Subscribt to Christina's email newsletter


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. 

Remembrance

Memories are sometimes painful. On the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, the ghosts from the past return to haunt us and perhaps warn us.
 
There were several events around Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse from last weekend through until Sunday 11 November. I was privileged to join three ceremonies across the day – at Stonehouse, then at the Cenotaph event on Bothwell Road in Hamilton during the afternoon and at 6.55pm, marking the end of the day's activity during wartime, the Last Post was played at St John’s at the top cross.


 
The Annual Garden of Remembrance ceremony on 3 November saw crosses with the names of fallen soldiers from our area placed into a specially created garden.
 
It is a very poignant event. I later read comments made by Ian Forsyth MBE, convener of the Joint Ex-Services Committee and a veteran of the Second World War. He said: Another year, more heartbreak as more young lives are thrown away. Another year, and it is now 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, the most horrific onslaught imaginable that engulfed almost the whole world, destroying everything in its path.”
 
He added: “In my lifetime I cannot remember when we were completely at peace. The list of campaigns we have been engaged in is as long as my arm. From 1919 until the present day it has never stopped, and I ask myself ‘Will we never learn?’”

At the Festival of Remembrance on 4 November, at the Town House, there were a range of representative bodies including the Salvation Army, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, South Lanarkshire Council, Poppy Scotland, Hamilton schools and ex-services organisations.
 
The festival foreword was given by Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin, national president of Royal British Legion Scotland.

He said: “This year’s Hamilton Festival of Remembrance takes place on 4 November 2018. A hundred years since the end of World War 1.


“As we gather once again in this annual act of Remembrance it would seem appropriate to remember those particular casualties, the first of so many hundreds of thousands who would fall during the course of the next four years of fighting.”

He added: “In remembering the sacrifices of 100 years ago, we should also remember the sacrifices of more modern times.


“And we should honour those Remembrances by doing whatever we can to help veterans in need today.

“It is that present help that gives true meaning to Remembrance.”


Why we need foodbanks

In an ideal world, we would not need to have foodbanks because everyone would have the resources to keep the family safe and fed. That faraway land is somewhere very far from the current one which focuses taking more and more from the least well off while providing the very wealthy with tax breaks and bonus awards.


 

The Hamilton District Foodbank provided 3,177 three day emergency food supplies to local people between 1 April and 30 September just past. They expect demand to continue rising.
 
On average, where Universal Credit has been rolled out for less than three months, the rise in demand increases by 12% After a year of UC, that increases rises to 52%.
 
The UK government has been told many times by the Trussell Trust, who run the foodbanks without any government support, that there is a direct and incontrovertible equation between benefit delays and increased poverty.
 
As Isobel Graham, manager of the Hamilton Foodbank, says: “It’s a real concern that in only six months we’ve provided 3,177 emergency supplies to local people. These figures don’t even cover our busiest time of year - as the colder weather draws in, we often find more people needing our help.
 
“It’s not right that anyone in Hamilton District is being forced to turn to our foodbank. Our volunteers offer vital support when it matters most, but they should not need to.

"We want to see an end to local people needing emergency food – with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, we could reach that future.

"We’re determined to make sure that until that time comes, emergency help is here for people, but there needs to be some long-term change because we don’t want to be here forever.”  
 
I would like to encourage those who can manage to help people around them to make some donations to our foodbank in the run-up to Christmas.

I also want to convey my enormous gratitude to the people who staff and volunteer at the Foodbank and, like them, look forward to not requiring them!
 
 
Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre 

There’s an interesting vacancy at LRCC for the right person. The Hamilton Centre is looking for a support worker and they want to see as diverse a range of applications as they can find. No men need apply. This is a women-only post under Schedule 9, Part 1, of the Equality Act 2010.
 
The post is funded for three years by the Scottish Government to help advance support and information services and to reduce waiting lists.
 
For an application pack, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send a large stamped addressed envelope to Catriona Hoey, Support Co-ordinator, LRCC, 23-25 Brandon Street, Hamilton, ML3 6DA

 
Applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on 23rd November 2018.
Interviews for this post will be held the week beginning 10th December 2018 in Hamilton.
 
