
That the Parliament urges Glasgow City Council to come to the table with a constructive, budget-neutral proposal in order to bring the ongoing strike of caseworkers who deal with homeless people to a fair and equitable close; believes that the strike has been ongoing for 10 weeks and that it took nine weeks for the council to agree to meet the striking workforce; understands that workers are striking because they are not paid at an equivalent band to other caseworkers in other council departments and that they are looking for consistency to be applied across the council; notes what it sees as the vital work that the casework team does in difficult circumstances, and believes that they should be appropriately supported and paid by Glasgow City Council.
SNP MSP James Dornan speaks out on Queen Street Station.
Concerns raised over access to redeveloped stations
Councils and rail companies need to work together to improve access around the main stations according to transport campaigners.
Concerns were raised over the £120m redevelopment of Queen Street Station over access from surrounding streets and lack of cycle parking spaces
MSPs were told that while the focus of Network Rail was on the station itself the city centre streets were the responsibility of the city council.
Campaigners said there feared plans were so advanced they would be unable to force change and noted a lack of engagement from Network Rail.
The Scottish Parliament Infrastructure Committee heard from cycling groups, taxi representatives and passenger advocates about access to the country's main urban rail stations.
Glasgow Cathcart SNP MSP James Dornan, asked their views on the Queen Street plans.
He said just now access for taxis was "excellent" at present but wondered what the standard would be after the work was complete.
John Lauder National Director of sustainable transport group Sustrans said: "We have concerns about the redeveloped station.
"It seems to be the role of Glasgow City Council to sort it out and no way of Network Rail to work with the council to work out how patrons get to the station.
"Looking at the plans we understand the interior constraints with extended platforms."
He said plans for parking cycles was inadequate.
He added: "My big worry is there's a proposal for a shopping mall under the car park but no bicycle parking. We have shown where we think a bicycle park could go but we are back at square one.
"My worry with Queen Street is the plans are well developed and we are retro-fitting."
Mr Lauder said a "red Line" was drawn around the station and all work was concentrated within that area and was concerned not enough consideration as given to the immediate surrounding areas for pedestrians and cyclists.
Others said they would like to see greater integration of decision makers at an early stage in development discussions.
George Mair Director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
Scotland, said: "We would like to see closer working between key partners in linking journeys up.
The redevelopment is an almost rebuilding project with four extended towards the George Square entrance, which will have a full glass fronted facade.
The extension of the Millennium Hotel will be demolished and the station connected with the extended Buchanan Galleries and a new car park built.
The east side of the station, currently occupied by the taxi rank, car park and British Transport police office will be home to new station facilities, and retail and catering units on ground and upper levels.
£5 million to help make homes cheaper to keep warm.
£5 million to help make homes cheaper to keep warm.
Measure to tackle fuel poverty in poorer homes.
Some of Scotland’s poorest households are to receive a multi-million pound boost in 2015/16 to make their homes cheaper to keep warm.
The Scottish Government’s £5 million HEEPS: Cashback - Social Landlords Scheme offers funding to housing associations and local authority landlords towards energy efficiency measures.
It forms part of the Scottish Government’s record £119 million budget for fuel poverty and energy efficiency in 2015/16, and means social landlords can apply for up to £250,000 in funding to help drive down the cost of tenants' fuel bills.
The cash will help meet the cost of installing measures, such as solid wall insulation or hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation, in their housing stock
Under last year’s scheme 24 social landlords across Scotland received funding to improve over 1,600 properties across Scotland.
The scheme will open to applications on Monday, June 8.
Announcing the funding at the annual Scottish Federation of Housing Associations Conference, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said:
“Housing is, and will remain, at the heart of the Government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country.
“A supply of high quality housing stock and introducing energy efficiency measures stimulates economic growth, provides jobs and strengthens communities and tackles inequality.
“It is clear that energy efficiency measures can make a huge difference to families who are struggling to make ends meet.
“The cashback scheme is aimed at saving householder’s money by reducing their heating bills and will also cut carbon emissions.”
David Stewart, Policy Manger at the Scottish Federation of Housing Association (SFHA), said:
“The SFHA welcomes this funding which is a step in the right direction. Investing in domestic energy efficiency is vital if Scotland is to start to address the scourge of fuel poverty and to work towards meeting our ambitious climate change targets.”
The scheme will open to applications on Monday, June 8. Full details of how to apply will be published on the Energy Saving Trust website on Monday 8 June:
CNN Interview of James Dornan by Hala Gorani about Scottish outlook in the UK General Election. 02-May-2015
SNP MSP James Dornan speech in Parliament on Nursery Vouchers
Over the past months, I have seen a considerable number of parents who have been upset and disheartened by the way that Glasgow City Council has dealt with the partnership nurseries in Glasgow. The council must recognise that the needs of many parents and children cannot be met by local authority-run nurseries and that it should be doing much more to ensure a wider availability of nursery provision. There seems to have been an arbitrary dropping of funding from one year to the next for no apparent reason in many of the partnership nurseries in my constituency and, I suspect, across the city.
On the different types of nurseries and nursery provision, I want to talk about the great work that Cassiltoun Stables Nursery in Castlemilk is doing as a community-led nursery. In 2007, Cassiltoun Stables Nursery transferred from council to community ownership, and the facility has since developed into one that hosts community events, offices, training suites and, of course, a nursery.
The nursery, which opens five days a week, from 7.30 am until 6 pm, including on public holidays, is available for all. It is open during the vast majority of people’s working hours, and it solves the problem that a lot of parents have with part-time nurseries that are found to be open for only a section of the day, which, as we have already heard, makes it impossible for parents to drop their child off or pick them up, as those times will likely clash with their working hours.
Any child from just six weeks old up to the age of five can attend the Cassiltoun nursery and enjoy opportunities to develop their social skills and take part in a wide range of activities under the supervision of the excellent, professional and highly qualified staff who run the organisation, ably led by their manager Susan Palmer.
The nursery is the only nursery in Glasgow to provide a forest kindergarten for children aged three and under. That initiative works in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, which has helped to train the staff and has participated in activities such as walks in the forest, setting up camp, building dens, balancing on logs and sitting down for a quick drink and a snack if there is time.
