Mason calls for jobless benefit increase

12 Nov 2008

John Mason, the SNP MP for Glasgow East, has expressed concern over the failure of benefits to keep up with the rising cost of living. He has called on the UK Government to bring forward implementation of the planned 6.3% rise in Job Seekers Allowance.

Speaking earlier today, John Mason said: “Losing a job is never easy but, as food and fuel prices rocket, the next few months will be even more difficult for those trying to cope on benefits.

“While growing the economy and getting people back into work must be the focus of Government action, steps also need to be taken to ensure benefits allow a basic standard of living.”

Glasgow MP welcomes replacement of CSA

03 Nov 2008

The replacement body for the much-criticised Child Support Agency will be up and running this week.

The news of the long-awaited transition has been welcomed by Glasgow East MP, John Mason, who has regular cases from constituents who have been failed by the current Child Support system.

The performance of the CSA has been under serious scrutiny for many years after the major failings of a new computer system led to widespread errors and caused hardship for families.

The SNP MP’s new constituency office has received a string of complaints from both ‘Parents With Care’ who are not receiving payments and from ‘Non-Resident Parents’ who are being asked to pay far beyond their means. After these major failings were finally accepted by the Government plans were put in place in December 2006 to replace the Agency with a new body – the Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission – which will take on new and existing cases.

Commenting on the change, East End SNP MP John Mason said: “I have dealt with a large number of Child Support Agency cases since my election and the major problems within the Agency have had a significant impact on many families’ lives here in Glasgow.

“In many cases there are parents receiving no child support whatsoever, and in others the absent parents are being asked to pay far more than is affordable.

“There has been no flexibility in the system to allow reasonable arrangements to be made, and the transfer of powers to the new body is a major step to solving that.

“It is disappointing that the Government took such a long time to accept the problems and take the corrective action which I, and many other MPs, have been demanding. That being said, this long overdue move is a significant step forward, and should mean a fairer deal for local families.”

Glasgow East by-election winner opposes Human Fertilisation & Embryology bill

22 Oct 2008

The winner of the Glasgow East by-election, John Mason MP, has spoken in the House of Commons debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill this evening (Wednesday 22 October). The East End parliamentarian, who is opposed to the HFE bill, spoke in support of amendment 41, a measure which sought to introduce a definitive ban on human reproductive cloning into the legislation.

Amendment 41 was defeated after a division of the House. The final vote on the third reading of the HFE bill will be taken later this evening.

Speaking from London after the defeat of amendment 41, Mr Mason said: “In some key respects the HFE bill reverses some of the key provisions of 2001’s reproductive cloning legislation. There were many things which that law did not do, but at least it did this one thing. It gave assurance to that no clone baby would be born in the United Kingdom. Now less than ten years later, this statutory ban is being repealed in clause 3 of the HFE bill.

“Amongst the most concerning aspects of the HFE bill is the creation of part animal, part human embryos – hybrid embryos. We were told that these are purely for necessary medical research, and would never be implanted into a woman, or into an animal. The idea that a part animal, part human could ever be born is dismissed as scaremongering. And yet less than ten years ago the very same things were said about cloning children. We were told that this would never happen, that there was a clear, tight, exceptionless law. But with this HFE bill the exceptions are beginning and cloning a child has taken a huge step forward.

“People want to support science but they also want scientists to be responsible. They want to know there are limits and lines that will not be crossed. If the HFE bill is passed into law then the public will receive no guarantees on many of the important questions.”

Mason welcomes extra cash for heating programme

20 Oct 2008

Central heatingScottish Government looking to extend scheme to those on Income Support

Glasgow East MP John Mason has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government of an extra £10 million investment in the Government’s heating programme.

This year has seen record numbers of pensioners having heating systems installed or upgraded and the Glasgow MP has welcomed the further injection of cash to help those suffering from fuel poverty.

Commenting on the investment, East End MP John Mason said:

“Given the serious financial pressures facing many families this additional investment by the Scottish Government is very timely.

“By improving heating systems in the homes of those most in need, not only do people benefit from the heat but from the savings of having an efficient and effective heating system.

“The Scottish Government is now looking to roll this scheme out to families on Income Support, and I hope that there will be support from other parties for widening the scope of this important scheme.

“Across Scotland, thousands of people have already benefited, including many households here in Glasgow.  This additional funding will ensure that even more can benefit.”

Note:

Details of the additional funding can be found here.