December Newsletter Text Only Version
Richard Thomson MP
Gordon Parliamentary Newsletter
A message from Richard Thomson MP
Hello and welcome to my December Parliamentary report. Here you will find details on the activities I’ve been involved in over the previous month as your MP.
The Chancellor's Autumn Statement may have sounded the death-knell for 'Trussonomics' but it left little room for cheer, laying as it did the burden for dealing with a series of poor political and economic decisions upon the shoulders of those least capable of carrying that burden.
Elsewhere, I've continued to keep up the pressure on the UK Government to clarify how it plans to support the energy costs of those 'off grid' - particularly the many households across Gordon who rely on oil for cooking and heating.
If I can assist you in any way, please email [email protected] or call 020 3545 2236 to get in touch.
Richard Thomson MP
8th November: Papers Relating to the Home Secretary
On the 8th November I spoke in a debate about the Home Secretary and two scandals surrounding her re-appointment: the woeful humanitarian situation that was allowed to develop at Manston under her watch and the lack of trust in her ability to keep government information secure - issues which question not only her competence and integrity, but also the judgement of the PM.
16th November: Scottish Social Attitudes Survey
At Scottish Questions, I highlighted findings from this year's Scottish Social Attitudes Survey which showed that 66% of Scots trust the Scottish government to act in their interests 'always or most of the time', while 46% believe they can never trust the UK Government to act in their best interests.
I asked the Minister if he had any useful insights into why Scottish voters might feel this way...
17th Nov - Reply to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement
I spoke to Sky News on the 17th of November about the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and took the chance to set out some alternative taxation measures that could have been introduced in order to spread the financial burden more equitably.
I also appeared on BBC One's 'Politics Live' show, responding to the Autumn Statement on behalf of the SNP. I noted that the UK Government was making people pay the price for their failures with a new wave of tax rises and spending cuts.
Here are a few practical links for cost of living and energy advice:
Advice Direct Scotland - services to help with cost-of-living issues.
Citizens Advice Money Talk Team - free, confidential advice about your benefit and grant entitlement.
Home Energy Scotland - free and impartial advice to save on energy bills.
Shelter Scotland - free housing advice.
28th November - Horizon Programme
The Chancellor claimed that he wished to see the UK become a "science superpower", but his Government's continued failure to reassociate the UK with the Horizon Programme creates serious challenges for academics and researchers.
23rd November: Supreme Court Decision
Following the Supreme Court ruling, I asked the Secretary of State a very important question:
“If this is a Union that is genuinely based on consent, how does the Secretary of State consider that the people of Scotland can demonstrate that they have withdrawn that consent?”
Predictably, he gave no meaningful answer. It is clear that the UK Government has little respect for the Scottish people's right to self-determination and their right to choose whatever form of government that people consider best suits their needs.
You can watch my question to the Minister here.
I also spoke on BBC Radio Ulster about the UK Supreme Court's judgement that the current devolution settlement contained within the Scotland Act does not allow for the Scottish Government to legislate for an advisory referendum.
Across the Constituency
11th November: Visit to Scotland's Rural College
I was delighted to visit Scotland's Rural College's Aberdeen campus. There, I met with the College's Principal, Professor Wayne Powell, and other senior faculty members, and had a tour of the new veterinary clinical skills facility. Through the courses they offer, SRUC does the vitally important work of supporting our natural economy and the responsible use of the world's natural resources. Find out more about the institution and the courses they offer here.
13th Nov - Remembrance Sunday
It was an honour to take part in Remembrance Day events in Inverurie this year and to lay a wreath at the War Memorial on behalf of my Constituents in Gordon.
Lest we forget.
Poppy Scotland supports and campaigns for service people in our community. Find out more about their work here.
4th Nov - North East Sensory Services
I had the opportunity to meet with Graham Findlay, the Chief Executive of North East Sensory Services this month. We discussed the valued work the organisation does in supporting those with sensory loss across the North East of Scotland.
NESS is an independent, local charity delivering integrated joint sensory services. Find out more about the services they provide and work they do here.
28 November - Seed Potato Exports
I am cautiously optimistic about the news that the UK Government will approach the European Union about a model for seed potato exports similar to the one which already exists for Canadian exports to the EU. It is astounding that the UK Government did not pursue this sooner and I am surprised that it took an approach from myself to the Minister for the UK Government to bring this idea forward.
Guidance on Preparing for Winter
The winter months can throw us many things in Aberdeenshire; be it snow, ice, high winds, power disruption or flooding. That's why it’s important to Be Winter Ready.
Check your car - Make sure you have topped up your fuel, oil, screen wash and coolant, and you have checked your electrics and rubber. Ensure that you have an emergency kit of supplies in your car.
Be safe on the roads - Drivers must ensure they are driving to the road conditions, remembering that these conditions can change without warning and stopping distances will be affected by the weather. When the roads are icy, drive at a slow speed; in a high speed, accelerate and brake gently.
Think about your elderly neighbours - Scotland’s population is ageing, with 16.8% of the population being those aged 65 and over. 1 in 5 people now live alone in Scotland. That's why - in Winter more than ever - it is important to check up on your elderly neighbours. This can include offering to collect supplies from your local shop, checking in on your elderly neighbours living alone, spreading grit or clearing a driveway's when it snows. If you have spare time, you could volunteer for Age UK's Friendship line which provides companionship to those 50 and over. Find out more here.
Be prepared for severe weather - Sign up for flood alerts and severe weather warnings here. Be prepared for power outages; know where to locate your fuse box, gas box, or mains water supply.
Cost of Living - People across the North-East of Scotland are being affected by the worst economic crisis in history. The effects of this means that families have to make hard choices. You can find what help the Scottish Government is offering here.
Look after your mental well-being - With temperatures dropping and shortening days, we might find ourselves feeling a bit more blue. It's important to make the most out of the daylight, move our bodies and keep in contact with our loved ones.
Domestic Abuse at Christmas - Regrettably, over the Christmas period, the rate of domestic abuse rises. This may be due to heightened stress, financial struggles, and more time spent at home. If you're being harmed by your partner, there are many organisations that can help you. Find out more information here. If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999, if you cannot speak, dial 55 when prompted or let them know you're there by tapping the phone or making a noise.
Emergency services: 999 or 112
Non-Emergency police support: 101
NHS 24: 111
SSEN Power Cut line: 105
Floodline Scotland: 0345 988 1188
Gas emergencies: 0800 111 999
Scottish Water: 0800 077 8778
Emergency Council Housing Repairs: 03456 09 12 03
Emergency Social Care: 03456 08 12 0
Scottish Women's Aid: 0800 027 1234
In the news...
MP says Brexit Britain sees farmers facing worst conditions in living memory (15 November, Read here)
MP says "democracy must not be denied" following Supreme Court ruling (25 November, Read here)
MP welcomes assurance from transport minister on facilities for road hauliers (6 November, Read here)
MP Richard Thomson urges constituents to check for lost workplace pensions (4 November, Read here)
Gordon MP raises awareness of financial support available to key workers (2 November, Read here)
MP Richard Thomson highlights campaign encouraging students away from home to register with local GP practice (28 November, 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