Councillors Bill Brown and Jim Sharkey visit the stalls at the RCCs B2B Business Matters EventLabour Councillors back local Businesses
16th May 2019

Local Labour Councillors Bill Brown and Jim Sharkey were happy to accept the invitation from the Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce to attend their Business Matters B2B Event at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley last week.

The event is aimed at helping local businesses as well as encouraging firms to locate locally by highlighting the benefits the companies will have by investing in Renfrewshire.

Speaking after touring the exhibits Councillor Brown said, "We always try to attend this business to business event to show Labour support to our local companies. We enjoy meeting the people who want to do good business in Renfrewshire and we often pick up some good ideas for ourselves. We would encourage anyone who is looking to help make our county a better place to come along next year."

Councillors Bill Brown and Jim Sheridan at the Renfrewshire Anti Stigma Alliance Event at Fountain Gardens in PaisleyLabour Councillors back campaign to end the stigma surround Mental Health
16th May 2019

Local Labour Councillors Bill Brown and Jim Sheridan were amongst the 1000 plus people who took part in walks across Renfrewshire on Wednesday 15th May as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The events were arranged by Renfrewshire Anti Stigma Alliance (RASA), to get people in the area talking about mental health. It is part of an effort by See Me, the national programme to end mental health discrimination, to show that it is okay not to be oaky, and that people can speak about mental health.

Councillor Brown said, “I am pleased to support today’s events which hopefully will encourage people to talk about their mental health and speak with others openly about their mental wellbeing.”

Councillor Sheridan said, “Statistics show that the number of people seeking help for mental health issues is increasing with nearly a third of all GP appointments in Scotland being for patients with some form of mental health issue. Tackling the stigma of mental health is vital if people are to get the help they need and not feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking help.”

The Walk A Mike was the brain child of activist Chris McCullough Young working with See Me, Scotland’s National programme to end mental health stigma and was based on his walk around the Scottish coastline, where he spoke to everyone he met about mental health, to change attitudes one conversation at a time. Across Renfrewshire schools, workplaces, health care staff and members of the public are taking part in the walks, with the main walk at Fountain Gardens in Paisley.

Mary backs Dignity in Dying Campaign
3rd April 2019

Mary Fee MSPMary Fee MSP has given her backing for a new drive to introduce assisted dying in Scotland for terminally ill people following a campaign launch by Dignity in Dying Scotland on Tuesday and new polls show a rise in people supporting a change in the law.

Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee has backed a new drive to introduce assisted dying in Scotland as polls show a rise in people supporting a change in the law.

Polling on behalf of Dignity in Dying shows that 84% of people in the UK supported a change in the law. In Scotland, 87% of those questioned supported a change to make it legal for assisted dying.

Now Mary Fee MSP, who voted in favour of a change in the law in 2015 for assisted suicide, has joined MSPs from all parties in signing a letter to the Sunday Times calling for a change in the law.

The new campaign has given personal stories of people with terminal illnesses who want to die when they want to and are urging politicians and the public to back the campaign to make assisted dying legal.

Speaking from her Paisley office, Mary said “The campaign for assisted dying is an important one for people to have dignity and choice in how they die. Those with terminal illnesses should not have to suffer more than they wish to or travel abroad to die in clinics away from their home and families. New polling shows the public support a change in the law, and I will continue to make the case for assisted dying to be legalised. I voted for a change in the law in 2015 and I hope that a new Bill can be brought to the Scottish Parliament with more support from MSPs. By legalising assisted dying, we can give people with terminal illnesses the choice to end their unnecessary suffering and die with dignity.”

Scotland Needs to Invest More for Disabled People
1st April 2019

Mary Fee MSPDuring a debate in the Scottish Parliament, Mary Fee MSP has called for investment in better facilities for disabled people and reaffirmed her support for more Changing Places toilets in public spaces and on Scotland road network.

West Scotland MSP Mary Fee has called for investment in better facilities for disabled people during a Scottish Government debate titled ‘Progressing Towards a Fairer Scotland for Disabled People’.

Using her speaking time to talk about toilet facilities for disabled people, such as Changing Places toilets, Mary used personal stories from disability campaigners to highlight the need for greater investment and support disabled people to have greater freedom to travel and use public spaces.

