John Robertson MP Calls for Better Deal for Scotland’s Women

Local MP John Robertson has signed up to support the Scottish Labour Party’s five pledges for women and joined calls for the SNP to do more to support women across Scotland.

John Robertson MP was joined by Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran MP to launch the five pledges.

The pledges, which Scottish Labour will deliver in Government, are:

- More free childcare for working mums.
- Better pay for low-paid women.
- End discrimination against new mums at work.
- Tell companies to publish their pay gap.
- 50:50 on public boards.

Commenting on the pledges, John Robertson MP said:

“As a part of the Labour movement I’ve seen first-hand how women’s rights have been won because of, and not in spite of, being part of the UK. From equal pay legislation to tax credits and maternity pay, Labour has always delivered for women and these pledges demonstrate how we will continue to do so going forward.

“But today, progress has stalled. While the Tories’ cuts fall disproportionately on women, the SNP have failed to make any difference. They promise more after independence in an effort to win women’s votes in the referendum, but this SNP Government has cut 47,000 jobs in local government and removed £1 billion from anti-poverty programmes – hitting women the most.

“The best way of standing up for women in Glasgow North West is by remaining part of the United Kingdom, where we can pool our resources and share the risk across 65 million people. At both Westminster and Holyrood Labour is committed to taking action that will make a real difference to women across Scotland.”

The Five Pledges in Detail

1. More free childcare for working mums

Scottish Labour will introduce 25 hours of childcare a week for every 3 and 4 year old and 15 hours a week for all vulnerable 2 year olds. This will be funded by using the Barnett Consequentials arising from a future UK Labour Government increasing the bank levy.

2. Better pay for low-paid women

One in five Scottish workers are paid less than the living wage of £7.65 per hour. Labour across the UK will introduce ‘make work pay’ contracts to incentivise companies to pay the living wage. Firms which sign up to pay the Living Wage at the start of the Parliament will benefit from a 12-month tax rebate of up to £1,000 for every low paid worker who gets a pay rise. The measure will be entirely funded from the increases tax and national insurance revenue received by the Treasury when employees receive higher wages.

3. End discrimination against new mums at work

An estimated 5,000 women a year in Scotland who go on maternity leave never return to work due to discrimination. Across the UK, this accounts for around 14% of women who go on maternity leave. In order to end this discrimination against new mums, Labour would change the law so that employers would have to make reasonable adjustments for women returning to work. We would also use new devolved powers to scrap the tribunal charges that deny justice to so many women.

4. Tell companies to publish their pay gap

There is still a 5.8% gap in pay between men and women working full time in Scotland. Progress has been made, but is has not been quick enough. We believe that the full public scrutiny of pay is required to make companies address this issue. That is why we will tell companies to publish their pay gap. And, if voluntary action does not work, we will legislate to compel companies to publish they pay gap in their annual reports.

5. 50:50 on public boards in Scotland

The SNP have failed to address the lack of women on the board of Scottish public authorities. Scottish health boards have an average of 37% women members, while many non-departmental public bodies have as few as 30% women board members. Visit Scotland’s six-member board only has one woman. Scottish Labour would introduce a 50% quota for public boards in Scotland to ensure that the boards that lead our public authorities look like the communities they serve.

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Ask the Financial Ombudsman Event

Problem with your bank or insurer?

Ask the ombudsman!
Pop along and meet the ombudsman and John Robertson MP for advice on financial problems
drop-in …
Knightswood Community Centre
201 Alderman Road
on …
Thursday 3 April
3.30pm to 6pm
also joined by…
- Glasgow Credit Union
- CAB (Citizen’s Advice Bureau)

Full details here

JOHN ROBERTSON MP OFFICIALLY OPENS NEW-LOOK ANNIESLAND POST OFFICE

To celebrate the launch of the new Anniesland Post Office, John Robertson MP ‘cut the ribbon’ at an opening ceremony at 13:30pm on Friday 7 March 2014.

John Robertson MP said: “I welcomed the news that Anniesland Post Office was to be modernised and am delighted to be here today to congratulate staff on their hard work and to formally open the new branch.

He added: “The Post Office is vital to the community around Glasgow and I’m sure the new improved office, and the longer opening hours, will be warmly welcomed by all of my constituents.”

As part of Post Office plans to modernise the network and extend opening hours for customers, the modernised Anniesland Post Office at 1606 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G13 1HQ, offers Post Office services from five counter positions: four traditional screened positions and a Post Office service point allowing access to selected Post Office products and services at the retail counter outside of main counter opening hours. Customers will also benefit from extended opening hours throughout the week.

The new-look Anniesland Post Office is open from 08:00-17:30 Monday to Friday and 09:00-17:30 on Saturday. Selected Post Office products and services will also be available from the combi-counter from 06:00-08:00am and 17:30-22:00pm Monday to Friday, 06:00-09:00am and 17:30-22:00pm on Saturdays, and 07:00-2200 on Sundays. Customers also benefit from a wide range of Post Office services available at the new look branch.

Connie Hewitt, Post Office Head of External Relations Scotland, N Ireland & N England said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents around this area of Glasgow and I am confident that this new modern Post Office will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.

