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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
19th April 2012


Keep dancing.

I try to write this blog weekly, however due to parliamentary recess I managed to get a couple of days away – hence the lack of an update.

The last two weeks have given me a long sought after chance to rest, recuperate and help me get rid of a ghastly chest infection. However, now I’m back and I’m ready for action!

Last weekend, it was back to campaigning for the wonderful SNP candidates, who are currently in pursuit of a majority administration in South Lanarkshire council. We where at our usual spot outside M&S in Hamilton, convincing the electorate to vote for the SNP and spreading our positive message. Usually during election time I try and stay away from commenting on our opposition party’s dirty election tactics; however in this case I couldn’t possibly refrain myself. The Labour party, on Saturday where distributing a leaflet which wrongly claimed that the SNP Scottish Government is increasing bus fares and that there is a threat to the concessionary fare scheme. Both claims are entirely untrue. However, to say I am surprised would make me a liar; Labour has previously made similar untrue claims about the concessionary fares scheme during the 2011 Scottish election and 2010 Westminster election campaigns. They obviously have no confidence in the record of there coalition with the Tories if they are reduced, once again to spreading smears and scare stories as a pathetic excuse for an election campaign. Have they learned nothing from the electorate’s overwhelming rejection of their negative politics last May? I think not. Just for clarity, Bus companies are responsible for setting their own fares and they have no excuse for penalising passengers, either by increasing fares or by cutting services and the SNP government is fully committed to maintaining the free bus pass for older and disabled people – in fact, the budget for the National Concessionary Fares Scheme has been increased by the SNP from £185m in 2011/12 to £192m in 2012/13 and the SNP government has extended eligibility for concessionary fares to injured armed forces veterans.

Me and our two council candidates for Hamilton South. Councillor Bobby Lawson & Angela Crawley. Follow their campaign here: http://www.facebook.com/SNPHamiltonward19

On a lighter note, today I had a coffee with the producer of ‘Strictly come Prancing’ (A production put together by Aberlour Children’s Charity). For those uninitiated in all things Strictly, Strictly Come Prancing, it is a take-off of the popular TV dance show, but featuring couples from your local community and in this case myself and the Minister for Transport, Keith Brown. We will be undergoing three months of ballroom dancing training. Then on the night, we will battle it out on the dance floor with other contestants in front of an audience. Keith and I are still debating over which dance to decide on. I would prefer a tango, however my staff have suggested I go for the ‘Summer Nights’ dance done by Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson, in the film ‘Grease’. I am welcoming suggestions, though!

I reckon we could pull it off.

Check them out here: http://www.aberlour.org.uk/home.aspx

Also, today I had the chance to welcome the announcement from the Scottish Government and COSLA, as they promised to cover the 40 million pounds cost of the cuts in council tax benefit in 2013-14 - the Scottish Government will provide 23 million pounds and COSLA will provide 17 million pounds. This move comes after the UK Government announced they will abolish the existing Council Tax Benefit in April 2013 and cut the successor budget by 10 per cent. 34,880 people across South Lanarkshire on the lowest incomes currently receive council tax benefit, including the unemployed, pensioners, those who cannot work because of disability, carers and people who receive tax credits. We will not let all of these people become the victims of the ruthless Con-Dem cuts. The SNP is looking after household budgets, with a council tax freeze, free prescriptions, concessionary travel, and the abolition tuition fees. It is right that we take action to protect the thousands of pensioners and families who would have been affected. It is only through the decisive action of the SNP can the vulnerable people in Scottish society be protected. We have and will continue to challenge the UK Government on their cuts to Scotland and their attack on the least well off. We will continue to put in place measures that reflect the compassion and fairness of Scotland and the Scottish National Party.

Finally, thank you for taking your time to read my weekly update. I look forward to catching up with you next week.

Remember, keep dancing with a song in your heart.

Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse.


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