Changing Places toilets are required by disabled people with sever complex needs and their carers. Traditional disabled toilets are not adequate for the estimated 20,000 people with severe and complex needs, as they cannot transfer themselves from a wheelchair to a toilet. Changing Places toilets have a hoist and changing bench that supports disabled people, their families and carers.

The Scottish Labour MSP also highlighted research that shows there are 77,000 germs and viruses on a standard toilet floor and asked MSPs in the chamber if they would be happy to lay on a toilet floor, as many disabled people have to because of the lack of adequate changing facilities.

Speaking after the debate, Mary said “It was important to raise the issue of toilet facilities for disabled people with complex and severe needs during the debate on ‘Progressing Towards a Fairer Scotland for Disabled People’. I have heard from many disabled people, families and carers that access to adequate toilet facilities can limit the freedom to travel and use public spaces, such as leisure centres, concert venues and stadiums. This forces many to stay in their homes and only travel in their own areas. There was a clear shock on many MSPs faces when I told them that there are 77,000 different germs and viruses on a standard toilet floor and it was clear that none of them would be happy to lay on that floor as many disabled people are forced to. Scotland has many great supports in place for disabled people, however we could go further and invest in better facilities.”

Labour to Extend Free Bus Travel to Under 25's
12th March 2019

Mary Fee MSPMary Fee MSP has welcome the pledge by Scottish Labour to extend free bus travel to under 25’s, with the long term view to create free bus travel for everyone in Scotland, after the announcement was made at the party’s spring conference in Dundee.

Scottish Labour has announced that it will seek to extend free bus travel to under 25’s, with a long term aim of building a free bus network to serve the whole of Scotland.

The announcement, made by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, has been welcomed by West Scotland MSP Mary Fee who has called the policy “a bold and significantly important promise to deliver for people across Scotland”.

The West Scotland MSP has long advocated for a bus service that is run for people, not profit. In recent years, communities have been left stranded by the failure of the deregulation of bus services that has resulted in a fall in passengers by 10% in five years, the number of buses down 16% and staff employed down by almost 1 in 10. At the same time, fares have risen across Scotland.

The plan to extend free bus travel for under 25’s would supplement the free travel already available to the 60’s - one of Scottish Labour’s achievements in power. Analysis highlighted by the party shows that for every £1 spent on concessionary bus travel, at least £2.87 is generated in benefits to bus pass owners and the wider economy.

Mary has also supported the plans for create a bus network for Scotland in order to tackle climate change, by encouraging a modal shift of people to ditch their car and travel by a publicly-owned bus network.

Speaking for her Paisley-based office, Mary said “This is a bold and significantly important promise to deliver for people across Scotland. Many communities have been let down by private companies, often holding monopolies in providing services. As services across Scotland are being cut and journeys falling by 10%, fares are increasing. The SNP Scottish Government have overseen a bus network in decline. Scottish Labour will create a bus network that is run in the interests of people, not profit hoarding private companies, and a network that encourages travel by public transport to tackle climate change.”

Labour reinstates Houston, Crosslee and Linwood Councillor
25th January 2019

Councillor Jim SheridanCouncillor Jim Sheridan has been reinstated to the Party following an internal investigation amid accusations of anti-Semitism following a post on Social Media last year.

The conclusion of that investigation has been that no further action is warranted.

Speaking today Councillor Sheridan said, “Today 25th January 2019, Rabbie Burns Day, I was notified that my suspension from the Labour Party has been lifted with no further action to be taken by the Party. Whilst I am delighted with this decision I remain of the view that my accusers were misguided and overreacted to what was intended to highlight my personal frustration and criticism of those intent on undermining our leadership in Scotland and the UK. I would also like to reiterate my sincere apologies to the Jewish community whose historic struggle I have supported all my political life.”

“I am extremely humbled by the level of support from across the political spectrum I have received, and from fellow members and supporters of the party whose views and values I respect.”

“Throughout this unfortunate distraction I have maintained my total commitment to my constituents and will continue to do so. Likewise my complete support for the Labour Party and our leaderships at every level continues and reinforces my determination to return Labour administrations at local, devolved and national level for the many, not the few.”

