Victory for people power in saving post office card account

14 Nov 2008

Post Office signGlasgow East MP John Mason has welcomed the announcement that the Post Office will retain the Post Office Card Account (POCA) contract.

The decision had been subject to long delays since the summer, causing huge uncertainty for postmasters and their customers.

Across Glasgow, hundreds of people had signed up to show their support for the Post Office retaining the contract and that level of people power appears to have had an impact.

In recent days speculation had been rife that the contract had been awarded to Paypoint but the decision to allow the Post Office to continue supplying the service is long overdue relief.

Commenting on the decision the SNP’s John Mason said: “Local people can be rightly proud of the part they have played in putting pressure on the Government to allow Post Offices to continue providing this service.

“This decision has been long overdue and after the way in which the Post Office network has been treated in recent years by the Government this is at last some much needed relief.

“The uncertainty caused by months of delay in awarding this contract created a great deal of unnecessary worry for Post Offices, particularly as it comes in the wake of a controversial contraction of the Post Office network.

“There is still work to be done keeping pressure on the Government to actively promote the Card Account service to benefits customers an I will certainly be pursuing that issue.”

East end MP backs firefighters over safety concerns

13 Nov 2008

John Mason MP at Westminster with FBU representativesThe Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow East, John Mason, has given his backing to fire-fighters lobbying the House of Commons over concerns about rising crew fatalities.

According to the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) eight fire-fighters died in the line of duty throughout the UK during 2007 – the worst year since 1985. There has also been a sharp rise in fire deaths in the last five years, with the 22 deaths since 2003 being significantly higher than preceding five year period.

Speaking after meeting local fire crew at the House of Commons, John Mason said: “Deaths of fire-fighters on duty have risen sharply over the last five years, and this is a trend that must be reversed.

“The public in Glasgow, and throughout Scotland, are extremely proud of our fire professionals, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for the risks they take to protect our families and our homes.

“The FBU is calling for a new UK Fire and Rescue Service body.  It would be in charge of implementing changes to the service resulting from recommendations based on serious incidents or fatalities.

“I will be contacting the Scottish Government in order to ensure that the FBU’s recommendations are considered in a local context.”

Notes:

The FBU is calling for a national Fire and Rescue Service body. It would be in charge of implementing changes to the service resulting from recommendations based on serious incidents or fatalities.

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.”