Gemma Doyle – Labour Party Candidate – West Dunbartonshire – More Right Wing Than Jim Duffy – She Failed Her Constituents and Has The Neck To Ask Them To Overlook Her Appalling Record – I don’t Think So Emma- On Your Bike


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Gemma Doyle was elected as the MP for West Dunbartonshire in May 2010.

Doyle was born in 1981. She grew up in Dumbarton where she attended St Patrick’s Primary and Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School. Doyle attended the University of Glasgow, where she, graduated with an MA in European Civilisation.

Before being elected to Parliament, she worked as a Political Officer for the Parliamentary Labour Party. Previously she worked as a Conference Producer for the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Conference Development Manager for a small business and as a caseworker and parliamentary assistant for a number of MSPs. She joined the Labour party aged 15 and served on its Scottish Executive and National Policy Forum before being selected as Labour’s candidate in West Dunbartonshire in 2010.

Doyle is is a Shadow Defence Minister, with specific responsibility for defence personnel, welfare and veterans. Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy backed Doyle’s husband, Gregor Poynton in a Labour Party selection process for the Falkirk constituency which was suspended in 2013.

Doyle sponsored the Westminster launch of the Henry Jackson Society report In Scotland’s Defence? An Assessment of SNP Defence Strategy, on 4 July 2013.




February 2007: The parallel universe of BAE: covert, dangerous and beyond the rule of law

There is a state within a state in the United Kingdom, a small but untouchable domain that appears to be subject to a different set of laws. We have heard quite a bit about it over the past two months, but hardly anyone knows just how far its writ runs. The state is BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest arms company. It seems, among other advantages, to be able to run its own secret service.

This week, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) hopes to obtain a court order against BAE. The order would allow it to discover how the arms company obtained one of its confidential documents. CAAT instructed its lawyers, Leigh Day & Co, to seek a judicial review of the government’s decision to drop the corruption case against BAE, which is alleged to have paid massive bribes to members of the Saudi royal family. Leigh Day sent CAAT an email containing advice on costs and tactics. The email ended up in the hands of the arms company.

How? Correspondence between a plaintiff and his lawyers couldn’t be more private. The last people you would show it to are the defendants in the case. But somehow the letter found its way to BAE’s offices.

The arms company argues that it was the unwitting and unwilling recipient of the email. So why does it refuse to tell CAAT who sent it? Why, far from assisting CAAT’s attempt to explain this mystery, has it threatened the group with costs for seeking to reveal BAE’s source?

BAE’s spying operations represent just one way in which the company looks like a parallel state. It also appears to enjoy crown immunity. Last August, this column suggested that the Saudi corruption case might be dropped, in order to protect a new order for 72 BAE jets. It was not a hard prediction to make – Saudi Arabia had made the new deal conditional on the abandonment of the case. But I could not have guessed that both the attorney general and the prime minister would make such a show of squashing the investigation. They seemed to go out of their way to demonstrate to BAE’s clients that they would do whatever it took to protect the new order, even if it meant exposing themselves to allegations of collusion.

The prime minister has never taken such a risk on behalf of one of his departments, let alone his ministers or officials (witness how Lord Levy and Ruth Turner have been left to swing). There are just two friends for whom he will put his legacy on the line: George Bush and BAE. In 2001, Blair overruled Clare Short and Gordon Brown to grant an export licence for BAE’s sale of a military air-traffic control system to one of the world’s poorest countries, Tanzania. The World Bank had pointed out that the contract was ridiculously expensive – Tanzania could have bought a better system elsewhere for a quarter of the price. In January the Guardian revealed that BAE Systems allegedly paid a $12m (£6.2m) “commission” to an agent who brokered the deal.

In 2005, Blair made a secret visit to Riyadh to expedite BAE’s deal with the Saudi princes. He then sent both John Reid and Des Browne to clinch the order. Ministers in the UK have always acted as unpaid salesmen for the arms companies, but seldom has a prime minister muddied his hands this much. Blair pushed the order through by promising the Saudis that they could have the first 24 planes ahead of schedule. How? By selling them the jets already allotted to the RAF. BAE’s interests, in other words, trump the requirements of our own armed forces.

Blair has also broken his government’s pledge to publish the report by the National Audit Office on BAE’s dealings in Saudi Arabia. It remains the only NAO report never to have been made public. We can only guess why the prime minister needs to protect it.

It could be argued, with some force, that this government has always had a special relationship with big business, rather like its special relationship with George Bush (it gets beaten up and thanks him for it). But the special favours it grants BAE are deeply resented by other corporations. After the suppression of the Saudi case, F&C Asset Management, a very large institutional investor, wrote to the government to complain that its decision undermined the rule of law and the predictability of the investment climate. Hermes, Britain’s biggest pension fund, said that it threatened the UK’s reputation as a leading financial centre, and the chairman of Anglo-American wrote that the abandonment of thecase “damaged the reputation of Britain”.

