Meeting up with Tommy Whitelaw

I was delighted to meet up with carers’ campaigner Tommy Whitelaw today.  Tommy has been tirelessly fighting for carers and standing up for their rights for many years now, and it was a pleasure to sit down and talk over some of the challenges facing carers and what I can do as your MP to help.

The extra support the Scottish Government has rolled out over recent years has been very welcome, but there is always more we can do to support carers and their families in the work that they do.

Tommy was also kind enough to drop off some excellent leaflets and guides that provide lots of information on the support and services available to carers – come down to the constituency office if you are looking for some of these.

I hold a regular monthly carers’ surgery in Glasgow South West Carers’ Centre on the 1st Thursday of every month at 2:00pm, so if you have any issues you need addressed, come along, or drop by the constituency office any time – no appointment necessary.

Glasgow Distillery – Supporting local workers

I was delighted to be invited alongside my colleague Carol Monaghan MP (Glasgow North West) to visit the Glasgow Distillery.  This is a fantastic facility providing skilled employment to many in my constituency and beyond.  They are responsible for Glasgow’s first gin, Makar Glasgow Gin, and are building a promising reputation as they ramp up production.

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Scotland is a world-leader in higher-value exports like whisky, and it was fascinating to see the work that goes on behind the scenes to turn raw materials into uisge beatha and onwards for consumption – in moderation!

Thanks to Liam, Ian and team for their kind hospitality in hosting myself and Carol to their distillery.

GLASGOW MP CALLS FOR PENSION FAIRNESS ON WAR GRAVES

Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens today called on war graves chiefs to revisit their decision to cut the pension of hundreds of workers tending to war graves, and ensure fairness for hundreds of workers who face losing thousands of pounds in lost pension entitlements.

Following his adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Monday Chris is calling on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to look again at the issue and stop the transfer of long-serving employees out of the Commission’s final salary pension fund.

The CWGC maintains the graves and memorials of over 1.7million fallen soldiers at more than 23,000 locations in over 150 countries and employs over 1,250 people.  In December 2014 the CWGC decided to close the final salary pension scheme in April 2016, costing 180 staff thousands of pounds a year.  Meanwhile the number of staff paid more than £60,000 per year has risen from 15 to 20.

Commenting after the debate, Chris said:

“We are halfway through the commemorations of the 100 years since WW1 and the lessons of conflict are as important now as then.  CWGC workers ensure the final resting places of the war dead honour their memory with dignity and honour.

“The closure of the final salary pension scheme will have a devastating impact on staff who will lose, on average, £6,000 per year.  The majority of employees affected are due to retire within the next 10 years and will have no time to adjust their financial planning.

“I’m calling on the Commission to look again at their proposals, sit down with the trade unions, and to make sure those who honour our war dead are treated with fairness and respect in their retirement.”