Work and employment

On this pages you will find a series of responses which Kezia has received from Government Ministers, Councillors/Council Officials and relevant agences following representations she has made to them about work and employment issues.

If you would like Kezia to raise an issue on your behalf - get in touch.

Reply from Fergus Ewing on annual data requirements of money advice serives

Kezia wrote to  Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing regarding a Parliamentary Question she tabled about the annual data requirements of money advice services in Scotland. In his reply, the Minister highlighted that under the current Concordat between the Scottish Government and local authorities, money allocated for money advice services is no longer ring-fenced, and so there is no requirement on the part of local authorities to provide the Scottish Government with data on how the funding is used, although information about how local authorities have used their funding is publicly available via their websites.

Fergus Ewing agrees to discuss guaranteed loan fund proposal

Kezia contacted Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing to discuss her proposal for a guranteed loan fund. In his repsonse, the Minister thanked Kezia for the invitation and said that he would be happy to meet with her. He also emphasised how important he regarding the issue of helping those struggling with debt said that he appreciated Kezia’s ideas in promoting to solutions to debt problems in Scotland. To see the Minister’s full repsonse, click the link above.

John Swinney re Financial Regulation of Payday Loans in an independent Scotland.

Kezia contacted John Swinney MSP to regarding what regulation of the high-interest short-term credit market would look like in an independent Scotland - see his response by following the link above.

Angela Constance response on the Our Skillsforce Government Website

Kezia recently wrote to Angela Constance MSP to query the gender neutrality of the Our Skillsforce careers advice website, which had seemed to display photographs of boys and girls in stereotypical roles. You can see the response by clicking the link above.

Edinburgh Council on Employability and Skills

Edinburgh City Council recently published their Employability & Skills Annual Report for 2011-12, which led to Kezia asking some further questions pertaining to youth employment in the city, aiming to ensure that as many young people as possible are reaching positive destinations.

Job Centre Plus on the Government Benefit Cap

Kezia recently received this letter from the Job Centre Plus, it outlines some of the changes that the Government Benefit Cap will bring in, when and where they will bring them in, and finally the steps that have been made to ensure that those claiming benefits are made aware of these changes that will affect them.

Government Benefit Cap Briefing

The Government recently released this briefing describing the capping changes that will be taking place within the benefit system starting in April 2013.

John Swinney MSP on VION Sale of UK Food Business

Kezia recently received this letter from John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, in which he spoke about concerns regarding the sale by VION of food businesses across Scotland.

Police Pension Schemes

Kez had been contacted by multiple constituents worried about changes to police pension schemes. She wrote to Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, to share these concerns. His reply can be found here.

The Living Wage and Procurement

Kezia received these letters from Derek Mackay and Michel Barnier at the The European Commission.  In his letter, Derek Mackay outlines the Scottish Councils paying the living wage as well as the response he received from the European Commission.  Unfortunately, this response is not overly enthusiastic about the living wage’s “compatibility” in procurement.

Scottish Government say Pay Day loans are “legal, transparent and fair”

Worried by the number of people in Edinburgh forced to take out payday loans because of rising living costs, Kezia wrote to the Government asking them to take action. Much of the law around pay day loan lenders is reserved to Westminister. However Kezia believes that the Scottish Government could take creative action and proposed that the Government send out it’s own “wealth” warnings about Pay day loans. The Government rejected this idea and shockingly suggested that Pay Day loans practices were fair and transparent.

25,000 Modern Apprenticeships exposed

Kezia has been working soliday for a number of months now to evidence the fact that many of the Governments Modern Apprenticeships, designed to tackle youth unemployment in Scotland, have been going to people already well established in jobs. This letter from Skills Development Scotland proves that 39% of all apprenticeships, that’s 10,000 in the last year alone, went to people who had been employed for 6 months or more before starting their MA.

Benefit Changes

Kezia has received a number of documents from Job Centre Plus outlining the major changes to benefit being introduced, many of which her Labour colleagues at westminster fought hard against.  These documents outline the benefit capchanges to Housing Benefit  and a FAQ about the benefits cap.

First Bus respond to Kezia on redundancies

Kezia wrote to First Bus expressing concern at the anticipated job losses in the Lothians, and the loss of several key services. You can see the response from First here.

Angela Constance on Work Experience

Kezia wrote to the Minister for Youth Employment asking for her definition of work experience, and at what point this would constitute unpaid employment.

Derek Mackay on uprating the living wage

During a recent debate on the Living Wage, I asked Derek Mackay for assurances about year-on-year increases to the Living Wage.  He has written to me outlining the Governemnt’s position on the issue.

Angela Constance on Youth Employment Debate

After the debate on 9th of February 2012, Angela Constance wrote to Kez thanking her for her support and constructive criticism in the Youth Employment strategy.

Changes to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Kez was contected by jobcentreplus with information concerning the soon to be implemented changes to Employment and Support Allowance.  This document outlines the changes.

Redundancies at Skills Development Scotland

Concerned by a reduction in the quality of service at Skills Development Scotland caused by redundancies, and its effects on Scots’ lives, Kez wrote to the Youth Employment Minister, Angela Constance.  Her response is here.

Angela Constance and Youth Employment

Kez received the following letter from Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance outlineing some of Ms Constances thoughts and actions on improving Youth Employment.

Jobcentre Plus

This information has been received from Jobcentre Plus regarding the support which they offer to people looking for work, claiming benefits or pensons, with a welcome focus on Youth Employment.

Youth Employment

After her appointment to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Youth Employment Kez wrote to Angela Constance, the SNP Government’s Minister for Youth Employment congratulating her on her new role and setting out the challenges ahead.  Kez has also blogged about her appointment.

Scrutiny in light of the Christie Commission recommendations

After the publication of the Christie Commission on the future delivery of public services in Scotland Kez wrore to the Scottish Government to ask about plans which they had for reforming scrutiny.  The response can be read here.

The City of Edinburgh Council and Sectarianism

Concerned about sectarianism, Kezia wrote to the City of Edinburgh Council asking about sectarianism in the workplace.  She was sent this comprehensive response of exactly what policy and guidelines the council has in place.

The Department of Work and Pensions on Statutory Sick Pay

At a roving surgery one of Kezia’s constituents raised the issue of Statutory Sick Pay, Kezia wrote to the Department of Work and Pensions for clarification of the UK Government’s position. This is their reply.

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance on Scottish Police Pensions

Writing on behalf of a constituent Kezia highlighted some concerns around police pensions in Scotland; here is what the Cabinet Secretary had to say.

 

Unpaid Internships

Kezia believes that unpaid internship programmes are deeply unfair and are only available to people who canafford to work for free. She called on the Scottish Parliament to introduce it’s own scheme to pay interns and open up opportunities for young people. Here is the Parliament’s response.

 

 

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