John Mason supports winter warmth message

30 Jan 2009

The SNP MP for the East End, John Mason, is urging people worried about their energy bills and about keeping warm this winter to follow the advice of Energy Action Scotland, the charity working for warm, dry homes.

Commenting on the issue earlier today (30 January), John Mason said:

“Energy bills were quick to rise over the summer, but they have been slow to come back down again despite the recent slump in wholesale oil and gas prices. For many people in the East End, that makes heating their home an expensive business.

“Older properties and tenement flats are especially hard to heat at this time of year, and this type of housing predominates in many of the East End communities I represent. That’s why I’d encourage local residents to take the advice of Energy Action Scotland whenever possible.”

In its winter warmth campaign, Energy Action Scotland says:

Ø Be Energy Efficient

Make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. Get advice about easy and inexpensive ways you can save energy, for example by draughtproofing or by using appliances in a more economical way. You can also find out about making your home or your heating system more energy efficient, perhaps with cavity wall insulation or a heat pump. Contact the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on freephone 0800 512 012.

Ø Check Benefits orTax Credit Entitlement

Many people don’t realise they can increase their income by claiming the benefits or tax credit they are entitled to get. The extra income can be very helpful when the winter energy bills come in. Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.

Ø Get the Best Energy Deal

Find out if you can get a better deal from your electricity or gas company. Sometimes you can save money by switching to a different tariff or selecting a different way to pay your bills. Some companies also offer special services, like social tariffs, for certain groups of people. Check out what’s available for your needs via the Home Heat Helpline on freephone 0800 33 66 99.

Norman Kerr, Director, Energy Action Scotland says:

“Following these 3 areas of advice can help reduce the amount of energy you need to use at home and help towards paying your energy bills.”

EAST END MP SPEAKS IN KEY WELFARE REFORM DEBATE

28 Jan 2009

John Mason, the MP for Glasgow East and the SNP’s Work & Pensions spokesman, has contributed to a key parliamentary debate on the UK Government’s Welfare Reform Bill. Speaking yesterday (27 January) during an evening debate the East End MP said that, while he shared some of the Government’s objectives, he thought that the midst of a recession was the wrong time to launch a reform of the welfare system.

Speaking during the debate, Mr Mason referred to his visit to Parkhead Jobcentre Plus earlier this month, saying:

“During the recess, I spent a morning in a Jobcentre Plus in my constituency. I sat in on a couple of interviews, and I saw folk who were really desperate to get back to work. The question…however, is: are the jobs actually out there? This seems a strange time to introduce this legislation.”

Mr Mason went on to say that, while it is important to address the situation where some members of the younger generation have never known their parents to have a job, he has reservations about plans to cut benefits for some of those considered to be refusing work.

Speaking about the potential impact on jobseekers families, the Scottish National Party MP said:

“My particular concern is for children…in the system. I have already asked Ministers whether…dependent children will be taken into account before sanctions are enforced. Figures from the United States suggest that, when sanctions have been imposed, 60 per cent. of the children involved are at a higher risk of being underweight.”

Mr Mason called for the Government to look at making employment more attractive by considering an increase in the minimum wage. He then concluded by referring to the commitment that he made to Glasgow East on being sworn in as an MP.

“I promised my constituents that I would judge issues at Westminster by how they affected the gap between the rich and the poor in society. Now we are entering a recession, yet we see top bankers, who have virtually destroyed their banks and half the economy of this country…Those bankers are walking away with knighthoods and handsome pensions, and are perhaps even getting other good jobs as well. By contrast, we see people at the bottom of our society being squeezed more and more. I just think that there is something wrong with that.”

Its official: Glasgow East office is open for business!

23 Jan 2009

John Mason’s Glasgow East Constituency Office was opened this afternoon in a ceremony presided over by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister and the MSP for Glasgow Govan.

Speaking after completing the official ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of a 40-strong crowd, Ms Sturgeon said:

“I was delighted to be asked to open John Mason’s constituency office. The people of Glasgow East made a good choice electing John as their MP. I know that he will do his very best for them.”

Mr Mason expressed his gratitude to Nicola Sturgeon for opening his office, and went on to thank the voters of the East End for giving him the privilege of representing them in the House of Commons.

Commenting afterwards, John Mason, SNP MP for Glasgow East, said:

“This office is a practical facility intended to serve the people of Glasgow East. It is important to me that the voters have an obvious place that they can come with their issues and concerns, even when I have to be in London.

“In the best modern tradition, the official opening took place a few months after my office opened its doors to the public, as my three staff have been based here since October.

“Local people are entitled to ask why none of their Labour representatives have a similar facility. What is the point of a local office if it is hidden away in an industrial estate or business park?”

‘East End must get fair share of school repairs cash’ – Mason

20 Jan 2009

John Mason, the Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow East, has expressed concern over the City Council’s plans to close 25 schools across the city.

Glasgow’s Labour-controlled council is to consult on proposals to close or merge a number of primary schools and nurseries. While none of the schools set for the axe are in the East End, Mr Mason is concerned that the entire budget for repair and refurbishment will now be taken up by work on ‘merged campus’ buildings in other parts of the city.

John Mason, SNP MP for Glasgow East, said:

“The City Council’s latest plan to close or merge a variety of primary schools appears to have left Glasgow East largely unaffected. This is welcome, as closing schools can have a negative impact on children’s education. In addition, the vast majority of schools in the East End are right at the heart of the communities they serve, and as such any closures or mergers would have an impact on a far wider group than pupils and their families.

“Crumbling school buildings have been a feature of the educational life of children across the city for quite some time. This problem has got worse and worse during the decades of Labour control at the City Chambers.

“I await the results of the latest public consultation on the future of our schools with interest. I am keen for refurbishment to benefit other schools as well as those facing mergers; otherwise there would be no expenditure on the school estate within the East End.”