Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Benefit cuts : Dundee could lose up to £21 million a year

17 September 2010

A report by the Scottish Local Government Forum against Poverty has revealed that cuts in benefits by the UK Coalition Government could take away between £17 and 21 million a year from claimants in Dundee.

Thousands across the city will be hit.

The figures come from a report from the Scottish Local Government Forum Against Poverty and from Rights Advice Scotland entitled “People, Councils, The Economy”.

It details the effects of the UK Government’s changes in the benefit system from now until 2114/15 for every local authority area in Scotland.

The major benefits were selected for study were :

Housing Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, and Incapacity Benefit/ Severe Disablement Allowance

It forecasts the following annual losses in Dundee –

Housing Benefit

More than 75% of 2,820 claimants will be affected by total annual losses of approximately £1,281,000

Disability Living Allowance

Total number of claimants (11,290) will be cut by 20% leading to annual losses of £8,521,401

Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance

Total number of claimants (8,620) will be cut leading to annual losses in the range of £4,894,836 – £8,503,040

These total between £14,697,237 – £18,305,441

Other losses arise from the changeover in the calculation of the amount of benefit using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than the RPI (Retail Price Index)

These are :

5,094 Jobseekers Allowance recipients will lose £242,756 annually

3,470 Carers Allowance recipients will lose £164,200 annually

4,790 Attendance Allowance recipients will lose £265,928 annually

16,725 families receiving Child Benefit for 27,185 children will lose £3,768,697 (£2,392,133

if CPI used) over the course of 3-year freeze (pro rata £1,256,232 each year)

1,740 Employment Support Allowance recipients will lose £101,338 annually

7,050 Income Support recipients will lose £410,592 annually

7,500 Incapacity Benefit recipients will lose £378,308 annually

These changes resulting form the changeover in calculation of benefit add up to £2,819,355.

And so the overall total annual loss for Dundee is between £17,516,591 – £21,124,796

Jim McGovern MP commented,

“The findings of this report are disturbing but not surprising.

“Since the election we have been saying that the Tory ideological cuts will harm the poorest worst

“This report confirms that.”

“Whilst this new government allows the bankers that got us into this position away unscathed they are targeting the weakest and most vulnerable in our society.

“It is cities like Dundee that will suffer most.

“That is completely unacceptable.

“I will be continuing to raise these problems in Parliament, and I will do what I can to oppose the Tories and the damage their cuts agenda will have on my constituents.”

Marlyn Glen MSP said :

” Benefits payments will be hit by this “tax and axe” Budget , making many vulnerable people much worse off.

“The sharp rise in VAT of £400 a year for a typical household , will hit the poorest members of society most since it accounts for the largest amount of their tax expenditure.

“Public expenditure contracts, the source of much of the work that the private sector depends upon, is being hit badly, and it fuels fears of a double-dip recession that will put many more out of work.”

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Filed under: Uncategorized

SNP forced to backdown on class sizes claim

16 September 2010

The SNP have been forced to back down on their claims that all primary one classes in Dundee have no more than 25 pupils in them.

Figures obtained by Ms. Glen from Dundee City Council revealed that 4 of this year’s P1 classes in the city had over 25 pupils.
Ms. Glen commented on attempts by the SNP to claim that two of the four classes which had two teachers teaching pupils simultaneously met the criterion of having no more than 25 pupils in the class.

She said,

“When the SNP promised at the last election that all pupils in P1-P3 would be taught by now in classes with no more than 18 pupils, parents rightly believed that this meant that a class of 18 pupils would be taught by just one teacher on his/her own in a single classroom , and not by a group of teachers team-teaching a larger group of children.

“It is disingenuous of the SNP to massage figures to try to claim that a group of children taught by two teachers is the same as having two separate classes with one teacher each.

“The introduction of their new promise of a maximum of 25 pupils in P1 classes is a frank admission of their comprehensive failure to fulfill their old promise.

” Thisew promise falls well short of the original 18 class size maximum, and it will do nothing to dispel the scepticism of an electorate weary and wary of SNP broken election promises.”

Ms Glen is asking Dundee City Council how the new legislation to cap class sizes to a legal maximum of 25 in primary one classes would have prevented the creation of classes that are currently above 25 in P1 in Dundee if the legislation had been in place today.

Ms. Glen said that, according to council figures, there are 4 P1 classes in the city with more than 25 pupils.

She asks if the council would have met the 25 class size limit by either introducing a new composite class, a new P1 class or by refusing a number of placing requests.

Ms. Glen is asking what would happened if the legislation had been in force to pupils who moved during term time into the catchment area of schools where the Primary 1 classes were already at a maximum of 25.

This situation currently exists at 3 Dundee Primary schools.

Ms. Glen has indicated that she will raise such situations with Education Minister Mike Russell.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Primary class sizes : “Scottish Government failing schools, parents and teachers across Dundee,” says MSP

10 September 2010

Over 100 classes in primary 1-3 in Dundee primary schools remain above the 18 maximum class size set initially by the Scottish Government in 2007, according to figures released by Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP.

Ms. Glen sought the information from Dundee City Council on the numbers in each primary class in each primary school in the current school session.

