This week the Chancellor gave his Autumn statement in the House of Commons. To Tory cheers he revealed that he still plans to cut billions more than necessary to run a balanced budget, and will leave the people of Scotland facing the horror of a decade of austerity that we didn’t vote for. After sustained pressure on him by the SNP, the Chancellor has said he will now not cut tax credits but has still not backed down on cutting £12bn from the welfare budget and is seeking to now take money from those on housing benefit.
This week we will be voting on the Prime Minister’s proposal to bomb Syria.
Across the country people have grave concerns about the terrorist threat presented by Daesh. In Syria the Asssad regime is deplorable and is responsible for many refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries and Europe. But only two years ago the Prime Minister urged us to bomb the opponents of Daesh which would probably have strengthened this terrorist organisation. Now the David Cameron wants us to launch a bombing campaign without a fully costed plan to secure the peace and to reconstruct this desperate, war-torn country. The SNP supports the international initiative on Syria agreed in Vienna to secure a ceasefire in Syria, but we’ve yet to be convinced by the Tories’ case for war. I’ll continue to listen to any new information on this issue, but as things stand I’m not convinced that this Government has learned the lessons from past involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Libya. Closer to home, I commend the leadership shown by North Lanarkshire Council to welcome and support refugees fleeing Syria. It may not be a popular decision with some to welcome these vulnerable people at this time, but it is absolutely the correct one.
I am very concerned, however at the proposed cuts by the Council, especially those affecting the predominantly female Home Support Workers many of whom have only recently won their cases for equal pay from the Council. In what way is it acceptable to then privatise these particular jobs? NLC shouldn’t demand that its female workforce alone should bear the burden of these cuts, especially as they have only now achieved pay equality with their male equivalents.
Lastly I recently visited two local organisations which work with young people. Reeltime Music Project based in Newarthill uses music to turn round the lives of young people by boosting their self esteem and showing them they have value. The second visit was to Animar in Bellshill – or @awesome_animar as they are known on Twitter. This is a youth group for young people with learning difficulties who gave me a lovely welcome and let me share some birthday cake. Both groups help vulnerable young people take their place in the community and are well supported by both youth workers and volunteers.
Readers can keep up to date with all my latest news on my Facebook page at facebook.com/MarionFellowsSNP.