MP hails 40 years of "Inspirational" work of Rape Crisis Centre
Alison Thewliss MP
Thursday, 23 June 2016

Glasgow Rape Crisis Thewliss BlackAlison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, has hailed forty years of "inspirational" work from the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow.

This week, along with Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black, the SNP duo visited Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre to hear about their work and the challenges they face. 2016 marks the charity’s fortieth year since being established in Scotland’s largest city.

Commenting after visiting the organisation which is based in her constituency, Ms Thewliss said:

"For the last forty years, Rape Crisis has been doing inspirational work to support women survivors of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse. So much of this work goes totally unrecognised and happens under the radar, but it is vital in supporting vulnerable women in Glasgow from all kinds of backgrounds.

"Getting the opportunity to spend some time with the staff at the centre this week was hugely valuable in terms of getting an insight into the complex challenges they face in supporting women through unimaginably horrific situations.

"It’s a bittersweet moment to celebrate forty years of an organisation that shouldn’t have to exist in this day and age. However, the figures show that too many rapes still go unreported and the conviction rate is still far, far too low. We need to remember that, although the majority – 97% - of rape cases don’t result in conviction, it’s still absolutely imperative the survivors of rape and sexual abuse are given sensitive and confidential support as they try to rebuild their lives.

"The work that Rape Crisis staff and volunteers do from their Support to Report project right down to their first response helpline is absolutely vital, and I very much look forward to taking forward a number of issues they raised with me to day which I, in turn, will be taking up with the Scottish and UK Governments."

 
New report shows Glasgow is best staying in EU
EU Information
Monday, 13 June 2016

Thewliss with Wee BlEU BookAlison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has today (Monday) launched a new report drawing attention to hundreds of millions of pounds of EU investment and tangible benefits for the city of Glasgow.

Launching her report in front of the city's iconic Duke of Wellington statue, the Glasgow MP said the report put forward a Glaswegian case to vote to remain in the EU on Thursday, 23rd June.

With less than weeks until polling day, Ms Thewliss criticised the Leave and Remain campaigns for running "distant and negative" campaigns and said that attention in the final fortnight needed to turn to making a positive and local case for a Remain vote.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

"I believe that EU membership matters to us all in Glasgow, whether you're a student, running a business, or just travelling around the city. In the course of speaking to constituents, I’ve been asked by genuinely undecided voters to explain why people in Glasgow should vote to remain in the European Union.

"The Scottish independence referendum debate was conducted at a grassroots level and ignited passionate debate in local communities. Too much of the EU debate has been distant, negative, Tories arguing amongst themselves, and far removed from people’s day to day lives.

"With this new report I’ve produced, I hope that other Glaswegians will reflect on what the UK, and Scotland’s, membership of the European Union means but not just at a national level but what it means for us in Glasgow.

"Because of the EU’s Single Market and from Regional Selective Assistance Grants, we have received over £83 million of investment to businesses in Glasgow since 2010, creating 7,292 new jobs and protecting 3,251 existing jobs - including jobs on the Clyde. That's just one tangible benefit stemming from our EU membership. Other significant benefits have come in education, infrastructure and tourism, making Glasgow a more connected global city.

"EU cash supports businesses large and small from 2,287 ship building jobs on the Clyde, to a much more local level safeguarding 6 vital jobs at Heidi Beers. This gives Glasgow families certainty and protects household incomes.

"When it comes to infrastructure investment, Glasgow does really well out of Europe. Upgrades to major pieces of the city’s transport network were paid for using EU money. Improvement works on the M8, M73 and M74 motorways were undertaken with £174 million of European cash. Indeed, £100 million of funding for the City of Glasgow College came from the European Investment Bank.

"I know that Europe is not perfect – far from it. It still needs major reform and the Scottish Government has made that crystal clear. However, walking away from the table now just doesn’t make sense when we’ve achieved so much."

 
MP Thewliss backs Carers Week
Alison Thewliss MP
Wednesday, 08 June 2016

AlisonThewliss-sm-20160321Alison Thewliss MP today pledged her support to carers across Glasgow as part of the national Carers Week 2016 awareness campaign, which runs from 6-12th June. There are 6.5 million people in the UK who care for a partner, relative or friend, of which 6,324 carers are in Glasgow Central

The seven charities driving Carers Week 2016 are calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to improve the lives of carers by building 'Carer Friendly Communities' – encouraging all parts of the community to think about carers and do things differently to support them.

The call comes after research for Carers Week revealed that a combination of inadequate support from local services and a lack of understanding about caring from wider society is having a negative impact on carers’ health, wellbeing, relationships and finances.

Glasgow Central MP, Alison Thewliss said:

"Carers make a huge contribution to our society, providing vital and often hidden support to friends and family members.That is why I am supporting Carers Week 2016 and encouraging services across Glasgow to think about what more they can do to help meet the needs of carers and make our communities more Carer Friendly."

Emily Holzhausen, who leads the Carers Week partnership, said:

"With an ever increasing number of families taking on caring roles for older, ill or disabled loved ones, it is great to see MPs showing their support for carers.

"While carers have told us that it makes a huge difference when they are recognised and supported by their local services and communities, too many carers tell us they struggling to balance caring with other areas of their lives. By working together during Carers Week we have a huge opportunity to make our communities more Carer Friendly and make a difference to those who contribute so much."

Carers Week is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association and MS Society.

Thousands of events are taking place across the country this week, and thousands of people have already pledged their support for carers online. To find out more about events in Glasgow visit www.carersweek.org

 
UN Launches probe into "Pernicious" Two Child Policy
Alison Thewliss MP
Sunday, 22 May 2016

Alison - rape clauseSNP MP, Alison Thewliss, has welcomed moves by the United Nations to launch an investigation into the UK's proposed rape clause and two child policy for tax credits.

In February, Thewliss wrote to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and asked the UN to investigate whether the UK Government’s proposed rape clause and two child policy breached the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed in 1990.

The SNP politician believes that the UK Government’s "medieval" proposals could breach at least five of the fifty-four articles in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Recently, the UN responded to Ms Thewliss and confirmed that it also had concerns about the UK's proposed welfare policies.  Accordingly, the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child will be launching an investigation next week.

Thewliss welcomed the UN’s intervention and said:

"Everyone knows that the medieval two child policy and rape clause is unworkable, immoral and is now almost certainly in contravention of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed up to almost twenty five years ago.

"I warmly welcome the UN's decision to intervene and shine a very bright light onto this cruel and thoughtless Government, which appears hell bent on making life as difficult as possible for ordinary people.

"It is clear that, over the last ten months, the Tories had hoped this campaign would be quietly dropped but the fact it has caught the attention of the UN suggests this policy is now totally untenable.  The UN probe is a major boost to our campaign to end the pernicious two child policy and rape clause.

"This Government simply cannot be allowed to get away with a policy that is tantamount to social engineering."

 
Questions remain unanswered on Rape Clause and Two Child Policy
Alison Thewliss MP
Thursday, 19 May 2016

Alison - rape clauseSNP MP Alison Thewliss has spoken of her "utter disappointment" following her meeting today (Thursday) with Lord Freud, Minister of State for Welfare Reform, at the Department of Work & Pensions.

Following months of campaigning, Prime Minister David Cameron finally relented and organised a meeting between the SNP MP and his Welfare Reform Minister, which took place this morning.

Thewliss had just forty-five minutes to question Freud and his officials on their "draconian" plans for a rape clause and two child policy which she said was "tantamount to social engineering."

Commenting after her meeting at the DWP’s Caxton House HQ in London, Ms Thewliss said:

"Today’s meeting was the most frustrating and soul destroying meetings I’ve ever had to endure in my nine years of elected public office, first as a Councillor and now as an MP.

"Lord Freud showed no compassion for the vulnerable women and families who will be subjected to some of the most draconian welfare reforms in the world, which are tantamount to social engineering.

 "The Prime Minister himself conceded the Government had “more to do” on this policy, and promised that they would consult on this.  When I pressed the Minister, it turns out that the Government have consulted just four organisations on a policy which will cause unimaginable pain and distress to victims of rape.

"This Government clearly does not appreciate that the majority of rapes happen within abusive relationships, and that pushing women to claim could place them and their children in a very dangerous position.

"During the course of the meeting, Lord Freud suggested that women should "just flee", without appreciating how incredibly difficult that can be. This comes at the same time when women's refuges are under threat by Tory cuts to housing benefit. That is simply unacceptable and confirms my worst fears that this is the most uncaring, heartless and cruel Government yet.

"On restricting tax credits to the first two children in a family, Lord Freud made great play of the fact that 85% of families have two or less children, therefore this policy would only impact a small minority of people. He couldn’t answer why the Government is legislating to attack such a small minority. He confirmed that he had not consulted with any religious groups, who may be disproportionately affected by the restriction.

"I was further appalled to hear that they have no intention of protecting eligibility to tax credits for families composed of children from previous relationships, which further undermines the Government’s much vaunted ‘family test’.

"I am absolutely gutted by this Tory Government's lack of compassion, but I will continue the fight to end to this policy.  It’s just a shame that the UK Government are so hell bent on pushing ahead with this that they’ll be as obstructive as possible."

 
Thewliss takes Rape Clause fight to DWP HQ
Alison Thewliss MP
Thursday, 19 May 2016

alison-thewliss-sm-201602SNP MP, Alison Thewliss, will today meet with Lord Freud, UK Minister for Welfare Reform, at the Department for Work & Pension’s Caxton House HQ in London.

Further stepping up her campaign against the Government’s proposed rape clause and two child policy, Ms Thewliss will use the meeting – organised by the Prime Minister – to put forward a list of unanswered questions to the Government which, she says, "demonstrate the policies to be unworkable, let alone immoral".

Commenting in advance of her meeting with Lord Freud, Alison Thewliss MP said:

"It is now ten months since I first raised concerns about the Tories plans to limit tax credits and introduce a rape clause, and I’m determined to keep pursuing this.  The Government cannot be allowed to get away with implementing policies that are tantamount to social engineering."

"I’ve met and spoken with a number of women’s welfare and rape crisis organisations over recent months and it is clear that vulnerable women and families are deeply worried about the impact these cruel and draconian policies will have on them."

"Ministers at every level of Government, including the Chancellor and Prime Minister, have assured me that they realise this policy needs looked at again.  We’ve been promised a consultation but, as yet – and not for lack of asking – we’ve still got no detail as to how or when the consultation will be undertaken, who will be consulted, how long it will run for and when it will report."

"The policy doesn’t need consultation – it needs binned.  The fact that the Government has thus far been unable to answer basic questions demonstrate the policies to be as unworkable as they are immoral."

 
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