The European election is a chance to stop Brexit and protect our NHS, SNP MSP, Christina McKelvide, has said – as the party steps up campaigning on the final days ahead of the European election.

Donald Trump has outlined his demand that a post-Brexit trade deal sees “full market access” for US health products, allowing American drug firms to hike up prices for medicines.



The potential hit to NHS budgets adds to existing concerns that Brexit will have a harmful impact on healthcare.

A BBC investigation found that the NHS in Lanarkshire is concerned about attracting and retaining key and specialist staff , access to the nuclear material used to diagnose and treat cancers, the availability of blood and organs for transplant and the impact upon current EU conditions which allow patients in Scotland to be treated in any European country at no extra cost to the patient. This European agreement allows patients on long waiting lists to get treatment more quickly and to access highly specialist treatment elsewhere.


Ending freedom of movement could limit Scotland’s ability to fund the NHS – with Holyrood’s cross-party Finance committee last year warning there was a strong demographic risk to the size of the Scottish budget. 

The BMA’s European election manifesto this week said that “Brexit will be damaging for the medical profession, both in the UK and across Europe.”

Commenting, SNP MSP, Christina McKelvie, said:

“Thursday’s vote is a chance to stop Brexit in its tracks – and to protect the NHS in South Lanarkshire.

“Brexit poses a major risk to medicine supplies and is already making it harder to attract vital medical staff to our hospitals.

“And we already know that Donald Trump wants to use a post-Brexit trade deal to rip up the rulebook and open our NHS to American drug firms.

“That would mean higher prices for medicine and a worse deal for patients. 

“The Scottish Government is working as hard as possible to mitigate the impact of Brexit on South Lanarkshire's health service – but any Brexit will have consequences for our NHS.

“We need to send the strongest possible message that we will not stand for this. A vote for the SNP on Thursday will make clear that Scotland will not stand for Brexit.”


US drug firms would be able to charge NHS more under Trump trade plan, campaigners claim
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2019/mar/01/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-faces-further-backlash-over-decision-to-give-mps-vote-on-extending-article-50-politics-live?page=with:block-5c792219e4b0c5f213665258#block-5c792219e4b0c5f213665258

Rightwing thinktanks unveil radical plan for US-UK Brexit trade deal
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/18/rightwing-thinktanks-unveil-radical-plan-for-us-uk-brexit-trade-deal-nhs

European Parliament Election Manifesto 2019
https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/influence/europe/brexit/eu-parliamentary-manifesto

 

Christina Mckelvie MSP and Angela Crawley MP are set to host a Jobs Fair in the Hamilton Town House on Friday the 5th of July, between 11am and 2pm.

 The event has already attracted big employers who recruiting for vacancies now. Those already confirmed include Social Security Scotland, ALDI and British Airways.

More employers are also being encouraged to attend the event and can book a stall – free of charge – by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Commenting, Angela said:

 

 “I am passionate about helping my constituents fulfil their ambitions - be it in through work, education or training.

 “That’s why I'm delighted to be in a position to host my sixth Jobs Fair since becoming an MP, this time in the fantastic Hamilton Town House.

 “Too many people find themselves unemployed or underemployed through no fault of their own.

“The Hamilton Jobs Fair will bring professionals from across a variety sectors, including vacancies within the public sector, retail as well as third sector charities to Hamilton. It will be a fantastic opportunity for people to meet employers and apply for vacant posts.

 “It’s shaping up to be an exciting day and I hope hundreds of my constituents can make it along" 

Following on, Christina said:

“Thanks to the ongoing work of the Scottish Government and its partners Scotland is the best place to find work across these islands. This year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show the number of people jobless in Scotland fell to an all-time low, well below the UK figure.

 “Our job fair in Hamilton is a great opportunity to benefit from this success and get access to a whole range of employers from all around our area.

 “Also, if you are an employer looking to plug into some of our talented new prospective employees it is not too late to sign yourself up!”

 

 

 

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson led a debate on changes to pension credits due to take effect from 15 May, in Holyrood last Thursday (9 May) - just a week after Tory welfare spokesperson Michelle Ballantyne came under renewed pressure for saying she didn’t care “one way or the other” about the changes. 

Currently, if one partner in a couple is over the state retirement age and eligible, they can claim pension credit.

However, new changes brought in by the Tories at Westminster will remove that provision forcing the working age partner to claim Universal Credit instead – decreasing payments by £140.44 a week and up to £7,320 annually. 

Age Scotland has criticised the announcement warning that it could leave "some of the poorest pensioners paying a hefty price for having a younger partner,” with many WASPI women, and disabled people also predicted to be affected by the cuts.

Holyrood’s Social Security Committee has written to the Department of Work and Pensions, asking them to delay the changes over concerns that there is a lack of awareness of the imminent change.

