S4M-13964: Internet Access In Deprived Communities

17 Aug 2015

That the Parliament notes the recently-published report by Citizens Advice Scotland, Internet Access in Glasgow’s Deprived Areas; understands that the data, which was collected in 2013, suggests that 70% of respondents were either unable to claim benefits online or would need help to this, 42% had never used the internet and 35% were unable to use a computer; understands that these figures are substantially worse in deprived areas, with half of the respondents having never used the internet and 40% being unable to use a computer at all; considers that, given the digitalisation of the welfare system, this relative lack of digital access for people living in such areas is particularly alarming; agrees with the report in its conclusion that considerable effort is needed to address this problem, and hopes that future policy initiatives, such as Digital by Default, will instead take consideration of the reported links between deprivation, age and ability to use the internet rather than exacerbate already difficult circumstances.

Vacancy: Parliamentary Officer

10 Aug 2015

Job Title: Parliamentary Officer
Salary: £19,000 (37.5 hours per week)

A full time position of Parliamentary Officer has arisen in the Constituency Office of John Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston.

You will be a self-motivated individual, able to manage your workload, work on your own initiative and work to challenging deadlines. You should preferably have a good local knowledge of the East End of Glasgow and also demonstrate a strong understanding of Scottish politics in general, and the Scottish National Party in particular. Good IT skills are also expected.

Responsibilities will include dealing with Parliament officers, communicating with media, social media, drafting speeches and providing briefings ahead of debates, general research, preparing the annual report and other reports for local organisations, and attending meetings and events on behalf of John Mason. You will also be part of the team dealing with constituency casework and ensuring that the constituency office is suitably staffed.

Normal working hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm but some flexibility is expected to cover evening or weekend meetings. The usual place of work is in the Parkhead office but potentially one day per week will be in Holyrood.

To apply send a CV and a covering letter (including a summary of your knowledge of the constituency) to anne.mcglinchey@scottish.parliament.uk. The closing date for applications is 9am on Friday 21st August and interviews will take place very shortly afterwards.

S4M-13914: Council By Elections

10 Aug 2015

That the Parliament notes the five council by-elections held on 6 August 2015 in the Glasgow Shettleston constituency and elsewhere in Scotland and that they all were won by Scottish National Party candidates; is disappointed at the low turnouts, including one of 14.5%; notes the belief in the system of proportional representation by single transferable vote, which takes account of both party preference and the importance of the individual candidate; is concerned that the present system of by-elections does not always produce a proportional result as it takes no account of the existing ward councillors, and notes the desire to find a better way of replacing councillors who depart during their term of office.

Motion S4M-13903: Mental Health & Religion

06 Aug 2015

That the Parliament notes the findings of a study by the Erasmus University Medical Centre (Erasmus MC) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which found that joining a religious organisation is more beneficial than charity work, sport or education in improving older people’s mental health; understands that, in a study of 9,000 Europeans aged 50+ over a four-year period, researchers looked at different levels of social activity and how they influenced people’s moods; notes that the LSE epidemiologist, Dr Mauricio Avendano, said that the only activity associated with sustained happiness was attending a church, synagogue or mosque; further notes that he is quoted as saying “The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life. It is not clear to us how much this is about religion per se, or whether it may be about the sense of belonging and not being socially isolated”; considers that religion is a very positive aspect of modern Scotland, and looks forward to an increasingly positive relationship between the Parliament and religion.