Steps the SNP is taking to make justice work for everyone
Allan Dorans is a former Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police, an Area Manager with the Community Safety Charity Safeguarding Communities Reducing Offending (SACRO), currently the MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock and SNP spokesperson for Policing.Date added: Monday September 20th 2021
The SNP-led government in Scotland has taken major steps in developing a more progressive benefits and taxation system and, of course, in managing the pandemic with significantly lower loss of life than in England or Wales. These have, understandably, earned much media attention. However, improvements to Criminal Justice have been equally central to the ambitions of the SNP.
While the 10-13th September National Conference’s key policy themes were climate change, independence and the 2022 council elections, the Criminal Justice Committee has held round table evidence sessions on justice and policing priorities and on the impact of Covid 19 on the justice sector. With regard to the latter, the policing budget will be increased by £75.5 million to over £1.3 billion to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on police finances.
Support for the victims of crime will be strengthened with the appointment of a Victims’ Commissioner and a new fund to support victims’ organisations. There will be a Bail and Release from Custody Bill to improve how decisions on bail are reached and better support release from custody. Later in September, there will be sessions on the priorities for domestic abuse, gendered violence, on sexual offences and on reform of legal aid.
Particularly pleasing to those of us on the left and with long memories, there will be a bill to introduce a pardons scheme for miners convicted of certain offences relating to the strike by the National Union of Miners in 1984-85. Labour MP, Ian Lavery, who represents Wansbeck in Northumberland, has called for the UK Government to quash convictions in England but the Home Office said it had “no plans” to do so.
However, it is in the area of hate crime that Scotland’s justice system is proving to be most radical and progressive, and which will be most debated within the conference for a. The Hate Crime and Public Order bill passed by a vote of 82 for, 32 against and 4 abstentions, on the 23rd April this year, has prompted much debate. While there were already laws protecting people from hate crimes on the basis of disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity, the bill updates these and brings them together in one. It also adds hate crime based on a person’s age to the list of protected groups.
Much of the updating centred on widely accepted perceptions of inadequacy in the extent to which the existing laws fully protected individuals from the potentially extremely damaging hate speech crimes which seem to be currently increasing more than other more physical forms.
This proved difficult with critics arguing that if implemented strictly it might deny freedom of speech to, for example, comedians, writers and artists. The wording was then changed to ensure that only those who can be proven to have intended to stir up hatred are prosecuted. Nevertheless, the bill still sends a strong message to all involved, that offences motivated by prejudice will be treated more seriously and will not be tolerated.
Within this, the Bill’s intent to protect one particular group has stirred the most debate. The rights of the Trans community have been characterised as extreme or divisive, potentially undermining hard-won women’s rights and risking the well-being of children. There is little basis for these views and the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, a lifelong feminist, has resisted considerable political pressure and a campaign of hateful online abuse to stand firm on the need to protect this group as firmly as we have previously done for women, for the LGBT community, for ethnic and for religious groups.
Her words in January 2021, remain clear and inspiring: “Trans people have as much right as any of us to be safe, secure and valued for who they are. Transphobia is wrong and we must treat it with the zero tolerance we treat racism or homophobia. Those are the principles I want to characterise the SNP and the country that I am privileged to lead.”
Finally, In the wake of the Sarah Everard murder, in March 2021, figures from across the political spectrum started to put forward proposals of how to tackle the ongoing problem of widespread violence against women. Making misogyny – prejudice against women – a hate crime emerged as the most popular solution. Debate within the conference groups and beyond will note that an amendment that would have included women as a protected group in the Hate Crime Bill was defeated in April this year but that the Scottish government has instead set up a working group to look at whether misogynistic abuse should be a separate crime. The group will report in February 2022.
View this article on Left Foot Forwards website
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans visits event
One of the things that people have clung onto throughout the pandemic has been the chance to come together as a community once again.Date added: Tuesday September 14th 2021
And it was this happy moment that greeted Girvan folk recently.
