Richard Thomson MP
Gordon Parliamentary Newsletter
A message from Richard Thomson MP
Hello and welcome to my September Parliamentary report. Here you will find details on the activities I’ve been involved in over the last month as your MP.
The issue of this newsletter was put on hold following the sad news of the death of Queen Elizabeth and the period of mourning which followed.
Parliament was in recess through August and my time was well spent throughout the constituency meeting and supporting many inspiring people who are dedicated to Gordon and our communities.
Although Westminster will sit only briefly in September, my constituency team and I continue to be available for you. If we can assist you in any way, please email r[email protected]or call 020 3545 2236 to get in touch.
Richard Thomson MP
Continued Inaction Not An Option on Cost of Living Crisis - UK Government Must Match Holyrood Support
"It is vital the zombie UK Government wakes up and acts."
While the UK Government tore itself apart during the Conservative leadership election, the Scottish Government used every fiscal lever at its disposal to provide much-needed assistance to businesses and households.
With 85% of social security spending reserved for Westminster, I urged the UK Government to step up and do its job.
Now that Liz Truss has been installed as Prime Minister, the UK Government has belatedly announced the steps they will take to tackle the energy crisis. Sadly, for far too many people and businesses, it will come as too little, too late.
"It's shocking that people in Scotland are being forced to pay the price while the UK Government sits on its hands and refuses to act." – Richard Thomson MP
Read the Press Article here
August 23: Inspired by Inspire . . . By
I had the pleasure of visiting the 'Inspire...By' Charity Shop and Workshop in Inverurie. I met the team to hear about the valuable work that they are doing to empower the life choices of people with learning disabilities and additional support needs across the Northeast of Scotland. It was fantastic to see the newly opened store and view their incredible work in action.
August 24: Latest GERS Figures Show Scotland Recovering Faster than the UK
I was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland's 'Drivetime' programme by John Beattie about the release of the latest GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues in Scotland) figures.
I reminded listeners that the report reflects Scotland's current situation in the UK rather than as it would be as an independent country, but even so, they rely on many big assumptions around actual tax and spending being made, in place of the hard data which is available for the UK as a whole.
The Fiscal Picture Around the UK
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that every part of the UK ran a net fiscal deficit in the financial year ending 2021 - meaning that every single part of the UK has more spent on it than is being raised in taxation.
When politicians talk of Scotland receiving a public spending 'Union Dividend', they should be honest enough to admit that what they are talking about is the UK Government borrowing to cover a UK-wide deficit, rather than any unique benefit coming to Scotland.
Adult Disability Payment
I am pleased that the Scottish Government’s Adult Disability Payment was extended to Aberdeenshire at the end of July and was fully implemented on the 29th of August. The Scottish Government has built a brand-new social security system that places dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.
“This is an investment in our people, and in Scotland’s future - and stands in stark contrast to the ethos coming from UK Ministers, who have presided over a decade of cuts in support of the very people who need it most. “- Richard Thomson MP
Find out more about the Adult Disability Payment here.
Workplace Skills Investment
I warmly welcome the return of the Scottish Government's excellent 'Flexible Workforce Fund' for its sixth year. The Fund can provide local businesses with up to £15,000 for flexible workplace training tailored to their needs.
"At a time of economic volatility, upskilling and investment in local workforces continues to play a crucial role in driving local development and growth." - Richard Thomson MP
Find out more about the Flexible Workplace Development Fund here.
Read my full comments here.
Across the Constituency
August 23: Inverurie Foodbank Visit
I recently visited the Inverurie Foodbank where I met with volunteers to discuss the local situation and to hear about their new campaign, "End Hunger in Aberdeenshire". It was great to see the work that the Aberdeenshire North foodbank is doing to support communities and individuals hardest hit by the rising cost of living.
Sadly, this is a service that is growing in demand, with stocks dropping, meaning there is an ongoing need for donations. By downloading the 'BanktheFood' App you can get updates regarding what stock the foodbank urgently needs.