Flexibility is one of the key aspects of the nursery. There is flexibility for the parents who use it and an ability to react to local circumstances. I thoroughly believe that it is a great example of a community-led nursery and a model that could be usefully utilised across Glasgow and across the country as a whole.
Unfortunately, the flexibility that is inherent in that nursery is lacking in a lot of the work that Glasgow City Council in particular is doing. Many of the constituents who have contacted me have been turned down for a place in a partnership nursery because the council will not fund that place although, as we have heard, funding is being made available from the Scottish Government. Instead, it is only offering a place in a nursery that might not be suited to the parents and, crucially, the children, for a whole number of reasons.
The services must be run for the benefit of children and parents and not for the convenience of the council. That is why I welcome the provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which has introduced a statutory responsibility for local authorities to consult parents on the flexibility that they require in nursery provision, as well as the commitment to look further into how we gather data around nursery provision to ensure an increasing level of flexibility and choice. From discussions with parents, it is clear that flexibility is key in nursery provision.
Instead it is only offering a place in a nursery that might not be suited to the parents and, crucially, the children, for a whole number of reasons.
Those services must be run for the benefit of children and parents and not for the convenience of the council. That is why I welcome the provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which has introduced a statutory responsibility for local authorities to consult parents on the flexibility that they require in nursery provision as well as introduced the commitment to look further into how we gather data around nursery provision to ensure an increasing level of flexibility and choice. From discussions with parents, it is clear that flexibility is key in nursery provision.
Scottish Government initiative supports local workers facing redundancy
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT INITATIVE SUPPORTS LOCAL WORKERS FACING REDUNDANCY
2,688 PEOPLE IN GLASGOW CITY SUPPORTED BY PACE PROGRAMME
SNP MSP James Dornan has welcomed new figures showing the numbers of people in Glasgow City supported by the Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative to find work following redundancy.
New figures highlighted by a Parliamentary Question show that 2,688 people in Glasgow City who have been made redundant have benefited by the support offered by PACE.
PACE is delivered by Skills Development Scotland in conjunction with other partners and provides guidance and support to help reduce the time people are out of work.
Commenting, James Dornan said:
“These are welcome new figures showing the commitment of the SNP in government to providing real, practical support to local workers facing redundancy.
“PACE provides an important service in minimizing the time people who have been made redundant are out of work and helping them into further employment by providing skills development and employability support – and these figures show this is providing real, tangible help to people in Glasgow City.
“Any worker facing redundancy is a tragedy for them, their family and their community – and it is absolutely right that the Scottish Government provides this type of support and does everything it can to help reduce the time people are out of work.”
Target of 30,000 affordable homes for Scotland on track.
SNP MSP JAMES DORNAN WELCOMES PROGRESS ON HOMES FOR SOCIAL RENT IN GLASGOW CITY.
TARGET OF 30,000 AFFORDABLE HOMES FOR SCOTLAND ON TRACK
SNP MSP James Dornan is today welcoming statistics showing an increase in the number of homes for social rent built in Glasgow City.
Compared to last year’s figures, the number of homes for social rent completed has increased from 725 to 1,293.
In addition, statistics showing the Scottish Government is ahead of its five year target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes across Scotland by March 2016 have also been published.
90 per cent of the Scottish Government target on affordable homes has already been met, with 26,972 affordable homes been delivered under the Affordable Housing Supply Programme
This figure includes 18,670 homes for social rent - 93 per cent of the social rent target.
SNP MSP James Dornan said:
“I am delighted to see an increase in the number of homes built for social rent in Glasgow City. Ensuring more people have the opportunity to live in high quality, affordable housing is such an important part of making life better for many people, particularly at a time of continued Tory cuts.
“In Scotland we have shown that investment in affordable housing can keep costs down, create jobs and importantly help people to live better lives. As a result, we are on track to meet our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes across Scotland by next March.
“Housing is at the heart of the SNP Government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country and I am very pleased to see this progress being made.”
Previous figures (2013/14) show 725 homes for social rent were completed in Glasgow City, compared to 1,293 in 2014/15.
New figures highlight SNP action to mitigate Bedroom Tax.
NEW FIGURES HIGHLIGHT SNP ACTION TO MITIGATE BEDROOM TAX
UNFAIR TORY WELFARE CUT MUST BE ABOLISHED
SNP MSP James Dornan is highlighting new figures published this week which show the Scottish Government’s decisive action to mitigate against Westminster’s unfair Bedroom Tax in Glasgow and made clear that the SNP will abolish the Bedroom Tax for good as soon as the powers are delivered to the Scottish Parliament.
The Discretionary Housing Payments in Scotland figures show that a total of £8,536,867 was distributed in Glasgow helping local people affected by the Tories’ Bedroom Tax.
Commenting, James said:
“The Scottish Government has used every power at its disposal to limit the damage caused by the Tory government’s welfare cuts – providing real support to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Glasgow.
“Discretionary Housing Payments provide a real lifeline for the 70,000 households in Scotland affected Westminster’s Bedroom Tax– and these figures are a welcome reminder of the real help the SNP is providing in government to mitigate against this unfair policy.
“Though of course, it is absolutely ridiculous that the Scottish Government finds itself in the position of having to spend scarce resources on mitigating against an unfair attack on the poor which Scotland’s people, parliament and government have comprehensively rejected.
“The fact is that the Bedroom Tax should never have been imposed on Scotland in the first place – and the SNP in government must have the powers we need to abolish the Bedroom Tax as soon as possible.”
The poll by Populous of UK General Election voting plans shows support for the SNP in Glasgow increasing in equal measure to it falling for Labour.
The poll found Labour had 38 per cent support, while the SNP was on 36 per cent, a cut of 18.2 per cent for Labour and an increase of 18.7 per cent for the SNP.
The poll was welcomed by SNP politicians who said it was proof of the trust placed in the SNP intheir time in Government.
James Dornan, Glasgow Cathcart SNP MSP said: "After seven-and-half years in government people are putting their trust in the SNP to stand up for Scotland, and ensure that the 'extensive new powers' we were promised by the Westminster parties in the referendum are delivered.
"A strong team of SNP MPs will hold Westminster to account and ensure that Scotland's voice is head and interests are protected."