The Communities Back Together event, organised by Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA),has been visiting a number of South Ayrshire communities to ‘showcase all the good work being done by local charities and community groups’.
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans praised the efforts of the group after visiting the Girvan event.
He said: “I was delighted to take part and support the Voluntary Action South Ayrshire initiative in Girvan, to bring communities back together by highlighting the number of local organisations and services available within the community and providing information on volunteering opportunities to support them.
“It was a pleasure to talk with representatives of the organisations and groups.
“Their commitment and enthusiasm for their respective projects was clearly evident, inspirational and a reminder of the great work that goes on within our communities.
Communities Back Together events have also taken place in Maybole, Prestwick, Troon, and Ayr.
The groups involved in the Girvan event were South Ayrshire Council Health and Social Care Partnership (Fostering Team), Equal Futures Project, SAC Partnership Engagement, SAC Locality Planning Partnership, Circles Advocacy, Carrick Sport, Girvan Youth Trust, SAC period poverty White Bag project, SAC Health and Fitness and South Ayrshire helpline (VASA).
View this article on the Ayr Advertiser website
South Ayrshire young people take part in outdoor employment fair
Young people from across South Ayrshire took advantage of the summer weather at a ‘unique and innovative’ outdoor employment fair.Date added: Thursday September 2nd 2021
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans was full of praise for the event, organised by the Department for Work and Pensions, last week.
“I was pleased to be able to take part in the Kickstart in the Park Event held at Dam Park in Ayr,” said Mr Dorans.
“The event organised by the Department of Work and Pensions brought together over 30 employers from all over Ayrshire with Kickstart Vacancies, and was attended by well over 100 young people seeking a Kickstart placement.
Among the groups involved were East Ayrshire Carers Centre, who Mr Dorans said ‘do an absolutely fantastic job of looking after our young carers’, and DWP staff from across Ayrshire who organised what he described as a ‘unique and innovative event’.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.
Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:
100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months, associated employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions.
A £1,500 grant per job is available for setup costs and supporting the young person to develop their employability skills.
If you’re an employer looking to create jobs for young people, you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.
For further information please visit www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-kickstart-scheme-grant.
View this article on the Ayr Advertiser website
Award-winning site manager welcomes MP visit to Ayrshire development
Family housebuilders Mactaggart & Mickel welcomed MP Allan Dorans to its Greenan Views development in Ayrshire last week as he congratulated site manager Stuart Gillespie on his recognition from the National House Building Council (NHBC).Date added: Tuesday August 17th 2021
Ayrshire-based Stuart was praised after he added a further accolade to his illustrious track record when he scooped a runner-up prize in the NHBC’s highly-regarded Pride in the Job Supreme Awards.
The honour, in connection with his work at Mactaggart & Mickel’s Greenan Views development in Doonfoot, follows four UK Supreme wins and five UK Supreme runner-up awards, including in the 2020 awards, as well as 11 NHBC Scottish regional awards for Stuart.
Greenan Views, Doonfoot is in Mr Doran’s constituency of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.
He said: “Stewart is a real credit to Mactaggart & Mickel, demonstrating an exceptional history of outstanding performance throughout his career with the business.
“It’s been a pleasure to meet with him and the rest of the team at the development, getting an insight into the construction process and a more in depth understanding of the role Mactaggart & Mickel plays in the community.”
Stuart said: “I’m always very proud to welcome people to Greenan Views. The whole team here really has worked together to overcome a really challenging 18 months while ensuring we continue to build homes of the highest quality.
“The accolade really is recognition of a joint effort from everyone at Mactaggart & Mickel and so I was thrilled with the opportunity to speak with Mr Dorans to convey the superb efforts of the entire site.
“We are passionate about the homes we build and achieving exceptional standards.”
New home warranty and insurance provider NHBC launched the first Pride in the Job competition in 1980 to celebrate the UK’s best performing site managers building homes and have become the most highly-regarded competition in the industry.