Mary Welcomes New Road Safety Laws
18th January 2019

Mary Fee MSPScottish Labour MSP Mary Fee has warmly welcomed new proposals to tackle drug driving with a zero tolerance for those caught with illegal drugs in their system, however the West Scotland MSP has warned that Police Scotland will need guarantees that the right resources to pro-actively catch drug and drink drivers are provided.

The Scottish Government has recently announced that it will improve road safety with new measures to tackle drug drivers. Any driver caught under the influence of eight most-common illegal drugs, such as cannabis, heroin and cocaine, will face punishment and a list of prescribed drugs for medical use will have new limits based on the impairment and risk to road safety.

Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee MSP has welcomed the zero tolerance approach to drug driving announced by the Scottish Government commenting, “Drug driving is dangerous and completely unacceptable”.

However, Ms Fee has also warned that recent cuts to police budgets and officer numbers could limit the capacity of Police Scotland to use any new powers to tackle such a serious offence.

The Scottish Government have stated their intentions to deliver this new legislation by the end of 2019. MSPs will have to vote on the proposals and Mary is backing the Government to make our roads the safest in the UK.

Speaking from her Paisley based office, Mary Fee said “The new legislation proposed by the Scottish Government is welcome. Drug driving is dangerous and completely unacceptable, and Police Scotland must have the right tools to stop it. However, statistics suggest that cuts to budgets and officer numbers have made policing in Scotland more reactive, calling into question whether Police Scotland will have the capacity to exercise these new powers. Officers must be given the resources they need to implement these important laws.”

Mary Fee MSP Hails Cancer Drug News
15th January 2019

Mary Fee MSPMary Fee MSP has strongly welcomed the announcement that Perjeta, the life-extending drug for breast cancer patients, has been finally been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland after the drug was rejected three times by the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC).

Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee MSP has labelled the news that a life-extending drug, known as Perjeta, will soon be available to women with secondary breast cancer as “a common sense decision” and “great news for women and their families”.

The announcement by the SMC will mean that more women living with such a cruel disease as breast cancer can live longer and have more time to undertake crucial treatment. For women living with incurable secondary breast cancer, the drug could extend their lives for up to 18 months.

Mary has also praised the tireless work of campaigners who have long called for Perjeta to be made available on the NHS, after the SMC had previously rejected their call three times before.

Speaking from her Paisley office Mary Fee MSP said “This is a common sense decision that has been a long time coming for women suffering from breast cancer, with many who have felt abandoned and hopeless in their fight against such a cruel disease. The announcement is great news for women and their families, and a victory for the tireless work of campaigners who have long called for the SMC to make the right decision for women.”

Serious Questions Remain Over Childcare Expansion says Mary Fee MSP
1st November 2018

Mary Fee MSPMary Fee MSP has called on the Scottish Government to improve relations between government and private nursery providers if the free childcare expansion is to be ready by 2020 whilst speaking in a debate on Early Years provision.

During a debate on childcare, Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee MSP raised serious concerns of private nursery providers around the extension of free childcare to 1,140 and called on the Scottish Government to improve relations between government and private nurseries, as well as ensuring that the workforce is ready for the new childcare policy.

Scottish Labour’s Deputy Education spokesperson Mary Fee led the debate for Labour and raised the concerns that private nursery providers have been warning of for months in relation to the Scottish Government policy of 1,140 free hours of childcare per year for all 3 and 4 year olds and vulnerable 2 year olds.

Such concerns have included the funding that private providers are receiving compared to council-run providers and staffing provision.

Mary successfully amended the original motion to highlight the workforce issue after she has twice called on the Minister for Children and Young People for an update on the Scottish Government’s 11,000-workforce target. When asked by Mary how many people work in childcare, the Minister could not answer either time.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Mary Fee MSP said “The current childcare system is disjointed and inflexible. No one today would design a system from scratch that looked like that. It is in urgent need of reform. However, the mix of childcare providers that we have today is essential to deliver the extension to 1,140 hours. Private nursery providers fill a massive gap that council-run providers cannot meet. That is why it is crucial that there are better working relations between Government and private providers. Childcare is an important issue that impacts on the lives of thousands of families up and down the country every day. Scottish Labour believes that childcare should be flexible, affordable and of high quality, and we support the extension of childcare provision to 1,140 free hours per year for all three and four-year-olds and vulnerable two-year-olds.”