At what point does the government conclude that this company has got out of control? That it presents a danger to national interests, to the reputation of the prime minister, tothe privacy and civil liberties of its opponents? Why does it appear to be above the law? For how much longer will it be permitted to run what looks like a parallel secretservice? Of all the questions we might ask of our ministers, these are the least likely to be answered.




March 2013: How Scottish MPs Voted on the Workfare Bill

Yesterday the House of Commons passed the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill, which included a clause that retroactively changed the law to prevent back payment of approximately £130 million worth of benefits that had been found by a court decision to have been wrongly withheld.

Abstained: 33 of 40 (83%) Labour MPs. The Tory/LibDems achieved what they wanted. Despite being legally owed the money the claimants are to be denied this as a result of this hideous bill. The Labour MP’s that abstained should be ashamed, including Gemma Doyle.

Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South)
Willie Bain (Glasgow North East)
Gordon Banks (Ochil and South Perthshire)
Anne Begg (Aberdeen South)
Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)
Russell Brown (Dumfries and Galloway)
Iain McKenzie (Inverclyde)
Tom Clarke (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill)
Margaret Curran (Glasgow East)
Alistair Darling (Edinburgh South West)
Thomas Docherty (Dunfermline and West Fife)
Brian Donohoe (Central Ayrshire)
Frank Doran (Aberdeen North)
Gemma Doyle (West Dunbartonshire)
Shiela Gilmore (Edinburgh East)
Tom Greatrex (Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
David Hamilton (Midlothian)
Tom Harris (Glasgow South)
Jim Hood (Lanark and Hamilton East)
Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
Michael McCann (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
Gregg McClymont (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Anne McGuire (Stirling)
Ann McKechin (Glasgow North)
Graeme Morrice (Livingston)
Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire)
Ian Murray (Edinburgh South)
Pamela Nash (Airdrie and Shotts)
Fiona O’Donnell (East Lothian)
John Robertson (Glasgow North West)
Frank Roy (Motherwell and Wishaw)
Lindsay Roy (Glenrothes)
Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central)




July 2013: Battle of Falkirk gets murkier for Labour

Labour’s three most powerful figures are all embroiled in some way – Ed Miliband, Len McCluskey and Tom Watson. And this morning a fourth figure, Jim Murphy, entered the fray. Details which I’ve been leaked, of Labour’s secret inquiry into Falkirk, show the report isn’t just about what the union Unite got up to in pursuit of getting its candidate selected. I’m told the report says that in June last year – 2012 – 11 new members were recruited by Gregory Poynton, who was also a contender for the Labour nomination. Mr Poynton submitted a cheque for £130, which I’m told is against the rules, which say cheques can only for submitted for new members if those members all live at the same house, which in this case, apparently, they didn’t. Mr Poynton refused to comment when I spoke to him this morning, but said he would get back to me later once he’d consulted the party.

Why does Mr Poynton’s recruitment activity matter? First because he’s married to Gemma Doyle, the young Scottish MP who is a member of Labour’s Commons defence team under Jim Murphy. And second, Mr Poynton is the London political director of the firm Blue State Digital, which has a contract to provide campaigning work for the Labour party. With that, and all the allegations about Unite recruiting dozens of new members in Falkirk without their knowledge, and seemingly against the rules, no wonder Labour big-wigs decided to keep the Falkirk report secret. Unite’s activity was reportedly on behalf of Karie Murphy, a former chair of the Scottish Labour party, who works in Tom Watson’s office, and is also very close to the Unite leader Len McCluskey. And Mssrs Watson and McCluskey once shared a house.

This morning Jim Murphy hit out at Unite. He told BBC News: “Something had gone really badly wrong in Falkirk when it came to the selection of the Labour candidate. “I don’t blame the people locally – there’s clearly been some external interference. And while trade unions are an important part of a society and our politics, there seems to be one trade union in particular that’s well and truly overstepped the mark. “It’s clear that Unite don’t run the Labour party; Ed Miliband does. And we should never confuse those two things.”

Friends of Gregory Poynton insist he did nothing wrong. They say he was not contacted by the Labour party inquiry and say that if he had been implicated the party would have contacted him for a response. It looks like it’s developing into a huge battle for Labour in the run-up to this autumn conference. And a huge headache for Ed Miliband.





Interesting that the (nominal) leaders of British Labour in Scotland appear to have been totally sidelined by their masters in London. Labour in Scotland are no longer fit for purpose on three counts:

* They no longer represent the interests of the working poor, the sick, the vulnerable and the elderly.

* The leadership in Scotland has no autonomy, lacks intellect and clarity of vision and is incapable of independent thought and action.

