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.”

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.”