International Workers’ Memorial Day

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Workers’ Memorial Day is the day when the International Labour Movement remembers those who have been killed or injured in workplace accidents and those who have died from occupational diseases.  The event was been running for 25 years worldwide and Ian is proud to join the Edinburgh Trades Council and USDAW, the Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers, at a ceremony at the Memorial Tree in West Princes Street Gardens between noon and 1pm on Thursday 28 April.

Ian said, “It is important that we remember those workers that have suffered fatal accidents and injury in the workplace.  I am proud the have a wreath laid at the ceremony to commemorate the victims of such avoidable tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and along with my colleagues in the Labour Party at the House of Commons and Lords we vow that we shall never forget.”

Public spending cuts to the Health and Safety Executive and to local authorities are seriously limiting their ability to inspect and enforce the workplace.  The Minster for Health and Safety has said that he wants to see a substantial cut in the number of inspections and has announced yet another review of health and safety law.  The Government continues to argue that health and safety is an unnecessary burden on business.  But the reality is that at least 20,000 people die prematurely every year because of occupational injury or disease and 2.2 million people suffer from work related ill-health.  Many of them continue to work, despite their illness, while others are forced on to long term sick leave.

Inspectors are needed to visit workplaces to ensure that employers are obeying the law and to support those that need help.  If employers know that there is very little chance of them being inspected, they will see little reason to make sure they are complying with the regulations on health and safety.

If this Government continues to cut the amount of money for health and safety people will die as a result.

Ian puts the pressure on

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Ian is lending his support to The Stroke Association’s Know Your Blood Pressure campaign and is urging the people of South Edinburgh to get their blood pressure checked in a bid to raise awareness of the dangerous link between high blood pressure and stroke.

Ian had his blood pressure tested this week at a Parliamentary Know Your Blood Pressure event hosted by The Stroke Association. With annual Know Your Blood Pressure day fast approaching on the 9th April this was just one of hundreds of events which are taking place across the UK throughout the year to encourage the public to get their blood pressure checked in order to reduce their risk of stroke.

Every year 150,000 people will have a stroke in the UK, however it is estimated that 40% of these could be prevented by controlling high blood pressure.

Ian commented: “I’m delighted to be supporting The Stroke Association’s Know Your Blood Pressure campaign.  Thousands of strokes could be prevented every year if more people took steps to control their blood pressure.  Having your blood pressure taken is a quick and painless measure and it’s one that could save your life.  I’d strongly urge everyone to visit The Stroke Association’s website at www.stroke.org.uk/kybp to find out if there is an event in your local area or make an appointment with your GP to get tested.”

Over the last year more than 20,500 people have had their blood pressures taken at Know Your Blood Pressure events throughout the UK.  Over 40% of people were recorded as having high blood pressure.

Kate Allan, Know Your Blood Pressure Coordinator for The Stroke Association said:  “High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke, but it is a condition which can be controlled through medication and healthy lifestyle changes.  There is no doubt that blood pressure testing really can save lives. There are millions of people walking around with high blood pressure who are simply unaware that they may be at risk of having a stroke.  Getting your blood pressure checked could be the first step in reducing your risk.”

To see if there is a Know Your Blood Pressure event near you, please go to www.stroke.org.uk/kybp or email kybp@stroke.org.uk

BUDGET WILL HIT FAMILIES IN EDINBURGH HARD

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Families in Edinburgh will be worse off because of Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget while the banks get a tax cut this year, Ian said today.

Ian said:

“George Osborne’s reckless policies to cut too deep and too fast are hurting families here in Edinburgh.

“In this Budget the Tories have confirmed the banks will get a tax cut this year while 1000s of families in Edinburgh will see their child benefit frozen and will pay an average extra £450 in VAT this year. And families earning as little as £26,000 are set to lose their tax credits next year too.

“But while their plan is definitely hurting all the signs are that it’s not working either. The VAT rise and cuts which go too deep and too fast are driving up unemployment again and the independent budget watchdog says inflation will be higher and the economy will grow more slowly this year and next.

