Anne Begg has been nominated as one of the “Best Scots at Westminster” by the Herald Scottish Politician of the year awards.
Yesterday, the finalists were announced with the 3 MPs nominated being Dame Anne Begg, Gordon Brown, and Alistair Darling.
The Announcement of the winner will be made at the Herald Scottish Politician of the year awards on the 20th November.
You can find the complete list of those nominated on the link below.
Dame Anne criticises lack of action over child poverty in Aberdeen as recent figures show 18% of children in Aberdeen grow up in poverty.
Aberdeen South MP, Dame Anne Begg, says that only Labour’s plans to tackle the cost of living will help reduce child poverty in Aberdeen.
The release of the child poverty map by the Campaign to End Child Poverty showed that 18 per cent of children in Aberdeen are living in poverty after meeting housing costs. This is on the back of recent news that unemployment in Aberdeen South is 1 per cent.
Commenting on the report Dame Anne said: “Despite unemployment in Aberdeen South sitting at one percent, children are still living in poverty. We have an acute housing shortage, energy bills soaring, and jobs aren’t paying enough.
“We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation and both Tories in Westminster and Nationalists in Holyrood are letting children down.
“The Tories always say work is the best route out of poverty, but we can see in Aberdeen that simply isn’t the case.”
Dame Anne went onto criticise the Scottish Government: “The SNP have failed to use the measures open to them to mitigate the impact of Tory policies like the bedroom tax. The SNP have refused to use all the Scottish Welfare fund and the fuel poverty budget, at a time when 900,000 households are in fuel poverty.
“Labour has endorsed the comprehensive plan set out by Sir Michael Lyons Housing Review, the first of its kind in a generation, which shows how Labour will meet their commitment of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and sets a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers by 2025. Labour will also increase the minimum wage, and freeze energy bills.
“Only Labour has a plan to tackle the cost of living crisis and help lift children out of poverty in Aberdeen.”
Anne attended the Scottish Labour street stall on Union Street to speak to local people about why she is supporting a No vote on 18th September. She was joined by Shadow Scotland Secretary Margaret Curran MP and Lewis Macdonald MSP to promote the positive case for the Union.
Speaking after the stall, Margaret Curran said “It is very clear to me that the No vote is gaining ground.”
“I think our message, that people can have the best of both worlds is really working.”
Anne recently received correspondence from Kincorth Academy’s S1 pupils highlighting the Send All My Friends to School campaign.
The students enclosed decorated cut-outs which are now displayed in Anne’s constituency office.
The students also wrote letters highlighting in particular that 57 million of children worldwide have no access to education and they were shocked that 24 million of these children are disabled.
The students are calling for all children to have access to education and so, Anne has written to the Department for International Development, seeking clarification on what action the government is taking to address this serious issue.
This afternoon, Dame Anne Begg MP for Aberdeen South and Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee will lead a debate in Westminster Hall around the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s report into the role of Job Centre Plus in the reformed welfare state.
The debate is particularly topical with recent controversies surrounding the use of sanctions and increasing reliance on Food Banks and some of the problems of Universal Jobsmatch.
Dame Anne will criticise the Government for refusing to conduct an investigation into the ‘Sanctions culture’ at Job Centre plus as well as for refusing to assess if there has been any links between sanctions and food bank use.
She will also be asking the Government to develop a more accurate measure of the success of Job Centre Plus in getting people into Work rather than just an “Off Benefit” measure as there are multiple reasons why people come off benefit but don’t go into work.
The Debate will take place from 13.30 – 15.30 and be available to view live on the Parliament TV channel http://www.parliamentlive.tv/main/Player.aspx?meetingId=15643
Yesterday during the Commons Debate on the chaos unfolding at the Department of Work and Pensions I accused the DWP of biting off more than they can chew.
The Government has forgotten the three basic lessons about welfare reform: it cannot be done easily, it cannot be done simply, and it costs a great deal of money.
You can find the full text of my speech on the Link below.
Anne Begg MP Calls on Government to Refund Aberdonian Holiday Makers
Aberdeen South MP, Anne Begg, has today voted for a motion calling on the Government to provide a refund for people who have had to pay additional fees to have their passport applications to be upgraded as a result of the crisis in the Passport Office.