Kenneth Gibson MSP said:

“This UK Tory Government should be ashamed of how it treats older people.

“This is just the latest in a series of harmful and unnecessary Tory cuts, that will punish pensioners in need simply for having a partner younger than them.”

“Although recent political attention has been focused on Brexit and Theresa May’s imminent departure - life goes on for the hundreds of thousands of people who have seen their incomes slashed, by measures often sneaked out, such as this one, on the day of the first ‘meaningful’ Brexit vote.

“These changes will have a devastating impact on the finances, health and wellbeing of pensioners in Scotland. The Tories must think again, to avoid driving many older people and their partners into poverty.”

 
Kenneth Gibson S5M-15570
Parliamentary Motion 

That the Parliament condemns the UK Government’s decision that, from 15 May 2019, newly-retired people whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 will no longer be able to claim pension credit (PC) and must instead claim universal credit (UC) along with their partners; understands that the couple rate of UC is £114.81 a week, compared with £255.25 for a couple receiving PC, which amounts to a potential loss of £7,320 a year; believes that this change could have a devastating impact on couple's finances, health and wellbeing and increase the number of older people in poverty; considers that, if the change comes into force, couples might find themselves in the position of being financially better off if they split up and live apart; is disappointed that the changes were set out in a written statement by Parliamentary Secretary for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman MP, which was published online on the evening of 14 January 2019; believes that this allowed the announcement to go through largely unnoticed due to the Brexit vote, and notes the calls for the UK Government to reconsider this decision, which, it believes, could drive many older people and their partners in Cunninghame North, Scotland and across the UK into poverty.


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Keeping up with you

Hello and welcome to all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.

Thank you for taking a moment to look at this email. I want to keep everyone in touch with what’s going on in the constituency and what it might mean for you.

My door is open to anyone who seeks advice and support, so you can  phone or email me at any time.

You also have the option of visiting  constituency surgeries on Mondays. You don't need to make an appointment.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive your personalised copy of this newsletter, which we are sending out every two weeks, then please do  sign up here.

Back to School, back to costs!


Pupils from across all of South Lanarkshire have been helped out with the price of school uniforms. COSLA confirmed that all 32 local authorities have implemented an increase for school clothing grant. 

The £100 minimum grant to all eligible families was put in place for the start of the academic year, relieving the financial pressure for South Lanarkshire families and pupils as they return to school. 

This announcement from the Scottish Government will provide real, tangible help to families feeling the strain. 

We all know the stress and pressure that the return to school can bring, with clothes, shoes, bags and all the accessories. 

In South Lanarkshire, we have already made great strides in providing pupils with school clothing through the Back to School Bank. 

It's great to see our Scottish Government taking an action that provides real help.


Motor Neurone Disease 

Some of you already know that I take a close interest in living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), as my own father did for many years before he died.

In June, just before we went off for the summer holidays, we marked MND Awareness Week. 

The Scottish Government has invested £2.5 million annually in the Specialist Nursing and Care Fund since 2015, more than doubling the number of MND specialist nurses across Scotland.


The new Health and Social Care Standards, introduced in April, seek to provide better personal outcomes for everyone and to ensure that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.

Everyone is entitled to care that meets their needs and upholds their rights.

The Euan MacDonald Centre, at Edinburgh University, https://www.euanmacdonaldcentre.org was started up with funds from Euan - just 29 when he was diagnosed - and his father, Donald. It's a fantastic resource, and I was directly involved with Euan on the building of a voicebank for patients to access, allowing them to pick out a voice sound that is closest to their own natural voice.




The Scottish Government recognise that research is essential for the development of new and effective approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Motor Neurone Disease – investing in both research capacity and in bringing MND studies to Scotland.
 
Are you being scammed?

Watch out! What do you know about skimming or fake ATMs? The cleverer technology gets, the cleverer online scammers get to keep up. Phishing, harvesting, identity theft, hacked information such as BA's embarrassment last week. British Airways is facing a possible fine of around £500 million over a data breach that compromised 380,000 card payments after regulators said they were "making inquiries" into the incident.

 

So I took up the cause at Larkhall Trinity Church last week and invited in experts to explain more.

The ‘Scam Awareness Surgery’ was designed to make sure the citizens of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse are made more aware of the latest scams and frauds. 

Research from Citizens Advice Scotland had shown that over 61% of over 65s have been approached by a scammer. Other schemes include computer repair/ phishing scams and home and identity fraud

Scammers can target anyone, but especially older people and anyone who has a vulnerability that makes them an easier target.

I thought it was important to give you the opportunity to ask questions and find out how best to protect yourselves against this ever more sophisticated form of theft.

Thanks especially to Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau, Trading Standards and Police Scotland for coming along to give east to understand help and guidance that will make sure people here are more protected and secure whether that's at an ATM or purchasing something online.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks with more news.