The awards play a pivotal role in NHBC’s drive to give consumers confidence in the quality of new-build homes and in 2020 Stuart was runner-up in the medium builder company category for site managers employed by a company or group that builds between 51 and 1,000 new homes with NHBC warranty cover each year.
Peter Shepherd, director, Mactaggart & Mickel, said: “Stuart’s achievements are testament to the high standards he upholds and his inspirational leadership. We’re incredibly proud of him and I am sure Mr Dornan could see the passion he has for quality and delivering exceptional work.”
View this article on Scottish Construction Nows website
Cumnock MP commits to making office accessible to disabled people
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans has officially been registered as a Disability Confident Committed Employer after attending a workshop on June 9 hosted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the All-Party Disability Group (APPG).Date added: Monday June 21st 2021
By doing so, the MP has signalled his commitment to making his offices both in parliament and in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock accessible and welcoming to disabled people and to ensuring that no barriers stand in the way of potential.
This workshop was attended by over 100 parliamentarians and featured addresses from the Minister for Disability Justin Tomlinson MP and the Chair of the All-Party Disability Group Dr Lisa Cameron MP.
It was organised by the Disability APPG after research from Leonard Cheshire found that 26 per cent of all working disabled people have been unable to return to work since the early days of the pandemic with 71 per cent of those with a disability who were employed in March 2020 reporting being negatively impacted by a loss of income, furlough or unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Allan Dorans MP said: “I was delighted to attend this workshop and to now be registered as a Disability Confident Committed Employer. In the run up to Learning Disability Week 2021 (June 14-20 ) it is especially vital that we do everything we can to support those with a disability into employment to ensure that they get the employment opportunities they deserve.
“Now more than ever it is important that we support disabled people to ensure that they are at the heart of the economic recovery out of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I hope that my registering as a Disability Confident Employer shows my commitment to achieving this goal and also making Westminster more inclusive.”
View this article on the Cumnock Chronicles website
Cumnock MP praises proposals for Eco-Therapy Wellness Park
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans has commended the social enterprise company National Pride in their environmentally progressive plans for an Eco-Therapy Wellness Park on the site of the former Barony colliery near Auchinleck.Date added: Monday June 14th 2021
The Barony Eco-Therapy Wellness Centre will work as a health and wellness destination with spa, exercise, and craft activities along with accommodation in lodges and geodesic domes.
The natural woodland site will offer visitors the chance to improve their physical and mental strengths and offer respite for those with long-term illnesses.
The project will make education and training opportunities a priority, to create employment and support other local businesses in the constituency.
The Barony project is putting emphasis on revolutionising how renewable energy can be generated, using modern construction materials and geo-thermal energy from the disused mine. They also aim to refocus natural environment to create oxygen-rich clean and pollutant free air.
The centre will also showcase a memorial garden dedicated to the miners who tragically lost their lives in the coal mine from 1908-1969.
Allan Dorans MP met virtually with the developers this month to hear about their proposals and said: “Having met with the developers of the project, National Pride, I was delighted to hear of their plans to create an ecologically, environmentally friendly, health, wellness and tourism park on the Barony Site.”
“I was also pleased to hear about their plans for the rehabilitation of the memorial garden to remember miners who lost their lives on the site, reflecting the history and culture of the area. I wish them every success.”
Irene Bisset, Chair of National Pride previously said: “We are incredibly excited to be adding the fantastic Barony to our Eco-Therapy and Wellness projects.”
View this article on the Cumnock Chronicles website
From Mary Ann Nichols to Sarah Everard: Allan Dorans on Britain’s unsafe streets for women
In August 1888 Jack the Ripper murdered his first victim, Mary Ann Nichols. In 1977, the first Reclaim the Night protest in Leeds, saw women marching after being told to stay at home because of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Little has changed in who we focus our attention on when men commit such heinous crimes.Date added: Monday June 7th 2021
After the tragic death of Sarah Everard this year, women were told ‘not to go out alone’ for their safety. The focus remains on what women should do to protect themselves, rather than focusing on men’s criminal actions.
