Good to get along to Money Advice Service's event in Parliament for Talk Money Week today to hear more about how to increase financial wellbeing by encouraging people to discuss personal finance issues such as debt, savings, using credit, financial education and retirement.
Help is available for all of the above and can be effective! For free and impartial money guidance you can call the Money Advice Service on 0800 138 7777 or visit their website: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
And locally money advice is available from different advice organisations.
I was pleased to receive a notification from the Scottish Government's Planning and Environmental Appeals Division today stating that they have rejected Cala Management Ltd's application for 56 homes on the green space adjacent to Kings Way, Westerwood.
Working with Jamie Hepburn MSP I surveyed residents and it would seem from their decision that the Reporter shared the concerns that were raised with us. Many constituents pointed out that this was a well used piece of green space that also acted as a wildlife corridor and the Reporter refers to this.
You can find the link to the full decision document here: http://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/Document.aspx?id=562559
I am backing the campaign from Faces & Voices of Recovery UK to say that all people have a right to recover from addiction to alcohol & other drugs. It was great to meet with campaigners from the charity to hear about and sign up to the ‘UK Recovery Declaration of Rights’.
The Declaration calls for action to build communities of recovery that will support those people and their families still needing help and to end discrimination. It pledges that people who currently or formerly used substances should be able to live their lives free from stigma, with access to quality care and with meaningful political representation.
People in recovery have a right to respect and dignity and to be free from stigma & discrimination. For more information visit: http://www.facesandvoicesofrecoveryuk.org/uk-recovery-decl…/
Thank you to Cumbernauld British Legion, Cumbernauld Old Parish Church and Milton of Campsie Community Council for all the thought and hard work put into planning and organising what I thought were very poignant and powerful commemorations for Armistice Day today.
Indeed, thanks to all organisations across Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East for their work in ensuring we remember those who have lost their lives in service, and have the chance to renew our commitment to strive for peace.
Craighead Library is a hugely valued service and I know the proposed closure has caused considerable anger in Milton of Campsie. Libraries have a really important role in terms of promoting reading, providing public information, tackling social isolation and can also be really important in early years education.
With the roll-out of Universal Credit more people are requiring the use of libraries and the computing and internet facilities offered there. This is a short-sighted decision and we need to do all we can to reverse it and keep the library open.
I hope everyone will contact their local councillors and make their views known.
Busy day including taking part at a rally of EU citizens resident in the UK and British citizens resident in other parts of the EU. Their key concern just now is what happens if there is “no deal”. I asked the Immigration Minister about this later in the day during an urgent question in the chamber - but none of the information that EU/UK nationals urgently need was forthcoming.
I have organised two Winter Advice Surgeries this year - the first with Rona Mackay MSP in Hillhead on Friday 16 November (full details in the poster below) and a second with Jamie Hepburn MSP on Friday 30 November (more details to follow).
At both of these events, we will be joined by organisations offering information and advice that will be useful over the winter months.
Always enjoy taking part in the #IPTPoppyRide in Parliament to help raise money for the poppy appeal and awareness for Poppy Legion's #ThankYou100campaign.
All the money raised from the bike ride will help provide lifelong financial, social and emotional support for the Armed Forces community.
Stuart McDonald MP is urging deaf people in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East who have queries about benefits to use the social security advocacy service provided by Action on Hearing Loss Scotland.
The service can provide people who are Deaf or have hearing loss – including British Sign Language (BSL) users – with information, advice and, where possible, formal representation to challenge benefits decisions.
Stuart McDonald MP said: “Information about welfare and social security can often be difficult to understand and navigating the systems to ensure you get the support you are entitled to can put many people off applying.
“I’m pleased to see Action on Hearing Loss Scotland providing this service and encourage deaf or hard of hearing people in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East to use the charity’s support if you have queries, claims or want to make an appeal about social security benefits.”
Teri Devine, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “We appreciate Stuart McDonald MP’s support for our social security advocacy service which can provide details and advice about a range of benefits.
“If you are Deaf or have hearing loss and need some help to understand what processes to follow to apply for support you may be entitled to, or are confused about letters you have received regarding your benefits, we would be delighted to help you make sense of it all.”
Jamie Hepburn MSP and I recently wrote to Des Murray, Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Council, to high;ight the concerns that many constituents have raised with us in relation to the current extreme congestion issues at Croy Station Car Parks. A copy of this letter can be found below. From discussion with our colleagues, Councillor Alan Masterton, Cumbernauld North - SNP, Cllr Mark John Kerr, Kilsyth & Villages Ward - SNP and Councillor Danish Ashraf - Ward 2 Cumbernauld North, we are aware that it is an issue that they have been contacted about by a number of constituents as well.
Concerns have been raised with us regarding the impact this now has for commuters, who struggle to find a place to park, and on those who live in nearby streets in Smithstone and Croy, who now find that their streets are becoming congested by parked vehicles.
In the past this issue led to the Scottish Government providing SPT with significant funding to help create one of Scotland’s largest park and ride facilities at the station in 2011. This investment had an immediate and positive impact on this situation, greatly reducing on street parking in adjacent residential areas. However, as more and more people are now using the train, which is a welcome shift in mode of transport, the car parks at Croy Station are struggling to meet this demand.
We have also had meetings and discussions with Scotrail on this issue and we are aware that they recently held a session with North Lanarkshire Council and SPT to understand any options for reconfiguration, expansion and improvements that may be made to the station car parks. The smaller car park at the station is operated by Scotrail, and the larger one by North Lanarkshire Council.
We are aware that a decking solution has also been considered, which was of course what had initially been proposed for the site of the newer car park. This was of course before new housing had been built adjacent to the site, so we recognise the challenges that such a solution would bring in terms of neighbour concerns, not to mention the funding of such an option may prove challenging.
From our dialogue with ScotRail we know that they are giving serious consideration as to how nearby areas of land that aren’t being utilised for any purpose could be acquired and used to increase car parking capacity. We have asked the council how they are engaged in assisting with this process.
We have also asked the council what further consideration they have given to the matter of constrained car parking at Croy railway station and to potential solutions, particularly given the significant impact currently being experienced by local residents and commuters in this area.