In Edinburgh the SNP were ahead, up 22 per cent to 35, with Labour down 13 per cent to 24 per cent.
Anger at £250,000 expenses claims of ‘lazy Labour Lords'
Six peers have pocketed a whopping £250,000 in expenses between them – despite contributing next to nothing to the House of Lords.
The half-dozen Labour Lords cashed their expenses despite speaking in no debates and never even asking a question.
Baroness Irene Adams tops the list of those dubbed “lazy Labour Lords”. She claimed more than £53,000 for the period but didn’t speak in any debates or table any written questions in that time. The revelations follow the launch of a criminal investigation into the House of Lords after Lord Hanningfield was allegedly caught “clocking in for cash”.
The SNP has been scathing of the six Labour members.
James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, said: “These figures which reveal the true cost of the House of Lords are a damning indictment of democracy in the UK in 2014.”
The figures for Lords’ allowances show the bill for Scottish peers went up by £136,000 last year.
It hit £2.2 million according to the figures for the financial year that ended in March which have just been published.
This isn’t the first time Baroness Adams’ expense claims have come under the microscope. She’s been dogged by accusations of overblown expenses since joining the Lords and was even asked to repay some money she’d claimed while an MP after the audit that followed the 2009 expenses scandal.
Lord Kirkhill, Lord Elder, Baroness Smith, Lord Howie and Lord Leitch, who all sit for Labour, also appear to have made no real contribution in the 12 months to March. Along with Baroness Adams their claims for allowances top £250,000. Lord Leitch claimed £12,000 while the others all took home between £39,000-£53,000 in daily allowances and travel costs including air fares and taxis.
Peers are allowed to claim £300 per day, just for turning up.
Last week the Metropolitan Police revealed they have launched a criminal investigation into peers “clocking on” in order to claim the cash only to leave again after just a few minutes.
James Dornan added: “This system of inherited privilege and unelected power is bad enough but it is totally reprehensible that the total cost of Scottish Lords has risen to £2,177,081.
“In the last financial year, six lazy Labour Lords claiming to represent Scotland who have never spoken or asked a question in the Lords have still cost the taxpayer over £250,000.
“It is insulting to hard-working families struggling to make ends meet that these Lords can pick up money for simply turning up.
“The hypocrisy of the Westminster parties is astounding. With hollow words they criticise the Lords –Labour and the Lib Dems even question its very existence – but in practice they accept peerages and their Lords are running up higher expenses bills than ever.”
A Labour Lords spokesman defended the peers, saying their voting patterns stand up to scrutiny.
He said: “Lords Elder, Howie, Leitch and Kirkhill and Baroness Adams have maintained strong voting records in the House of Lords, holding David Cameron’s Government to account and contributing towards almost 100 Coalition defeats since the last General Election.
“Lord Elder and Baroness Adams have spoken on the floor of the Lords recently, in important debates on assisted dying and Scotland.”
Source: Sunday Post 30/11/14:
Rwandan Dream: Launch at the City Chambers
I was pleased to attend the launch of Rwandan Dream in the Scottish Parliament, an album commemorating 20 years since the Rwandan Genocide; promoting reconciliation, peace building, and forgiveness, through the power of music.
As Rwanda commemorates 20 years of the Genocide the Rwanda Dream project recognises how far Rwanda has come in such a short time. It recognises that it has much to teach the world. Rwandan Dream is the brain child of musicians Jean Paul Samputu and Iain Stewart. It is their vision for the future of Rwanda and for the world. A vision of hope, love and universal peace. It believes that music can play an important part in achieving that vision, encouraging our hearts and souls to embrace it. It is an album of songs for the commemoration of many sharing this vision.
A percentage of profits from all album sales will help to support and raise funds for orphans in Rwanda many whose families were victims of the Genocide. Rwandan Dream recognises that by investing in youth today we can help them to create a better world for themselves and for generations to come.
James Dornan MSP Supports Royal Mail's Dog Awareness Week.
Glasgow Cathcart MSP, James Dornan has given his backing to Royal Mail’s annual Dog Awareness Week which runs from 30 June 30 to 4 July.
Mr Dornan met with postal workers at Glasgow G44 Delivery Office on 3 July to lend his support to the initiative.
Royal Mail has launched Dog Awareness Week to highlight the number of dog attacks on postmen and women as well other members of the public. There were around eleven attacks recorded across the Glasgow Cathcart constituency from April 2013 to April 2014.
The campaign is calling for responsible dog ownership and is appealing to dog owners to keep their animals under control when the postman or woman calls at their door.
It is being held in partnership with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and has received support from a wide range of organisations and animal charities. This includes Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, National Animal Welfare Trust, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the National Dog Warden Association.
Dog attacks are a significant hazard faced by postmen and women on a daily basis. On average around nine postmen and women a day are attacked by dogs across the UK with over 3,300 attacks taking place from April 2013 to April 2014, some leading to a permanent disabling injury. The number of attacks has risen by 8 per cent nationally since 2012*.
However, postal workers are not alone in facing the risk of being attacked by a dog while carrying out their jobs. Politicians and volunteers may also encounter dogs when out canvassing and leafleting in their local areas. In a survey of Members of Parliament, Royal Mail heard from more than 50 MPs who have personal experiences of dog attacks.
Mr Dornan is working with Royal Mail in encouraging dogs owners to play their part in reducing the number of incidents.
James Dornan MSP said; “Postmen and women perform an incredibly important function in our communities. I wanted to get a real understanding of the issues postmen and women face on a daily basis whilst delivering the mail to my constituents in Cathcart.
“Dog attacks are a significant issue faced by postal workers, members of the public and indeed by myself and my colleagues when out leafleting. Royal Mail, CWU, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Dogs Trust are doing a fantastic job promoting responsible dog ownership and I fully support this important campaign”.
Dornan seeks action over Uganda's anti-gay legislation
SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, has today written to the High Commission of Uganda regarding the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality, 2014 Act in the East African country.
The law, which was signed by the country’s President Museveni yesterday (Monday), means that gay people in Uganda can face life in prison for committing a homosexual act.