“That’s why borrowing will actually be higher after this Budget than before. So these reckless plans will make it much harder to get the deficit down. It doesn’t make sense.”

Ian added:

“On petrol prices the government should have gone further in this Budget. Across Scotland the average cost of a litre of unleaded is now 132.4p – up from 121.6p in December before the Tory VAT rise. George Osborne should have listened to Labour and reversed the VAT rise on petrol, which is adding £1.35 to the cost of filling up a 50 litre tank.

“And he should have listened to Labour and repeated the bank bonus tax this year, to help young people into work, build thousands of affordable homes and boost business investment. That’s the fair things to do and would help to get our economy moving again and get people into work to help get the deficit down.

“It’s now clear that George Osborne’s plan is hurting, but it’s not working. For the sake of our economy, our young people and the future of our great city the Conservative-led government needs to think again and get a plan B that puts jobs and growth first – before it’s too late.”

Ed Balls MP, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said:

“These cuts are too deep and too fast. Labour would be halving the deficit steadily over four years – not trying to cut it further and faster than any other major economy in the world.

“There have got to be some tough choices to get the deficit down too. But you can’t get the deficit down if the economy isn’t growing strongly and you’re throwing hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

“What we really need is a plan for jobs and growth to help people in Edinburgh and help get the deficit down. Ian Murray and I will be campaigning together for that in Westminster and urging the government to change course.”

Ian warns that families in Edinburgh South will be £1500 worse off this year

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Ian has joined Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour party, in his warning that on average a couple with children and one person earning will be £1500 worse off this year. This is more than double the loss of a couple without children.

 Ian said:

“It is becoming increasingly clear that David Cameron’s plans will mean that life will be much tougher for families over the next few years. I am worried about how this will affect families in Edinburgh South.

In addition to this, frontline service cuts, driven by the decision to go too far and too fast have been shown to hit couples with children twice as hard.

Taken together these changes will mean a cost of living crisis for ordinary families in Edinburgh South which will have a deep impact for years to come.

Ed Miliband said:

“These changes fail a fundamental fairness test: that families with children should be protected, not unfairly targeted.

Squeezed wages, squeezed prospects, squeezed aspirations

That is why the British Promise, that the next generation would always do better than the last, is now under threat like never before.

There is a concern that because the Government is making the situation worse, the cost of living crisis will not go away even when the economy recovers.

 Ian said:

“I am angered by the effect David Cameron’s broken promises will have on the families in Edinburgh South. By asking children and families to bear the brunt of their cuts, this Tory-led Government is showing that they have no idea what pressure ordinary families are under.

It is terrible Tory-led Government are stacking the odds even further against working families in Edinburgh South who want to get on in life.”

IAN MURRAY MP CALLS FOR VAT RISE ON FUEL TO BE REVERSED

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Ian is calling on the Chancellor George Osborne to reverse the government’s VAT rise on fuel.

The hike in VAT to 20 per cent in January has added nearly 3p to the price of a litre of petrol and will raise £700m for the Treasury, according to figures from the independent House of Commons Library.

The Labour Party says the VAT rise should be reversed immediately on petrol using the £800m extra the government is now getting from the bank levy, compared to what it was expecting in the last Budget.

Ian Murray MP said:

 

“I’ve consistently opposed the Conservative-led government’s VAT rise which has hit families in South Edinburgh and helped to push up petrol prices to their current record levels.

“It’s time the Chancellor George Osborne took immediate action on fuel prices to ease the pressure on families who are already facing a tough year and their incomes squeezed. He should immediately reverse the VAT rise on fuel, which has added nearly 3p to the price of a litre of petrol, using the extra £800m the Treasury will be getting from the bank levy.

“And in the Budget later this month George Osborne should look again at the annual fuel duty rise due in April. The last Labour government often postponed planned duty increases when world oil prices were on the up – as they are now. The Tories promised a ‘fuel duty stabiliser’ to win votes before the election, but if they don’t deliver one it will just be another broken promise from this government.

