Mason comments on health inequalities report – ‘Shocking but sadly familiar’

28 Aug 2008

CaltonA new publication by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put male life expectancy at birth in Calton at 54, compared to 62 in India and 82 in Lenzie.

The findings are included in a report by the WHO’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health which charts health inequalities around the world.

Commenting on the report, newly elected SNP MP for the area John Mason said: “These statistics are shocking but sadly familiar.

“Poor health has characterised the East End of Glasgow for far too long. It is absolutely inexcusable that life expectancy in Glasgow is lower than that of India where 80% of the population live in poverty.

“Clearly the area’s challenges are complex and will not be resolved overnight, but action must be taken on the blights that have held us back for too long. For example, measures to tackle excessive alcohol consumption and a lack of exercise as well as addressing maternal health, drug and alcohol misuse and early years provision.

“As a local to the area myself, I have been frustrated by the inaction of previous administrations to make real changes in the area but heartened by the news that the Scottish Government is taking health inequality seriously.

“In June, the Ministerial Taskforce on Health Inequalities Report ‘Equally Well’ set out a series of cross-departmental recommendations which the Scottish Government has pledged £1.8bn to support.

“Determination and commitment on this scale will make a real difference to health in the East End of Glasgow.”

Note:

The WHO report can be viewed here.

Senior civil servant reveals Brown’s by-election panic

11 Aug 2008

Newly elected Glasgow East SNP MP, John Mason, has described reports in the Sunday Times at the weekend that Gordon Brown is considering a one-off winter payment to households in receipt of child benefit as a “panic reaction”, after they were inadvertently revealed by a senior civil servant, Sir Brian Bender, who was overheard discussing the secret strategy on a train the day after the SNP sensationally won the Glasgow East seat from Labour.

Mr Mason said: “The fact that senior civil servants were rushed back to London hours after the SNP’s sensational by-election win leave little doubt that these proposals are a panic reaction to Labour’s humiliation in Glasgow East.

“First we got a freeze in fuel duty during the campaign, now we get an energy bill rebate for hard-pressed families. Clearly, while the proposal may be inadequate and half cocked, the SNP’s win in Glasgow East is concentrating minds wonderfully in London.

“While any action to help hard pressed families with the soaring cost of energy is welcome, with the average energy bill going up £400 since the beginning of the year, the prime minister’s proposals are a mere sticking plaster.

“It is no longer tenable for Gordon Brown to rake in a windfall of billions of pounds from North Sea oil taxation yet put nothing back into helping the economy or the hard pressed public.”

Note:

Sir Brian Bender is Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Mason takes message to Treasury – SNP MPs back ‘SHOUT’ campaign against tax office closure

31 Jul 2008

Self Assessment tax return formSNP MP John Mason, the newly elected member for Glasgow East, visited the Treasury today (Thursday) with SNP Chief Whip Stewart Hosie MP to deliver a 3000 signature petition protesting at the closure of the HM Revenue and Customs Offices across Scotland to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Kennedy MP.

Speaking outside the Treasury, Stewart Hosie said: “The Scottish HMRC Offices Under Threat (SHOUT) campaign mounted by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union has been remarkable.

“Two representatives from the PCS travelled over 1000 miles across Scotland in five days to visit each of the offices threatened with closure. Along the way, they gathered 3196 signatures all from people opposed to the closure of these offices.

“Speaking at a PCS rally in Edinburgh last week, I was struck by the commitment of PCS members to providing first-rate service and their frustration at these cuts.

John Mason added: “My election sent a message to Gordon Brown. The Labour Government needs to start listening and not just to the people of Glasgow East but to the people of Scotland.

“The closure of the HMRC offices is an excellent example of where the Government should start.

“The SHOUT message is clear. The question now is will the Government listen?”

Mason takes message to Treasury – SNP MPs back ‘SHOUT’ campaign against tax office closure

30 Jul 2008

SNP MP John Mason, the newly elected member for Glasgow East, will come to the House of Commons for the first time today (Wednesday) for a series of meetings with Parliamentary officials.


Speaking outside Parliament, Mr Mason said: “While the Parliamentary recess prevents me from taking my oath immediately, I will provide all the services an MP should in Glasgow East. That is why I have come to London to take the first steps towards getting my office up and running.


“The people of Glasgow East put their faith in me. They had been without the representation they deserve for far too long and they want a change. I will not disappoint them. I am determined to be a high profile and high visibility MP, tackling the issues that matter to the people of my constituency.


“We asked the people of Glasgow East to send a message on food and fuel prices to Gordon Brown and I will deliver that message. This huge swing to the SNP would leave one Labour MP in Scotland – it’s time for Labour to listen.”