No Opportunity to Quiz Welfare Ministers

The new Parliament session will officially begin, tomorrow, with the Queen’s Speech outlining the Government’s programme. The dates and deadlines for oral questions, in the chamber, will be announced this week and it’s been stated that Department of Work and Pensions question time is not due to answer before the Summer recess.  This means MPs will not have the opportunity to question Minister’s in the Chamber until September, at the earliest.

The Department of Work and Pensions portfolio has responsibility, amongst other things, as to whether Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) will receive the pensions they deserve, also whether Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments will be conducted locally.  Alongside this, I have previously raised the issue of jobcentre closures and the introduction of a universal basic income with welfare ministers.

I find it very disappointing to learn that Government ministers from the Department of Work and Pensions won’t be quizzed by MPs, on the House floor, until after the summer recess.

The public had to endure a period of over 5 weeks without having a Member of Parliament to represent them.  Now my office is back in place and taking on constituent casework, much of which has to do with benefit entitlement, welfare assessments and pensions.  Yet, I won’t be able to quiz the Minister on these subject till September at the earliest.

What was required is moving the time to accommodate Members and the Minister but these are extraordinary times and Westminster has to move with them.

This Government has brought about instability, with calling an early general election and a lack of clear direction.  The news that MPs won’t be able to quiz welfare Ministers is another example of the shambles at the heart of this Government.


Housing funding for Inverclyde

Today, the SNP Government have announced further invested of £29.6 million in building affordable housing in Inverclyde.

The commitment put forward will see all of Scotland’s 32 councils know now what their share of around £1.754 billion in grant subsidy over three years to 2021 will be allowing them to plan the affordable housing in their area.

I’m delighted to learn that Inverclyde will receive further investment of £29.6m, from the Scottish Government, for building affordable housing.

This funding will be will be vital in improving the housing stock in the area and will play a role in improving life chances and lifting people out of poverty

I hope local businesses and companies will be included in the procurement process and will benefit from the opportunities this funding will bring.

Return to the day job

Firstly, I would like to, again, thank the people who voted for me and continue to place their faith in me as their Member of Parliament for Inverclyde. As I’ve previously said, this is the greatest job in the world and I’m delighted to continue in the role.

The first week back at Westminster will be an opportunity to meet with returning colleagues and also participate in the process of electing a Speaker of the House. I shall also endeavor to undertake the swearing in process this week as it’s mandatory to do this before I can take part in any debates.

I shall be holding my first constituent surgery of this new term on Saturday, to allow people to raise any cases or issues with myself and my office.

There is a lot of work to be done but I relish the opportunity to get on with the job and representing Inverclyde to the best of my ability.

WASPI campaign

During my time as Member of Parliament for Inverclyde I have been approached by a number of women who are adversely affected by the changes to state pension age.  I joined many of them in Glasgow, last month, at a day of action to highlight our concerns to the UK Government’s proposals.

The UK Government have ducked their responsibility to the WASPI women for too long.  It’s time for action to be taken to support the women of Inverclyde and Scotland as a whole.

Therefore, I have written to the newly appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to urge the UK Government to re-consider its proposals and provide the women affected with the pensions they are entitled to and deserve.