 
Living Wage Week

The annual Living Wage Week has just past. I want to urge businesses in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse to sign up and make a commitment to their own employees. Nearly all of the SNP MSPs are already signed up, some Labour and a very few Conservatives.
 
 The Scottish Living Wage is independently calculated based on the cost of living – with the real Living Wage rising by 25p to £9, above the minimum wage of £7.83 for workers aged over 25.

There are currently 65 accredited Living Wage employers in South Lanarkshire Council’s area. I will be writing to other employers to encourage them to explore the benefits of accreditation, with research showing that paying the real Living Wage leads to a fall in absenteeism and a significant positive impact on recruitment and staff retention. 

For business, paying the Living Wage makes sense - it’s an investment in people and all the evidence shows it leads to increased productivity and reduced staff absence and turnover.

It is completely unacceptable that the UK government did not use last week’s Budget to raise the National Living Wage, extend it to all workers and end discrimination against young people.  With low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, it is vital that employers who can pay the real Living Wage do so.

I would strongly encourage all employers in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse to look into the real benefits of becoming an accredited Living Wage employer.
 
 
Medications after Brexit 

 

There has been a lot of nervousness around Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse over the last couple of weeks. Hardly surprising since the Prime Minister is unable to guarantee supplies of essential drugs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.


I’m talking about vital medications required by people with cancer, asthma, arthritis, antibiotics, severe pain, diabetes both Type 1 and Type 2, steroids, I could list a hundred. There is no insulin whatsoever produced in either the UK or Ireland. Most of it comes from Novo Nordisk A/S in Denmark.

The people who passively say ‘oh, it’ll be alright. They won’t want to stop providing for the UK market’ worry me in much the same way as the same people believe that Aldi and Lidl will continue to supply their UK supermarkets regardless of any kind of deal or no deal.

This isn’t a problem that can be solved by the manufacturers or producers. It has to be solved within the Brexit deal. There isn’t any sign of commercial ill-will towards selling into the UK. It’s that the whole chaos of Brexit reigns supreme until or unless the UK gets a deal it finds acceptable.

 Then, and only then, can the UK seek the kind of trade deals it will need to make. These deals are long in the making. The one between Europe and Canada took 12 years to work out. Without the weight of the EU member countries behind it, the UK loses a lot of its world power.

From 28 to 27 isn’t as big an issue for Europe as it is for the one nation that has chosen to leave the club and becomes one versus 27.

We learned that the government has already begun an accelerated tender process to try and stockpile medicines at a cost of tens of millions of pounds, but most drugs have a relatively short shelf life and the Government continues to talk about enough drugs being stored away for six weeks.
 
Even the UK government’s most senior health official says he cannot be ‘confident’ that essential medicines will still be available after a no-deal Brexit. Matt Hancock did, though, confirm the issuing of a tender to buy more storage facilities.
 
It is yet another needless anxiety in the ongoing chaos that is Brexit. We talked to both Boots and Lloyds Chemists but neither could offer any reassurance because no one knows what is going to happen. We continue on in the blind hope that somehow common sense and human dignity will win out. We haven’t had any examples of that so far.
  

 

People with diabetes encouraged to take up offer of screening

An NHS Lanarkshire consultant is encouraging patients with diabetes to take up the offer of diabetic retinopathy screening.

The call coincides with World Diabetes Day, which will be held on 14 November 2018.

World Diabetes Day is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries.

300,000 people in Scotland currently have diabetes. Approximately 264,000 of these patients are eligible for screening every year. Type 1 accounts for around 30,000 while the vast majority have Type 2. Complications form in either type.

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells in the retina.

Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness or serious damage to your eyesight. Virtually everyone who has had Type 1 diabetes for 10 or more years will have some retinopathy present. Where control of blood glucose levels is poor, the risk of retinopathy becoming sight threatening increases. Retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness among adults in the western world.

