Glasgow East ‘first in Scotland’ in anti-cruelty campaign

18 Feb 2009

John Mason has become the first Scottish MP to sign up to the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection’s (BUAV) campaign to make constituency offices cruelty free.

The Clean Up Cruelty campaign calls for a ban on the testing of Household Products on animals. 81% of the public have said they would support this ban. However, the ingredients of many products continue to be tested.

By signing up to the campaign, John Mason has pledged to use only BUAV approved cleaning products in his Constituency Office. The East End representative was presented with a certificate marking his achievement earlier today (Wednesday) by BUAV’s senior parliamentary adviser, Jenny Gowen.

Speaking after the presentation, John Mason said: “I’m delighted to show my support for this important campaign by only using cruelty free products in may office. It’s a disgrace that cleaning products are still tested on animals and I urge my colleagues to clean up their offices too.”

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of BUAV, added “It’s fantastic that John Mason is supporting our campaign putting Glasgow East on the cruelty free map. I call on all politicians in Scotland to follow his lead and sign up to this important campaign.”

NOTES:

(1) The Glasgow MP was presented with a certificate by BUAV representative, Jenny Gowen, at 11.00am on the morning of Wednesday 18 February 2009. A photo of the presentation is attached.

(2) The BUAV has been campaigning for over 100 years to achieve a world where nobody wants or believes we need to experiment on animals. We are committed to achieving our aims through reliable and reasoned evidence-based debate. We are proudly non-violent and respect the quality of life for all – animals and people.

(3) The BUAV’s Humane Cosmetics and Household Products Standards Leaping Bunny logo is internationally recognised and patented cruelty-free certification. Approved companies must open up their supply chain to a rigourous indpendent audit. This painstaking process ensures that neither the product nor, crucially, any of its ingredients have been tested on animals at any stage of the manufacturing cycle. For more information on the strict auditing process and a list of approved companies visit www.gocrueltyfree.org

Local MP welcomes Lightburn litter measures

11 Feb 2009

The East End’s MP, John Mason, has welcomed commitments given by Glasgow Community & Safety Services (GCS) to tackle litter in the Lightburn area of his constituency.

The SNP MP for Glasgow East contacted GCS in January, after having been approached by residents of Torphin Walk concerned about the prevalence of litter in their area.

Mr Mason was impressed by the response that he received from GCS, in which they agreed to step up the number of Community Enforcement Officer (CEO) patrols in the area, in addition to deploying a mobile CCTV unit.

Welcoming this development, Mr Mason said:

“Credit where credit is due, I approached Community & Safety Services in order to highlight a particular problem and they have responded to my concerns.

“As well as stepping up enforcement patrols and making use of a mobile CCTV unit, GCS are also contacting local organisations and community groups in order to explore the idea of a community clean-up campaign.

“Only time will tell whether these anti-litter efforts are successful over the longer term, but I would like to commend Glasgow Community & Safety Services and their staff for the positive approach that has been taken in this case.”

Notes:

Glasgow Community & Safety Services is a partnership between the City Council, Strathclyde Police, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and the Glasgow Housing Association.

Mason slams ‘negative stereotypes’ of East End

09 Feb 2009

John Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, has slammed those who persist with peddling negative stereotypes of the East End. The local SNP Member of Parliament has spoken out following remarks made by a journalist in the on-line edition of the London-based “Spectator” magazine.

A story of protest has greeted comments penned by a journalist, Fraser Nelson, that Easterhouse and Castlemilk were “beautiful names, but scummy estates”.

John Mason has now put down a motion at the House of Commons inviting Mr Nelson to spend time in the East End of the city.

Commenting on the ongoing furore that these remarks have created, John Mason said:

“During the by-election at which I was elected, much of the metropolitan media coverage made the inaccurate assumption that the entire eastern section of Glasgow was a sinkhole of economic depression. It is an understatement to describe this point of view as a lot of utter rubbish.

