News

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.”


Mary listens to local teachers on P1 tests
20th September 2018


Mary Fee MSPMary Fee MSP has welcomed a vote in the Scottish Parliament which calls on Primary 1 testing to be scrapped and refers to concerns raised by local teachers during her debate speech.

On Wednesday 19th September the Scottish Parliament voted 63 votes to 61 to scrap the Scottish National Standardised Assessment’s for Primary 1 pupils following recent concerns around the impact the tests are having on children and teaching time.

Mary, who voted to scrap the tests for 4 and 5 year olds, has welcomed the result and called it a win for Primary 1 children, their parents and all teaching staff. It has been reported that children are being left in tears and full of anxiety when taking the test and teachers are spending up to 50 hours in teaching time carrying out the tests.

During Mary’s speech she referenced emails she has received from teachers in Renfrew, Bishopton and Inverclyde who oppose the standard assessments for 4 and 5 year olds. The Labour MSP has been contacted by parents and teachers across West Scotland in recent months about the negative impact the tests are having.

Scottish Labour has called on the Scottish Government to act upon the will of the Parliament scrap the tests as it has been instructed to do following reports that the Cabinet Secretary for Education would ignore the result of the vote.

It was these reports that forced Mary Fee to call out the Cabinet Secretary’s arrogance during the debate and question why he knows more about teaching than teachers with decades of experience.

Speaking during the debate, the West Scotland MSP said “The idea that children as young as 4 and a half years old are being assessed in our schools is absurd.  Children in Primary 1 should learn in a stress-free and welcoming environment with constant support from teachers and support workers.  Instead of teachers teaching, we waste resources that are already stretched in carrying out useless tests of 4 and 5 year olds.”

After the vote result was announced, Mary said “We are elected to serve the people and deliver what they want. In voting to scrap these tests that is precisely what all opposition MSP’s done. As I said during the debate, Scottish Labour has no problem with teachers assessing pupils; teachers assess pupil’s learning every day using a whole variety of techniques and diagnostic methodologies, and deploying their professional expertise to do so.  The Scottish Government must now act on the will of the Scottish Parliament and scrap these unnecessary tests.”


Mary marks Baby Loss Awareness Week
9th October 2018


Mary Fee MSP supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018West Scotland’s Mary Fee MSP has marked Baby Loss Awareness Week with a motion in the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness to MSPs of the issues related to pregnancy and baby loss and joined Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death national charity, to call for greater bereavement care.

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an annual event from 9th to 15th October that provides an opportunity for bereaved parents, families and friends to commemorate the tragic passing of a baby. The awareness week also provides an opportunity for politicians to hear from parents and charity organisations about the need to improve the quality of bereavement care experienced by parents and families.

To mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, Mary Fee MSP has lodged a motion to the Scottish Parliament recognising the week and urging the need to develop the National Bereavement Care Pathway to improve bereavement care for parents and families. Mary’s motion has attracted the support of more than 20 MSPs of all parties.

Mary also took the opportunity to meet with representatives from Sands, who are developing the National Bereavement Care Pathway, in the Scottish Parliament and heard about the work they are doing with parents and families across Scotland.

UK-wide it is reported that 15 babies die every day, either before, during or shortly after birth. Charities state that the level of care for parents is like a postcode lottery and Mary is joining calls for the same high standard of care to be made available to all parents after the tragic loss of their child.

Mary Fee MSP said
“The tragic loss of a baby is an extremely difficult period for parents and I support the development of the National Bereavement Care Pathway to support parents and families in their grief and further. It was important to meet with representatives from Sands last week in the Parliament as they need to raise awareness too all MSPs of the issues that baby loss can cause. I am grateful for the support of over 20 MSPs so far in my motion and I hope that by raising awareness with politicians of all parties, we can work together to ensure that the same high quality support and care is made available to parents who suffer the tragic loss of a baby.”


Mary Fee MSP backs call to scrap Primary 1 tests
17th September 2018


Mary Fee MSPMary Fee MSP will vote today to scrap the standardised testing of 4 and 5 year olds in Primary School after concerns have been raised in recent weeks and months about the negative impact the tests are having on children and the time teachers are forced to waste on the tests.

West Scotland MSP Mary Fee is backing calls to scrap the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA’s) for Primary 1 pupils following serious concerns raised by parents and teachers over the impact the tests are having on children.

Mary has labelled the tests as unnecessary and damaging to 4 and 5 year olds emotional wellbeing after reports of children suffering anxiety and being left in tears whilst taking the SNSA’s. Trade Unions representing teachers have also highlighted the high number of hours’ teachers are forced to waste on carrying out the tests.

The SNSA’s were introduced by the SNP Scottish Government last year after they abolished the Scottish Literacy and Numeracy Survey, which showed falling rates of children learning to read, write and count in Scotland.

As Scottish Labour’s Deputy Education Spokesperson, Mary will close the debate scheduled for Wednesday afternoon called for by the Conservatives. The SNSA’s for Primary 1 pupils have only the support of SNP MSPs, with Scottish Labour, Greens, Lib Dems and Tories all uniting in opposition to the introduction of testing primary 1 pupils.

Speaking ahead of the debate and vote in the Scottish Parliament, Mary Fee MSP said “I welcome the opportunity to put the concerns of parents, teachers and education professionals to the Scottish Government during the debate. I will be voting to scrap the Scottish National Standardised Assessments for 4 and 5 year olds to allow them to learn in a friendly and supportive environment.  In recent months it has been well documented the damaging impact these tests are having on such small children and as a Parliament, we must put the needs of children first, as well as listen to parents and teachers, and scrap these unnecessary tests.”


End austerity and invest in services to prevent suicides says Mary Fee MSP
14th September 2018


Mary Fee MSPMary Fee MSP has called for early intervention, better mental health services for children and young people and an end to austerity to prevent suicides during a debate on the publication of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

The debate in the Scottish Parliament came two days after World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 and Mary, as Scottish Labour’s Mental Health Spokesperson, lead the debate on the new Suicide Prevention Action Plan: Every Life Matters, almost two years since the previous action plan expired.

In opening for Scottish Labour, Ms Fee called for greater support for every family that is affected by suicide and called on all MSPs to work together to ensure well-funded mental health services are available to those suffering in silence.

The debate followed the publication of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) statistics showing that more children and young people are waiting longer for access to treatment and Mary warned that more children will suffer if the right access and funding is not in place.

Mary’s amendment, which referred to CAMHS and the review of mental health services in Tayside, to the original Scottish Government motion was successfully passed by all MSPs.

Speaking in the debate Mary said “Behind every statistic on suicide is a loved one, family and community that faces the sad reality that a suicide was not prevented. All suicides are preventable in some way and people who have died from suicide did not need to suffer in silence or alone.  We must send a message to families that are affected by suicide that we will endeavour to prevent their suffering from happening to others because every life matters.  In times of austerity-driven public policy, it has remained harder to ensure that funding is available. That is why we must end austerity; we must invest in health and other public services that help to identify, reach out to, and support people who are at risk of suicide.  It is disheartening that the most recent child and adolescent mental health services statistics reveal a record low performance on waiting times for children and young people who access mental health services."


   

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