Comment: Working in East Renfrewshire

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Thank goodness for the House of Lords. Not something I ever thought I’d hear myself saying, but following the vote on the Conservative proposal to cut tax credits I can certainly see the benefits of a revising second chamber.

Here in East Renfrewshire, around 2,300 families are likely to be affected if the plan to cut tax credits goes ahead.

Every single one of those families is in employment – they are working to keep a roof over their heads, to make sure their children have a good start in life.

Tax credits only go to people with a job.

They were introduced by Labour to make sure you are always better off in work than unemployed, but in pursuit of their austerity economics, the Conservative Government is going to take an average of £1300 from each and every one of those households.

These are good citizens doing the right thing but are going to be driven deeper into the ranks of the working poor.

It might take more than one vote to revise my opinion of the Lords but I am grateful to my Labour colleagues at Westminster for standing up for working families here in East Renfrewshire.

Turning to the Scottish Parliament, one of my colleagues, Siobhan McMahon MSP, has tabled a Private Member’s Bill which could help many of us live longer healthier lives.

The number of people aged 85 and over in East Renfrewshire is due to rise by almost three quarters over the next decade.

Given that it is also estimated that one in five Scots has a disability it is not difficult to see that for many of us social care will be essential if we are to live the active, fully independent lives in our own homes that most of us desire.

The big question facing our society is how do we offer that support on a fair, equitable and affordable basis.

One answer might lie in revisiting social care charging, treating social care needs in the same way we treat health care needs.

At the moment the SNP Government’s cuts to local government funding is having the effect of reducing 
social care services whilst driving up social care charging.

I would urge anyone who feels strongly about this to submit their views to Siobhan’s Bill at http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/DSRBY/

Eastwood MSP, Ken Macintosh, has been unanimously reselected as the Scottish Labour candidate ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliamentary Elections. 
The sitting MSP, who lives in Busby with his wife and children, has been the area’s first and only MSP since the first Scottish Parliamentary elections in 1999. 
Speaking after a meeting of the Eastwood Constituency Labour Party on Tuesday evening , Mr Macintosh said “it was a privilege and honour to represent Eastwood and urged Eastwood voters to back him in May to ensure Eastwood had a distinct voice in Parliament to champion local causes, not ideological divides.”