The announced freeze in working age benefits will see the most vulnerable in our society continue to be hit the hardest whilst the revised minimum wage fails to deliver a real living wage. The reality is this budget is an attack on the low paid, the young and those entering the jobs market. This budget is a series of con tricks to try and hide the fact that individual households will now bear the brunt of austerity cuts.
The Scottish National Party support a meaningful living wage paid for by business – one that pays what people need to live, not one that fails to compensate for cuts to valuable tax credits. The Chancellor has not even promised to meet the current living wage of £7.85 and under 25's will face the brunt of cuts but receive no increase in wages.
I am deeply concerned about the conflict in Yemen and the devastating impact on ordinary civilians. My colleagues in the SNP group at Westminster and I have taken every opportunity to bring this issue to the fore in the House of Commons and to hold the UK Government to account over allegations of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
My colleague Stewart McDonald, the SNP MP for Glasgow South, secured a debate on Human Rights in Saudi Arabia on the 17th of September 2015. Myself and a number of my colleagues contributed to this debate and raised our concerns about issues such as executions, the treatment of women and Saudi activities in Yemen were discussed at length. You can read the full text of this debate here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150721/halltext/150721h0001.htm#15072129000602.
The Scottish National Party Westminster Group voted against the Draft Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2015 Statutory Instrument on 27 October 2015 and will vote against the measure when it returns to the House if we are allowed pending the new rules of the House of Commons which exclude Scottish Members of Parliament from voting on matters that have been designated as "England Only".
The SNP Westminster group opposes UK Government plans to reduce subsidies for renewable energy, including cuts to the Feed-In Tariff and the early withdrawal of the Renewables Obligation. We have also demanded a veto on any future decision that will adversely affect the Scottish renewable industry. I will continue to highlight the damaging impact these cuts will have on jobs and investment in renewables in Parliament.
I was pleased to Chair the '1 in 3 Women: Violence Closing in on Women's Rights' session as part of ActionAid's Parliamentary Summit on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls last month. The summit looked at ways that we can meet the global challenge of ending violence against women and girls and also marked the launch of ActionAid's 'Fearless' Campaign which I know will hugely successful in raising the profile of this issue. To this end, I have also sponsored an Early Day Motion supporting the launch of the 'Fearless' Campaign, the text of which you can read below.
EDM 239 ACTION AID'S FEARLESS CAMPAIGN ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
The humanitarian crisis in Syria is a great tragedy and the Scottish Government, myself and SNP colleagues in Westminster have continually called on the UK Government to do more, while supporting the efforts of communities and individuals across Scotland who want to play their part.
The good will and generosity demonstrated by many thousands of people across Scotland has been truly inspiring. Many new organisations have sprung up dedicated to assisting those who can offer a hand of friendship to those in need. The Scottish Refugee Council and the Scottish Government have just launched a brand new website that provides a number of practical suggestions and opportunities for people to help welcome refugees:
The Scottish National Party Westminster Group will vigorously oppose the upcoming Trade Union Bill. This action, designed by the Conservative Government, seeks to deprive workers of their basic rights. These rights were hard won over the past 100 years and we will do our utmost to prevent them from becoming law.
Trade unions are key social partners playing an important role in sustaining effective democracy in society, particularly in the workplace, and the existence of good employment practices is a key contributor to economic competitiveness and social justice.