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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
Yes in the Park


Okay, it was classic Lanarkshire weather last Saturday when hundreds of us landed in Strathclyde Park for a big Yes family fun day. Support for my master of hosts task was fantastic and I want to thank all the brave and www.yesscotland.net not always so weather-proof supporters who came along on the afternoon.

We have now just 100 days to go until the referendum vote so doing everything we can to make sure people have the information and the impetus, the recognition of how important it is, to vote for historic change now.

And if that means tackling that Glasgow June weather, so be it! I had a fantastic time dancing with some of the older folk who joined us.

 


Enjoying a dance in the not very seasonable weather at Strathclyde Park

A question of houses

It’s no secret that the UK seriously lacks properties for people to live in. For many, it dates back to Margaret Thatcher’s free-for-all when council tenants bought up their properties for ludicrously small sums of money. It wasn’t even so much that she promoted the concept that somehow owning a property made you a better person than renting one, but the fact that not a single penny of the money raised from those sales went back into providing housing for those who couldn’t afford to buy a property.

As a result, what was once a housing issue has now become a housing crisis. If you can’t afford to buy, you may find yourself in poor accommodation, perhaps through a private landlord, and unable to access better quality and more secure living standards than you are entitled to.

All of this has been made worse by the Bedroom Tax forcing those people who live in publicly owned accommodation to lose housing benefit if they have a spare room, perhaps where an adult child has moved on or someone has died. That ‘privilege’ costs the householder perhaps $40 a week and that is money needed for food and fuel in that home.

The Scottish Government has done and continues to do everything it can to mitigate the impact, putting money into advisory and emergency services to help people trapped by these Westminster decisions.

To learn this week, from the NHBC www.nhbc.co.uk,  the standard-setting body for new homes, that just 13 houses were started between January and March of this year in the entire constituency of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse shows South Lanarkshire Council’s total failure to tackle the long recognised problem of insufficient new homes by actively seeking out development land and builders.

There are, of course, lots of reasons for this: developers need to know that they will be able to sell properties so people need to know they can get mortgages to buy them. Councils need to sell land and grant planning permission and the surrounding economy needs to be buoyant enough for people to want to live in it.


Everywhere in Scotland needs desirable new homes

Hamilton Accies

“Football is not a matter of life or death,” said Bill Shankley, “it’s much more important than that.”

To the players on our Hamilton Accies team www.acciesfc.co.uk, that’s certainly true. I was thrilled to bits to see our local team being promoted to the premiership league of Scottish football. 

In fact, I was so delighted I put up a motion in the Scottish Parliament to commend the team and indeed their worthy opponents, Hibernians. The game went right down to the wire. It was nail-biting stuff.

Well done, all of you and here’s to the coming season.

Quebec kids at the Scottish Parliament

It’s one of the greatest delights of my job that I get to meet groups of young people from all over the world who come to see what we’re doing in Scotland. This week, we had a group of folk from Quebec. They’ve been touring around different parts of Europe looking at different approaches to independence and comparing those to their own situation.

What a lively, interested, engaged bunch of people they were! They constantly fired questions and wanted to understand more about our mission for a Yes vote. By the time they left, they were total supporters!

Big Lottery Fund Awards

I was delighted to get the news from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All initiative that four groups in my area have been successful in their bids for funds. In total, they have received £34,663 among them.

Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire received £8,088 for a project to develop and produce a refuge service DVD to promote and raise awareness of the services and accommodation available to women, children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse and require a place of safety.

Our Lady and St Anne's Primary School will create opportunities for pupils to engage in regular physical activity through the installation of a trim trail in the playground with funds of £8,210.

Eddlewood Bowling Club has received a £10,000 award that will improve usage of their clubhouse through refurbishment of their main function hall.

East Kilbride Pirates Junior American FoClub received a £8,364 grant. The group already run a Junior American Football youth team and now plan to start up a Junior American Football team for 16 to 19 year olds. Funding will enable them to purchase equipment for this new team.


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