She added: “This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”

Under the current Parliament the Government has committed £1.34bn for the Post Office network to make sure there is no programme of Post Office closures and to update branches; in November the Government announced a further £640m investment in the Post Office network, from 2015 to 2018.

Nationwide the investment programme will see up to 8,000 branches modernised with additional investment in over 3,000 community and outreach branches.

The Post Office, now independent of Royal Mail, is the largest retail network in the UK, with over 11,500 branches. It is also one of the UK’s fastest growing financial services companies and is developing its online and telephone services.

Local MP wishes upon a star for Earth Hour 2014

Glasgow North West MP, John Robertson, has signed up to support this year’s Earth Hour by making a special pledge to help protect the planet.  Mr Robertson was one of many joining WWF in London this week to make their ‘starry’ themed wishes, ahead of the global lights out event, due to take place on Saturday 29th March at 8:30pm.

MPs were inspired to celebrate Earth Hour as a reminder to do their bit for the planet and advocate within their constituencies for the importance of building a sustainable future for both people and the planet.

John Robertson MP said: “Our natural world is precious to all life that inhabits it, but we need to do more to protect it.  WWF’s Earth Hour reminds us that there are simple things we can all do for the planet, not for just one hour, but every day. It’s a great opportunity to bring together millions of people from across the world with one united goal – to help protect our planet.”

Earth Hour sees millions of people around the world coming together to switch off their lights for one hour in a symbolic act of support to show they care about our brilliant planet. WWF already works to tackle a lot of environmental challenges – like deforestation, threats to endangered species, and the impacts of climate change – but Earth Hour is a chance for everyone to say they’ll do their bit.

If everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK, we’d need 3 planets to support us, but by making small changes every day we can make our daily lives more sustainable.

Last year, Earth Hour bought together over 10 million people in the UK, and 154 countries took part. Iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House all switched off and hundreds of local communities, schools and businesses took part.

Shareen Brown, head of WWF-UK’s Earth Hour, said: “We’re thrilled that MP’s have given their support to this year’s Earth Hour.  Year after year we hope to inspire more people to sign up and join the millions of people across the globe taking part in this celebration of our beautiful planet. By switching off your lights, you will be part of a movement of people that are pledging to live more sustainably and creating a brighter future.”

This year for Earth Hour, WWF will be helping to create a brighter future for the Mara.  All of the money raised from Earth Hour is going towards WWF’s vital conservation work in the Mau Mara Serengeti, Kenya, which is one of the most spectacular places on Earth and home to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife including lions, cheetahs and African elephants. This incredible landscape is also central to national and local economies and directly supports the livelihoods of more than one million people. Funds raised will support WWF’s work in the region, from helping communities address human-wildlife conflict to providing local wildlife rangers with much needed equipment.

To find out more about WWF’s Earth Hour and register to take part please go to: wwf.org.uk/earthhour and join millions of people who are signing up to the big switch off.

Join in the conversation on Twitter with hashtags #EarthHour and #bebrilliant

CALL FOR EVIDENCE ON METER READERS

Energy MP calls for examples of rogue meter readers, following suggestions that some make up the numbers.

John Robertson MP has been contacting the main energy companies to find out their policy towards meter readers that do not physically check the property. Prepaid meter customers do not receive monthly bills or estimates and so are most at risk of false reads.

Mr Robertson said: “While there are robust processes in place to prevent rogue meter readers, according to a whistleblower there seems to be some instances where readers can keep inputting numbers until they get the right one.”

“I’m not sure if this is a big problem and so I want to hear from you. Have you found yourself with a meter reading that is completely off? Have you complained about this to your energy company? Or have you had no problems at all? I want to know.”

The information gathered will be taken to the Energy and Climate Change select committee, which Mr Robertson is a member of. All responses can be sent to johnrobertsonmp.meterreaders@gmail.com.

Update from Westminster – 6th February 2014

* Please note that due to technical difficulties, this video has been delayed in its upload

Cold Homes Week

Cold Homes Week is a campaign designed to alert people to the fact that over 31,000 British people died last winter from the cold. Fortunately, this winter has been milder, but with energy prices going up and the Government refusing to tackle the issue properly, I am worried that this figure will only increase. That is why I am supporting Cold Homes Week from 3-7 February. More information can be found at their website.

Newsletter – January 2014

Happy New Year

I would firstly like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families and restful and prosperous New Year. The year to come is going to be extremely important for our country, not least because we will decide whether to become independent or stay part of the United Kingdom in September. I have been working hard for the Better Together campaign because I believe that, while we could ‘go it alone’, we shouldn’t. We are stronger together and as a nation Scotland is well placed to receive all the benefits of being part of a strong world power, while being able to decide on issues such as law, education and health through a devolved system. Crucially, as part of the UK, Scotland attracts investment, bringing jobs to the local economy, and I think we would be putting ourselves at risk by cutting our links to such an important part of our economy.

Finally, in our constituency, and across Scotland, we have the Commonwealth Games to look forward to. Glasgow is the perfect city to host these Games and I know Glaswegians will welcome our international visitors with open arms. Whether your sport is cycling, gymnastics, table tennis, or one of the many other sports on offer, I hope you are able to enjoy these Games coming to our city.