Dr Tasmin Sommerfield, consultant in public health medicine, said: “Diabetic retinopathy screening is offered every year to anyone with diabetes aged 12 and over. Patients will receive a letter, inviting them to attend for screening every 12 months.

“Screening can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by finding the condition before you notice any changes to your sight.

“The screening involves photographs being taken of the back of your eye. The camera does not come into contact with your eyes. All photographs are then carefully examined for signs of retinopathy.”

The appointment normally lasts around 10 minutes and you will receive your results by letter within four weeks.

For further information on diabetic retinopathy screening, visit: https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/screening/diabetic-retinopathy/diabetic-retinopathy-screening-drs

 
 

Winter road traffic service launch

Improved support and information is being made available for drivers using the trunk road network to help keep Scotland moving this winter.

These improvements come following the ‘Beast from the East’ weather event earlier this year, which saw the Met Office issue its first red weather warning for snow in Scotland since the introduction of the colour coded warning system.

New equipment has been added to the winter fleet, new police travel advice will help give clear guidance to drivers and the Met Office has launched an online forecast dedicated to conditions in Scotland.

The new equipment includes:

·         a customised Unimog, capable of spreading enhanced liquid de-icer, which will be strategically located for use during high level snow and flooding events.

·         an electric powered spreader, which will be deployed as patrol vehicle on the M8.

·         a Hilltip Icestriker from Finland, fitted with a V plow, will be trialled on the M80 to ensure recovery teams can access incidents in the most challenging conditions.

As well as the fleet of emergency response vehicles, we have more than two hundred traditional gritters located at 42 depots across the country. Specialist snow plans are being developed, in conjunction with our operating companies and Police Scotland, for the M8, M74, M77 and M80, following the significant snow events on these routes in recent years. We also continue to liaise with the haulage industry to ensure their members are aware of conditions and advice.

Salt barns are full and further live brine trials will be carried out to give teams alternative treatments during the lowest temperatures. The gritter tracker is once again up and running, letting people see where our gritters have been carrying out treatments.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“We can’t prevent the challenging weather we see during the winter period, but our teams work all year round to ensure we’re fully prepared and ready to respond when difficult conditions set in.

“The challenges faced during the ‘Beast from the East’ are still fresh in the memory, so we have looked to make improvements across the board, from equipment and treatments to information and advice for travellers.

“As always, the Traffic Scotland mobile site – my.trafficscotland.org – provides up to date information on the trunk road network, the @trafficscotland twitter page is regularly updated and the popular gritter tracker is also available.

“Transport Scotland officials will continue to work with Police Scotland, the Met Office and other partner organisations to ensure we have a joined up approach to keep Scotland moving this winter.”

Representatives from Police Scotland and the Met Office will be based at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre in South Queensferry during the winter period.

Following heavy snowfall during the ‘Beast from the East’, Police Scotland has revised its travel advice to ensure drivers get clear, concise advice on conditions.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said:

“Motorists found the numbering system we were using to indicate the severity of travel warnings confusing, as it didn't directly relate to the weather warnings issued by the Met Office. As a result, we've decided to replace it with a system which is more specific and targeted.

“Our new system will make advice much clearer for drivers of all types of vehicles and we'll be issuing specific guidance to drivers of Goods Vehicles, buses and also to drivers of vehicles which may be vulnerable to being blown over on exposed routes.

“Winter driving is a question of common sense and drivers should ask themselves if they really need to travel when conditions are poor. No-one should ever place themselves at risk on the road and it may be worth considering postponing your journey or making alternative arrangements such as delaying travel until conditions improve.

"If you are travelling on the roads you should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions, making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed. Charge your mobile phone and plan your route in advance. Listen to media broadcasts, especially local radio, and visit the Traffic Scotland website for more advice."

The Met Office revised its own weather warnings earlier this year and has launched a daily YouTube broadcast, dedicated to conditions in Scotland.

