Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

No permanent posts in Dundee for over 60 per cent of probationary teachers

24 August 2010

Marlyn Glen released figures today showing that only 9 out of 35 secondary teachers in Dundee who completed their probationary year with Dundee City Council this year were offered a permanent post with the council for the new session that began this month.
Only 15 out 29 primary probationer teachers were offered.
The figures, provided to Ms. Glen by Dundee City Council, show that :

64 teachers completed their probationary year in 2009-10 with Dundee City Council.
29 were primary school teachers, 35 were secondary.

Of the 29 primary teachers,
15 were offered permanent posts.
1 was offered a temporary post
7 are currently on the primary supply list.

Amongst the 35 secondary teachers,
9 were offered permanent posts,
1 was offered a temporary contract,
5 are on the secondary supply list.

Ms. Glen said,
” Unless more permanent jobs are found for newly-qualified teachers, there is a real risk that their talents and skills will be lost to teaching for good.
” Careers cannot be built on temporary contracts and short-term work from supply lists.
“In addition, taxpayers rightly expect the £22,500 cost estimated to train a teacher to provide a dividend of more teachers in our schools.
” More teachers are most certainly needed at this particular time in Scottish education.
“In secondary schools, concerns about the resources for the new Curriculum for Excellence and its development and implementation should be addressed by providing more teachers.”
“In primary schools, there remains the unfulfilled Scottish Government promise to reduce class sizes in all primary 1- 3 classes to a maximum of 18 by next year. ”

An estimated 3 per cent of probationary teachers found employment outside of their own authority this year.

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Council tax freeze has benefited those in the higher council tax bands the most

21 August 2010

Marlyn Glen said today that the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze has “benefited those in the higher council tax bands the most”

Ms. Glen was commenting on figures showing what would have happened to council tax payments in the bands A-H if council tax had risen in line with inflation ( consumer price index) over the past three years rather than having been frozen.

She said that the figures “confirm the overall Scottish trend that the council tax freeze has benefited those in the upper council tax bands the most.”

She continued,

“Dundee City Council, like all other Scottish councils, has been treated very badly by the Scottish Government over the council tax freeze.

They promised Dundee City Council £1.762 million this year to freeze its council tax but only if the council slashed its spending by over 4 times that amount – £7.65 million.

“The more that the Scottish Government limits the council’s means of funding, the deeper the spending cuts the council must make.

“So the council struggles to provide services at the same time as carrying out the orders of the Scottish Government to cut back severely on spending.

“However, the council is still expected to implement costly Scottish Government’s promises such as reducing class sizes in P1-P3 classes for which it has received no extra money.

“This is why this Scottish Government policy for funding local government is unsustainable and unworkable.”

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Realtime Worlds : “Urgent meeting ” sought with Employment Minister

18 August 2010

Marlyn Glen said today that she was seeking an “urgent meeting” with Employment Minister Jim Mather on the collapse of the Dundee Games firm, Realtime Worlds.

Ms. Glen said,

“These job losses have huge implications for the city’s economic strategy.

“They have arisen in a sector in which Dundee has the reputation of being a 21st century success story.

” It is vital that the games industry in Dundee receives government support to continue to develop that success.

“Two months ago I had already called for financial support for the city’s games industry.

“Now that support is more imperative than ever.”

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VAT increase to cost NHS Tayside over £400,000 extra this year

16 August 2010

Marlyn Glen said today that the increase in VAT to 20 per cent in January will cost NHS Tayside ” at least an extra £400,000 in the current financial year.”
Ms. Glen said,
” NHS Tayside will have to dig deeper into its own resources to find this money at a time when the health board is being forced to shed almost 500 posts because of demands by the Scottish Government for so-called ‘efficiency savings’.
” The increase in VAT is a regressive action that will impact harshly on NHS budgets.”
Ms. Glen said that NHS Tayside budgets also face the impact of the recent rates revaluation exercise on their business properties by the Scottish Government.
As a result, the health board’s rates bill could rise by an extra £400,000 next year to increase to £4.5 million.

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“Never-Ending Council Tax Freeze faces crisis of credibility”

16 August 2010

Responding to the announcement that the SNP are ordering over £20 million on cuts in Dundee City’s budget for the next financial year, Marlyn Glen said,

“The SNP are imposing a cut of over £20 million in Dundee City Council’s budget to freeze the council tax next year.

“However, in 2008-09, the SNP Government gave out over £26 million in bonuses to senior staff right across the public sector from the NHS to government.

“One reason why Dundee City Council faces a severe squeeze on jobs and services is that the SNP’s “Never- Ending Council Tax Freeze” re-election ploy now faces its own crisis of credibility when it means the loss of hundreds of jobs and big reductiona in services for the public.

” Another reason has been the double talk from the SNP Government claiming that they had given councils all of the money that they needed to run their services.

“The council’s priorities right now are taking tough and responsible decisions, and not constantly looking for others to blame instead.”

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Pregnancy and Maternity Employment Tribunal Cases : Less than 1 in 10 successful

10 August 2010

Marlyn Glen has released information showing that less than 1 case in 10 cases brought before Employment Tribunals in Scotland in the years 2005-10 on the grounds of ” suffering a detriment and/or dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity were successful.

Over the five year period , there were a total of 660 of which 51 were successful (and a further 8 successful ones were classified as “default judgement”.)

The 660 cases over 5 years is broadly an average of 2 cases each week being brought before Employment Tribunals, and the 59 successful cases over the same period represents a success rate of less that 1 case in 10.

