Blog Archives

Discrimination is at the heart of the living wage.

I see from the media that Labour pay masters, the trade unions are once again pushing for local authorities across the country to introduce a living wage for public sector workers. I see they have also asked for a £1,000 flat rate payment.

What are they playing at? This proposal is wrong on so many levels.

I was disappointed with the SNP who instead of holding their ground jumped on this policy as a manifesto commitment for the Scottish Council elections. From discussions I have had with many SNP Councillors and activists, it is clear they do not support this discriminatory policy.

My first objection to this proposal is that it is deep rooted discrimination to the majority of our population. They are saying that the national minimum wage, which Labour introduced in the 1998 National Minimum Wage Act, is only good for some sections of society and not others. If Labour desired a living wage they should have increased the national minimum wage to £7.20, instead they have jumped on the band wagon and are once again threatening our local economies.

Secondly, how can local authorities pay for this increase? Councils are already strapped for cash due to the SNP’s council tax freeze; many have had to dip into reserves to make the books balance. Increasing wages to £7.20ph and giving a £1,000 flat payment to some public sector workers would most certainly cripple local authorities. Many SNP Councillors know this as do many Tory Councillors, when will Labour see sense and stop dancing to the tune of their union pay masters?

My final point relates to the middle to high income public sector workers who, as I have been told by a few Councillors, may have legal grounds to challenge for a wage increase if the living wage is implemented for the lower grades. This would cost local authorities a lot of money and would most defiantly put their books into the red.

I am most certainly fed up of hearing Labour and the trade unions bang on about unfair pay freezes. There are many out there who work for the third sector or the private sector who are out of jobs, or took a real time pay cut. Having any job in this climate that Labour created is a bonus.

This policy that Labour has been so badly pushing for is nothing other than a tune their trade union pay masters want played. SNP and Tory Councillors must fight off this discriminatory policy to ensure fairness and stable local budgets.

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East Ayrshire Tories form Coalition with SNP

East Ayrshire Council last week became a stronger place when the Scottish Conservative and SNP Councillors put their party issues aside to work in the interests of local people.

Many will know ideologically the two parties are apposed with one supporting the United Kingdom with another wanting to separate us. This could have easily of been a barrier to the partnership but no, our politicians worked out how they would work together for the people of East Ayrshire.

It’s most welcomed also that Cllr Jim Todd will be our Provost. I am sure he will a great ambassador for our town and I hope he will work with young people to reengage them into believing in the Council and our Coucnillors.

The first priority of this council must be to review the towns plans for growth and expansion. We need to clean the area up and mobilise our workforce. Only by doing this can we expand the town and attract business

Campaign up-date from Kilmarnock East & Newfarm loch

With two days to go until the big day, I was out again listening to voters about the issues that matter to them. Today I was in Newfarm Loch and the Glebe area of Kilmarnock.

Fantastic response to my positive vision for the area and the key points we as a local group are pushing for in our manifesto.
One younger couple mentioned that they were enjoying the updates on my website, felt it a breath of fresh air that we have a candidate engaging with people on their terms not a stuffy leaflet (I have to admit I have put out a few leaflets).

An issue coming out of today was that of speeding cars near loan head primary school. This issue has come up before and whilst there are two speed bumps, we really do need to look at sorting out this issue as we need to ensure or children are safe.

Support for Young people.

Nearly half a million young people are set to benefit as £1 billion becomes available to help get them into new jobs or training.

Under the new plans:

  • Businesses can now take on under 25s, with 160,000 wage incentives worth up to £2,275.This process has been made simple for businesses and the amount is more than enough to cover an employer’s National Insurance contributions for employing a young person for a year.
  • An extra 250,000 work experience places will be provided over the next three years. Every 18 to 24 year-old Jobseekers Allowance claimant who wants one will now be able to take up a placement before receiving more intensive support offered through the Work Programme.

This is a welcomed life line from the UK Conservative led government. Here in Kilmarnock East & Hurlford, I hear from many young students and parents worried about what the future holds.

Having a clear vision for the area is critical in these local elections and I hope I have informed people of my vision of our young people. Work placements and apprenticeships need to be accelerated and one way this can be done is by local Councillors speaking to businesses and highlighting the benefits of investing in local young people and through targetted courses for specific fields such as engineering and computing.

If elected on the 3 May, I will make it one of my top priorities to speak to local businesses about helping our local young people gain employment or engage in work based training.