John Mason MSP

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Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)

I am the MSP for Glasgow Shettleston.



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

I direct my question to Shona Robison. In his answer to Christian Allard, John Swinney referred to transition. I have seen one or two constituents who are at school up to 16 or even 18 and get a lot of support there but who then experience a drop-off. The transition does not always work for them. Is the move from pre-16 services through to post-16 services working on the whole?



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

Young people with quite a lot of needs.



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

John Swinney made the point that, in a sense, when we look at the budget we do not see the third sector or a particular area because the budget is not set out in that way. Do we just have to accept that we cannot influence that? We give money to the local authorities to look after schools and social work, and we give money to the health boards to look after other things. I know that more joint working is meant to be going on, but is it too far away from us for us to have a big influence on that?



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

Will the Government assess how well those partnerships are working?



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

The issue has been raised a few times that data sharing is not very good. I accept that it is not particularly a budget issue, but schools are reluctant to pass data on to colleges or the third sector. My general feeling, as a member of both this committee and the Finance Committee, is that the situation is patchy around the country. Highland tends to be cited as a good example of the health service and local government working together, although there are other good examples. However, we have had representatives of other councils at both committees and my gut feeling is that integration is not moving forward as fast as it might be.



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

Siobhan McMahon has moved us into the area of change funds and integration funds, and the whole question of keeping people at home and how that moves resources. I wanted to ask about that, too.

The money in the change fund and the integration fund is to change things over. Mr Swinney has pointed out that it is much more expensive to have someone in hospital than at home. Is there anything in the budget that is moving that process along, or are we just giving the money to the national health service and to local authorities and leaving it up to them to pool it and start moving the resources within that? Can we do anything from the top down?



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

That is an extra bit on top of the underlying funding and, at the end of a year, you would expect the underlying bit to have changed.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)

Child poverty is a subject to which we keep coming back. Many of us wish that we did not need to do that, but it is right that we continue to talk about the issue as long as it exists—and, sadly, child poverty shows no sign of going away. I thank John Wilson for securing the debate.

Last night I attended the graduation ceremony at Glasgow Kelvin College, at which Henry McLeish spoke very well. He said that inequality is poisoning our society—a phrase that I thought was excellent.

The Child Poverty Act 2010, which was passed while I was at Westminster, contained a commitment to abolish or eradicate child poverty by 2020. Even at the time, there was major disappointment with the Labour legislation. First, achieving the target on abolition or eradication would still mean that 10 per cent of children were left in poverty. Secondly, there were no new resources to make that happen. I think that that is the kind of lip service to which Hugh Henry referred.

Four years later, I fear that there has not been much progress. More than one in five children in Scotland—some 220,000 children—are officially recognised as living in poverty. The level is significantly higher than the level in many other European countries. In 2012-13 the proportion of children in Scotland who were experiencing poverty increased from 19 to 22 per cent. The most recent modelling by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that up to 100,000 more children will be pushed into poverty by 2020, with the proportion of children who live in poverty in Scotland forecast to increase to 26.2 per cent by 2020.

What are the effects of all that? As we heard, by the age of five, children in poverty lag between 10 and 13 months behind their more affluent peers in terms of school readiness and attainment. Three-year-olds in households with incomes below £10,000 are two and a half times more likely to suffer chronic illness than children in households with incomes above £52,000. Children who live in low-income households are also nearly three times more likely to suffer mental health problems than their more affluent peers.

There used to be an assumption that work was a certain route out of poverty. However, as members said, it is clear that that is no longer the case. I am sure that paying the living wage more widely would make inroads into poverty at all ages. However, although the approach has maximum support from the public sector, it remains voluntary for large sections of employment.

At best, a voluntary living wage can be only an interim step. The longer-term answer has to be an increase in the statutory minimum wage, not just to £8 by 2020, as Labour disappointingly suggested—



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
John Mason

No, I am sorry, but I do not have enough time.

The statutory minimum wage should be raised to the level of the living wage, and that should happen as soon as possible. The country can afford to do that. As it says in one of our briefings, this is a country in which the most affluent households in Scotland are 273 times richer than the poorest ones. Something very wrong is going on here.

Jamie Hepburn referred to the report by Children 1st, “Wishes for Scotland’s Children”, which I think has just been published. The report sets out a range of children’s wishes, ranging from the humorous to the deadly serious, especially in the “Included” section, from which Jamie Hepburn quoted.

Good things are happening, not just in relation to finances. For example, the getting it right for every child policy will facilitate a more joined-up approach to supporting children and vulnerable families. In particular, I welcome the named person approach, which I think can help families from poorer backgrounds to pin down the person who can answer their questions.

I fear that this will not be the last time that we debate child poverty. We certainly need to keep such topics on the table. I hope that we will see progress.

13:10  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by John Mason
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11652: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11399: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11364: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11325: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11271: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11256: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11051.1: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11106: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11104: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10974: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by John Mason
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03753: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03695: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03652: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22768: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22753: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22752: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22751: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02319: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03571: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22584: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Question >>