Mary Fee MSP urges Flu Vaccination Uptake
16th October 2018

Mary Fee MSP receives her flu jab.Following the announcement that there was a significant increase in Winter deaths over 2017/18, the highest since 1999/2000, Mary Fee MSP is urging eligible adults and children to take up the free flu vaccination.

Mary Fee MSP, a health spokesperson for Scottish Labour, is urging constituents in West Scotland to get advice on combatting the winter flu and where eligible, book an appointment for the flu vaccination.

Winter deaths over 2017/18 is the highest since 1999/2000 and the number of “additional” deaths is the highest in 2 years. The rise has been linked to higher numbers of people dying of flu and pneumonia.

Adults and children, including all over-65’s and primary school children, are entitled to the free flu vaccination. Those with significant health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and cystic fibrosis, and pregnant women are also eligible for the vaccine.

The Labour MSP is urging anyone concerned to speak with a pharmacist, their local GP or visit the NHS website for more information.

Mary Fee MSP said “It is important that those eligible for the flu vaccine get immunised as soon as possible. Adults and children, particularly pregnant women, over 65’s and primary school children, are at a higher risk. The rise in winter deaths linked to flu and pneumonia is sad and tragic for families and loved ones. Despite the best efforts of NHS staff, the additional financial pressures and pressures of winter illness can result in over stretched and over worked staff. If you are in doubt over your free flu vaccine entitlement, please contact your local pharmacy, GP or visit the NHS Scotland website.”

Mary Fee calls for Youth and LGBT Mental Health Action
12th October 2018

Mary Fee MSPScottish Labour’s Mary Fee MSP has called for improved access to mental health services in a motion to the Scottish Parliament recognising World Mental Health Day which took place on Wednesday 10 October 2018.

The theme for this year’s annual event was young people’s mental health and Mary Fee’s motion explicitly references the high levels of depression and self-harm experienced by LGBTI+ young people.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in Scotland suffer from poor mental health. The profile and importance of mental health has grown in recent years and Mary Fee has raised this issue and stated there should be a greater focus on treating mental health issues with the same priority as physical health.

This year is Scotland’s Year of Young People and recent research has revealed that an alarming number of LGBTI+ young people in Scotland’s schools have experienced poor mental health. The research conducted by Stonewall Scotland in 2017 outlined that 58 percent of lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils and 96 percent of trans pupils have deliberately harmed themselves.

In her motion to the Scottish Parliament, Mary Fee has called for greater support for mental health services and stated that every individual who experiences poor mental health should have access to well-funded and adequately resourced support services within their local communities.

In marking the 70th anniversary of the National Health Services, Scottish Labour outlined 10-point plan for the Scottish NHS, in which they pledged to provide access to a mental health counsellor for every school pupil in Scotland and improve the access to crisis mental health services. The Scottish Government has since promised to invest in extra mental health services in schools and Mary Fee has warned that any dilution of the First Minister’s pledge will cause greater difficulties for children and young people accessing much needed treatment and support.

Only last month, Scottish Labour highlighted the current crisis in the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), with almost a third of Scotland’s most vulnerable children being referred to mental health services not being seen within the Scottish Government’s 18-week target.

Mary Fee said “It is important that politicians, public servants and public bodies help to raise profile of mental health and that it why I lodged the motion to the Scottish Parliament to recognise World Mental Health Day. I believe that in order to break the stigma around mental health we must widen the conversation and deepen our knowledge and understand of the range of mental health issues that people may experience throughout their lives. I am unequivocal in my belief that mental health should be treated with the same priority as physical health. However, it is clear that the Scottish Government is failing on mental health. Waiting times are increasing and children and adolescents are experiencing long delays when they reach out and attempt to access the appropriate support services. It is a scandal that nearly one-third of young people are waiting longer than 18 weeks for vital mental health treatment. It is simply unacceptable. The recent research from Stonewall Scotland has shown that poor mental health is a growing problem for children and adolescents, particularly for LGBT children and young people. Urgent action needs to be taken to prevent young LGBT people from increasing mental health problems.”


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