Mr Dornan has asked the Ambassador, Her Excellency. Professor Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda, to meet with him and LGBT organisations in Scotland during her visit to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.Mr Dornan has also written to the Scottish Government’s External Affairs Minister, Humza Yousaf, urging him to ensure that the UK Home Office offers asylum to those Ugandans whose photographs and names were printed in a tabloid newspaper.
The MSP visited Uganda in 2012 with international aid agency, Glasgow the Caring City, to see more about the work that the charity does to support Uganda. He said that whilst he counts himself as a friend of the people of Uganda, he is deeply saddened by this legislation.
Mr Dornan said: “This legislation has quite rightly provoked outcry from the international community. It seeks to imprison people for no reason other than the fact that they are gay, and it is right that Scotland speaks out against this along with people such as Desmond Tutu.
"I believe that people in Scotland will be outraged at this legislation, and at the horrific reaction of a tabloid newspaper which seeks to promote lynch mob tactics against gay and lesbian people. I’m confident that Scotland will make it clear to the UK Home Office that we are ready and willing to welcome anyone who requires refuge from this nightmare.
“When I visited Uganda I was astonished by the beauty of the country and humbled by the hospitality of the people that I met there. This is not the Uganda that I remember from my trip.
“Scotland has a positive story to tell on LGBT equality, and that is why I have asked the ambassador to meet with me when she is in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. I do not seek to lecture Uganda. I simply want to put forward Scotland’s story on gay equality and demonstrate the benefits of an inclusive, tolerant and equal society.
”Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland said: “We welcome these letters to the Minister for External Affairs and the High Commissioner of Uganda. We also welcome the calls made with regard asylum and have also made representation to the UK Government to ask that those seeking asylum to escape persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity are treated sensitively and with dignity throughout the process.”
James Dornan MSP backs campaign to improve access to MS medicines
James Dornan MSP has pledged to help ensure that all people living with MS in Scotland have better access to treatments, regardless of where they live.
This comes as the MS Society revealed that people with MS often face significant barriers in accessing licensed treatments, the information to decide what is right for them and the specialists who can help. Marking MS Week (28 April – 4 May) the MS Society launched its new campaign Treat Me Right, during its reception last night at the Scottish Parliament.
The charity’s campaign calls on decision-makers and the MS community to tackle the barriers in the way of people getting the right treatment at the right time.
Mr Dornan attended the event to show his support for the Treat Me Right campaign and to meet people living with the condition.
Commenting James said;
“I’m pleased to be able to show my support for this important campaign. Scotland has the highest incidence of MS in the world and the disease affects many of my constituents and we must strive to do all we can to ensure everyone with this condition gets the right treatment at the right time.
“With the progress made in MS research over the years it is unacceptable that licensed treatments that help people with the condition are still sometimes out of out of reach.
“This Scottish Government has made good progress in this area already through the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC). The onus is now on the drug companies to engage with the SMC and allow people access to the disease modifying drugs.”
James Dornan MSP signs for Men United.
James Dornan, MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, has become the latest big name signing for Men United.
He has backed Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Men United v Prostate Cancer’ campaign, which uses the language of sport to engage men in the battle against the disease.
James Dornan signed up over a game of table football with staff and volunteers at a Prostate Cancer UK conference exhibition stand.
James Dornan MSP said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is predicted to be the most common cancer overall by 2030. Despite this we know that the quality of care and support men with the condition receive varies throughout Scotland. To address this I have previously called on NHS Boards to implement Prostate Cancer UK’s excellent Quality Checklist, and reiterate that call today.
Furthermore I am delighted to sign for Men United v Prostate Cancer. It’s a big ask but, working together, I know we can win this.”
Men - and women - are encouraged to go online to search ‘Men United’ to get involved by testing their knowledge of the disease with a simple quiz, and signing for the team. They can also pledge their allegiance by proudly wearing the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ pin badge. To sign for Men United visit:
Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014
James Dornan MSP has welcomed Holocaust Remembrance Day as a chance to reflect on an abhorent, but nevertheless important part of history.
The 27th January, National Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an opportunity to comtemplate the massive loss of innocent life that occurred in Europe from 1933-1945.
Mr. Dornan believes that it is crutial that the persecution of the Jewish people, as well as many other minority groups in Europe, should be remembered by all, so that such a heinous crime may never again be committed.
The Holocaust saw the extermination of almost six million Jews, an uncomprehendable number, across Europe, as well as the deaths of over five million civilians including the specific targeting of homosexuals, the disable, and several ethnic minorities.
To read more on the Holocaust, and why it should be remembered, please visit the Holocaust Educational Trust.
James Dornan dismisses Westminster pay rise as 'wrong'.
James Dornan MSP has today hit out at a proposed 11% pay rise for Westminster MPs.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is set to increase MPs’ annual salaries from £66,396 to £74,000. The 11% rise would also mean a rise for MSPs who's earnings are set at 87.5% of that of an MP - or £58,097.
However, Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick has confirmed plans to 'decouple' the salaries, branding a rise 'unthinkable' in the current ecnomic climate.
Speaking to the Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra, Mr. Dornan said: “In a time when family budgets are extremely tight, it is wrong for Westminster to wish to increase the salary of MPs by such a huge amount. I am confident the Scottish parliament will not follow suit.”
James welcomes publication of guide to an independent Scotland
James Dornan MSP has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Governement's White Paper and Urges all Cathcart residents to read most detailed independence blueprint ever produced.
SNP MSP James Dornan is urging all Cathcart residents to get involved in the referendum debate by reading the Scottish Government's flagship guide to independence, which was published this week.
The 670-page document - the most comprehensive blueprint for independence ever produced by any country ahead of an independence vote - was launched to an audience of hundreds of journalists from across the globe.
The document Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to An Independent Scotland contains a comprehensive Question and Answer section, running to more than 200 pages, providing answers to 650 questions on independence.
The answers – along with downloadable copies of “Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to An Independent Scotland" - are available at as a fully searchable resource so that residents of Cathcart can easily find the answers they are looking for ahead of the referendum. Constituents can also request a hard copy by calling 0300 012 1809
The guide shows how Scotland will move from a Yes vote on September 18th next year, toward its independence on March 24th 2016 – ahead of the first elections in an independent Scotland. It also describes the huge financial savings that can be made – including half a billion pounds on defence spending, and savings from no longer contributing to the funding of the Westminster Parliament.
