Get the latest from Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

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Snaring review maintains outdated and inhumane traditions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.

If we're serious about reducing health inequality in society we must increase and target our resources

10 March, 2017 - 15:09

Commenting on confirmation of £71.6 million of funding from the Scottish Government to support general practice, Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"Extra funds for general practice are welcome given the huge workload pressures our GPs are under. However, how funding is divided amongst practices is an issue that needs addressed. 

Citizen's Income discussion couldn't have come at a better time

Alison Johnstone MSP Thu 9 Mar

Paying all citizens a basic amount of money to live off, regardless of status, is at the same time a very old and a thoroughly modern idea. As far back as 1795, American revolutionary Thomas Paine wanted to reduce inequalities between people who did and did not own land by creating a nation fund, supported by an extra land tax, that would have paid a lump sum to everyone at the age of 21.

We can use forthcoming legislation to ensure social security payments keep pace with inflation

2 March, 2017 - 14:22

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (2 March) welcomed comments by Social Security minister Jeane Freeman that she would consider using the forthcoming Social Security Bill to ensure payments keep pace with inflation.

At today's meeting of Holyrood's Social Security committee, Alison pointed out that the UK Government has frozen the rates of some benefits in recent years. Child Benefit, for example, will lose 28 per cent of its value by 2020.

Lack of progress in sourcing Scottish for school meals

1 March, 2017 - 10:25

Alison Johnstone MSP, Health, Children & Young People spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (1 March) expressed disappointment at the lack of progress in sourcing Scottish chicken for school meals.

Freedom of Information requests by Alison three years ago revealed the extent of the problem, with many councils flying in chicken nuggets from Thailand.

Fresh FOI requests by the BBC show councils spent £1.3m on chicken products from Thailand last year.

Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said: