MY WEEK IN REVIEW-
13th EDITION
May 16th, 2016

Monday 9th May

Photo: The BBC

George Kerevan: There’s no third way in Scottish politics after the Tories’ surge


THE Tories are back in Scotland! Not that they ever left, of course. All that happened last Thursday – though it’s significant politically – is that the split No vote from 2014 rallied to the Conservative banner, leaving Scottish Labour in a pathetic third place.

This was obvious on the Saturday morning after the Holyrood election, when practically every major Scottish newspaper bore screaming headlines claiming Ruth Davidson’s “victory” meant hope of a second independence vote was “in shreds” (the Express). The Mail claimed this was “the roar of Middle Scotland”. The Times opined that a “humbled Sturgeon wakes up to a new reality”.



On Monday afternoon in the Treasury Select Committee I questioned Matthew Elliot, Chief Executive of 'Vote Leave' on the Economic and Financial Costs and Benefits of the UK's EU membership. After refusing to come before the Committee, Mr Elliot finally agreed to give evidence  to MPs on an unusual meeting day for the Treasury Committee.

Tuesday 10th May

On Tuesday I went to the launch reception of the new report by the Investment Association, entitled Supporting Productivity with Long-Term Investment.

You can read the report here

Government figures in February have showed that Britain's productivity gap with other developed economies has never been so wide since modern records began in the 1990s. One of my campaigns here at Westminster is to force the Government to get more serious about tackling the productivity gap.




Wednesday 11th May

On Wednesday morning I met with Transferwise, which is a UK-based peer-to-peer money transfer service. Their business model allows you to transfer money in a cheaper way than with the big High Street banks - so what else is new? I intend to launch a campaign to expose how the big banks charge too much for exchanging currencies and to encourage more competition in the market.  And you thought it was "free"?  

Later on Wednesday, I questioned Chancellor George Osborne on the Treasury's latest report, The long-term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives, as well as on the government's document detailing the process for withdrawing from the European Union. I highlighted the fact that the official report failed to mention what control the House of Commons and devolved parliaments and assemblies would have in agreeing the details of any post-Brexit settlement.

Both documents are available here and here  

Watch the Treasury Committee session with the Chancellor :





Thursday 12th May

On Thursdays my weekly column appears in the East Lothian Courrier. This week I wrote about Universal Credits and the impact they will have on the amount of welfare benefit people will end up receiving.
Parliament is winding down today in anticipation of the Queen's Speech next week, and the new parliamentary term.  So there was no Treasury Committee today, which meant I could take an early train back to Scotland. I used the train journey to look at constituents' cases and respond to some of the dozens of letters my office receives every week.

 

Friday 13th May

My major task in East Lothian on Friday was trying to deal with the problems caused locally by the introduction of Universal Credits.  East Lothian is the very first constituency in Scotland to roll out the whole programme.  Applications can ONLY be made online, which is causing major difficulties for those with disabilities or lack of ready access to a computer. I held emergency meetings with the staff at the Job Centre in Musselburgh (pictured below) which is handling Universal Credit, and with advice agencies like CAB. I also dropped into the Haddington CAB in the afternoon. This disaster is squarely the fault of the Conservative Government.
On Friday I also visited Viridor's site in Dunbar where a new waste management plant and incinerator are being built. I support this major investment in the county, which forms part of the Scottish Government's plan to make Scotland a zero-waste economy.  

However, I wanted to challenge Viridor face-to-face on the need to grant local East Lothian businesses part of the contract work in building the plant, and to get assurances that local young people would be awarded apprenticeships when the project is completed. Senior Viridor managers agreed to these points. I also expressed my worries that the main sub-contractors involved in building the new facility were not meeting national industry-union agreements on pay and conditions. Viridor agreed to put this matter to the sub-contractors.

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Monday 9th May

Photo: The BBC

George Kerevan: There’s no third way in Scottish politics after the Tories’ surge


THE Tories are back in Scotland! Not that they ever left, of course. All that happened last Thursday – though it’s significant politically – is that the split No vote from 2014 rallied to the Conservative banner, leaving Scottish Labour in a pathetic third place.

This was obvious on the Saturday morning after the Holyrood election, when practically every major Scottish newspaper bore screaming headlines claiming Ruth Davidson’s “victory” meant hope of a second independence vote was “in shreds” (the Express). The Mail claimed this was “the roar of Middle Scotland”. The Times opined that a “humbled Sturgeon wakes up to a new reality”.



On Monday afternoon in the Treasury Select Committee I questioned Matthew Elliot, Chief Executive of 'Vote Leave' on the Economic and Financial Costs and Benefits of the UK's EU membership. After refusing to come before the Committee, Mr Elliot finally agreed to give evidence  to MPs on an unusual meeting day for the Treasury Committee.

Tuesday 10th May

On Tuesday I went to the launch reception of the new report by the Investment Association, entitled Supporting Productivity with Long-Term Investment.

You can read the report here

Government figures in February have showed that Britain's productivity gap with other developed economies has never been so wide since modern records began in the 1990s. One of my campaigns here at Westminster is to force the Government to get more serious about tackling the productivity gap.




Wednesday 11th May

On Wednesday morning I met with Transferwise, which is a UK-based peer-to-peer money transfer service. Their business model allows you to transfer money in a cheaper way than with the big High Street banks - so what else is new? I intend to launch a campaign to expose how the big banks charge too much for exchanging currencies and to encourage more competition in the market.  And you thought it was "free"?  

Later on Wednesday, I questioned Chancellor George Osborne on the Treasury's latest report, The long-term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives, as well as on the government's document detailing the process for withdrawing from the European Union. I highlighted the fact that the official report failed to mention what control the House of Commons and devolved parliaments and assemblies would have in agreeing the details of any post-Brexit settlement.

Both documents are available here and here  

Watch the Treasury Committee session with the Chancellor :





Thursday 12th May

On Thursdays my weekly column appears in the East Lothian Courrier. This week I wrote about Universal Credits and the impact they will have on the amount of welfare benefit people will end up receiving.
Parliament is winding down today in anticipation of the Queen's Speech next week, and the new parliamentary term.  So there was no Treasury Committee today, which meant I could take an early train back to Scotland. I used the train journey to look at constituents' cases and respond to some of the dozens of letters my office receives every week.

 

Friday 13th May

My major task in East Lothian on Friday was trying to deal with the problems caused locally by the introduction of Universal Credits.  East Lothian is the very first constituency in Scotland to roll out the whole programme.  Applications can ONLY be made online, which is causing major difficulties for those with disabilities or lack of ready access to a computer. I held emergency meetings with the staff at the Job Centre in Musselburgh (pictured below) which is handling Universal Credit, and with advice agencies like CAB. I also dropped into the Haddington CAB in the afternoon. This disaster is squarely the fault of the Conservative Government.
On Friday I also visited Viridor's site in Dunbar where a new waste management plant and incinerator are being built. I support this major investment in the county, which forms part of the Scottish Government's plan to make Scotland a zero-waste economy.  

However, I wanted to challenge Viridor face-to-face on the need to grant local East Lothian businesses part of the contract work in building the plant, and to get assurances that local young people would be awarded apprenticeships when the project is completed. Senior Viridor managers agreed to these points. I also expressed my worries that the main sub-contractors involved in building the new facility were not meeting national industry-union agreements on pay and conditions. Viridor agreed to put this matter to the sub-contractors.

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