Besides addressing the various questions asked about what independence offers, Scotland's Future also outlines the Scottish Government's ambitious plans to use the powers to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country – should the SNP win the first elections of an independent Scotland in 2016.
At the heart of this is a transformational increase in childcare provision that would help more people into work – particularly women – and provide up to 35,000 jobs in the process. This only becomes possible with the powers offered by independence, because only an independent Scotland would have the resources to make it happen. Currently all the increased tax revenues that would help make the policy affordable would go to the Westminster Treasury, rather than staying in Scotland.
As well as guarantees on the minimum wage and a ‘triple lock’ on pension increases to ensure that they rise at least in line with the cost of living, the Scottish Government also proposes new measures to permanently reduce energy bills by 5% and ensure basic rate tax allowances and credits to rise in line at least with inflation.
Commenting, MSP James Dornan said: "This landmark document takes the referendum debate into a new phase. No country in history is as well-equipped as Scotland is to move toward independence, and even the staunchest opponents of Yes now accept that Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.
“The guide and the answers it provides will show clearly and simply the difference that we can make in Scotland if decisions on Scotland’s future are taken by those who care most about Scotland, that is the people who live and work here.
"The referendum on 18th September next year is a vote unlike any other - it is the biggest opportunity we have had as a country in 300 years. That's why I'm calling on everyone in Cathcart - regardless of what their current views are on independence - to read this guide, to compare it with any alternative future for Scotland and make up your own mind.”
Dornan writes to Home Secretary Theresa May condemning UKBA's “Go-Home” poster pilot.
James Dornan MSP has written to Theresa May condemning the new the UK Border Agency’s new poster scheme at Brand Street, Glasgow and urging her to reconsider her pilot scheme. The campaign has the UKBA rooms at Brand Street plastered with posters and leaflets which state “Go Home.” In one there is a picture of an aeroplane with the words “The plane can take you home. We can book the tickets” on it. Others say “Is life here hard? Going home is simple.” The pilot is also running in Hounslow, London.
Commenting James said; “This is a deplorable campaign. I am writing to Home Secretary Theresa May to find out if she thinks this type of manipulative messaging to people in very difficult situations is appropriate.
“We only have to look at the terrible events in the Middle East right now to see what ‘home’ can be like for some of these people. There upwards of 1300 Syrian asylum seekers in the UK – undoubtedly including some in Glasgow – does the Westminster Government really think it is appropriate to be telling people like them that it is “easy” to “go home?”
“There is no room for this type of abhorrent xenophobic campaign which will only serve to make already vulnerable people feel unwelcome and fans the flames of racial bigotry.
“The UKBA clearly has absolutely no idea about how modern Scotland treats vulnerable people – regardless of where they are from – their campaign in Brand Street must stop immediately.
“I strongly condemn this poster campaign by the UKBA and urge them to reconsider this so-called pilot and remove their extreme tactics from Scotland.”
Dornan delighted as local bus service saved!
SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, has expressed his delight at news that the local 29 and 2 bus services in his constituency have been saved.
The MSP has been working with First Glasgow and SPT to find a solution to the gap in service that would have occurred, and he also held a public meeting which was attended by around 140 residents who were concerned about the news.
After hearing the news the local MSP said:
“I am delighted at the news that the number 29 and 2 bus services will continue. The local bus service really is a life line for some people, and that’s why I was determined to find a local solution to a local problem.
“I would like to pay tribute to SPT who have been most helpful throughout this entire process. I would also like to thank the many members of the public who have written to me, met with me and worked with me, to ensure that their local community gets the bus service that it deserves – this will come as great news to them.
“This result only goes to show what can be achieved when you roll up your sleeves and work for local communities, unlike the Labour Party who have tried to politicise this whole affair from the word go. They were more interested in political posturing and scaremongering for votes in May’s council election, but local people now know that it’s the SNP who has listened, it’s the SNP who has taken action and it’s the SNP who have delivered.”
Dornan organises youth jobs fayre for Cathcart's young people
SNP Member of The Scottish Parliament, James Dornan, has organised a jobs fayre for young people in his constituency.
Mr Dornan has pulled together employers and, private and public sector agencies including s1 Jobs, Glasgow Housing Association, The Princes Youth Business Trust and ASDA, in a pledge to take direct action to tackle youth unemployment in his own constituency.
The event, which will run from 10:00 until 14:00 on Friday 5 October at Langside College, will also be attended by The Scottish Government’s Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance MSP.
It’s the fourth annual collection organised by the Holyrood man, and anyone who wishes to donate can drop their presents off at his office on 4 King’s Park Road throughout December.
Mr Dornan will also host a coffee morning next Friday (December 19) at 11am at the constituency office, encouraging more people to pop in with donations for the area’s vulnerable neighbours.
He said: “Since becoming the MSP for Cathcart in 2011, I’ve launched an appeal to the people of my constituency to donate toys for local kids.
“They’ve never failed to give generously at this time of year - and I’m sure they’ll do so again this Christmas.”
The MSP will also be accepting donations of non-perishable food, to be distributed to families in need.
Those handing in toys are asked not to gift wrap them, to ensure that they go to an appropriate recipient, and kind-hearted southsiders are asked to include batteries in any toys which require them.
My reaction to former Scottish Labour Special Advisor's comments about the Labour Party and what they really think of Scotland;
“The cat is out of the bag, and Paul Sinclair has confirmed what we all suspected - a really bad attitude towards Scotland permeates the Labour Party, particularly their Westminster MPs. No wonder they are in the doldrums in the polls and in local by-elections in Scotland.
“If anyone knows what is going on within Labour in Scotland then it will be the person who has spent the past few years as the senior adviser to their former leader. Mr Sinclair's excoriating attack on Labour's Westminster MPs is hugely embarrassing for new leader Jim Murphy, as a Westminster MP himself - and who reportedly said 'at least it's not Scotland' when Tony Blair gave him a job in government.
“This blow to Jim Murphy from within his own party follows the latest YouGov poll which reveals the SNP has moved further in front - with a 20-point lead over Labour for the General Election, and a 22-point lead for Holyrood.