Despite the turbulence and widespread media attention on the Sarah Everard case, in which women demanded the right to feel safe on the streets, little has been done other than to call for evidence for the proposed Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. It is still extraordinary that after all this time, progress to improve the safety of our streets for all women, has been so limited, largely in the form of better street lighting, or more undercover police in nightclubs.
This type of ‘sticking plaster’ approach, has clearly not worked and radical improvements are needed to improve the safety for women on our streets.
Street harassment, verbal or physical, against all women is at an epidemic level. In 2018, Plan International UK found that 66% of women had experienced unwanted sexual attention or harassment in a public place.
These figures increase for trans women and minority genders who are two times more likely to be victims of a violent crime than cis people according to the Office for National Statistics.
If we truly want to increase the safety for women on the streets, we must redirect our attention away from what women could do, to why men are making these streets unsafe for women.
The focus for too long has shifted the attention away from men. We must ask why men are harassing, abusing and being violent.
Research for the Government Equalities Office in 2019 undertaken by Durham University found that men who adhere to traditional views of masculinity are more likely to be perpetrators of this type of harassment and abuse:
“Norms of masculinity are a central factor in the continued pervasiveness of violence against women and girls, with expectations of superiority, power and entitlement over women seemingly continuing to be influential in perceptions of what it means to be a man”
Violence against women is a social problem that is indelibly rooted in masculinity. Re-shaping masculinities, at a young age, through education is an obvious approach to reducing aggressive, violent forms of masculinity, inextricably linked to violence against women.
There is disappointingly little evidence of attempts to do this beyond a number of programs in the US. One of the more successful of these is the Boys to Men youth programme in the US which aims to: ‘empower all people to notice and intervene in potentially harmful situations long before they become violent.’
The importance of early educational interventions to prevent untreated minor harassment progressing to more serious harassment or physical violence, is clear. A US study in 2012, found evidence of: ‘a developmental pathway via the adolescents’ development of antisocial behaviour to Male Female Personal Violence perpetration.’
133 years after the first ‘Ripper’ murder, nearly 45 years after the first Reclaim the Night protest and 2 months after the tragic death of Sarah Everard, it is clear that women continue to feel unsafe on our streets.
Radical improvements are needed. We must tackle the root causes of this harassment and violence on the street – we must develop legislation that makes misogyny a criminal offence for preventative action and increase our awareness and improve education of aggressive masculinities which are heavily linked to misogyny and this violence we see against women on our streets.
View this article on Left Foot Forwards website
Cumnock MP backs calls for government to invest £50m into MND research
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans has joined forces with a coalition of charities, neurologists and people with motor neurone disease (MND) to call on the government to target £50million of investment into the terminal illness.Date added: Monday June 7th 2021
Mr Dorans has written to Minister for Care, Helen Whately urging her to expand government funding for MND research which, according to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, currently stands at less than £5million per year.
The charity itself has recently committed £5.7million to research this year alone.
The campaign, United to End MND, led by the MND Association, MND Scotland, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, neurologists and people with the disease, is calling on the government to invest £50million over five years in research directly targeted at understanding the causes and identifying potential treatments and hopefully a cure.
Mr Dorans said: “I have also pledged my support to scrap the six-month rule, to ensure that those with MND, and other terminal illnesses, are fast-tracked for the benefits they need.”
View this article on the Cumnock Chronicle website
Allan Dorans MP shows support for Foster Care Fortnight
Allan Dorans MP who represents the Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock constituency is throwing his support behind Foster Care Fortnight, the UKs largest foster care awareness campaign, and urging constituents to consider becoming foster carers this May (10 – 23).Date added: Wednesday June 2nd 2021
With over 8,500 new foster carers needed across the UK in 2021, becoming a foster carer could be the ideal opportunity for those with the right skills to give back to their community and improve the lives of children who cannot live with their birth family.
