UK Parliament Week 2020

UK Parliament Week is an annual festival taking place from 1-7 November, that engages people from across the UK with their UK Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved.

This year marks ten years of UK Parliament Week. It is a great opportunity to be part of a thriving democracy and look ahead to the next 10 years, thinking about what issues are important to you and how you can work with UK Parliament to bring about change. Community groups, local organisations and schools representing every constituency across the United Kingdom have already signed up to be part of the conversation.

As the MP for Inverclyde, I welcome the involvement of schools and local organisations in Inverclyde during UK Parliament Week 2020. I am determined to ensure that our voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation is in our democracy, and I’m excited to see so many organisations and local groups taking part.

Last year, over 1.2 million people took part in UK Parliament week and I was delighted to visit local schools and speak to pupils about the role of a Member of Parliament.

UK Parliament Week is an annual festival organised by the UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team, a service of the House of Commons and House of Lords which seeks to inform and educate all citizens about the work and role of the UK Parliament. Find out more about UK Parliament Week.

Universal Basic Income

Far too many people are living with the constant pressure of poverty. Even before coronavirus, around a million people in Scotland were in poverty, living precarious and insecure lives and relying on foodbanks.

Research shows that bringing in a Universal Basic Income could alleviate poverty and reduce inequality, as well as strengthen individual citizenship. It is fair, it de-stigmatises the recipient and people are paid regardless of their circumstances.

Introducing a basic income pilot would be a good first step in strengthening the UK social security system after the Tories spent a decade dismantling it, and could prevent people from falling into, or further into, hardship and debt for years to come.

That is why I am urging the UK government to work with the Scottish Government to introduce this pilot in Scotland. A basic income pilot in Scotland is desirable but can only be done with the full co-operation and collaboration of HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions and the UK government must guarantee that. 

The coronavirus crisis has exposed and exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities, as well as the shortcomings of the UK Government’s welfare system. It is time the Tories at Westminster look at new potential solutions to tackling poverty instead of blocking them, making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

First ever parliamentary debate on UBI back in 2016:

Joseph Rowntree Foundation ‘Poverty in Scotland’ report:

Greenock Telegraph 9th October 2020

The issue of renewable energy is one that I have pursued since I was first elected in 2015. I wrote a paper called ‘The Island of Inverclyde’ which highlighted the potential for renewable energy industries in Inverclyde in 2016 and it is as relevant today as it was then.

The Scottish Government has stated that renewable and low carbon energy will provide the foundation of our future energy system, offering Scotland a huge opportunity for economic and industrial growth. The recent announcement by the Scottish Government that nearly £1.6 billion will be directed to support up to 5,000 jobs and tackle fuel poverty is at the heart of plans to drive Scotland’s green recovery and end our contribution to climate change. As part of an enhanced Green New Deal, the investment will transform heat and energy efficiency of buildings and rapidly accelerate the decarbonisation of an area which makes up a quarter of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. An additional £500 million is being invested in Scotland’s natural economy including £150 million to help deliver a 50% increase in woodland creation by 2024 and an extra £150 million for flood risk management, which is vital to increasing climate change resilience.

Following these announcements, I had already engaged with the Scottish Government to highlight the potential for Inverclyde and so I was delighted to hear this week that the Prime Minister is a new convert to renewables. From talking them down and under investing in them for decades, the Conservatives have seen the light and its generated by wind power. Hopefully, this is not just hot air from the Tories and this will present me with another opportunity, to pursue the UK government to invest in renewable energy projects in Inverclyde. No stone will remain unturned. Jobs are crucial if we are to reverse the population decline and create a more prosperous future.

Written question – gambling [08/10/2020]

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a longitudinal study of gambling-related harm. (99020)

Tabled on: 05 October 2020

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

  1. To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which Departments will participate in the review of gambling legislation. (99019)
    Tabled on: 05 October 2020
  2. To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Department for Health and Social Care, (b) the Gambling Commission and (c) the Prime Minister’s Office on the establishment of a review of gambling legislation. (99021)
    Tabled on: 05 October 2020

Nigel Huddleston:

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and wider government on issues related to gambling and will continue to do so throughout the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act 2005. Further details will be announced in due course.

The Gambling Commission is the independent regulator for the gambling industry and provides advice to government on gambling related matters, including on the scope of the Gambling Act Review.

As outlined in answer to Question 96926, the Gambling Commission commissioned and published a scoping review looking at the feasibility of a longitudinal study of gambling behaviours and problem gambling, and how that study would best be conducted, and the Commission is now considering next steps.

The answer was submitted on 08 Oct 2020 at 11:29.

TSB, Port Glasgow, closure

Many businesses across Scotland have been hit hard by the Covid19 pandemic and the banking sector is not exempt.

We have seen a reduction in face-to-face banking services and access to cash in the local community over recent years and there seems to be no end to this trend. For many of my constituents it is still an essential service – particularly at a time when many are already feeling isolated.

I am urging TSB to rethink this decision to close the Port Glasgow branch as a step towards helping our high streets recover from this pandemic.