Download the BanktheFood App
Connect to the Foodbank website to support, volunteer or learn about their work in Ellon, Huntly, Inverurie, Peterhead & Fraserburgh, here.
You can read my comments in the press article here.
August 23: Citizens Advice Scotland visit
I had the pleasure of visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau in Turriff - which covers parts of the Gordon area - and meeting the staff who work tirelessly to provide confidential and free financial advice to individuals. These advisers deliver real results, with 1 in 5 people seeing a financial gain as a result of the advice, and the average value of that gain is £4,400.
A new study has revealed that 1 in 10 people in Scotland have no money left after monthly expenses, while over a million of the population have less than £125 left over, and this is only set to get worse. The Citizens Advice Bureau have just launched its "Our Advice Adds Up" campaign, which proves financial advice that can make a difference.
Read the report of my visit here.
Cost of Living Crisis – available help
I also have taken the opportunity this month to encourage constituents across Gordon to check their social security entitlements following the increasing cost of living crisis we are currently facing.
The Scottish Government is now delivering 12 benefits through Social Security Scotland, the Scottish Welfare Fund, local authorities and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme - all aimed at reducing inequality and helping those struggling during these difficult times.
You can apply here.
Those wishing to discuss their situation or case can call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222. Further information on how to contact Social Security Scotland can be found at the link here.
These are strained economic times. Households across Gordon are battling soaring inflation, rising energy bills and increasing food costs. I strongly urge anyone concerned about their financial situation to get in contact to Social Security Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland or my office, where you can be directed to find assistance.
August 24: Visit to GlenDronach Distillery
I also visited GlenDronach Distillery in Forgue, following the announcement of a £30m investment at the distillery.
The investment will see significant production increases, while maintaining the characteristics that have made GlenDronach so popular around the world. It will also see steps taken to ensure the preservation of the historic site, including a restoration of the former malting buildings.
I thoroughly enjoyed being able to see development plans directly for myself - a fantastic investment for the Northeast!
Read press reporting on the investment in the distillery here.
August 30: North East has a Key Role to play in Energy Transition
I recently met with the CEO of the Port of Aberdeen, Bob Sanguinetti, and his team to see the progress made on the new South Harbour.
The South Harbour is a major investment in the North East, and its facilities will play a key role in our 'Just Transition'.
I continue to support the Acorn Project proposals. Carbon capture (CCUS) will play an essential role in achieving our net-zero climate ambitions, and the North East is ideally placed to be at the forefront of CCUS. With around 35% of the UK's natural gas processed at St Fergus, the enormous potential of the Acorn Project for our area and beyond is clear.
The announcement of the two successful Scottish Green Freeport bids is expected to come in September. A successful North East bid could mean up to 32,000 high-skilled jobs while helping to secure the North East's position as a global leader in sustainable energy. One innovative proposal that could be made possible by a successful bid is a sustainable aviation fuel plant which could reduce aviation emissions by 70% and create 920 jobs.
See the STV report on the potential for a green freeport in the north east here.
In The News
Acceleration of WASPI investigation into State pension age communications is a significant step forward, says MP Richard Thomson.
(15 August, Read here)
Gordon MP receives assurances from UK Govt on Ukrainian HGV licences (10 August, Read here)
UK Government urged to reinvest North Sea tax windfall (1 August, Read here)
Aberdeenshire MP Richard Thomson highlights two funds for resilience and mental wellbeing in rural communities(12 August, Read here)
MP Richard Thomson urges constituents to check their social security entitlements as cost of living continues to spiral(13 August, Read here)
Gordon MP voices strong support for Insch Hospital plan (28 August, Read here)
Thank you for reading,
Richard Thomson MP
Email – [email protected]
Website – www.richardthomsonmp.com
Telephone – 020 3545 2236
Address - Unit F6, Enterprise Centre, Exploration Drive, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, AB23 8GX