Get the latest from Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone

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Nobody should face poverty because of the care they give

26 April, 2017 - 07:00

Scottish Green MSPs will today (26 April) lead a debate at Holyrood on carers policy, urging other parties to vote in favour of more financial support for carers and a "Living Wage Plus" for social care workers.

It’s time to reverse the rape clause and end cuts to incomes of women and children

25 April, 2017 - 16:53

Holyrood’s Green MSPs will this evening join with an expected majority of the parliament in voting to condemn the UK government’s two-child limit on child tax and universal credit and against the imposition of the "rape clause".

A Green amendment, condemning the cap as being yet another cut the UK Government knows will hit women hardest, is expected to be passed.

Alison Johnstone MSP, the Greens' social security spokesperson said:

Here’s how we create healthier, wealthier children

Alison Johnstone MSP Fri 31 Mar

This year, some parents leaving hospital with newborn babies in their arms have also been taking home a baby box.  Providing a bundle of essentials like clothes, books and blankets can help to take some of the stress out of preparing for a new arrival. This is welcome, but we need to keep in mind that many new families need much more than a baby box to give their newborn the best start in life.

Targets for referring and treating people for cancer are still not being met

28 March, 2017 - 15:11

Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, today (28 March) expressed concern that targets for referring and treating people for cancer are still not being met.

The NHS standard is that 95 per cent of patients should start their first treatment within 62 days of being referred. Figures for the final quarter of last year show that only 87.5 per cent of patients started treatment within 62 days.

Only five health boards - Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire, Orkney and Shetland - met the target.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

Ministers must pick up the pace on investment in childcare

23 March, 2017 - 08:00

Alison Johnstone MSP, Children & Young People spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (23 March) urged Scottish Ministers to pick up the pace on investment in childcare after a report showed just half of nurseries plan to offer the Government's pledge of 1,140 free hours of childcare a year.

The National Day Nurseries Association warns that hourly rates offered to private and third sector nurseries by local authorities are not enough to cover costs, and that a lack of places will increase pressure on unpaid carers, such as grandparents.

Universal Credit has caused rent arrears and hardship for people who need support

22 March, 2017 - 14:12

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (22 March) backed the call from Scottish Ministers for the UK Government to stop the roll out of Universal Credit in Scotland.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“Universal Credit has caused rent arrears and hardship for people who need support, with some distressing cases where people have been left with pennies to live on. There’s a six week wait time, during which you can apply for a crisis loan, but you then need to repay that from a very low income.

Benefit sanctions win

Cairinne MacDonald Fri 17 Mar

The current government benefits system and use of sanctioning penalises the vulnerable and entrenches poverty.

Figures showing a million Scots living in poverty underline the urgent need for bold policies

16 March, 2017 - 15:49

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (16 March) said that new figures showing 1 million Scots are living in poverty show the need to pursue Green policies.

The figures show that after housing costs, 20 per cent of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty in 2015/16, representing 1.05 million people. This compares to 18 per cent in 2014/15.

The number of children affected has risen to 260,000.

Snaring review maintains outdated and inhumane traditions

14 March, 2017 - 16:05

Scottish Green MSPs are urging Scottish Ministers to rethink their response to a review of animal snaring after they failed to support a complete ban on the cruel and unnecessary devices.

A review by Scottish Natural Heritage, published today, looked at how snaring of mammals and birds has been carried out and makes recommendations to change the regulations but the review did not consider the option of a ban.

Muirfield vote to admit women members is welcome

14 March, 2017 - 14:40

Alison Johnstone MSP, Sport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (14 March) welcomed the result of a vote at Muirfield golf club in East Lothian to admit women members for the first time.

Last year, golf's ruling body, the R&A, removed Muirfield from the Open Championship roster after it failed to admit women members.

Alison Johnstone, MSP for Lothian and co-founder of the Women 50:50 campaign group, said:

“The resounding support for women’s membership is welcome. Well done to those members who pushed hard to get this shift in views and policy.