Blog

Challenge Poverty Week: Cottage and YMCA Christmas Appeals

Fife’s charities are at the frontline dealing with the impact of poverty in our communities – and pressure on their services has increased following the roll-out of Universal Credit. That impact is especially cruel at Christmas which is why the Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy launched a festive appeal back in 2011 to ensure families...
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Challenge Poverty Week: Affordable Lending

The impact of Universal Credit has led to soaring debts. Rent arrears owed by Fife Council tenants have now reached £120,000 a month – money which should be used to build new homes and repair existing council properties. In August a report which went before town councillors confirmed that two thirds of 3060 council tenants in Fife...
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Challenge Poverty Week: Fuel Poverty

We’ve witnessed a dramatic rise in use of food banks across Fife over the past year – and a change in the demographics accessing them. Volunteers report more and more pensioners are coming forward seeking help, because for many elderly residents they face a stark choice between eating and heating over winter. According to the...
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Challenge Poverty Week: Food banks

“When we opened our doors in 2013 we thought we would run for a couple of years until things got better. We thought something would happen … but it hasn’t happened.” Those were the exact words spoken by Joanna Tait, treasurer of Kirkcaldy foodbank, as she made a plea to the local community recently to...
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Poverty Week: Universal Credit

Today (Monday) marks the beginning of Poverty Week – a chance for us all to raise awareness of the impact of poverty in our own communities. I’ve written a series of blogs on various aspects of poverty which I’ll be posting up every day this week. It seems appropriate to start with Universal Credit; the...
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Boundary changes: Tory power grab “could cost us the Union”

Performance coaches in elite sport look for marginal gains, the tiny improvement which will give them the edge over rivals. But in the race for power, the Conservatives have abandoned all pretence about aiming higher. This is about holding on at all costs. For them it’s no longer about marginal gains, but instead about gaining...
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Tories’ devolution blunders have played into the SNP’s hands

It’s easy to be blindsided by events in politics. The best-laid schemes for the average week at Westminster are normally in tatters by Monday lunchtime. But amid the hurly-burly, I’ve watched the slow-motion car crash of the Tories’ failure to tackle the challenge to devolution posed by Brexit with a mixture of frustration and anger....
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Watch the biggest soap opera in history unfold – Brexit

In the run up to recess we continue to watch what has become the biggest soap opera in history unfold – Brexit.  This week it was the turn of the Trade Bill. While the name on the legislation might change, the issues are exactly the same.  Not least of which is a Tory party who...
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Universal Credit in Fife is ‘destitution by design’

I know, from speaking to constituents affected by Universal Credit, just how acutely this policy damages people’s lives but a report issued last week laid bare the reality of its widespread impact for all to see. Despite being designed to streamline benefits – and cut administrative costs in the process – the National Audit Office...
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