Marie Curie’s Vale fans recruit MSP to Secret Santa campaign and Baillie calls on SNP for poverty reduction
MSP Jackie Baillie gives her backing to the Secret Santa campaign which urges people to use local charity shops when they are buying Christmas presents.
By Lizzie Healey
Dumbarton Constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, is encouraging local residents and businesses to participate in ‘Good Cause Santa Claus’ a Secret Santa challenge launched by the Charity Retail Association.
Secret Santa is a popular game amongst families, friends and work colleagues in which participants randomly assign another member of the group for whom to buy an anonymous gift.
Good Cause Santa Claus involves the same challenge but gifts are to be purchased only in charity shops.
The Dumbarton Constituency MSP has backed the challenge and is highlighting the benefits of Christmas shopping in local charity shops.
She said: “Participating in the Secret Santa charity shop challenge is a fun way to give back this festive season.
“The challenge is great for the environment at this time of the year, so buying second hand gifts is good for the environment as it is for local charities, who rely on shop funds to provide vital services at this time of year.
“Charity shops bring huge social value to Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh, support countless volunteers and boost our local high streets.”
Rachel Blair, Public Affairs and Communications Officer for the Charity Retail Association in Scotland, said: “Good Cause Santa Clause allows shoppers to think about how they can help their community this Christmas. Gifts bought from charity shops are better for the environment, contribute to a good cause and can surprise your recipient with something a bit different.”
Charities do help all kinds of good causes to help people who find it hard to get through Christmas.
Many are lonely and can’t afford the usual treats and they live in homes which they cannot afford to heat.
Scottish Labour has launched a Christmas campaign to tackle fuel poverty.
Dumbarton’s Labour MSP, Jackie Baillie, has highlighted that one in four homes across Scotland will spend Christmas in fuel poverty, unable to afford to heat their homes.
The most recent council figures show that around 11,000 households in West Dunbartonshire and 18,000 households in Argyll and Bute lived in fuel poverty between 2014 and 2016.
Scottish Labour have pledged that Labour Government’s in Westminster and Holyrood will ensure everyone has access to a warm, safe and affordable home by building more homes for social rent.
They promise to regulate the private sector in Scotland; taking energy into public ownership and placing a cap on energy prices to keep bills affordable.
Valeman Bob Doris, who is the SNP MSP for Maryhill, revealed this week that if your electricity is cut off it can cost £272 to have it reconnected. The full story is elsewhere in The Democrat.
The Labour Party also wants tougher targets to be enshrined in the forthcoming Fuel Poverty legislation before the Scottish Parliament, including:
A commitment to eradicate fuel poverty by 2032
A definition of fuel poverty that includes an uplift for rural communities
A minimum standard of energy efficiency in private rented sector housing
Jackie Baillie said: “Every single person in Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh and Lomond should have access to a warm, safe and affordable home. Scotland is an energy-rich country, yet over a quarter of households are living in fuel poverty.
“In 2002, as the Minister responsible for this policy area in the last Labour-led government, I set a target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, but years of inaction from the SNP means that the target was missed.
“In the run up to Christmas, we will be highlighting our plans to ensure that everyone has access to warm and affordable homes.
“The next Labour Governments at Holyrood and Westminster will take action to end the scandal of fuel poverty.”
Baillie has also called on the SNP Government to take urgent action as a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has revealed that one million people in Scotland are living in poverty.
The figures include 230,000 children, 140,000 pensioners and 630,000 working age people. And almost half of those who are of working age are living in poverty despite coming from working homes.
Scottish Labour has restated its call to lift the two-child cap and increase Child Benefit by £5 per week and has the opportunity to do so as early as this week as part of the Scottish Government budget.
The MSP said: “The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report demonstrates the scale of poverty and inequality in Scotland and underlines the need for a Scottish Government budget that takes urgent action to lift people out of poverty.
“Behind the statistics are real people who are struggling to cope with the stress and disruption of living in poverty. Hundreds of thousands of children and pensioners are struggling to keep up with the costs of everyday living. And our economy is clearly not working when more than 300,000 people in working households are in poverty.
“The Scottish Government should use the powers of the parliament to make different choices and help lift people out of poverty.”