Being a foster carer is about more than just providing love for children, it is about what skills you bring to ensure that you can support their development and growth. Foster carers need to have listening, observational, and communications skills, as well as confidence, resilience, and patience. They must be able to offer stability, to be a team player, and sometimes most vitally of all, foster carers need a sense of humour.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, over 55,000 foster carers provided stable and loving homes to more than 65,000 children across the UK. By becoming a foster carer, you become part of a community who are dedicating their lives for the betterment of others with the support of your fostering service and The Fostering Network.
Allan Dorans MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock said:
“The foster carers in my constituency have went above and beyond this past year to provide care, stability and home schooling to young people in need. They are the backbone of our care system and deserve recognition for their endless hard work.”
“We need more people like this to consider becoming a foster carer to ensure more young people can flourish in a loving home. I would encourage any of my constituents who feel they have the right skills, and love to give, to consider becoming a foster carer.”
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, said: “Foster carers have accomplished incredible things every day throughout this last year. In the face of a global crisis that has affected every one of us and impacted all aspects of our society, they have worked tirelessly for the children that they bring into their homes. Foster carers have supported children and young people’s education, health, and social wellbeing, and also helped to maintain the children’s relationships with the people who are important to them but who they have not been able see in person."
“Despite the practical and emotional challenges that the pandemic has brought, foster carers have continued to provide day-to-day support, love and stability to children and young people who can’t live with their birth families – and from the bottom of my heart, I thank them."
“Being a foster carer is to take on a role like no other, so if you are looking for a new lifestyle or career in the aftermath of this dreadful pandemic and you believe you have the right skills, I want you to consider becoming a foster carer.”
To find out more about fostering, and to find your local fostering service, please visit:
ALLAN DORANS MP HIGHLIGHTS OPEN UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR DISABLED VETERANS
Allan Dorans MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock has encouraged disabled veterans to apply for the 2021 Open University Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund.Date added: Wednesday June 2nd 2021
This scholarship fund provides a free Open University education, alongside careers services and disability support, for up to 50 disabled veterans. All undergraduate and postgraduate courses are eligible.
The Open University has already awarded 160 scholarships, helping individuals from various military backgrounds, and with different physical disabilities and mental health conditions. The accessibility of the University means that disabled veterans can work from home and fit study around their life.
Individuals will be eligible for the fund if they have been injured during military service, or as a result of it.
They are now accepting applications for the 2021/2022 academic year. Applications close at midnight on the 9th July 2021.
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans said: “This scholarship fund is a great chance for disabled veterans in the constituency to gain a university degree qualification from a top-class university.”
“I would love to see some successful applicants from this area get the chance to study excellent courses and receive full support, free of charge. So I really encourage any disabled veterans in the area to consider applying.”
For more information, including eligibility criteria and the scholarship application form, visit the Open University website: http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/choose/veterans
Allan Dorans MP highlights funding available for charities
Allan Dorans, MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, has urged local charities and good causes to apply for funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.Date added: Wednesday April 21st 2021
Over 3,500 grassroots organisations in Britain will receive a share of almost £17million this year.
Projects can apply for funding from the People’s Postcode Trust which is for organisations operating in Scotland. Registered charities can apply for up to £20,000 of funding, which is available for both project-based and core costs.
Applications will be accepted every month until October 2021.
Allan Dorans MP said: “Over the last year many local charities have responded to the pandemic by working to support and protect our communities. Yet the last year has also been a difficult time for charity fundraising.
“The funds raised by People’s Postcode Lottery players and available to local charities are therefore a great chance for local organisations to secure funding. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have already raised over £700million for good causes and I would love to see some more successful applicants from this area so I urge all local charities and community groups to consider submitting an application.”
View this article on the Ayr Advertisers website
Criminal caught after former policeman turned MP Allan Dorans helps collar would-be thief
A quick-thinking MP followed a would-be thief acting suspiciously while waiting for police to arrive.Date added: Thursday September 17th 2020
Allan Dorans, 64, came to the rescue after spotting a man in a plush Ayr garden on Friday morning.
