Motion S5M-14347: Barriers to Eating Healthily

22 Oct 2018

That the Parliament notes the findings of a study carried out by the Social Mobility Fund in conjunction with Kellogg’s, What are the barriers to eating healthily in the UK?; understands that it describes one-in-10 of the country’s most deprived areas as being so-called food deserts, which are places where poverty, poor transport and that a lack of big supermarkets limit the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables; deplores the finding that, in Scotland, 80% of these areas are in Glasgow; notes that the report suggests that 39% of people with a household income under £10,000, and 23% with one between £10,000 and £20,000, stated that groceries were a strain on finances; believes that the study also found that healthy products cost three times as much per calorie than those that are less healthy; considers that more needs to be done to ensure that people in the most deprived communities can afford healthy food, and calls on all levels of government to act to tackle the problems that this report has highlighted.


17 Oct 2018

Last week, John met with the Cancer Research UK team at the SNP party conference in Glasgow to learn about the charity’s priorities for beating cancer sooner in Scotland.


John said: “Cancer has a huge impact on people and their families in Glasgow Shettleston Constituency, so it has been a fantastic opportunity to meet with Cancer Research UK staff to learn more about their priorities and how early diagnosis saves lives.”



He heard about Cancer Research UK’s latest campaign, which highlights the need for action to address shortages in the diagnostic workforce in Scotland. Cancer Research UK is calling on the Scottish Government to take a strategic approach to workforce planning to ensure we have a service that meets patient demand.


Early diagnosis is vital. If someone’s cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, then it is more likely that that person will survive. For some of the most common types of cancer, survival is more than three times higher when the disease is diagnosed at its earliest stages.


However, only 78.7% of patients received the diagnostic tests they needed within six weeks in the quarter ending 30 June 2018.* The target is that no one should be waiting longer than six weeks for a test. This means that more than 18,500 patients in Scotland waited more than the target time of six weeks to receive a diagnostic test.


By 2035, more than 40,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer every year across Scotland, an increase of more than 8,000 people on 2015 levels.** More staff are urgently needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments, yet currently 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled.***


Gregor McNie, Head of External Affairs at Cancer Research UK, said: “Healthcare staff in Scotland are working harder than ever to diagnose and treat people with cancer.”


“But the NHS in Scotland does not have enough staff to be as effective as possible in diagnosing cancer.”


“The Scottish Government has taken some very welcome steps to address these issues, such as a recent international recruitment drive to increase the number of radiologists and its Endoscopy Action Plan. But broader, long-term action is needed.”


“Cancer Research UK is calling on the Scottish Government to take these specific actions to accelerate progress towards 3 in 4 people surviving their cancer by 2034.”


16 Oct 2018

John Mason MSP is urging deaf people in Shettleston who have queries about benefits to use a charity’s social security advocacy service.

The service, which is run by the charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, can provide people who are Deaf or have hearing loss – including British Sign Language (BSL) users – with information, advice and, where possible, formal representation to challenge benefits decisions.


John Mason MSP said: “Information about social security can often be difficult to understand and it is important that people can access the support that they are entitled to.


“I’m pleased to see Action on Hearing Loss Scotland providing this service and encourage deaf or hard of hearing people in Shettleston to use the charity’s support if you have queries, claims or want to make an appeal about social security benefits.”


Teri Devine, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “We appreciate John Mason MSP’s support for our social security advocacy service which can provide details and advice about a range of benefits.


“If you are Deaf or have hearing loss and need some help to understand what processes to follow to apply for support you may be entitled to, or are confused about letters you have received regarding your benefits, we would be delighted to help you make sense of it all.”


For information about Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s social security advice service, call telephone: 0141 341 5346, text: 07388 227407 or email:  British Sign Language users can contact via the ContactSCOTLAND-BSL service.

Motion S5M-14289: Hypocrisy of the Labour Party

12 Oct 2018

That the Parliament condemns what it considers the hypocrisy of the Labour Party regarding its criticism of the funding for Glasgow City Council, Aberdeen City Council and other councils by the Scottish Government since 2007; further considers that Glasgow is a powerhouse of the Scottish economy but that it is not helpful to set one city against another in this way; understands that, for many years, Glasgow, under both Labour and SNP administrations, has been one of the best per capita-funded mainland local authorities in Scotland because of its level of need; further understands that all 32 local authorities would like more money from the Scottish Government; is deeply concerned that the current expectations are that the UK Government will continue to restrict the Scottish Budget, which it considers gives the Scottish Government limited room for manoeuvre; congratulates the SNP Council leader, Susan Aitken, and senior SNP councillors, who it considers have at last addressed the equal pay issue in Glasgow, which was largely avoided by their Labour predecessors; notes that all councils would like additional funding to address financial challenges but considers that Labour fails to explain where such funding might come from; understands that the SNP-minority administration was elected on a promise to establish a constructive relationship with the Scottish Government that gets results for Glasgow and congratulates both bodies on, it considers, achieving this; assumes that Labour’s plan for additional funding for Glasgow, Aberdeen and every other council would mean matching cuts for the NHS, which it considers unacceptable; values the vital services that Glasgow City Council, and all local authorities, deliver on a daily basis, which it considers are crucial in the fight against poverty and inequality; believes that Glasgow has a leadership team that is a considerable improvement on its Labour predecessors; supports calls for COSLA to keep the distribution of council funding under review, and urges Scottish Government Ministers to continue what it sees as their excellent work of properly resourcing Glasgow and all local authorities across Scotland, in light of what it considers continuing tight financial settlements from the UK Government.