John Mason launches by-election campaign
The SNP has launched its campaign for the Glasgow East by-election. SNP candidate John Mason said the vote would be a chance to choose an MP who is "on their side, not out of touch like Labour".
The Glasgow East by-election is, he said, an opportunity for people in Glasgow East to send a shockwave to London and to force action on rising energy costs as feel the pinch from Gordon Brown's policies.
The SNP is on your side in Glasgow East – in Government and in Westminster. Labour is out of touch increasing taxes and failing to cut fuel costs.
Launching the campaign at The Hub, part of the Wellhouse Community Trust in the Easterhouse area of Glasgow East Scotland's First Minister and SNP Leader Alex Salmond said;
"The SNP are fighting a strong campaign to win in Glasgow East. Our message to people is that we are on your side, and we are off to a flying start with a first class candidate in Cllr John Mason – who has an outstanding track record of success in the constituency – including beating Labour in a by-election.
"This by-election is time for Glasgow East to elect an MP who will send a shockwave to London and force action over rising energy costs – crippling household budgets.
"People in Glasgow and across Scotland are suffering as energy bills and petrol prices rise. Yet Labour are completely immobilised. At a time of real need, Labour are posted missing in every sense. Enough is enough, and the people can call a halt in this by-election.
"An SNP win in Glasgow East will force Gordon Brown to take action on fuel prices – at the pumps and in the home.
"An SNP win will drive Gordon Brown to cancel the 2 pence rise in fuel duty, to introduce a fuel duty regulator recycling the UK's record tax take into lower costs for families and to give Glasgow East a fair share of Scotland's oil wealth.
"And of course an SNP win in Glasgow East is another milestone as the SNP continues to govern with the endorsement of people across Scotland and to build support for a referendum on Independence in 2010.
"At a time when the Prime Minister is raking in billions of pounds from an off shore windfall he refuses to take the measures needed to bring relief to hard pressed families and businesses. Instead he increases their tax bill by 10 pence and refuses to give Scotland a fair share of our own oil wealth, a share that would give Glasgow and the Scottish people direct and long term benefits.
"Scotland's share of the current oil windfall is worth £40 a week to every household in Glasgow East. £40 a week that could help family budgets, be invested in our communities and support our small businesses to create more jobs. This election can deliver that fair share for Glasgow East.
"Compared to this out of touch attitude from the Labour Government, the SNP Government in Scotland is on your side and has taken decisive action to help people and the economy.
"Among the 140 measures the SNP have taken in government over the past year, we have frozen the Council Tax, begun the phased abolition of prescription charges, slashed business rates, installed a record number of free central heating installations, and restored free education.
"We are taking action on crime – training more police for our streets and tackling the gang culture in our communities.
"A vote for the SNP gives people in Glasgow East a voice in Westminster. A voice that will put Glasgow's concerns before Gordon Brown's. A voice that will work to represent the people of Glasgow East and a voice that will force action on fuel prices for Glasgow and for Scotland.
"The SNP Government is on the side of people in Glasgow East. And I believe that the people of Glasgow East are on the side of the SNP in this by-election."
SNP Candidate Cllr John Mason said;
"It is a huge privilege to be selected to contest the seat of Glasgow East. As an East End councillor I know the opportunities ahead for Glasgow East but I also know the burden felt by families facing rising fuel, energy and food prices.
"This by-election is the chance for people in Glasgow East to elect an MP who is on their side, not out of touch like Labour.
"By electing an SNP MP voters will put Glasgow East on the map and force action from Gordon Brown.
"SNP MPs are on your side working to lower fuel duty and energy prices. Labour MPs are out of touch.
"SNP MPs voted to keep the 10pence tax rate for families in Glasgow East, Labour MPs are so out of touch they voted to increase tax by another 10 pence.
"An SNP MP for Glasgow East I will be on your side, putting Glasgow East before Gordon Brown and putting Glasgow East firmly on the map."
The SNP IS ON YOUR SIDE
SNP ON YOUR SIDE OVER RISING FUEL COSTS
• Fuel prices have soared under Labour. The average price for unleaded in 2002 was 69.9ppl – it's now 118.9ppl. In some Glasgow East stations the price is even higher. Labour is now taking £25 in tax per tank of petrol.
• At the same time there has been a 146% increase in gas and electricity disconnections as domestic energy costs hit hard.
• Whilst Labour in London makes billions of pounds of revenue Gordon Brown refuses to give Scotland our share.
• Scotland's share of the Chancellor's current oil windfall is the equivalent of £40 / week for every household in Glasgow East.
• The SNP wants to see an immediate cancellation of the 2pence rise in fuel duty due in the Autumn.
• The SNP proposed a Fuel Duty Regulator – to recycle the increased VAT revenues into lower fuel duty – Labour voted against the proposal.