The former police officer was out training for the Kiltwalk when he saw the 36-year-old looking into the window of a property on Doonfoot Road – where houses are valued at just under £400k.
He phoned 999 and followed the suspect until police arrived.
Mr Dorans told the Post: “I was out walking at about 6am when I noticed a man acting suspiciously in the garden.
“He was dressed all in grey with a hoody top on and he went up to a caravan which was parked in the drive and started looking in the window.
“Then he went up to the front window of the house and was looking in before going up to the large garden gate and starting shaking it trying to open it.
“At that point I phoned the police. While I was waiting for them the man came out of the garden and began walking away, so I followed him.
“I called 999 again and told the control centre he was now walking down Gearholm Road and I followed him to Culzean Road.
“Just as the police arrived he was climbing over a wooden fence into another garden.
“I’m not sure what he was up to but he looked very suspicious.”
Officers arrested the 36-year-old and took him to Ayr Police Station.
After that they told Mr Dorans that he was out on bail accused of another crime and he had broken his curfew.
The Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP added: “Police detained him and have since told me that he was out on bail and shouldn’t have been out of his house between 7pm to 7am.
“I’m a former Detective Inspector and you never lose that eye for it.
“Once a cop, always a cop.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a 36-year-old man was arrested following reports of someone acting suspiciously in the Doonfoot Road area of Ayr on the morning of Friday March 13.
“Enquiries into the matter are ongoing and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”
View this article on the Daily Record website
AYR, CARRICK & CUMNOCK MP CHALLENGES PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSTON
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP, Allan Dorans challenged Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, over The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Jack ignoring Scottish Government guidelines and making a 700 mile round trip to Westminster last week. Mr Dorans asked the Prime Minister during Prime Ministers Questions if he condemned or condoned Mr Jack’s behaviour.Date added: Thursday September 3rd 2020
This journey was despite MPs throughout the United Kingdom for the past 7 weeks all being able to take part in full Parliamentary business, debates and Question times from home using online conference links.
Mr Dorans also took the opportunity last week to ask Mr Jack in Parliament for his justification for a totally unnecessary journey when he could have taken part in Scotland Office Question Time virtually, from the safety of his home without putting himself and others at risk.
“Last Wednesday parliament voted 350-v- 258 not to continue virtual parliament. This was disappointing as it means 650 MPs will be expected to return to Westminster on June 2nd. As social distancing is still in place due to Covid 19 only 50 MPs can sit in the chamber at once.”
“At this precarious stage of the crisis, it seems reckless and ill thought out during this crisis to ask MPs to leave their constituencies, incur travel and accommodation expenses when they can’t fully participate in debates.” Allan Dorans MP said.
For the last nine weeks, during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Government health advice has been Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. This advice has helped greatly slow the spread of this disease, save lives and currently remains in force.
A one-minute silence was held at Ayr Railway Station last Wednesday and at railway stations across the UK to honour three men killed in a train derailment in Aberdeenshire on Wednesday 12th August.Date added: Thursday September 3rd 2020
Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died near Stonehaven. Six others were injured.
The train derailed after hitting a landslip following heavy rain.
Stations fell silent at 09:43 - the time the crash was reported two weeks ago.
The short service at Ayr Station was attended by Management, staff and union representatives of Scotrail and Network Rail, British Transport Police and Allan Dorans MP representing the constituents of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.
Allan Dorans MP for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock welcomes Census change to Count Armed Forces Community In
For the first time in the history of the Census, there will be a question on service in the Armed Forces following a campaign led by Poppyscotland and The Royal British Legion and supported by Allan Dorans MP.Date added: Thursday September 3rd 2020
Allan Dorans MP is delighted that both the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament have announced that the next Census will now include a question to provide information on whether someone has served in HM Armed Forces. The next Census is currently due to take place in 2021 in England and Wales and 2022 in Scotland.
Poppyscotland and the Legion, who led the campaign, are at the heart of a national network offering a range of support and services to the Armed Forces community. The decision to include the question on the next census will provide Poppyscotland and the Legion, as well as public bodies, local authorities, and other military charities with valuable information to ensure they can best meet the needs of serving personnel, veterans and their families.