“Part of the problem was that many journalists and so-called experts wrote about the East End without ever having visited it. I am sorry to see that little has changed in the past six months, and that some commentators continue to sound off despite their ignorance.

“I have now put down a motion inviting Mr Nelson, and anyone else who shares his misconception, to visit my constituency to see for themselves the great achievements, regeneration and true community spirit that exists.”

Note:

The text of John Mason’s Early Day Motion (EDM) reads:

John Mason (Glasgow East – SNP) – Easterhouse and Castlemilk – That this House rejects the description of Easterhouse and Castlemilk as “scummy estates” by Fraser Nelson in The Spectator; condemns the use of sweeping and inaccurate descriptions to characterise any community; recognises that, while these areas have problems to overcome, great progress is being made; encourages Mr Nelson, or anyone who shares his perceptions, to spend time in the east end of Glasgow and see for themselves the great achievements, regeneration and true community spirit that exists.

‘UK benefits system is hindering child poverty action’, says Mason

04 Feb 2009

John Mason, the SNP MP for Glasgow East, has re-iterated his concern over the UK Government’s proposed benefits reforms following the publication of an independent report on child poverty in Scotland.

The new report, carried out for the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government Committee, highlighted the failings of the current UK benefits system. According to the East End MP, who is the SNP Work & Pensions spokesman, these failings are unlikely to be addressed by the London Government’s current proposals to reform the system.

The new report found that many of those on benefits were unlikely to be better of as a result of returning to work. The report also showed that children in Scotland are more likely to miss out on experiences of childhood (holiday, sports, playgroup, school trips, etc) because of poverty than those across the UK.

Commenting on the report’s findings, John Mason said:

“This report highlights some of the serious problems that confront single parent families and unemployed people in the East End. For many of them the ‘benefits trap’, is not only a theory, it is the reality they are faced with every day.

“Whilst many parents whose children are living in poverty wish to train or to work they too often find they are penalised by the system for doing so, with people put off applying for work and college because they will lose benefit support

“If those returning to work are earning less than they would by staying on benefits, then it would be better to consider whether minimum wage is set at a high enough level, rather than look at changes to the benefits system.

“This study confirms that forcing people into work will do little to tackle child poverty and may make the situation worse. Given that this is part of the UK Government’s current plan for the benefit system, that is a matter of huge concern. “

ENDS

The full report can be accessed at the link below – beginning on p15.

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/lgc/papers-09/lgp09-04.pdf

Extracts from the report produced by Hayton Consulting following a series of focus groups and interviews with low income parents and carers across Scotland includes;

2.39 – For single parents, with young children in particular in the current labour market and benefits system, moving into the labour market is unlikely to result in people being financially much better off. Even if child care can be provided at an affordable cost (which is very debatable) the way the benefits system works seems likely to mean that, even with tax credits, most will not be much better off. “

2.42 ….What there was evidence of was a perception that the type of jobs on offer and the possible reduction of benefits as a result of working would result in many being little better off, and possibly worse off, as a result of working. It is also the case that forcing people into work would do little or nothing to overcome child poverty. Indeed it is likely to make the situation worse.

3.4 Despite this it may be that the assumption that one way of overcoming child poverty is to ensure that all of those who are eligible for benefits receive them is flawed. The issue may have less to do with a failure to claim and far more to do with the relatively low levels of benefits paid.

7.9 It could be argued that the way to get those living in poverty into work is to reduce benefits. Yet this would do nothing to overcome poverty and nothing to help children. Indeed rather than benefits being too high it could be argued that wages are too low.

7.13 The big issues that could have a short term impact on child poverty (the levels of the minimum wage and benefits) are reserved to Westminster. Beyond lobbying, the Scottish Parliament can have limited impact upon them.

NOTE: John Mason is due to speak to the Westminster Education Forum seminar on ‘Eradicating’ Child Poverty and Improving Social Mobility, tomorrow – 5th February 2009. Event due to be held at 61 Whitehall, London.