“While there is a long way to go before either the Westminster or Holyrood election, there is no doubt that the SNP is in great shape as more and more people give us their backing
“Only a strong team of SNP MPs will ensure that Scotland’s voice cannot be ignored at Westminster, and that we get best possible deal for Scotland.”
Dornan welcomes home efficiency energy cash.
SNP MSP James Dornan has today welcomed the £4,282,799 given to Glasgow City Council by the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme which provides grant funding to local authorities to develop and deliver local fuel poverty programmes such as solid wall, cavity and loft insulation.
Commenting James said;
“With the winter weather taking hold across Scotland, I welcome this investment by the Scottish Government helping people across Scotland ensure that their homes are as energy efficient as they can be.
“I get a lot of people contacting me wanting more information on where they access help and advice about how they can reduce their energy costs and I would encourage all constituents to contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 or at to access free, impartial advice.”
Dornan welcomes #SmallBizSaturday
Today is #SmallBizSat and I'm delighted to be supporting it again this year and urge you to as well. Small business across Cathcart are the lifeblood of this constituency and their local communities.
From putting in an order for Christmas dinner, to buying a gift for a loved one, to getting your haircut or meeting a friend for a coffee or a beer – it’s important that we back small businesses by shopping locally wherever possible.
Strengthening Scotland’s economy has been a top priority for the SNP throughout our time in office – and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s economic speech earlier in the week further underlined our commitment.
The SNP has a strong track record on support for business which is one that we are determined to continue to deliver. Despite tough economic times, businesses in Scotland continue to benefit from the most competitive business tax regime in the UK.
This year, our package of rates relief will help companies to the tune of £600 million – and two of every five small businesses receive support through our Small Business Bonus Scheme. The First Minister has made clear that the Small Business Bonus will continue throughout the next parliament if the SNP are re-elected.
A strong economy is an essential part of a fairer society and the SNP are determined to provide the best possible support to Scotland’s small businesses.
Dornan congratulates Alasdair Maclean on being named SUL's learner of the year.
James Dornan MSP has today welcomed the announcement that Alasdair Maclean from Simshill, Glasgow has been named as Scottish Union Learning’s 2014 Learner of the Year.
Alasdair is a member of the Communication Workers Union and a postal worker at the Glasgow Royal Mail Centre in Springburn. He was chosen as the 2014 Learner of the Year because of his strong commitment to learning, despite his physical difficulties caused by his Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Commenting James said;
“I am delighted that my constituent Alasdair has been awarded the 2014 Learner of the Year award and was pleased to meet him in Parliament recently.
“Alasdair has overcome significant difficulties in order to continue his learning and career in The Royal Mail, including being asked to retire as a postie after he was diagnosed with MS at the age of 32. He asked instead if he could be transferred to the mail sorting office.
“His dedication to learning is an example to us all and he has gone the extra mile to achieve his aims. I have laid a motion in Parliament congratulating Alasdair on this achievement.”
“I never thought I would be chosen as Learner of the Year because I knew there were a lot of people being put forward by different unions. I was shocked when my union told me I had won the award.
“After speaking to others, I realise that the Learner of the Year Award is quite an honour. The Award gives me more confidence to go forward, and in completing the tests. I’m really surprised at how happy my colleagues, tutor and my Union Learning Reps are that I was chosen, but the best part is making my family proud.
“I’m really glad I wasn’t forced into retirement because of my MS.”
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said:
“The challenges Alasdair has overcome on his learning journey are remarkable. Union learning has given Alasdair a second chance at making his career and personal life more fulfilling. With the support of his CWU Learning Reps, Alasdair has come from being a shy and quiet person to developing into a dedicated learner who has never missed a class, even during his annual leave and time off.
“Despite his health difficulties, Alasdair is now fully engaged with union learning. With union support, thousands of workers across Scotland successfully undertake learning journeys every year and Alasdair is a shining example of how union learning is for everyone.”
Dornan welcomes Active Travel Vison
Local MSP James Dornan has welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government’s long term vision for active travel which aims to encourage more people to walk or cycle shorter journeys. The vision focuses on areas such as infrastructure, transport integration, cultural and behaviour change, community ownership and planning.
James Dornan MSP said;
“I welcome to launch of the initiative from The Scottish Government which aims to get more people making active travel choices to improve their health and the environment.
“It is clear that there are many health benefits , both physical and mental, to be had from walking and cycling more but there are other benefits too including benefits to the environment through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.”
Ian Findlay, Chief Officer of Paths for All said;
“We welcome and support this vision, which underlines the huge benefits of increasing active travel in Scotland.
“More people walking and cycling for regular journeys will result in a healthier nation in body and mind. We’ll breathe cleaner air and live in more attractive, prosperous, safe places. This can only happen if Scotland prioritises improving the infrastructure and environment for people to walk or cycle, as well as encouraging people to change travel behaviours.
"Everyday walking is the easiest and most accessible way for most people to get out of their cars and into a healthier lifestyle. Paths for All will contribute and push for measures which make travelling actively easier and safer for everyone."
John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, said;
“Sustrans Scotland very much welcomes the long-term vision for active travel as set out by Mr Brown today. The challenge now is to translate this vision into action on the ground.
Work needs to start on developing a long-term delivery plan, with appropriate funding mechanisms, to deliver not only the vision set out in this document but also the visions identified in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland and the National Walking Strategy.”
James Dornan MSP backs scrapping historic poll tax debt.
A leading campaign group for electoral reform has hailed the Scottish Government’s moves to scrap Poll Tax debt as “the right thing to do”.
In an article in today’s Sunday Herald, Electoral Reform Society director Willie Sullivan praises the move to scrap Poll Tax debt and called for further action to break the link between the electoral roll and debt collection. The Scottish Government has welcomed this intervention and called for Westminster to devolve the powers Scotland needs to take further action in this area.
Commenting, SNP MSP James Dornan said:
“Following the cynical Tory tactic of suggesting they would ‘go after’ people that registered to vote, the Scottish Government is taking action to ensure their details will not be used to chase up historic Poll Tax debts.
“I welcome that the Electoral Reform Society is saying this is the ‘right thing to do’ and all politicians and political parties should heed the words of this respected organisation. After all we should be encouraging participation in the democratic process, not discouraging it.
