Stirling hosts Malawian MP

Immediate release

Stirling hosts Malawian MP

Scottish Labour’s Dr Richard Simpson, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, played host to Malawian MP Mr Kaphamtengo Yona as part of a pairing scheme run with the Scottish Parliament. Dr Simpson chose to use his day to show him part of the constituency, sampling industry, local governance and culture.

The group met with Johann Boyd the leader of Stirling council, Mike Robbins Stirling Provost and Craig Miller, head of Dr Simpson’s parliamentary office at the council chambers, and discussed some of the challenges facing the council at the moment. As a member of the Malawian Finance Committee, moentary balance was of particular interest.

They went on to visit the McRobert Art’s Centre at Stirling Universty as an insight into both culture and entertainment in Scotland, but also a brief chance to view our Higher Education system.

Mr Yona is also a farmer in Malawi and visited Graham’s dairy which is now the seventh biggest Dairy in Scotland. The group were given a tour by owner, Mr Robert Graham senior and Mr Yona commented;
“I was impressed by the dairy, especially the production of gold top jersey milk. The high level of protein in jersey milk could be valuable in my country.”

Dr Simpson also briefed Mr Yoni on the work he is doing with a volunteer, Robin Anderson, promoting Intercare, a charity which collects unused but in date medicines handed in to GP surgeries. These valuable medicines are dispatched on specific orders from clinics in sub-Sahara Africa, instead of being incinerated. Both elected representatives hope the project could be expanded due to the great benefits it could have in countries where medication is not easily accessed.

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Clackmannanshire benefits slashed by £22million

For Immediate Release

Clackmannanshire benefits slashed by £22million

According to a report assessing the impact of the proposed benefit changes, released by ‘Rights Advice Scotland’ and the ‘Scottish Local Government Forum Against Poverty’, Clackmannanshire is set to be hit hard with over £22million being removed from benefits by 2015. Figures show that the hardest hit are likely to be children, people with disabilities and social housing tenants.

Scottish Labour’s Dr Richard Simpson, MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife said:
“The scale of these benefit cuts will affect families throughout Clackmannanshire at a time when money is already tight. Over Christmas we saw a marked increase in the need for help such as food banks, and I worry that these increased cuts will only exacerbate this. There is also a concern that whilst people’s home budgets are so tight we will see a detrimental effect on the local economy.”

Currently over 6,500 people claim Child Benefit and they are set to lose over £5million. There over 5,000 people claiming Housing Benefit and they will be affected with the result of losing over £4,500,000 by 2015. Disabled people look set to suffer also as those claiming Disability Living Allowance are set to lose out on almost £7million.
The change from Retail Price Index (RPI) to Consumer Price Index (CPI) has already resulted in Clackmannanshire claimants losing over £2million. These new plans to change benefits will result in a major strain during what are already tough times, meaning Scotland’s poorest will suffer.

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‘Swap fags for swag’, Dr Richard Simpson MSP urges smokers on No Smoking Day

For immediate release

‘Swap fags for swag’, Dr Richard Simpson MSP urges smokers on No Smoking Day

Dr Richard Simpson, Scottish Labour MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, is encouraging thousands of smokers to ‘swap fags for swag’ by quitting on No Smoking Day on Wednesday 13 March.

Dr Simpson is supporting the annual health campaign, run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) throughout the UK, which shows how smokers could treat themselves to all sorts of ‘swag’ if they quit for a day, saving £11; a week (£78); a month (£336), and a year (£4,090)(1).
Dr Simpson said:

“Stopping smoking is not only one of the best things you can do to boost your health but it’s great for your bank balance as well. Quitting can be difficult, but there is a lot of local support available and working out what you could afford to buy is a great motivator. I’d encourage everyone to give it a go and join thousands of others trying to quit on the day.”

Approximately one in four Scots adults smoke (2) but around two thirds of current smokers say they would like to stop (3).

Marjory Burns, BHF Scotland Director, said: “More than 750,000 smokers across the UK all try to quit on No Smoking Day, so it’s a great time to give it a go if you smoke and really want to quit.

“Your cigarette money really adds up, so whether you want to swap your day’s packet of 20 for a new lipstick, save for a week and take your kids to the cinema, or save for a whole year and reward yourself with a holiday of a lifetime, there are lots of fun – and healthier – ways to spend your money.

“We’re here to help you every step of the way, so get ready to join in and swap fags for swag.”

The No Smoking Day campaign is now in its 30th year. It helped more than 760,000 people across the UK quit smoking last year and inspired another 1.5 million to seek out information to help them quit in future.

For more information on the benefits of quitting as well as top quit tips, visit www.wequit.co.uk or call 0800 84 84 84.

ENDS

For more information about No Smoking Day, contact the BHF Scotland multimedia team:

– Clare Shaw (Mon/Tues) on 0131 561 3355 or shawc@bhf.org.uk
– Marjory Wood (Tues-Fri) on 0131 561 3351 or woodm@bhf.org.uk