Katy Clark MP

working hard for North Ayrshire and Arran

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Katy is calling for the Government to change the law so that war widows awarded a pension between 31st March 1973 and 5th April 2005 no longer lose their entitlement if they cohabit or re-marry.

Katy has signed a Parliamentary Motion calling on the Government to allow recipients of war widows’ pensions from this period to keep their pensions for life, as this case for those who received their through the 2005 Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

Speaking on the subject Katy said “Military spouses make a huge, often unseen, contribution to the United Kingdom raising families while their partner serves overseas. It is only right that the Government recognises the sacrifices which they make by supporting them when a serviceman or woman dies. There is absolutely no justifiable reason why this support should be withdrawn if a widow or widower is lucky enough to find a new partner who they want to marry or live together with. To put them in a position where they have to choose between moving in with somebody they wish to share their life with or financial security is cruel and completely unnecessary.” 

“I have raised this with the Government now on several occasions, this unacceptable state of affairs has been allowed to go on for far too long. Last year only ten widows had their pensions withdrawn as a result of this provision so we are not talking about large numbers of people or indeed large sums of money. The Government claims it does not wish to change pension schemes retrospectively due to the precedent it would set however armed forces pensions have always been treated differently due to the dangerous nature of the work our service personnel undertake. If the Government is serious about honouring the military covenant it should act now to deliver justice for widows and widowers.”

Katy demands justice for military widows

Katy is calling for the Government to change the law so that war widows awarded a pension between 31st March 1973 and 5th April 2005 no longer lose their entitlement...

Katy has reacted with anger to new information revealed by the Government which shows that the number of understaffed shifts at coastguard co-ordination centres remains unacceptably high, despite assurances previously given by previous Transport Minister Stephen Hammond.

The figures, revealed in response to a Freedom of Information Request, show that between April and September between 22 and 40 watches a month were staffed at below risk-assessed levels at MRCC Belfast, the coastguard co-ordination centre which took over primary responsibility for Scotland’s West Coast following the closure of MRCC Clyde in December 2012. MRCC Belfast is “paired” with MRCC Stornoway, which means that Stornoway can take over responsibility for some of the area covered by MRCC Belfast at particularly busy times however the figures reveal that Stornoway has had similar numbers of understaffed shifts during the same period. Katy has written to Transport Minister John Hayes demanding an urgent explanation.

Speaking on the subject Katy said “It is completely unacceptable that the number of understaffed shifts at MRCC Belfast has been allowed to increase again. Last year it was very apparent that insufficient preparation had been given to how MRCC Belfast would take over the area of coast previously covered by MRCC Clyde. We saw appalling staffing levels throughout 2013, particularly during the busy summer months. Earlier this year, I, along with other interested MPs, received assurances from the Minister that new staff had been appointed and such poor staffing levels were a thing of the past. Sadly, despite a brief improvement last winter, this has not proven to be the case.”

“We now know that this August, one of the busiest months of the year for coastguard services, 30 out of 62 shifts at MRCC Belfast were understaffed. On such occasions additional support is meant to be provided by MRCC Stornoway however it was understaffed on 40 shifts that month. In fact it seems that nearly every coastguard centre across the UK was facing similar problems. The Government has remained complacent about coastguard staffing levels for far too long and it seems clear to me we are fast approaching crisis point.” 

Number of understaffed West Coast coastguard shifts remains high

Katy has reacted with anger to new information revealed by the Government which shows that the number of understaffed shifts at coastguard co-ordination centres remains unacceptably high, despite assurances previously...

Katy has paid tribute to Dorothy Lynam who last week stood down as the Irvine Herald’s Kilwinning correspondent after 30 years. 

 

Of Dorothy Katy said, 

“Dorothy is a remarkable women who has contributed so much to Kilwinning over many years. Not only has she dedicated so much time to helping the Irvine Herald but she has fulfilled a number of roles within the community including at Kilwinning Abbey and as Secretary of the Community Council. I am sure Dorothy’s input will be sorely missed by the Irvine Herald but given the energy she has I am sure she will continue to contribute to the community in other ways. I wish her all the best for the future.”

Katy pays tribute to Dorothy Lynam

Katy has paid tribute to Dorothy Lynam who last week stood down as the Irvine Herald’s Kilwinning correspondent after 30 years.   


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