“The AA’s latest fuel price report shows that across Scotland the average cost of a litre of unleaded petrol in February was 128.6p – up 7p compared to December before the VAT rise. And the current instability in the Middle East and North Africa is driving up oil prices around the world which means the price of petrol at the pump is continuing to rise.

“Now is the wrong time to be making things even worse for hard-pressed families in South Edinburgh by hiking up VAT, as this government has done. George Osborne should admit he got it wrong and reverse the VAT rise on petrol now.”

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls MP added:

 

“I hope people across Scotland will back our campaign and send a message to the Chancellor George Osborne that he needs to act immediately to reverse the VAT rise on fuel. It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and is hitting families and businesses hard.

“George Osborne also needs to come up with a plan to get our stalled economy moving again and get more people into work making their contribution and paying taxes. That’s the best way to get the deficit down and ease the pressure on families facing the squeeze.”

Ian gets flipping for pancake day

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Ian battled it out as part of the MPs team at the annual Rehab UK Parliamentary Pancake  Race.

The race is run each year to raise awareness for the brain injury charity Rehab UK, which aims to help people with disabilities to return to education and sustained employment.

Ian said: “We are here today to raise awareness of the charity Rehab. It’s great fun and beats the normal awareness things we do. Also people love any opportunity to see members of parliament and the press making fools of themselves.”

Members of the House of Lords clinched a victory, beating the MPs and journalists to claim the title, though not without employing some dirty tactics as the last runners limped in.

Across England and Scotland, Rehab works with thousands of people with disabilities, older persons and others with brain injuries, spinal injuries and mental health difficulties, in enabling them achieve independence and remain active citizens in their communities. It supports people in rebuilding their lives following an accident or illness through care and supported living, while for others the aim is to gain employment through its social enterprise and community rehabilitation programmes.

Live On £1 a Day – Could You Hack It?

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Live On £1 a Day – Could You Hack It?

 How much money do you spend on food and drink each day? Can you imagine reducing this to only £1 per day? This May people across Scotland and the UK will be choosing to do so. They will Live Below the Line in order to raise money and awareness for the anti-poverty initiatives of RESULTS UK.

The campaign – created by the Global Poverty Project – is asking the public to cut their spending on food and drink to just £1 a day for five days (2-6 May 2011). The aim is to raise awareness of the 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live on £1 a day every day.

Groups and individuals across Scotland are already gearing up to take part in this challenge; it is to be more than just a sponsored event, it is a nationwide movement to end poverty.

The campaign is supported locally by Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray who said, “I fully support the work being done by the Live Below the Line campaign to raise awareness of the plight of over 1.4 billion people worldwide who are forced to live off £1 a day for food and drink in order to survive.  Although the UK has done a lot to help eradicate poverty over the last 10 years it is still a shocking statistic that a fifth of the world’s population is suffering from extreme poverty.  That is why I am proud to support the campaign and have taken up the challenge to LIVE BELOW THE LINE.”

The campaign is fronted by Actor Hugh Jackman: “This is an incredible campaign that really gives us the chance to understand the realities of extreme poverty. It is certainly a challenge to eat and drink off of £1 a day for 5 days, but for 1.4 billion people, £5 is all they have not only for food and drink, but also for living costs, clothing – everything! Live Below the Line highlights the challenge that over one billion people are faced with everyday and urges us to do something about it, which is why I’m so proud to be supporting this important cause. “

Live Below the Line will raise money for RESULTS UK by recruiting people to take part in the five day challenge and asking their friends, family and work places to sponsor them.

To take part in Live Below the Line, people can register today at www.livebelowtheline.org.uk/resultsuk. The website includes tips, recipes and the opportunity to create your own fundraising page.

As a special incentive to sign up within the next month, people who participate and raise over £200 for one of the charity partners between 10th March and 10th April will be in with the chance to meet Hugh Jackman!

For more information on Live Below the Line and RESULTS UK, please contact eleanor.geddes@results.org.uk  +44(0)7513479336