Andy Kirkman from the Met Office said:

“The Met Office is delighted to continue working closely with our partners in Transport Scotland, delivering key weather information and advice to decision-makers to help them get through the winter season. Adverse winter weather such as snow, ice and heavy rain can cause disruption to transport services - our forecasters and advisors work closely with authorities in Scotland to prepare for these types of weather.

“As part of our commitment to continually improve, this year we introduced daily Scotland weather broadcasts on our YouTube channel and we are now able to issue weather warnings up to 7 days in advance, enabling people, businesses and emergency responders to know what the weather has in store and what impacts that weather may bring.”



Contact Christina:


Constituency:
Christina McKelvie MSP
Barncluith Business Centre
Townhead Street
Hamilton 
ML3 7DP
Telephone: 01698 403 311
Fax: 01698 403 313

Parliament:
Christina McKelvie MSP
The Scottish Parliament 
Edinburgh 
EH99 1SP

Telephone: 0800 092 7500 

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Scottish Parliament website: www.parliament.scot
Constituency Website: www.christina-mckelvie.org

Notification

I am registered as a data controller with the UK Information Commissioner – https://ico.org.uk/ESDWebPages/Entry/Z1210550





 

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.

Budget Day

 

On Monday 29 October we heard Philip Hammond deliver the UK budget

We didn’t expect much and we certainly didn’t get it. That 50p piece celebrating Brexit  will give you an ever decreasing amount to invest in the £25m you’ll be spending on the Brexit Festival.

The £950m ‘increase’ in funding over three years for Scotland is a bit of a con. Hammond has no choice but to give the Scottish Government its share of the Barnett Consequentials. Besides, in reality we have been short-changed to the tune of £50m for our NHS. What Scotland decides to do with that funding is up to our own Government, thank goodness.

To put this in context, the Scottish NHS costs around £13bn a year to run.

So, over and above the £350m a week that we were promised in 2016 and have never seen, we have, well, 50p. In other words, we are seeing none of this promised Brexit ‘dividend,’ just more Universal Credit suffering.

The Chancellor claims that austerity is ending; Mrs May says it has already ended. We didn’t see evidence of either in this budget.

And, of course, if there is no Brexit deal – a terrifying prospect that looks more likely every minute – Mr Hammond will have to tear up all his hard work and start again with a new budget in just five months’ time.

Items that we in Scotland really hoped to see in the Budget included the Real Living Wage, but all Mr Hammond has done is put in a small inflationary increase in the National Wage which will rise from £7.83 to £8.31 in April. No mention of our calls to extend to all workers, regardless of age.


Appalling Tory policies are increasing poverty 

 

 

The Nasty Party is living up to its name. They really seem to regard increasing poverty as some kind of success!

What we are seeing is:

  • Backed the two-child cap, which puts 150,000 Scottish children at greater risk of poverty by 2021. 
  • Argued there was no “hard evidence” explaining rising foodbank demand – despite the overwhelming evidence pointing the finger precisely at Tory policies.
  • Said that only “tiny” numbers were affected by sanctions – when figures show that Scots have been sanctioned 400,000 times since 2010. 
  • Argued that the minimum wage should be scrapped. 
  • Branded the Bedroom Tax an “opportunity” – when three quarters of those affected were forced to cut back on food. 

Have you ever watch Rich House, Poor House? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Jacob Rees-Mogg or Boris Johnson spend a week living on the home of an average Hamilton family?

 

Michelle Ballantyne MSP

 

 

Entirely in the spirit of the Tories’ notion of welfare, Michelle Ballantyne MSP, and the Scottish Tory welfare spokesperson, has declared that “people on benefits cannot have as many children as they like.”

Since her comments, it has emerged that Ms Ballantyne claimed tax credits and child benefit for her own six children. A typical hypocrisy, the kind of attitude we have become all too familiar with.

One rule for the rich, and another for the rest of us. That’s Tory equality in the 21st century UK.

Ms Ballantyne has previously called for a debate on whether there should be a “restriction” on the number of children people can have – showing that these statements reflect long-held views. 