SNP - ON YOUR SIDE IN GLASGOW EAST
• Prescription charges - The SNP Government has cut the cost of prescription charges by a QUARTER – the first step to making them FREE by 2010. And people who suffer from chronic or long-term conditions and cancer will benefit from an immediate cut of 50% in the cost of prescription pre-payment certificates (PPCs)
• Council Tax Frozen: Under Labour, between 1996-97 and 2007-08 Council Tax in Glasgow rose by 51% and the city now has the second highest Council Tax in Scotland. The SNP Government secured a deal with Local Authorities, including Glasgow, to freeze Council Tax for 2008/09 and is moving to scrap the Council tax – benefiting 72% of Glasgow residents.
• Businesses Helped Local Business is at the heart of regeneration in the East End. To help improve the local economy, the SNP Government is reducing or abolishing business rates for almost 16,000 businesses in Glasgow through the Small Business Bonus.
• Commonwealth Games Legacy: The SNP Government is funding 80% of the costs of the Commonwealth Games and is ensuring a lasting legacy for the games with investment in youth sports facilities and following pressure from the SNP Government, the Big Lottery Fund have announced a '2014 Communities' fund to ensure a lasting legacy from the Commonwealth Games – starting with half a million in 2008/09.
• Regeneration: The Fairer Scotland Fund will invest over £150m in Glasgow alone over the next 3 years. Also, the Clyde Gateway regeneration scheme, which spans Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, has been awarded £62 million by the SNP Government.
• Central Heating Programme - The SNP Government has increased installations of central heating systems from 13,500 a year under the previous administration to nearly 15,000 a year – the highest number ever.
• Increase in police numbers: Thanks to the SNP's commitment to delivering 1000 extra police, Strathclyde Police has the funds to increase their number of officers by 750 over the next three years. The first 150 of the SNP's 1000 extra police have just graduated from the Police Training College at Tulliallan.
• Crime Cut in East Glasgow under the SNP: The Enhanced Policing Plan (EPP), a Strathclyde Police led initiative funded by the SNP Government's Community Regeneration Fund, has seen crime drop significantly since its launch in October 2007. Within six months crime levels have dropped significantly in Sprinboig, Barlanark and Greenfield (24%); Parkhead (22%); Shettleston/Tollcross (10%) and Wellhouse (10%).
• Tackling Gangs: In Government the SNP has invested an additional £200,000 to tackle gang violence and territorialism with over £16,000 going into support Strathclyde police's anti-gang work in Easterhouse.
• Cash back for Communities: This SNP Government scheme uses money taken from organised criminals and reinvests it in youth projects in deprived areas. Projects in and around Glasgow East are already benefiting from the scheme: Cranhill Arts Project has received £4,730 in funding; The Sound Lab has received £11,827; and Reidvale Adventure Play Association has been awarded £4,812.
• Hospitals: The SNP Government has provided £842 million of public money to replace the Southern General Hospital, which previous Labour Government's had neglected. Also, one of the very first actions of the SNP upon becoming the Government was to save the Accident and Emergency department at nearby Monklands.
• Free Personal Care: The SNP initiated the first increase in Free Personal Care Payments in line with inflation, and invested an extra £40m to meet shortfalls in the service. In contrast Labour in Westminster refused to return attendance allowance to Scotland.
• Bus Travel Concessionary Fares: The SNP Government has increased support for bus travel with extra funding of £12m over the next three years. Funding for bus transport is 31% higher per capita in Scotland under the SNP than in England and Wales under Labour and the SNP Government has announced plans to extend the scheme for injured veterans in recognition of their service.
• Free education: The SNP has reintroduced grants for part – time students, helping those in areas like Glasgow East who are working hard for a better future.
• John Wheatley College: The SNP Government acted to ensure the long term viability of John Wheatley College in Glasgow, which has campuses in Shettleston and Easterhouse, by protecting its charitable status.
• Housing: Since the SNP came to power 16 local housing associations have been given approval by GHA to proceed to Second Stage Transfer, with another 17 in discussions to do the same. In Glasgow East, Parkhead Housing Association is aiming to ballot tenants on SST on the 17th of November.
• Nursery Education: Free nursery education has been increased to 475 hours per year for 3-4 year olds.
Profile on John Mason - SNP Candidate for Glasgow East
Cllr John Mason - Profile
John Mason is originally from Rutherglen, is 51, an accountant, and has lived in the East End for 18 years.
After training in Glasgow, he has worked for housing associations, nursing homes, and with a charity in London. He also spent 3 years in Nepal with an NGO representing churches from all over the world.
He was elected as the Councillor for the Garrowhill ward in 1998 at a by-election and held the seat in 1999 and 2003.
He has led the SNP Group on the Council since 1999 and was elected in 2007 as Councillor for the new ward of Baillieston.
He achieved the highest personal vote of any Councillor in Glasgow and is the SNP's longest serving Glasgow Councillor.
His other interests include involvement in Easterhouse Baptist Church, hill-walking and camping.