Ambitious targets outstrip previous administrations
The SNP have highlighted Scottish Government figures which show the party’s strong record in delivering new homes across Scotland.
The SNP Government announced earlier today that the number of new house builds started across the public and private sectors rose to 16,910 in 2015-16, the highest number since 2008-09. The number of affordable homes approved over the year to June 2016 was up 26% on the previous year, bringing the total number of approvals over 2015-16 to 8,067.
I have previously been deputy convener of our parliament's Health and Sport Committee for the last 5 years and have a particular interest in healthcare.
I'd like to emphasise some of the progress the Scottish Government has made, that I have supported, since being elected as a regional MSP for Glasgow. I supported funding to secure a new health centre in both Possilpark and Maryhill. Importantly these were not funded using the previous Scottish Executive's discredited PFI funding mechanism. I have also supported the extended GP's opening hours programme at local surgeries and the SNP is committed to extending this further. I have also supported health and social care integration, including an additional £250 million to the new boards (with £34m in Glasgow alone) to support that integration. That move means that every care worker inner city- because of our Scottish Government- will now be paid the living wage. Our social care services will also be enhanced. This will make a real difference to the quality of social care in our city- something I have been concerned about following Cordia's staffing reforms.
In the next parliament our SNP Government will expand the number and range of health professionals in local health practices including practice nurses, district nurses, pharmacists as well as a variety of allied health professionals. This will ease pressure on our GP's and provide a better service for patients. So will our commitment to 400 GP training places and also £23m expanding medical school places.
The SNP will ensure our overall NHS revenue budget will rise by £2 billion- estimated to be £500m above inflation and will be invested to build on progress already made. For instance we will increase capacity at the Golden Jubilee in Clydebank to do additional hip, knee and caeterac operations to allow our ageing population to stay fit and healthy at home for longer. We will also use this record health investment to improve the care and treatment pathways further for cancer sufferers as well as our cancer prevention and detect cancer early initiatives. Other examples of where our record health investment will be targeted includes £150m more for mental health over the next 5 years.
This is just some of the initiatives that will benefit local constituents in healthcare if an SNP Government is re-elected, and, of course we continue to keep prescriptions free following our SNP Government's abolishing them. Much is made of NHS waiting lists by all parties, and, they can always be challenging. However it is important to remember the progress made under the current Scottish Government. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that 95% of patients in Scotland under the SNP now wait 12 weeks for day and in patient surgery. Under the last Scottish Executive that was an 18 week wait, and only 85% were treated in that time.
I will continue to prioritise the NHS if elected and I hope you will consider voting for me to be the first ever SNP constituency MSP for Maryhill and Springburn.
It was fantastic to have Nicola Sturgeon visit Maryhill and Springburn today to support my bid to win the constituency at the Scottish Parliament elections.
She visited the amazing organisation- Maryhill based Homestart Glasgow North- who offer important support to parents. Thanks to the staff and families for taking the time to chat and of course to Nicola for taking the time to support our campaign.
I was delighted to sign the STUC pledge to protect workers rights in Scotland. The pledges protect workers human rights as well as fighting against the Tories anti-worker Trade Union Bill. In Scotland we have been engaging with our Trade Union movement to build a modern society that we all want to see, and I want to see this continue.
I have long been supportive of trade union rights. Last year I supported the STUC lobby of parliament and voted to oppose the UK Government’s ‘anti-worker’ Trade Union Bill – and raised questions over Labour’s failure to back the devolution of power over industrial relations to Scotland. The UK Government's Trade Union Bill will place significant restrictions on Trade Unions including restricting the time union representatives can spend on Trade Union activities and imposes a series of ballot thresholds which would require up to an 80% yes vote in order for workers to go on strike.
A motion condemning the Trade Union Bill was passed in the Scottish Parliament with support from Labour MSPs, despite the fact that Labour MPs at Westminster voted against an SNP amendment to the Scotland Bill to devolve responsibility for industrial relations and workers’ rights to Scotland – and chose instead to leave them under the control of the Tory government.
The Scottish Government has already asked the UK Government to exclude Scotland from the Trade Union Bill in its entirety – and that if they are unwilling to do so, the consent of the Scottish Parliament should be sought before the legislation is imposed on Scotland.
I spoke against the bill during the Chamber debate, saying: “The conservatives have declared war on the trade union movement. The Trade Union Bill is designed to provoke our unions and I suspect that the aim is to go even further than the dreadful details that are in the current proposed legislation. It effectively places workers and their union representatives in a straitjacket by denying them the ability to fight back.
“The irony is that Scotland’s trade unions—our workers’ representatives—want to talk. The UK Government has missed the fact that Scotland is engaged in a process of embracing our trade union movement and sees the unions as key partners and stakeholders in the modern society that we all want to build.
“The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nurses believe it will damage and undermine the NHS and other public services.
“From what I can see, the UK Government is promoting in-work poverty by accelerating tax credit cuts. It is accelerating out-of-work poverty by conditionality and sanctions on benefits, and it is now seeking to deny the basic human right to withdraw one’s labour and do something about it when a right-wing Tory Government is attacking the very basis on which society is founded. That is the right to withdraw one’s labour for the sake of a better life for one’s self, one’s family and one’s community. We have to kill the bill.”