“People registered to vote in good faith and any attempt to use their details to chase up Poll Tax debt would have been a misguided breach of that faith. After 25 years a line was finally drawn under the deeply unfair and widely hated Poll Tax last Thursday.
“We must ensure that the Tories cannot scare people into being disenfranchised in future elections.”
Dornan welcomes Immigration Stories as an important contribution on debate on immigration
SNP MSP for Cathcart, James Dornan, today welcomed the launch of a new book in Scotland called “Scottish Memories – Immigration Stories”. Launching today at the Burrell Collection in Mr Dornan’s constituency, the book is a collaborative piece of work between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Trust Housing, Hanover Scotland and Bield Housing.
The book documents the lives of immigrants who came to Scotland from places such as India, China, Pakistan, Africa and the Caribbean, and share their stories of how they came to settle in Scotland and call Scotland their home. It features men and women who have lived, worked and settled right across the country, most of whom have now raised families here.
The book launch comes on the same day that The Oxford University Migration Observatory published a poll showing that people in Scotland were more at ease with immigration than those in England and Wales. The poll also showed that a majority of people – sixty percent – believe that the Scottish Government is best placed to control immigration policy rather than Westminster.
Mr Dornan said:
“Today brings together the Scottish message on immigration, and that is that we’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns.
“This morning I attended the launch of Immigration Stories in my constituency. It was a pleasure to meet people who had come from all over the world and now call Scotland their home. In a move that wasn’t easy, these remarkable men and women made their living here, got educated here and have raised their families here. Their contribution to our community, our culture and our public life has made Scotland all the better for it.
“Immigration Stories is a remarkable piece of work, and praise should go to Bield Housing, Trust Housing and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their joint efforts. I’d also like to particularly thank Rohini Sharma Joshi, who has driven this project forward right from the start – she can be proud of her efforts.
“This book is an important contribution to the wider immigration debate. It counters the scare stories that we see pushed by the main Westminster parties, and lays bare the real contribution that immigrants have made to our country.
“It’s also timely that this is launched on the same day as a new poll showing that Scots are much more at ease with immigration than people in England and Wales, and that a majority of people believe that immigration policy should be determined here in Scotland. Scotland is increasingly rejecting the hysterical and irrational debate about immigration that is taking place in Westminster, and instead want to focus on the positive impact that it has and still can make to society.”
Information on Immigration Stories can be found here:
The Oxford University Migration Observatory can be found here:
Dornan responds to Glasgow City Council Parks Management Consultation.
James Dornan MSP has today urged his constituents to respond to Glasgow City Council's consultation on Park Management Rules. James has written the following submission to the consultation;
RE: Management Rules Regulating Public Parks, Gardens, Open Spaces and Places of Public Resort or Recreation.
Further to your consultation on future park management rules in Glasgow, I have a number of points that I think should be clarified before you proceed.
1) Regarding 4.1 - "Dogs... must be kept on short lead and under close control" and 4.3(a) -" No-one shall in any park exercise more than three dogs at any one time" how was the length of the lead permitted decided upon? Also how many incidents have their been in the last decade in parks in Glasgow that have been caused either by a dog being on too long a lead or by the dog walker walking more than three dogs at a time?
2) As per 7.1 - you state that "Cycle speed should not exceed 5 miles per hour" - how do you intend to police this?
3) Regarding Section 10 - Events and Other Activities, it is clear that you intend to limit the amount of people who can be in the park together as a group. What effect will this have on local park running groups who offer a safe, traffic-free way to take part in exercise all year round and would appear to assist Glasgow City Council in their aim to get more people active, particularly given this is a cost effective way to do it?
It is clear from the correspondence I have received from a number of constituents that these proposals do not have the support of the people of Glasgow partly because it is not clear why some of the proposals in the document have been made.
I urge you to reconsider these proposals and delay implementation until such times as you carry the support of the people of Glasgow and can produce a document which puts their needs at the heart and centre of any future plan so that Glasgow can continue to be our Dear Green Place.
James Dornan MSP.
More information on the consultation and information on how to respond can be found here The closing dates for responses is Friday 14th February.
Dornan Welcomes Expansion of Free School Meals & Childcare.
Cathcart MSP James Dornan has today (7th January 2014) welcomed the news families and young people across Scotland will benefit from millions of pounds of additional support after First Minister Alex Salmond announced a significant expansion of free school meals and childcare provision.
As part of a £114 million package for young people over two years, every one of Scotland’s P1 to P3 children will have the option of a free meal in school from January next year, improving health and wellbeing, increasing attainment and saving families at least £330 a year for each child.
The measure has been supported by a powerful alliance of campaigners against child poverty, including Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, Children in Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, the Church of Scotland and trade unions.”
Mr Dornan said;
“This announcement will make a real difference to the lives of families and young people across my constituency.
“Between April and September 2013, 23,078 people in Scotland were referred to the Trussell Trust, of these 6,608 were children. Free school meals available for all P1-P3 children is an immediate and direct way to support families who are under increasing pressure from continued cuts at Westminster – cuts which the Conservative Chancellor George Osbourne has said will continue for years to come.
“I’m also delighted that childcare is continuing to be expanded, the extension to childcare announced today will ensure that by August 2015, Scotland will deliver 80 million hours of childcare to pre-school children – the greatest amount in the UK and 6.5 per cent more than if Scotland followed Westminster’s approach in England.
“However only with independence can a truly transformation shift in childcare, such as the commitments to extending childcare outlined in Scotland’s Future, be funded."
James pledges support for Shawlands parking petition
MSP James Dornan has today signed a local petition calling for a review into parking price hikes in the Shawlands area.
The 'Parking Mad' Petition, backed by local businesses and newspapers, calls for Glasgow City Council to review it's policy of raising the prices of parking in Shawlands amind fears that business in the area will be negatively effected.
Mr. Dornan said: “A lot of good work is going on to make Shawlands once again the vibrant, bustling, successful town centre it used to be. This extra disincentive for shoppers and visitors flies in the face of all that.”
More at The Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra
Sign the Petition at Change.org
MSP BACKING EQUAL MARRIAGE WITH HIS BROTHER IN MIND
SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, will today back equal marriage in the Scottish Parliament with his brother in mind.