It has been estimated that there are 2.4 million veterans currently living in Great Britain, who make up part of a wider ex-Service community that includes their spouses, partners, dependent children and widow(er)s. However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group. Including an Armed Forces question in the next census would provide public bodies, local authorities, and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community.
Allan Dorans MP commented “ Having a better understanding of the profile and needs of veterans is a key part of making sure our public services are tailored for our Armed Forces community. I welcome this historic change to the next Census to include a question on the Armed Forces.”
Mark Collins, Interim Chief Executive of Poppyscotland, said: “We would like to thank the scores of politicians from across the spectrum at Holyrood and Westminster, several local authorities and our volunteers and supporters who came together to support our Count Them In campaign. I am also grateful to National Records of Scotland for working closely with us throughout the process, from devising potential questions through to testing and considering the outputs.”Charles Byrne, Director-General of The Royal British Legion, added: “This is an extremely proud moment for the Legion. This is something we have been striving towards for many years and it will have a huge impact on service personnel, veterans and their families well into the future, as the outcome will allow us to provide more effective care and support to those who are in need. We are delighted and are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign”.”
Constituents can find out more about the campaign by visiting the Poppyscotland website, https://www.poppyscotland.org.uk/poppyscotland-secures-census-question-for-armed-forces-community/
‘Count Them In’ demonstrates Poppyscotland and The Royal British Legion’s ongoing work to champion the interests, welfare, and contributions of the Armed Forces community.
Tourism Industry starts to Reopen
From Wednesday July 15th we will see our caravan parks, self-catering apartments and hotels reopen across Scotland as our tourism industry comes back to life after the lockdown caused by Covid-19.Date added: Thursday September 3rd 2020
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans MP recently visited The Walled Garden Caravan and Camping Park on the Kilkerran Estate between Crosshill and Dailly to meet the owners, Barry and Dorothy Cowan and to discuss the upcoming holiday season. Mr and Mrs Cowan have been carefully following the Scottish Government guidelines for the safe opening of the Park.
Dorothy Cowan said “We will be complying with social distancing; we have installed hand sanitisers throughout our site, and we have installed clear signage with gentle reminders to keep all our holiday makers safe. We will also ensure that we take all our visitors’ details so that we can help with track and trace. We are looking forward to reopening and people visiting us throughout the summer”
Commenting on the Park, Allan Dorans MP stated “Although I was born and brought up near here, I had never visited the Walled Garden until now. I am absolutely amazed at the beauty and tranquillity of the Park set in the stunning Ayrshire countryside. It really is a hidden gem, I am delighted that the Park is now opening and sincerely hope that the hard work put in to upgrading the facilities over the last few years pays off for Barry and Dorothy and they have an outstandingly successful holiday season. It’s been a very difficult time for our tourism industry, and it is great to see our local businesses start to re-open and normality resume”
Ayr MP challenges Boris Johnson on support to veterans at PMQs
AYR’S MP took the case of Hollybush House, a residential treatment centre for veterans, to the heart of Westminster last week.Date added: Thursday September 3rd 2020
Allan Dorans MP challenged Boris Johnson on what he is doing to support veterans’ mental health and highlighted the case of Hollybush House which is owned by the charity Combat Stress who have been forced to reduce their capacity with many jobs cut at the Ayr site.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, the Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP, said: “In this financial year, the UK Government have redistributed funding meant for veterans’ charities.
“That has resulted in severely reduced services from Combat Stress, a renowned mental health charity serving veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It has also meant a reduction from 24 to 10 beds in our residential unit in my constituency, and the loss of 50 jobs.
“Will the Prime Minister show his support for veterans’ mental health today by initiating an urgent review of that redistribution of this critical funding, so that we can stop life-changing and often life-saving services being lost?”
The Prime Minister responded saying that Mr Dorans “is absolutely right to raise the issue of veterans and their needs, and that is why the UK Government appointed a Minister for Defence People and Veterans, and a veterans taskforce—a special unit in the Cabinet Office”.
