NOMINATE YOUR LOCAL FITBA HERO, SAYS EAST END’S JOHN

16 Apr 2012

East End MSP, John Mason, is encouraging people to nominate their local football hero for the Scottish FA Community Awards.

The Community Awards aim to recognise and reward those individuals across the country who make a difference to grassroots football in their local community, volunteering hours of their time to develop tomorrow’s young talent and spread best practice in clubs up and down the country.

There will be a local, regional and a national ceremony to celebrate each of the winners with categories for Best Volunteer in Youth Football; Best Volunteer in Schools; Best Volunteer in Adult Football; Best Volunteer in Disability and Best Volunteer in Women’s/Girls’ Football.

Commenting, Glasgow Shettleston MSP, John Mason – who is a Clyde FC season ticket holder, said:

“Grassroots football is the lifeblood of the game. Scottish football would be lost without those dedicated volunteers who give up so much for their free time to let children play the game they love.

“Across the East End we have a number of great youth teams and coaches who help train, organise and provide a safe environment for children to play.

“Nominations are open till May and can be submitted on the Scottish FA website.

“I hope people will put forward their East End football hero and help them get the recognition they deserve.”

EAST END MSP DEMANDS VAT CUT FOR HOUSING REPAIRS

29 Mar 2012

John Mason, the SNP MSP for Glasgow’s East End, has added his support to the campaign by the Cut the VAT Coalition to cut the VAT on housing repair, maintenance and improvement work to support employment in Scotland.

Research by Experian, commissioned in December 2011 by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), found that a reduction in VAT to 5% on all home improvement work would create 2,103 new construction jobs in Scotland in 2012 alone, with figures in subsequent years suggesting that a total of 3,625 jobs could be created in the period to 2020 through incentivising home owners to repair and improve their homes. A lower rate of VAT would also help to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock, reduce the advantage of rogue traders and help remove the perverse incentive to demolish older properties rather than bring them back into use.

Despite all of this, the Government instead decided to surprise the construction sector with a decision to remove the zero rate of VAT for approved alterations to listed buildings in the recent Budget announcements. This means that from 1 October 2012 the standard rate of VAT will apply to the alteration of a listed building, which is 20% more than the current rate. The impact will be significant in Scotland where there are around 47,600 listed buildings, totalling 1% of the nation’s total building stock.

SNP MSP, John Mason – Deputy Convener of Holyrood’s Finance Committee – has pledged his support for the campaign and has urged the UK Government to cut the VAT on housing repair and improvement works to support employment in Glasgow’s East End.

Commenting, the Glasgow MSP said:

“I am pleased to add my name in support of the Cut the VAT campaign.

“Small and medium sized companies in Shettleston are crucial to the local economy and would really benefit from a VAT reduction. The cut in VAT would also boost the campaign against rogue traders, poor quality housing and the number of empty properties in the area.

“As local MSP, housing is my top priority. Politicians regularly meet constituents who raise the issue of housing time and time again – there’s no doubt in my mind that this campaign would do a significant amount to help repair some of the properties in the East End that fall way short of the mark.

Grahame Barn, Director of FMB Scotland, welcomed John Mason’s support:

“This UK Government’s move to remove the zero rate VAT on alterations to listed buildings really is out of step with the industry’s wishes and the needs of the UK’s heritage buildings. The increase to 20% will prevent many from carrying out important improvement work to their properties, and will in turn put many more building firms at risk.

“If the Government is serious about supporting growth in the economy and cutting carbon it should focus on measures to encourage property owners to improve the UK’s existing buildings, and not do the opposite. The harmonisation of VAT at 5% for all housing repair, maintenance and improvement work would create jobs and reduce the competitive advantage of those operating in the informal economy.

“I hope all MSPs will support Kevin Stewart’s motion in the Scottish Parliament and help increase the pressure on the Chancellor to promote growth in this way.”

BAILLIESTON’S TEAM WELCOME FURTHER TRANSPORT INVESTMENT

28 Mar 2012

Baillieston’s SNP team has today (Wednesday) welcomed news that Transport Scotland is hosting an industry day to inform contractors and potential providers of the business opportunities the M8, M73, M74 Motorway Improvements project offers their businesses.

This new £415 million construction project combines plans to upgrade the A8 Baillieston to Newhouse, completing the motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as work to improve Raith Interchange and the widening of key sections of the M8, M73 and M74. Each of these motorways have a connection to the Shettleston MSP’s constituency.

The project is of a similar scale to the recent M74 extension which directly supported 900 construction jobs and is expected to reduce by 18 minutes the journey time for around 115,000 vehicles for the busiest sections of the M8 per day.

Procurement for the project, the first roads infrastructure project to be procured as part of the £2.5bn Scottish Government’s revenue funded programme of NPD projects, starts on 30 March with the publication of the OJEU notice.

Councillor David Turner, who represents Baillieston in Glasgow City Council, commented:

“This is great news. I know that many of my constituents will be pleased that the SNP Government is pressing ahead to upgrade the A8 from Baillieston to Newhouse.”

Austin Sheridan, the SNP’s second candidate in Baillieston for the forthcoming elections to Glasgow City Council, added:

“Since 2007, the SNP Government has taken forward the largest investment ever in the country’s transport infrastructure with a number of vital projects being completed on or ahead of time and on or under budget. This underlines our commitment to invest in jobs and improve Scotland’s transport network – particularly in the run up to Glasgow 2014.”

Welcoming news of this latest SNP investment, local MSP John Mason, said

“Today’s news reinforces my view that, when the SNP wins, Glasgow wins. Once again we see the Scottish Government leading the way and investing in the road network. This all comes in addition to investment in Glasgow’s subway, the new M74 extension and the new Glasgow to Edinburgh rail link.”

MSP TALKS OF CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IN SYRIA

28 Mar 2012

SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Shettleston, John Mason, tonight (Wednesday) took part in a Scottish Parliament Members’ debate on Syria. The SNP MSP used his speech to draw attention to the worrying levels of persecution Christians face in Syria, which – according to a 2011 Open Doors survey – is ranked as the 36th most dangerous country in the world for persecuted Christians.

Mr Mason spoke about how, although Christianity is a Middle Eastern religion, it is still very much viewed as a Western religion and many Christians living in the middle East are suffering from that. The Glasgow MSP ended his speech by calling upon any future Syrian regime to protect Christians, women and all minorities.

Commenting, East End MSP, John Mason, said:

“I was glad to get the opportunity to talk about Christianity in Syria tonight – this is a subject very close to my heart.

“Statistics show that 1.5 million Christians live in Syria, so this clearly needs to be focussed on and I hope any future regimes will ensure Christians are respected and have the freedom to worship.

“Another major issue of concern in Syria is the treatment of women and I hope this too will be given consideration. Recent reports of Muslim women being threatened for entering taxis without a veil is also worrying.

“Syria stands on the brink of history – the next few steps are vital and I hope that, in moving forward, the rights of Christians will be respected”.