I wonder how you would all react, in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse to that kind of ruling? I’d love to hear your views. I am reminded of the former Chinese ‘one child’ policy which was relaxed in 2013 and that is in a hard-line Communist country. An interesting model for the UK.

Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre

There’s an interesting vacancy at LRCC for the right person. The centre, at the Brandon House Business Centre, is looking for a Development Worker. They say: “We are keen to reach a diverse and wide range of potential applicants, including those from minority and hard to reach groups. With this in mind, it would be great if you were willing to share this opportunity with as many of your staff, volunteers, service users, patrons and contacts as possible through any channels, including social media.”

If you are interested, please call Julie Gatens on 01698 527006 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

‘Fright Night’ in Stonehouse

Everyone enjoyed the fun on Saturday past and there was a great atmosphere throughout the evening.

The Friends of Stonehouse Park mounted a fantastic even for all ages. That’s the kind of community activity I love to see.

 

Council initiative to help the third sector

 

South Lanarkshire Council has teamed up with SCVO’s Funding Scotland to provide a free online funding search facility to charities, community groups and social enterprises in South Lanarkshire.

In these very straitened times, the fantastic small local groups that make such a difference to people, really struggle to find the funding to continue what they are doing. They all do their best with street collections, local events and sales.

But the Tories have withdrawn government funding from so many of these groups, the services they have been providing, so essential for local people, have been lost.

Registration is free and fast. Just go to socsi.in/08G80 

 

 

banner image 1

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.

Turning the tide on marine plastics

If you have any awareness of how plastics are destroying the under-sea environment, you’ll be aware of how important it is that all of us do our bit to try to address this. I would urge everyone in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse to give a bit more thought to where they can avoid using plastics or where these products can be recycled. The total saving is far more than each small part that an individual or a family plays.

So I was especially pleased to see more support for innovative projects aimed at tackling marine plastic pollution announced by Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.
A total of £1 million – double the initial commitment of £500,000 set out in the Programme for Government – is now available to support solutions in marine plastics capture, collection and recovery.



This includes funding from Marine Scotland to trial demonstration technologies in Scotland, aimed at addressing the issue of litter sinks and the removal of plastics from our seas.

Announcing the funding at the Scottish Resources Conference, Ms Cunningham said:

“By making £1 million available to support innovative projects aimed at tackling marine plastic pollution, we are doubling our previous pledge - further demonstrating our absolute commitment to tackle the scourge of marine plastic pollution.

“We want to attract and invest in innovative projects which prevent plastics entering the marine environment or propose operational solutions to capture, collect, recover and reprocess marine plastic waste.

“I believe that investment of this nature has the potential to benefit our environment, economy and our coastlines which suffer from the unintended consequences of modern day lifestyle choices.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:
“Scotland’s marine environment is increasingly suffering from our throwaway habits, and very visibly when it comes to the proliferation of single-use plastics. We know this is an issue people across Scotland are keen to see action on.  
 
“Through these funds, we are looking to invest in innovative projects which prevent plastics entering the marine environment or propose operational solutions to capture, collect, recover and reprocess marine waste plastics - allowing them to be processed for high value recovery.  These projects have the potential to benefit our environment, our economy and our coastlines.”

We all play a part, we all create rubbish. Let's seriously try to reduce are contribution to the anti-environmental litter bins.

Wearing it pink

On Friday 19 October, we have the big wear it pink event and I’d like to encourage all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse to look out your best pink bits and bobs!
I did did my best for the cause at the Scottish Parliament event, where lots of MSPs turned out to help raise funds for Breast Cancer Now’s research.

Breast Cancer Awareness month has raised over £31m towards that vital work.If we’ve not been victims ourselves, most of us know someone who has. Every year around 4,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland and almost 1,000 people will die as a result.



Breast Cancer Now’s ambition is that if we all act now, by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live – and live well. The charity is determined to stop women dying from the disease, working in a new, collaborative way and bringing together all those affected by the disease to fund research, share knowledge and find answers.Find out more at: www.breastcancernow.org.