Mr Dorans’ question to Boris Johnson came after the Chief Executive of Combat Stress, Sue Freeth, called on the UK Government to “step-up” to “address the gap” caused by the funding distribution.
Speaking in January she said: “Historically, 40 per cent of our income came from the government.
“These sources of funding have been redistributed and veterans are struggling to get the help they need.
“Now 90 per cent dependent on public donations, we cannot supply a critical service to four UK nations on £10 million per annum when most of the funding is coming from the public and charitable sector funds.
She added: “The government must step up and we are seeking urgent talks to address the gap.”
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Allan Dorans MP and Anneka Rice help launch Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal
Allan Dorans MP and presenter and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Anneka Rice, have joined forces this March to help Marie Curie provide care and support to more people living with a terminal illness.Date added: Thursday September 3rd 2020
Allan and Marie Curie Ambassador, Anneka, were pictured together with Marie Curie Rapid Response Healthcare Assistant, Lukmon Adeyemi, at the parliamentary event to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign, held every March.
Allan pledged his support to the Appeal and is encouraging local people to donate and wear one of the charity’s daffodil pins to help fund vital care and support for people living with a terminal illness, and their families.
Allan said: “Every five minutes, someone in the UK dies without getting the care and support they need at the end of their life and that is why I am supporting the Great Daffodil Appeal this March. Without your help, Marie Curie Nurses can’t give vital care to people living with a terminal illness and their families.”
Launched in 1986, the Appeal is crucial in raising much-needed funds to enable the charity to continue providing nursing and hospice care, a freephone support line and information for people living with any terminal illness such as terminal cancer, dementia, heart failure, and motor neurone disease.
Anneka says: “I was thrown into a world of utter confusion and sadness when I had to care for two elderly parents, living separately but both with dementia. At the time I didn’t know who to reach out to as I knew nothing at all about the illness. At the time, I wish I’d known about the organisations that exist to help.”
On becoming a Marie Curie Ambassador in 2019, Anneka said: “They are just a brilliant bunch of people, quietly getting on with very, very, important work. We all want to be well-looked after at the end of our lives. Marie Curie need our help, so that they can help more people have a good death. I’m so proud to support them.”
Scott Sinclair, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: “Having the support of Allan Dorans MP and Anneka makes a huge difference to our Great Daffodil Appeal.
“Too many people miss out on the care and support they need. By donating and wearing a daffodil pin in March you are helping us to support more people at the most difficult time of their lives. We want to make sure that everyone affected by terminal illness, wherever they may live, gets the right support, at the right time – whether that is high quality nursing care, emotional and practical support, or fast access to the benefits they need.”
To support the Great Daffodil Appeal, get your daffodil pin from volunteers on high streets around the UK, as well as Marie Curie shops, Superdrug, Savers, SPAR UK, Hotter Shoes and Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.
To find out more about the Great Daffodil Appeal, visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil or call or call 0800 304 7025 for more information. To Donate £5 to Marie Curie, text DAFF to 70999.
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Waspi Women 4th March 2020
MP Allan Dorans joined over 70 MPs from all parties at an information session at the House of Commons on 4th March organised by the Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) Campaign.Date added: Thursday September 3rd 2020
Anne Keen, Co-founder of the Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) Campaign said:” We were delighted to see Mr Dorans at our event. He clearly understands the plight of women born in the 1950s who were denied several years of the State Pensions they paid into all their working lives. We couldn’t have wished for a better response to our invitations to MPs to attend the Drop-in session. It was quite overwhelming. The support for our campaign for justice was evident. We hope that Parliament will now address the issue as a matter of urgency. Many 1950s women are suffering.”
Allan Dorans MP commented “I have always been and will continue to be a strong supporter for the WASPI women whose pensions were stolen by successive governments. There are over 3.2 million affected in the UK and 6,700 in this constituency alone. I will continue to fight this injustice on their behalf”.