Katy Clark MP

working hard for North Ayrshire and Arran

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The National Records of Scotland have recently published statistics revealing the variation in life expectancy across the country.  The figures reveal huge variations and that people in Scotland on average can expect a lower life expectancy than the rest of UK, and that North Ayrshire in particular is below the Scottish average.  Responding to the statistics, Katy Clark said:

“While there has been a steady increase in life expectancy over past decades, the gaps and variation in life expectancy paint a depressing picture.  The UK average for female life expectancy is 82.7 and male life expectancy is 78.9.  In Scotland, the average is 80.8 for women and 76.6 for men.  In North Ayrshire, we see that female life expectancy drops to 80.72 for women and 76.03 for men. 

“Unsurprisingly, more affluent areas of the country have significantly higher levels of life expectancy than the most impoverished.  The conclusion we can draw from this is blindingly clear: we need to urgently root out the systemic causes of poverty and inequality.  While the statistics are revealing, they are only numbers.  Behind them are the real experiences of constituents I hear from every week.  Workers are earning poverty pay and living under the constant stress and fear of losing their jobs as the only security they have are zero-hour contracts.  We’ve seen benefit payments reduced and capped, and people are literally choosing whether to feed their families or heat their homes. 

“But it isn’t just the money in people’s pockets, as cuts to funding in health care, social services, local councils and further education have all removed support and opportunities for those living in poverty.  It is no wonder that people’s physical and mental well-being is harmed as a result, and the life expectancy figures just confirm what many of us already knew.  

“Thankfully the Labour Party has committed to addressing many of the problems that are at the root of these distressing figures.  Through policies such as increasing the minimum wage and extending the living wage, freezing energy bills and reforming the energy market or introducing a jobs guarantee scheme and outlawing zero hours contracts we hope to challenge the current agenda of driving living standards down.  Only by providing a real alternative will we close the life expectancy gap and ensure that people live longer, healthier lives.”

Katy concerned about North Ayrshire life expectancy figures

The National Records of Scotland have recently published statistics revealing the variation in life expectancy across the country.  The figures reveal huge variations and that people in Scotland on average...

Trust Housing Association, which is the parent body of Isle of Arran Homes (IOAH), has announced that they will be offering staff redundancy terms in a bid to reduce services on the island.  In a letter dated 9th April Bob McDougall, Chief Executive of Trust Housing Association, has written to tenants advising them that staff will be made redundant and all administrative and clerical  support functions will be transferred to the mainland.  The IOAH office on the island will close, and the Housing and Property Officer, Care and Repair Officer, and Clerical Assistant will be moved to one or both of IOAH’s Sheltered Developments, though the details on this are not yet clear.  Responding to the letter Katy Clark, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran said:

“I am concerned about the loss of service on the Isle of Arran.  I understand that the Isle of Arran Homes office will shut on 31st July and four members of staff are being made redundant from this date.  While the letter from Chief Executive Bob McDougall states that two Care and Repair Officers will retain their posts these are in fact funded by North Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire and Arran Health Board exclusively to assist the over-60s. 

“I fully appreciate the concern that tenants will have regarding these redundancies and office closure, and I am aware of similar situations in other Housing Associations where the centralisation of support services has led to numerous complaints and problems.  If understand that tenants are seeking to campaign to retain the services on Arran, and I am fully supportive of this.   If any tenants wish to express their concerns or require assistance over these proposed closures then I would be happy to discuss this directly with them.”

Katy's concern over Isle of Arran Redundancies

Trust Housing Association, which is the parent body of Isle of Arran Homes (IOAH), has announced that they will be offering staff redundancy terms in a bid to reduce services...

Katy has reacted with alarm at the significant increase in the number of people using foodbanks, both in North Ayrshire and across the whole United Kingdom. 

Research from the Trussell Trust has highlighted that there was a more than tenfold increase in the number of people who received over three days worth of emergency food from their foodbanks in North Ayrshire. The figures show that in 2013/14 4,063 people received over three days worth of emergency food in North Ayrshire up from 364 in 2012/13. The number of children receiving such support jumped from 119 to 1,320.

Across the United Kingdom in 2013/14 over 913,138 people received over three days worth of emergency food from their foodbanks, up from 346,992 in 2012/13 and 61,468 in 2010/11. The Trussell Trust has identified that half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.

Speaking on the subject Katy said

“The jump in the number of people requiring support from foodbanks in North Ayrshire is simply appalling. It cannot be an acceptable that in the sixth largest economy in 2014, nearly one million people do not have enough food to eat. It is a damning indictment of four years of this Government’s austerity measures.”

“The Trussell Trust has identified that the three biggest reasons for people turning to foodbanks were delays in benefit payments, low pay and benefit changes. There can now be no denying that this huge increase in foodbank use is a direct consequence of the policies which this Government has pursued. We are now seeing the human cost which punitive measures such as the Government’s bedroom tax and sanctions regime are having on our communities.”

“It is important to pay tribute to the fantastic work which all those who have volunteered in foodbanks over the past year have done, particularly those who have worked so hard at the North Ayrshire foodbank in Ardrossan. I very much hope that their workload will be reduced over the coming year. Sadly however unless the Government changes course this will not happen.”

Massive Increase in North Ayrshire Foodbank Figures

Katy has reacted with alarm at the significant increase in the number of people using foodbanks, both in North Ayrshire and across the whole United Kingdom. 


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