Universal Credit: Sorry, it's all getting worse!

Yes, I’m sorry, but if you thought that as the implementation of UC continued, it might all get better, something more like William Hague claimed at the time, then I have to tell you: you are proven wrong. I take no pleasure at all in calling out that reality, but the whole scheme seems to be even more blighted than it was before.



The annual Welfare Reform Report finds that the UK Government’s benefit freeze alone will reduce Scotland’s allocation by £370 million by 2021. has led to huge reductions in spending – around £190 million in the current year 2018/2019, rising to around £370 million by 2020/21.

The report has also found that Universal Credit claimants are over six times as likely to be sanctioned as claimants of any other legacy benefit, and young men are the most likely to be sanctioned.

I can confirm all of that from every surgery, every time that I meet with constituents in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, who explain to me just some of the absurd ways in which they have been punished by a Westminster Government who thinks in terms of an 'undeserving poor.'

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
 
“These figures in this comprehensive report lay bare the devastating impact of the UK Government’s welfare cuts for people, families and communities across Scotland.
 
“As ever it is the poorest and most vulnerable in our society who are suffering the most, those out of work and those in low paid employment finding their benefits effectively being cut year after year.     
 
“The Scottish Government is doing what it can to protect people on lower incomes by, this year alone, investing over £125 million on mitigation measures - £20 million more than last year – and an additional £350 million for Council Tax Reduction. 
 
“Over the coming years, we will use our new social security powers to provide increased financial support for people on low incomes, including the Best Start Grant, the Job Grant and Carers Allowance Supplement.
 


On top of the general chaos and extended waiting times lies the issue of too few DWP staff trying to deal with claims.The DWP’s ‘work coaches’ each support 85 claimants is expected to rise to 373 claimants by 2024-25, emphasising just how important it is for us to have our own Social Security system in Scotland before that.Kirsty McKechnie of the Child Poverty Action Group warned that work coaches were already struggling with the existing number of claimants, saying:

“We already know that’s an issue with their current workload. We have people who are leaving notes in their journals for their work coaches and just not getting a response. That’s before this work load has ramped up”.

Victoria Todd of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group added:

“We certainly have concerns as to how you would deal with that volume… What will happen when you have got the migration and the many more claimants per work coach, to consider all of the factors you’ve just outlined, it’s definitely a worry as to whether they can cope with that.”

When will the Tories face up to the reality that the scheme is a total disaster? I suppose that’s a bit like asking when they’ll face up to the reality that Brexit is turkeys voting for an early Christmas!

.

Keeping up with you

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

It's been a fanatically busy couple of weeks! I imagine a lot of you are feeling much the same, juggling all the different people with different needs in your household.

None of this is made any easier by the relentless confusion and contradictions over Brexit. The SNP continues to regard the best outcome would be to stay in the EU.

Meantime, we get on with the everyday business of governing Scotland in the best interests of all our people, of whatever age, background, ethnicity, secuality, religion or disability.

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.

Catch up with the HamilTEN!
We had a bit of an event at the first ever HamilTen run on Saturday!

Organised by The Hamilton Bid, the 10k run was due to start up from Castle Street at 10 am, but there was a bit of a delay.

A truck clipped a telegraph pole and brought the wires down.


But the run was saved by the quick response of a runner who also happens to be a BT engineer.

Great to have the right people on hand at a time like this! Very many thanks to him.

Councillors John Ross and Stephanie Callaghan ran the race for Arch, the autism service in Hamilton.

Home truths about Brexit
People coming into my office often ask me "What will Brexit be for me and my family? How can I know since even the Westminster Government doesn't seem to know?"

And that's the crux of the problem. Nobody knows. All this shrieking from different conflicting interests from Jacob Rees Mogg with his investment funds in Ireland, to Boris Johnson and his personal ambitions.

Amid the squabbling over the future of this United Kingdom, as Westminster hurtles closer and closer to the cliff edge that is No Deal, the Scottish Government has published a detailed plan to keep both Scotland and the rest of the UK within the customs union and single market.