Mr Dornan’s brother, Michael, left Scotland a number of years ago to start a new life where he met his partner, Raoul. They now live in Lisbon, Portugal. Michael and Raoul recently announced their intention to marry and, coincidentally, are today signing the papers to start the process for their wedding arrangements in Portugal.
Although James Dornan has been a long-time supporter of equal marriage, his brother’s experience has made him even more determined to back the bill and support LGBT equality.
Speaking ahead of the debate, James said:
“This is a big day for Scotland. A day in which we get to end one of the last pieces of legislative discrimination against our LGBT community. I’m proud that we have got to this stage, and I’ll be proud to vote for equal marriage tonight.
“My brother Michael contacted me only a couple of weeks ago to tell me that he and his partner, Raoul, will be getting married in Portugal.
“Michael had a tough time in Glasgow when he was younger. Being gay was not anywhere near as socially acceptable as it is now. It was because of this; because of the fear and pressure; that he decided to move from Glasgow to London, and then on to Portugal where he has a successful career as a translator.
“Whilst I’m proud of how far we have come as a society I’m ashamed that my brother, and many others like him, felt that they could not stay in their community and be themselves. That there was an entire generation of young gay men and women who felt the need to go elsewhere to be accepted, is a stain on our social history.
“The equal marriage bill that Parliament will vote on tonight will be one of the most debated pieces of legislation that our Parliament has considered so far. It has had a number of public consultations, and has been the source of great debate right across the country.
“Having considered the legislation and the arguments from both sides of the debate, I will be voting in favour of equal marriage and I hope that a majority of my colleagues in the Parliament will join me in doing so. I do this not only for my brother Michael, but for future generations. Never again can we risk people not feeling accepted by their community and society because of their sexuality. Tonight’s vote, and the passing of this bill, is about doing just that.”
Dornan welcomes Scottish Government support for people affected by the bedroom tax
James Dornan MSP has welcomed the £20m in additional support for people affected by the bedroom tax outlined by Finance Secretary John Swinney, in his budget statement.
In support of Shelter’s “Banish the Bedroom Tax Monster” campaign, Mr Swinney announced an investment of up to 20 million pounds this financial year to help those struggling most with the costs of the bedroom tax.
Speaking after the announcement Mr Dornan said;
“The Westminster imposed bedroom tax is causing untold stress and harm to my constituents, some of whom are having to decide between eating and heating, in energy rich Scotland this is a disgrace. Today, the bedroom tax was condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur who has called for it to be abolished in light of its dire impacts and the human rights concerns around it.
However, as was shown in the reply I received from the Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the Tories have no intention of repealing this attack on the most vulnerable in society. The SNP have made it clear that once independent we will abolish this iniquitous tax but until that Yes vote I am pleased that the Scottish government is doing all it can to mitigate the worst effects of the bedroom tax.
This added money will make a huge difference to many people in Cathcart and across Scotland who continue to be affected by these Westminster reforms.”
Ross Kemp's "dangerous" Glasgow was a dangerous, and inaccurate, portrayal of this great city
Ross Kemp's Sky show Extreme World featured Glasgow on Monday night and some of the problems which affect the city. Glasgow MSP James Dornan shares his thoughts with STV on the portrayal of the city in the programme.
Kevin Bridges does a skit about Glasgow in the past being simultaneously Europe’s most violent city and the UK’s friendliest city, the punch line being that ‘Weegies’ll stab you with a smile'.
It perfectly encapsulates the traditional view of the 'old' Glasgow way, where the streets were mean and only brave souls ventured onto them but you could be sure that someone always had your back. It is the first part of this Glasgow that the recent Sky One programme presented by Ross Kemp tried to portray.
The Glasgow Kemp showed no doubt exists but what was missing was the Glasgow I see day in day out in my work as a local MSP. Kemp decided it was better television to concentrate on the difficult rather than the fantastic work being done on so many levels to make Glasgow better and the folk working tirelessly to throw off the reputation of the past.
Now it would be remiss of any politician or community activist to say that Glasgow has not had, nor does it currently have, its problems. They have been well documented and it is no secret that Glasgow’s relationship with alcohol needs to change. And steps, such as the SNP Government’s flagship policy of minimum pricing for alcohol, whilst not a silver bullet, will go some way to transforming this destructive relationship.
Knife crime, too often the scourge of our communities, is still a major issue but the numbers of those affected are falling, mainly due to the increased numbers of police on the streets and the great work of the Violence Reduction Unit and campaigns such as No Knives Better Lives are doing.
In my constituency youth organisations such as Sub-Zero and the Castlemilk Youth Centre work tirelessly to break down the territorialism that blights some of our communities and organisations like these are replicated across Glasgow.
So changes are being made. Transformation of the Glasgow of old has been on-going for some time now. The challenge is to keep this momentum going through the draconian and reactionary welfare reforms that are being imposed by a Westminster Government hell bent on punishing the most vulnerable within our society.
Never has the voluntary sector been more important and it was disappointing to not see them accurately portrayed, or given their due, during Kemp’s programme.
After this magnificent summer of sport, with Glaswegian success stories in Katherine Grainger, Michael Jamieson and Aileen McGlynn, thoughts are turning to the Commonwealth Games of 2014 where Hampden Park, in my constituency, will be a key player. A huge factor in Glasgow being awarded these games was the recognition of how friendly and hospitable a city it is, how committed to sport it is and how suitable as city it is to hold a huge international event such as the Games. But you wouldn’t recognise any of this from Ross Kemp’s programme.
Kemp’s portrayal of Glasgow was a lazy and sensationalist stereotyping of the city and one we Glaswegians are both used to and sick of. This was the 'No Mean City' version of Glasgow. And it is the last thing we need. The reality is very different indeed.
We are not perfect. We’re still suffering from the hangover of the de-industrialisation of our city and the alcohol and drug abuse that followed the rampant unemployment. But Glasgow is a great city, with a warm populace, great facilities, a fabulous voluntary sector and a determination to succeed. We are all working hard to make life better for our citizens.
I have therefore written to the producers of Ross Kemp’s programme to invite them to come and see the Glasgow that you and I know, to meet some of the voluntary and community organisations that are working so tirelessly to make it a better place. I have challenged them to make an accurate rather than sensationalist portrayal of this great city and its problems. I await a response to my offer.