Many people from Inverclyde have been in touch with me to ask about the Off Patent Drug Bill. I am aware that there are many of my constituents who would have greatly benefited from this Bill.
As the Bill was talked out (the government kept talking so the debate ran over time) the Bill did not pass to the Committee Stage, this means that the Bill would not progress at all. It really is as ludicrous as it sounds.
The minister stated in his speech that the Government has been pursuing a non-legislative solution to the issue of off-patent drugs, but we have seen no evidence that genuine progress has been made.
I am going to pursue this in any way that I can to make sure the Government will honour their commitment and turn their words into action.
With 86% of people agreeing that everyone should have the right to palliative care I believe everyone should have access to palliative care when they need it.
It is also important to ensure that people with a terminal illness get access to the high quality care and support that they need and deserve.
Marie Curie is running a campaign calling for the right for everyone to have palliative care when they need it.
I got the opportunity to team up with Marie Curie Nurse Sally Monger-Godfrey and renowned impressionist Jon Culshaw to back the Marie Curie campaign.
If you or someone you’re close to has a terminal illness, you can call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or visit mariecurie.org.uk/help. You can also share experiences and talk to people in a similar situation on the Marie Curie community.
I got the opportunity to visit No.11 Downing Street this week to call on the Chancellor to invest in broadband infrastructure. This is all part of me doing my bit at Westminster to push for better access to mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure in Inverclyde.
More than 100 cross-party MPs and Peers have written an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, urging him to continue investing in fixed and mobile broadband as part of the Spending Review and in the future.
The letter was co-ordinated by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Broadband and Digital Communication, which is Co-Chaired by Matt Warman MP and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, and follows a recent Backbench Business debate on the matter let by Matt.
The signatories, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP, former Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance Simon Hart MP and several former government ministers, welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a Universal Service Obligation for broadband of at least 10Mbps, but highlighted that 17 per cent of the UK still does not currently have the option of a superfast broadband connection and, even worse, some 500,000 households still lack even basic broadband.
They also note the social importance of access to broadband, which in some areas can be the difference between isolation and access to vital services, and call for parallel investment into digital skills, which are essential for everyone from jobseekers to pensioners to get by in the modern age.
Last week I got the opportunity to pop into our local iYouth Zone on Nicolson Street and meet with both the youth workers and young people that use the centre. I got to see the facilities on offer to young people and hear about the range of information that is available.
The Youth Zone is a great space for young people to meet friends, access computers and the internet, make arts and crafts, participate in team activities, play games and have access to trained youth work staff.
I learned about the Youth Zone’s new initiative #YouthWorkChangesLives and I was extremely encouraged to find out that young people that have used the centre have returned to work there as trained youth workers.
Before the weekend I had the pleasure of officially opening up my office. It was lovely to see everyone and have the wonderful Anya, from Quarriers, cut the ribbon for me.
You can now find us at – 20 Crawfurd St, Greenock, PA15 1LJ.
In my last article I spoke about the dark day at Westminster when by accepting EVEL all of Scotland’s MPs were denied the right to fully represent their constituents. Well, the shocking lack of democracy continued on Friday 6th November. The Conservative Health Minister Filibustered (talked out) the Off-patent Drugs Bill. All the details are on my Facebook page ‘Ronnie Cowan MP’. This was the second Friday running that the UK Government used Continue reading “Tele column – 13th Nov”
After learning that one in six people in Inverclyde have some kind of hearing loss, including more than half of people aged over 60, myself and my staff invited Action on Hearing Loss Scotland to come into the office, give us a deaf awareness presentation and discuss the best practise for communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
We made the decision early on after setting up the office that we should install a hearing loop to improve access for constituents who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The hearing loop coupled with our ramp and access toilet makes our office accessible but we are always happy to take on suggestions on how we can improve accessibility for everyone.
Action on Hearing Loss Scotland were a huge help and shared their top tips with myself and my staff members, helping us all become more aware of the individual communication needs of constituents who are deaf or have hearing loss.
It is as simple as taking the time to consider whether we can do or say something differently to make it easier for someone who is deaf or hard of hearing to follow what we am saying. We even got to learn some basic BSL and fingerspelling, which we can use to welcome visitors from the Deaf community.
I really would urge organisations across Inverclyde to contact Action on Hearing Loss Scotland to improve their own deaf awareness, ensure they have hearing loops and help reduce the frustration and isolation experienced by local people who are deaf or have hearing loss.