This approach would allow us to protect jobs and living standards - instead of arrogantly dismissing those proposals, the Prime Minister should be putting them on the table for consideration.

For us in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, what happens at the end of March next year - that's only six months away - remains a complete mystery. What I'm sure about, probably the only thing I'm sure about, is that it isn't going to be good for any of us here.


Hamilton Grammar pupils visit the Scottish Parliament
On a much happier note, I'm always enthused when young people show a real interest in our Parliament, so it was a joy to meet up with Hamilton Grammar pupils.

As an S1 Group, they are incredibly knowledgeable about the parliament and in the goings on of their local community. 

It’s clear to see all the hard work – which resulted in record breaking exam result success the school achieved - is pulsating throughout all year groups. 

My thanks to the staff and pupils for taking the time to visit the Scottish Parliament and I look forward to visiting the school again in the near future.

Tax raid on pensioners
Not one of us is unfamiliar with Tory austerity, but don't lose track of the confusion that continues inside the Labour Party. All very evident at its Conference this week.

Now we have yet another depressing example of the party's plans for taxing of pensioners.
The Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard MP, used his conference speech to propose a “1% windfall tax on Scotland’s wealthiest 10%” which he claims would raise £3.7bn. But official figures show that 49% of those affected are pensioner households.

Across Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, we have many, many pensioner households, often just one person. These folk can't suddenly find a big chunk to pay Labour's Windfall Tax - and they shouldn't be asked to
 

Bruce Crawford, SNP MSP, points out:

“Labour’s plan for a one-off tax are completely half-baked. Half of those hit by this £3.7 billion tax bill would be pensioners – for whom having a house does not necessarily mean having a high income. 

“For many of those would be hit, their ‘wealth’ could be little more than their home and pension. How is Richard Leonard expecting those pensioners to afford a one-off tax bill?"

Fun at Fairhill
I had a great time at the annual Fairhill fun day a couple of weeks ago. Hundreds of people joined in the fun at Fairhill Lifestyles Centre.

Organised through Community Links and the Fairhill Community Group, the fun day included the famous boogie bus, kid’s entertainment, stall holders and Police Scotland.

The Fairhill Community Group deserve tremendous credit for always excelling themselves in putting the day on. 

I thank them for all their hard work in organising the day and supporting our local community. 

 The community spirit within Fairhill is clear to see and I am tremendously proud to represent such a vibrant, positive community as their local MSP in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.

International Day of Peace

The Scottish Parliament marked the UN’s International Day of Peace on 21 September.

Here in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, we are particularly aware of the very expensive dangers sitting in our back gardens,
 
This year’s event celebrated “The Right to Peace” on the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.


 
 Long-time anti-nuclear proponent, Bill Kidd, MSP, said to the Chamber:

“Peace is the absence of violence. We are lucky enough to live in times of peace here in Scotland: the normal experience of Scottish people nowadays is very different to what people had to live through, and die for, during large parts of the twentieth century.
 
“If we have the ability to actively promote peace and the capacity to make a change, then we have the responsibility to do so.
 
“As parliamentarians we are privileged to be in a position to affect legislation working towards peace.
 
“Whether it be on climate justice by voting in the Climate Change Bill or previously voting for the Child Poverty Act, we have the ability to be ambitious in promoting peace.”

Here's to that!

 

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.


fShare

Privacy Notice



Contact Christina:


Constituency:
Christina McKelvie MSP
Barncluith Business Centre
Townhead Street
Hamilton 
ML3 7DP
Telephone: 01698 403 311
Fax: 01698 403 313

Parliament:
Christina McKelvie MSP
The Scottish Parliament 
Edinburgh 
EH99 1SP

Telephone: 0131 348 6682

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Scottish Parliament website: www.parliament.scot
Constituency Website: www.christina-mckelvie.org
 

Notification

I am registered as a data controller with the UK Information Commissioner – https://ico.org.uk/ESDWebPages/Entry/Z1210550

 
 
 
 

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.

Read more ...