SNP MSPs and MPs Formally Support UN Nuke Ban Treaty

30 Nov 2017

SNP MSPs have formally supported the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by signing the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge. This pledge commits parliamentarians to “work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries.” Complete SNP support, led by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, illustrates the party’s support for nuclear disarmament and the scrapping of trident.


ICAN, an international civil society group against nuclear weapons, has instigated the pledge signing for parliamentarians from across the world. The Holyrood Signing, which saw every SNP MSP sign the pledge as well as all Scottish Greens MSPs and three Labour MSPs, came just two weeks before ICAN receives the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for its international nuclear disarmament advocacy. ICAN commentated on the Holyrood Signing saying,
“The endorsement and commitment to the TPNW by a majority of Scottish Parliamentarians stands in marked contrast to the position of the UK Government. During the March Treaty negotiations, the UK UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the Ufirst Committee at the United Nations that the UK had a clear mandate to renew its Trident nuclear weapons system. That appears to be arguable. The decision by so many Scottish parliamentarians to align themselves with a Treaty aimed at the complete elimination of weapons at least critically undermines that mandate.”


Bill Kidd who led the Holyrood Signing amongst the SNP expressed deep delight at the SNP show of support for the TPNW through the pledge: he highlighted that this reflects the conviction shared by many Scots that nuclear weapons are morally abhorrent and indiscriminate in nature.


John noted, “I was honoured to sign this important pledge of support for the Ban Treaty. This change in International Law will usher in a necessary shift in bringing human rights to the forefront of the nuclear disarmament debate. Nuclear weapons not only kill hundreds of thousands of civilians but are also lived-through. They have lasting detrimental effects on families and communities of survivors (Hibakusha), many of whom saw the devastation first hand. I urge the UK Government to sign the UN Ban Treaty so they can stand with the majority of states in the world who have already taken this step.”


27 Nov 2017

John today lent his support for calls to improve awareness among Scottish drivers about the importance of having an up-to-date eye test before getting behind the wheel. It is estimated that crashes involving a driver with poor vision cause 2,900 casualties each year across the UK. Research by Vision Express and OnePoll finds that 15% of drivers had not had an eye test since they passed their driving test – on average – 14 years previously.


Attending an event in the Scottish Parliament John tested a driving simulator, replicating the experience of driving with Glaucoma. The event – hosted by Vision Express – coincided with Road Safety Week 2017 (Nov 20-26) and was designed to help raise awareness about the importance of having regular eye tests.

John said: “Many people don’t realise that changes in sight can be gradual, and experts say that it’s possible to lose up to 40% of your vision before even noticing it. That’s why drivers of all ages have a responsibility to themselves, their passengers, other road users and pedestrians to ensure they take their eye health seriously. Using the driving simulator I experienced for myself just how debilitating and dangerous it can be to drive with impaired vision.”


New polling published this week by Vision Express reveals that many people who drive as part of their job – who between them clock up billions of miles each year on Scotland’s roads – are not taking regular eye tests. The YouGov research polled Scots who drive for work, and found that:


  • Almost a quarter are not having regular eye tests
  • 4% haven’t had a test in at least 10 years
  • 3% have never had their eyes tested
  • 14% would flout the requirement to voluntarily inform the DVLA if an eye test showed they were unfit to drive
  • Over a third (38%) say their job would be at risk if their eyesight fell below the standard to drive. In fact, 27% would lose their job if they lost their licence


John said: “Van and HGV traffic is on the rise thanks in part to the growth in online shopping & deliveries. It’s absolutely vital that these drivers in particular, who spend much of their day in transit, take their eye health seriously. You wouldn’t get behind the wheel of your car if it didn’t have an up-to-date MOT, so why would you put your own lives and the lives of others at risk by driving with defective eyesight?


“That’s why I would encourage the Scottish Government to do everything it can to spearhead ongoing driver awareness campaigns, using existing infrastructure and communications channels including websites and social media to reinforce and champion existing NHS guidance which recommends eye tests every two years.”


In 2016, there were 44,048 work-related road casualties. A quarter of the drivers surveyed in Vision Express’ research considered sub-standard sight to be among the most significant road safety hazards and almost nine in 10 (84%) claimed to feel unsafe if other road users have poor vision.


Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express CEO, said: “The Health & Safety Executive estimates that a third of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is at work, so ensuring these individuals have eye sight that is up to scratch can have a significant impact on improving road safety.


“Vision Express is calling on the Scottish Government to help us to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye tests for drivers. To this end we’re delighted that the Scottish Government has agreed to display awareness messages on Scottish roads, alerting drivers to the importance of good eye health.”


The voucher can be redeemed until 31 December 2017 at any of approximately 400 Vision Express stores across the UK

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Sample size was 913 workers (non emergency services) of which 367 were required to drive for work. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th – 25th September 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).


John Mason MSP supporting Scotland’s money charity

24 Nov 2017

John has pledged his support for Money Advice Scotland and the development of free, impartial and confidential money advice and financial inclusion.

Money Advice Scotland is a registered charity and in addition to training money advisers and delivering financial education, the organisation has launched a new Helpline offering access to free, impartial money advice services across Scotland.

The new helpline was launched on 1st October 2017 and members of the public can call the helpline between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 731 4722.

76 MSPs signed the pledge supporting Money Advice Scotland at an exhibition sponsored by the Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, in the Scottish Parliament, earlier this week.

Yvonne MacDermid, the Chief Executive of Money Advice Scotland, said:

“I am honoured to have had the opportunity to exhibit our work at the Scottish Parliament. We are grateful to each and every Member of the Scottish Parliament who pledged their support in promoting the development of free, impartial and confidential money advice and financial inclusion, and in particular to the Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP for sponsoring this event.

“With personal debt climbing to levels not witnessed since the financial crisis, it is crucial that people have somewhere to access help both in times of need, but also at an early stage to help guard against problems in the longer run.

“The Money Advice Scotland Helpline is the first point of contact for people with worries about money or debt and we urge anyone looking for help to contact the helpline, as we strive to continue to be the driving force towards financial wellbeing for the people of Scotland.”


John said:

“I am delighted to support Money Advice Scotland in its work to promote financial health and wellbeing for the people of Scotland.

“Total household debt has increased to its highest level since November 2008 as rising prices for essentials and falling real incomes threaten to stretch household budgets to breaking point. The Money Advice Scotland Helpline is a vital resource for people living in Constituency/Region and I would encourage anyone facing financial difficulties to get in touch with the team at Money Advice Scotland.”

If you have debt or money worries, please contact Money Advice Scotland Helpline on 0800 731 4722.


Glasgow Shettleston MSP meets homelessness campaigners in Holyrood

23 Nov 2017


John Mason has met with campaigners from the charity Shelter Scotland in the Scottish Parliament this week.


The charity brought its campaign Homelessness: Far From Fixed to Holyrood to highlight the human cost of homelessness and to call for urgent action tackling both the causes and the consequences.


Shelter Scotland campaigners highlighted how a household becomes homeless every 19 minutes and gave each MSP local figures for their area showing how the shortage of housing and support is affecting every part of the country.


Scottish Government figures show the number of children in temporary accommodation is at a six year high and in the last full year for which figures are available there was an increase in people sleeping rough before applying for help from their local councils.


John said:
“Shelter Scotland and the other groups involved in tackling homelessness do a tremendous job. In this day and age however, the scourge of homelessness should not exist. That is why I am throwing my support behind “The Far From Fixed” campaign.”


When the campaign launched 12 months ago it sounded an alarm, warning that if action wasn’t taken the progress on tackling homelessness during the last ten years was at risk of being undone.


Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:


“I am heartened to see MSPs, including John show support for our campaign by taking the time to talk to us in parliament and find out more about how the issue is affecting constituents.


“We are seeing new steps being taken, including the Scottish Government’s creation of a £50 million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund and the launch of an action group on homelessness but we really need MSPs from across the political spectrum to work together with us to make an even bigger difference.”


Shelter Scotland has submitted its recommendations for action to the Scottish Government Action group on homelessness and rough sleeping.


The Far From Fixed campaign’s four main aims are:


  • A safe and affordable home for everyone
  • Help is available for everyone to keep or find a home
  • A strong housing safety net to catch people if they do lose their home
  • And, that no-one should ever have to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets