Ebrief from

Cathy Jamieson MP
14 th February 2011

Excessive bank profits and bonuses were back on the agenda last week, with the news that the Govt is to impose a levy on the banks in advance of them setting any bonus payments. The banks have predictably reacted negatively...one quoted as complaining that they cannot plan properly with these unexpected charges! Forgive me for having little sympathy – a bit more sensible investment rather than speculation might have avoided the banking crisis, and the public purse having to bail them out! And perhaps they will now spare a thought for those whose household budgets are being squeezed to breaking point. In reality, the levy being imposed is less than they were taxed under Labour. Along with other Scottish MPs, I met with senior representatives from the Bank of Scotland, who were keen to outline the changes they are making to try and be more responsive to what individual and business customers need. They have offered to look into any matters raised by MPs, so please get in touch if you have any issues. I am also arranging to meet other banks, to talk about how they can help deal with small businesses-so please get in touch if this affects you. Of course it is worth remembering that not all banks were involved in the crisis. The mutuals, which are owned by members rather than shareholders, offer an alternative. I am supporting calls for Northern Rock to be mutualised, rather than1sold off to the private sector.

Nurseries saved ...for now Well done to the local campaigners who lobbied Councillors of all parties to put the case for sparing local nurseries from the cuts. While the Council backed away from their original plans, there will now be a Review of Pre 5 services, so the long term battle is not over! On the Dooorsteps My doorstep surgery in Kilmaurs once again highlighted ongoing problems with housing repairs. It was disappointing to hear that the Council has not agreed to the plan put forward by the Labour Group to use cash for a repair programme, although rents are to rise. Please check my website www.cathyjamieson.com to see where my “Drop In” surgeries are being held over the next few weeks, and where I will be on the doorsteps. Appointments are also available by calling my office on 01563 522361. National Care Service Professor Arbuthnot’s Expert Panel came to Kilmarnock for a “Listening Event” as part of their Inquiry into the potential benefits of setting up a National Care Service. The Panel took formal evidence from Councils, Health Boards and COSLA in the morning,

and I was pleased that they agreed to hold a session for local community groups in the afternoon. The Panel told me afterwards that they had obtained great deal of useful information, particularly from local Carers, and Care Providers.

I hope that other groups will make applications – the Big Lottery Fund is keen to hear from groups and can give advice before applications are made. For more information click here

Also last week:
The Scottish Affairs Select Committee continued its work on the Scotland Bill and published its report on the UK Borders Agency I met with Lamine Baali, UK Polisario Representative from the Western Sahara, to discuss recent political developments and the UK Govt’s response.

Funding Update:
Thanks to everyone who got in touch to say that they had found the Funding Briefing, circulated last week, useful. Last week, I hosted an event in Westminster with Heritage Lottery, Big Lottery Fund, SportScotland and Creative Scotland, for MPs to find out more about the funding which has been awarded in their local areas. Locally, groups have once again been successful in securing £21,478 from
Awards for All. Irvine Valley Regeneration Partnership - £10000 to look into the viability of upgrading and extending the path routes in the Irvine Valley. . Stewarton Community Allotments Society - £2100 to create an allotment site for the benefit of local community.

I joined the local Chinese Community in Kilmarnock for the Chinese New Year Celebrations, which once again were spectacular! The local Kuloc Association has worked hard to involve children from across Kilmarnock and it was great to see so many people turn out.

Silverwood Primary School - £4490 to construct an eco garden

James Hamilton Academy - £2571 to enable 14 pupils to participate in the expedition section of the Bronze Level of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Galston Baby & Toddler Group - £2317 to purchase new equipment, materials and toys and also take part in environmental activities.

As a founder member of the Keir Hardie Society, it was a pleasure to meet up with members and friends, including Bob Holman, who has written the latest book on Keir Hardie, on a visit to the Baird Institute, to view memorabilia It was confirmed that I will travel to Rwanda at the end of next week, during Parliament recess, to find out more about how DFID funds are being used to help tackle TB and HIV.

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