Glasgow North West

Active Seniors AGM


I was pleased to be invited to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Active Seniors Group, based at DRC Generations at Kingsway. Many thanks to Robert Smith, their coordinator, and all the Committee for all the good work.

Meeting with BAE Systems

Anne McTaggart MSP and I held a meeting with BAE Systems at the Clyde Shipyards to discuss the future of the site. It was an informative meeting and we discussed, primarily, the effect their decisions would have on jobs in the area. There are three different projects that are being put together but they are still to finalise which one they will be going for. Some options are better than others, but the arguments for and against are for another day. What is important, is that jobs in Scotstoun are secured. However, it is important to note that this all depends on the result of the referendum: an independent Scotland could not guarantee these contracts.

With Anne McTaggart MSP outside BAE Systems, a vital business in our community

Royal Mail Delivery Office Visits

I visited two of the local Royal Mail Delivery offices in the run up to Christmas. Firstly G13/14 office, which covers Knightswood, Yoker, Scotstounhill, Jordanhill & Whiteinch, was very busy on the day I visited with postal packets and parcels, due to the amazing growth in online shopping. Also visited was G15 Delivery office, which covers Drumchapel and Blairdardie. This office contains the new letter sorting machines which sequences the mail for the delivery postman – saving them time in preparing the mail for delivery. Many thanks to Paul Turner, manager G13/14 and Freddie Mains G15 manager, and all the staff at both delivery offices.

G15 Delivery Office

Parliament

Failure to protect customers

In Glasgow we had our share of the bad weather over Christmas and New Year, and across the country thousands of people were left without power for days on end. UK Power Networks, which supplies houses in the south of England, admitted they hadn’t done enough to get power back on and that too many engineers had gone on holiday over Christmas. This simply is not good enough and so we in the Energy select committee will be calling the company to speak to us about it. The energy networks are often out of sight of ordinary people, but it is important that we shine the spotlight on them as they provide such a vital service. I have had detailed feedback on the actions of SP Energy Networks, which supply to our houses, over the period. But hopefully, this evidence session will act as an additional warning that networks need to provide an excellent service all year round. We rely very heavily on them keeping the heating on and their holiday leave will need to be structured accordingly.

Ticket Touts

There have always been people trying to sell on tickets for a higher price to make a profit. Before the internet, this was annoying but not a great problem. But nowadays we see big companies buying up lots of tickets and then selling them on at inflated prices, often meaning that the real fans can no longer afford to go.

I believe there does need to be a system in place to be able to sell tickets on, but I’m not sure we have the right system at the moment. This is why I am setting up an inquiry as Chair of the All-Party Music Group, along with a number of other groups, so we can present some recommendations on this to the Government. We will hold a series of evidence sessions and I will keep you updated on the conclusions we reach on this issue.

e-newsletter

I will be starting an e-newsletter, so if you would like to be updated by email, please send your email address to jrmpoffice@btinternet.com along with your name and postal address and we will add you to the list.

WE NEED A BANKING SYTEM THAT HELPS SMALL BUSINESSES INSTEAD OF HINDERING THEM

People in Glasgow North West are facing the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.

Prices are soaring, wages are falling, working people are £1,600 per year worse off and small businesses are struggling to access the finance they need to grow. Yet David Cameron continues to demonstrate how out of touch he is with the struggles millions are facing and is determined to operate our economy as business as usual.

I’m delighted that Labour has made firm plans to help people struggling with the rising cost of living, such as our pledge to freeze energy bills until 2017. But as important as this pledge is, it only helps to deal with the consequences of our current economic state, and not the symptoms.

The Tory-led Government has failed to make the long-term changes needed to build a new economy that works for everyone and not just a few at the top.

The Tories won’t build a new economy that can tackle the cost of living crisis. They are determined to cling on to the old economy in a global race to the bottom. They think low wages, low skills and insecure work is the way to take Britain forward in the hope that some of the wealth will trickle down from the top.

If we’re serious about dealing with the cost of living crisis and winning the race to the top with countries like China and India, then we need to build a new economy that works for everyone, and that means dealing with one of Britain’s broken markets: our banking system that works for banks but not for businesses and families.

Britain’s banking system is dominated by just four banks that control 85 per cent of small business lending. This lack of competition is a root cause of poor service, a breakdown of trust and a massive drop of £56bn in lending to business since May 2010.

Part of the reason we rely too much on low paid, insecure work is that the small firms that could create the good, high paying jobs of the future can’t get the finance they need to grow both themselves and our economy.

We need to support small and medium sized enterprises so they can grow our economy for the future and that means promoting a wider range of banks that have to compete harder with each other for customers.

That’s why the next Labour Government will bring in a legal threshold to ensure no bank can get too big and that the market remains competitive for the long-term. We will improve the amount of lending to small businesses, improve the service to all customers and create new banks that will work for the communities they serve.

Under a Labour Government, small businesses will have a better chance of getting the support they need to grow, employ more people at decent wages and help Britain earn its way to better living standards for everyone.