In areas such as Broughty Ferry, primary 1 -3 classes in Barnhill range from 24 to 35 in number.

In Forthill, with over 10 such classes, the numbers range from 23 to 27.

At Craigiebarns, numbers range from 21 to 27

In Glebelands, class sizes are between 24 and 29.

Both P1 classes in Fintry Primary have 25 pupils each.

At Mill O’Mains, the two P1 classes have 20 and 22 pupils.

At St Andrew’s Primary the class sizes in P1- P3 range between 20 and 25 .

Earlier this year, the council has selected 13 schools in the city which were given priority for smaller class sizes in P1-P3 to be 18 and below.

The information provided to Ms. Glen shows that in all of these schools there are pupils in composite classes from all or some of the P1, P2 and P3 year groups.

Ms. Glen said,

” These figures show how the SNP Government, with its empty, now-abandoned promise of smaller class sizes for all in P1 – P3, has failed schools, parents and teachers right across Dundee.

” Since 2007, Dundee City Council has never received sufficient extra money from the Scottish Government to implement this policy thoroughly and properly.

“That’s why only 15 out 29 primary probationer teachers were offered a permanent post with the council for the new session.

“Instead of nurturing the promise of primary education, the council has had to contend with broken promises for primary education by the Scottish Government.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Marlyn Glen is not seeking re-election to the Scottish Parliament in 2011

2 September 2010

Marlyn Glen has announced her decision not to seek re-election to the Scottish Parliament in a letter to Labour Party members in North East Scotland.

The text of the letter reads,

“As the party prepares to select its candidates for another election for the Scottish Parliament next May, I wish to take this opportunity to inform you that I shall not be seeking re-election.

“Being your MSP is and will remain one of the greatest honours in my life but I have decided that the time has come for me to stand down to make way for others who will work for Dundee and the North East in the Parliament.

“I want to thank Labour Party members for their advice and conscientious work since 2003.

“Without your work, my public service would not have been possible and I make my decision with a deep sense of gratitude at the opportunity to serve those who elected me.

“I must emphasise that between now and the 2011 dissolution of Parliament, I intend to continue representing the constituency to the best of my ability and will continue active campaigning.

“I will continue to work to ensure that the highest possible number of Labour members are elected, from both the constituencies and the Regional list in North East Scotland.

“Politics is a never-ending pursuit for a fairer and better society, transforming ideals into achievements, and elected national office is just one particular aspect of politics, however important it may be.

” When I finally leave the Scottish Parliament next year, political activity will continue to play a central role in my future. In fact I intend, if anything, to increase my activism both locally and nationally.

“I look forward to your continuing support. ”

Iain Gray, Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament , said,

“Marlyn has served the Labour Party, the people of Dundee and the Scottish Parliament with distinction.

“She has always had a passionate commitment to social justice, environmental issues and equal opportunities for all.

“Her work on the Scottish Women’s committee was a hallmark of her politics.

“On behalf of Labour at Holyrood I would like to wish her all the very best in the future as she steps down as an MSP.”

Dr. Richard McCready, Secretary of the Dundee West Constituency Labour Party, said,

“I am sorry that Marlyn Glen is not seeking re-election.

“Marlyn has been an effective voice for the North-East and especially for Dundee.

“She has campaigned for social justice and equality in the Scottish Parliament.

“Over the last three years she has worked tirelessly to expose the failings and broken promises of the SNP Administration in Holyrood.

“I am sure that Marlyn will continue to campaign for social justice and equality in the future but I would like to wish her all the very best for the future.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Council Tax Freeze : Call for Dundee to retain its share of £70 million funding

31 August 2010

Marlyn Glen is calling on Finance Secretary John Swinney to ensure that if the Scottish Government decides to abandon the council tax freeze for the next financial year, then Dundee should still receive its share of the annual £70 million grant from the Scottish Government to councils that has been used so far to freeze council tax levels

Ms. Glen is supporting pleas from local authorities that they should retain this £70 million funding ” because of the gravity of councils’ financial plight.”

Ms. Glen said,

“The SNP Government owes Dundee millions of pounds from this year.

“It forced the council to slash its spending by over £7.6 million in order to receive a fraction of that sum – £1.7 million – to freeze the council tax.

” The council tax freeze has been underfunded by the Scottish Government with its effects felt on services right across communities.”

Ms. Glen said that last year Dundee City Council outlined to the Scottish Parliament “the stark consequences of an enduring underfunded council tax freeze”

She said that the council had called for a review of the current freeze on council tax, and quoted its evidence :

“This measure may not be sustainable and reduces the flexibility to local authorities in relation to generation of funding, and puts added pressure on the grant settlement which is providing funding to local authorities in lieu of increasing council tax.

“Extending the council tax freeze will require additional funding to be allocated by the Scottish Government, which will in turn lead to higher levels of efficiency saving required and additional pressure on pay awards to maintain service levels.”

Ms. Glen added, ” In the councils’ present financial condition, the continuing council tax freeze is not sustainable.

“However, it takes place in a year when the SNP Government has been given over £900 million more to spend in Scotland by the previous UK Government.”

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