FROM NUISANCE CALLS TO BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT - A WESTMINSTER ROUND-UP
Last week at Westminster began with the UK Government re-presenting my 2016 Nuisance Calls Bill, to make company directors personally liable for nuisance calls.
Having another MP re-submit this Bill in an identical form smacks of petty politics. The UK Government publicly supported my Bill and should have enacted it last year. Sadly, it only adopts Bills presented by its own MPs, even if that means delay in implementation. I am delighted legislation will finally be progressed. However, it should have been delivered - as promised - on 01 April 2017. The Tories delayed it until they could find one of their own MPs willing to take it forward, meaning that constituents hassled by nuisance calls have been harassed needlessly.
My priority is always North Ayrshire and Arran, so even at Westminster, I deal with correspondence and emails in between writing questions to Ministers and speeches for the debates I participate in.
Questioning the Secretary of State for Scotland, I tried to elicit a timeline for delivery of the Ayrshire Growth Deal. He failed to provide one, despite stating previously that he shares my frustration at the lack of progress from his own UK Tory Government. The Prime Minister recently agreed to ‘talks’ but the UK Government must act. Continued delay is unnecessary.
I spoke in a debate on the independent review of energy, produced by energy economist Professor Helm. Then on global action to protect children in conflict zones, where the number has increased 75% in two decades to 357 million; around one in six of the world’s children, mostly in the Middle East and Africa. Half are engulfed in high-intensity conflicts with little access to schools or health facilities, suffering increased exposure to violence.
The death of a parent often brings both an emotional and financial shock. Financial support for surviving partners and children at such a time is essential as they work through their grief. I argued against cuts to bereavement support which will see widows and widowers forced to increase their working hours while coping with losing a partner and children losing a parent.
I presented my parliamentary petition against the closure of RBS Kilbirnie after gathering 560 signatures. Next week, I present petitions on behalf of Kilwinning and Saltcoats, which also face branch closures.
I participated in a debate on the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP), developed by baby loss charities, royal colleges and professional organisations with support from the Department of Health and Social Care, SNP Government and the Cross-Party Group on Baby Loss and Neo-Natal Death, which I Vice-Chair. The NBCP is designed to improve the quality of bereavement care experienced by parents and families at all stages of pregnancy and baby loss.
At the Cross-Party Group on Green Deal Miss-selling, we help consumers saddled with debt by a company called Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Systems.
The Backbench Business Committee, on which I serve, meets weekly to consider and allocate debating time, based on level of interest and how urgent and topical a subject is.
Weekly, SNP MPs meet to discuss ongoing events at Westminster and beyond.