Ms. Glen, who is the Vice-Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee, said,
” On average, in almost every month in the past 5 years in Scotland , a woman has won a case on the grounds of disadvantage or dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity.
“Treating them unfavourably is both unjustifiable and illegal, but it still continues, even after decades of campaigning and legislation to make Britain a fairer society.
” Pregnant women and new mothers are just as hard-working and dedicated as others are.
“Gender equality in the workplace is important in furthering justice for women.
“Today around 70 per cent of women work, and having to combine employment and pregnancy is an economic necessity for many.”
Six years ago, Ms. Glen highlighted a total of 441 cases alleging unfair dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity that were registered with Employment Tribunals in Scotland in the period 1997-2004.
Of the 441 cases lodged then , 135 were successful, and these included those involving unfair dismissal on the grounds of failure to allow time off for ante-natal care, failure to allow maternity leave or provide written reasons for dismissal to an employee who is pregnant or on maternity leave, failure to pay remuneration whilst suspended from work for health and safety reasons whilst pregnant or on maternity leave.
Ms. Glen said that she would be discussing the figures and their trend with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (formerly known as the Equal Opportunities Commission).
She added, ” No one should be discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity.
” However, research for the Equality & Human Rights Commission has indicated that the most discriminated group of people in the workforce are pregnant women, 30,00 of whom lose their jobs annually, with 30,000 losing their jobs annually because of their pregnancy.
” The research showed also that only a small fraction of women who experience difficulties took proceedings further, mostly because of other pressures such as the pregnancy , and a concern that legal action might affect their standing at work.”

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Cuts : “Solutions, not Squabbles are Needed”

7 August 2010

Marlyn Glen said today,

“The SNP are still refusing to reveal how it will cut Scottish Government spending in Scotland next year

“The SNP prefer instead to engage in a ceaseless search for others to blame for the country’s current economic condition and for their own failure to honour their broken election promises.

“The current financial state of the country arises from the world-wide banking crisis.

“Irresponsible Scottish-based banks contributed to it by giving sub-prime loans to those in the US who did not have the means to repay them.

“As in other countries across Europe, the Labour Government in the UK injected billions of pounds into banks to prevent them from collapse and in doing so saving the money and jobs of many thousands of Scots.

” Before that, the SNP had called for a ‘light touch regulation’ on the control of banks , complaining that Labour’s approach had taken up ‘huge amounts of management time in gold plated regulation’.

” A separate Scotland could not have found the £37 billion the UK Government used to bail out banks such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and Lloyds-TSB

“It’s time that the SNP acknowledged this, and concentrated now on its duty as a Government to make clear where the cuts in its budget will come, focusing on solutions rather than squabbles.”

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Free Personal Care : “The debate has only just begun”

7 August 2010

Marlyn Glen said today that while the public engagement phase of the Scottish Government’s formal consultation on Reshaping Care for Older People ends in September, “the big debate on this issue has only just begun. ”

The consultation seeks to deal with issues such as how free personal care can be maintained in the decades to come as the number of elderly people in the population rises.

Scottish Labour are committed to free personal care.

Ms. Glen said, “The provision of care for the elderly will be a major issue for Dundee for over the next two decades.

“To make the best decisions we need the best local information available from both council and government.”

However, she has been unable to obtain information from either Dundee City Council or the Scottish Government on the estimated expenditure on maintaining free personal care at present day standards in Dundee in the near future and of the longer term estimates of the numbers in the city who would require personal care and the numbers employed to provide that care service.

Ms. Glen said,

“Many issues are involved in future personal care such as how do we pay for it, can current services be re-organised to provide more from telecare, cut the number of emergency admissions to hospital, and encourage more voluntary work”

“Changes in lifestyle would lessen the amount of resources devoted to preventable ill-health conditions that arise from diet, smoking and physical inactivity. In the long term, this could allow resources to be transferred to care for the elderly.

“Here is one salient comparison.

“Dundee City Council spends just over £12 million a year on providing personal care at home for the elderly.

“The estimated of alcohol misuse to the NHS in Tayside is at least £12 million a year.”

“It is generally agreed that carers need more support.

“These are typically family members, friends and neighbours and they are the sometimes-forgotten champions of free personal care whose work is estimated to be worth more than what is spent on formal care.

“The cost of providing free personal care for the elderly in Scotland is £4.5 billion a year, and the Scottish Government say that if present standards of care are to remain, then another £1.1 billion will need to found by 2016.

“Both of these figures are less than the estimated £7.7 billion a year savings made to the NHS thanks to the work of carers in Scotland.

“Generally speaking, all the major political parties in Scotland remain committed to free personal care.

“If it is to be ring-fenced, then undoubtedly very difficult choices will need to be made about spending on other services in tough economic times.”

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Cuts : Council ” failing to face up to its responsibility”

4 August 2010

Marlyn Glen said today that SNP-controlled Dundee City council had “failed to face up to its responsibility” over council budget cuts as the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee has made it clear that councils must show “greater leadership” over the issue.

Ms. Glen said,

” In June, the Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament said that all-publicly funded bodies such as councils should ‘show far greater leadership by discussing in more open and realistic terms the impact that the budget cuts will have and the options that are available to deal with these cuts.’

“Instead, since then the SNP on Dundee City Council have avoided their duty to inform Dundee in this manner.

“The city needs to know about the depth of these cuts in detail, and the options open to the council in managing them through careful planning.

“The city needs to know as well the impact on council services in Dundee of the SNP Government’s decision to delay the introduction of £332 million of Coalition budget cuts in Scotland till next year.

“In short, the SNP should have shared all of the information that they already have on the cuts with the people of Dundee to inform them fully of the scale of the reductions in spending.

“No amount of ducking and dodging by the SNP will hide the fact that they will make large cuts in the budget of Dundee City Council as a consequence of their Government’s decision to freeze the council tax.”

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