After the delays and problems at the Passport Office in the last few weeks, Dame Anne Begg has called on the Government to make a one off goodwill refund of fees for people who applied for their passports in good time but were forced to upgrade them because of the crisis and mismanagement in the Passport Office.
As part of efforts to tackle the crisis that has engulfed the Home Office in recent weeks, the Home Secretary has announced temporary measures including a free ‘upgrade’ of people’s applications to being fast tracked to people who have been waiting over 3 weeks already and travel within the next 7 days. But over the last few weeks, many people from Aberdeen have beenforced to pay £55 to have their passport applications fast tracked because the HMPO could not ensure their passport would be processed within the Government’s 3week target timeframe and the Government’s measures will not result in any help for these people.
The delays in passport processing have unintentionally lead to more money for the Passport Office which they have not budgeted for, as people have been forced to pay for their applications to be fast tracked. This is against the backdrop of a budget surplus at the Passport Office in 2012/13 of £73million. Because of this, Anne Begg is now joining Labour colleagues and calling on the Government to pay back these additional fees to those who have had to upgrade through no fault of their own in the past few weeks.
Dame Anne Begg MP said:
“Over the last few weeks many people from Aberdeen South have got in touch with me to tell me of the difficulties they have been having with their passports and asking for my help. I think it’s about time Ministers apologised for this mess and refund the upgrade fees they had to pay just to get their passports on time.
“It’s unacceptable that the Passport Office should make money out of incompetence and mismanagement, and the Government’s urgent measures just don’t do anything for families and people who have already been forced to pay. It’s time people inconvenienced by these delays get their money back”
I’m proud that the last Labour government introduced the National Minimum Wage. This boosted pay for millions at the bottom without leading to a loss of jobs.
But we face different issues today. The minimum wage was originally designed to prevent extreme low pay and abuse. Today, the challenge is to help hardworking people that earn above the minimum wage but are still living in poverty. Over five million people, or one in five employees, are low paid.
This has got worse under the Tories, with families on average £1,600 a year worse off since David Cameron became Prime Minister. And the value of the national minimum wage has been eroded, leaving working people worse off.
Those on the lowest pay are at the sharpest end of the cost-of-living crisis. In-work poverty is a shocking legacy of the Tories’ four years in power and the next Labour government is determined to do something about it.
That’s why in Parliament this week I voted to set the Low Pay Commission a five-year target to raise the National Minimum Wage faster than average earnings. This will ensure that there is a bond between the wealth we earn as a nation and the wages that people earn for a hard day’s work.
This five-year target was recommended by Alan Buckle, former Deputy Chairman at KPMG, who was asked by Ed Miliband to investigate how to strengthen the minimum wage, as part of Labour’s plan to ensure that those who do a hard day’s work are rewarded for doing so.
A clear five-year target gives businesses time to plan and adapt their business models so they are able to support higher wages for their employees. Safeguards should be put in place to protect jobs in the face of economic shocks. Ministers have done nothing to support a Living Wage, but Labour would incentivise firms to pay more through Make Work Pay contracts to get people at work a better deal.
The Tories’ failure over the last four years have led to higher prices, lower wages and a cost-of-living crisis that has hit tens of thousands of people in Aberdeen South. Labour will create a new economy that works for everyone instead of just a few at the top, and that begins with strengthening the National Minimum Wage. Only Labour will tackle the scandal of low pay, growing our way to higher living standards for all.
Anne was delighted to be interviewed by two groups of S2 pupils from Kincorth Academy for their BBC News School reports.
The pupils interviewed Anne on the proposed new school for the south of the city and this year’s referendum on Scotland’s future. They showed real insight and knowledge into both issues which will affect them directly. Anne thoroughly enjoyed meeting the young people and was impressed by their professionalism during the interviews.
You can read all of the news reports from Kincorth Academy at http://kincorth.aberdeen.sch.uk/bbc-school-report/
The Big Lottery Fund is inviting people in Scotland to add their voice to a UK-wide conversation on key areas of Big Lottery Fund’s work; ‘Your Voice – Our Vision’.
All views will help them consider their role as a funder and help shape their vision and plans from 2015 to 2021.
Their mission is to bring real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need. Throughout 2013, groups and organisations in Aberdeen South benefited from funding totalling £602,861.
To have your say on the key areas of the Big Lottery’s funding, you can visit their dedicated website Your Voice – Our Vision http://yourvoiceourvision.org.uk/.