* Labour is devoid of policy and offers no hope of a more socially just Scotland.
The Labour Party is now an irrelevance in Scotland as Scots move towards self determination. What we have now in England is a Dictatorship by tripartite agreement of the three main Parties who no longer represent Scotland in any way whatsoever. There was no need to wait for Falkirk to happen, Glasgow City Council has been mired in illegality of every sort for Generations! I regret every vote I ever cast for Labour.

The political system at Westminster is broken and cannot be fixed. Illegal wars started by Labour and supported by the Tories. Austerity introduced by the Tories is backed by Labour. All the parties at Westminster and the civil service recruit from the same universities and schools. Priveldge, patronage and nepotism abound. The infighting in Labour over the Falkirk candidacy is a perfect example of why the Scottish electorate is turning on Labour.

Labour’s Scottish leadership have not even been consulted on the ‘special measures’ imposed on Falkirk CLP. I will never vote Labour again. The present leadership of the party are pygmies when compared with the Attlees, Bevans, Castles, Wilsons and Benns of the Labour Party. All the Labour party are interested in is sitting room politics, where the leaders take the decision and the Party membership, the poor and disabled are ignored. The Milibands and Balls of this world worship at the altar of economic Liberalism and the politics of austerity. The Labour Party is finished, it now represents big business and no one else.








July 2013 The Falkirk Debacle – Tom Watson’s Resignation and Jim Murphy

Tom Watson’s resignation from the Shadow Cabinet is a big shock for Labour. He was one of the most powerful men in the party, but felt very bruised by the recent row over events in Falkirk. Watson found himself embroiled in a behind the scenes battle with the Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy, the senior Blairite in Scotland.

Murphy was backing another candidate in Falkirk, Greg Poynton, who is the husband of Gemma Doyle, one of Murphy’s front-bench team. And the Falkirk inquiry, whose report remains secret, uncovered evidence that Poynton was personally recruiting new members in Falkirk months before Unite mounted their recruitment drive. Watson was fed up with the assumption that because Karie Murphy works for him, then he was behind Unite’s attempts to recruit lots of new members in Falkirk to get her picked as Labour candidate.




Gregor Poynton, UK political director of American firm Blue State Digitalcomics-scottish-referendum-gill-hatcherB1GzEOkCQAEqzuk



September 2013: Dumbarton and Vale MP Gemma Doyle claimed more than £44,000 in expenses last year

Last week the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority revealed details of the business costs and expenses which had been claimed by Gemma Doyle, West Dunbartonshire’s representative at Westminster, between March 2012 and April this year.

The majority of the £44,900.47 claimed by Ms Doyle — an increase of nearly £6,500 on the previous year — was spent on office costs although £16,000 also was charged to the taxpayer for flights to and from London. The majority of these flights are British Airways “Business/Club” class tickets priced at around £400 a flight.

Last week Ms Doyle, told the Reporter the ticket doesn’t afford her the luxury of any improved seating and often works out as the cheapest way to travel as it allows her to make changes to booked flights at short notice, without incurring a penalty fee.

However, after all MPs expenses were made public last week one resident Gordon Morrison, 58, who acts as a carer for his 51-year-old wife Elizabeth, said something had to be done about the way the system works. He told the Reporter: “We’ve got to travel on the bus and the normal working man has to pay his own travel costs. These are the people who are telling us we need to tighten our belts and cut down on household expenses. It’s got to be highlighted, society has to change. If we want to do something about the economy it’s got to be a case of do as we do.

Our MP spent £16,000 on travel last year — that’s totally wrong when you’re only on the flight for an hour. The total amount of money we have coming in the house is £12,000 for a year and she’s claiming back £4,000 more per year for travelling than we get to live and run a house, as well as heat it and pay all the other expenses. It’s quite an eye opener the amount that these MPs are claiming. It’s too easy for them to claim money. Politicians tell you on one hand it’s time for austerity and then you see what they are spending money on. Westminster is the biggest money drain on the country. If that was a business it would have folded a long, long time ago.”

Other residents also raised concerns about other items Ms Doyle claimed as part of her expenses last year including a Q-Connect Pencil costing 59p, a black Banner medium ballpoint pen priced 65p, a large pair of rubber gloves billed at £1.82 and a Bentley Deluxe Squeegee Mop, which cost the taxpayer £11.51.




November 2013: Scots Labour MPs slammed after bedroom tax no-show

Scottish Labour MPs have been heavily criticised after nearly a quarter failed to vote against the bedroom tax policy in a motion put forward by their own party. Key players such as Anas Sarwar, deputy leader of the party in Scotland, and former Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy were among the 46 MPs who didn’t show up for the vote on the controversial spare room tax. Kirkcaldy MP and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown – who claimed last month he was an ‘ex-politician’ – and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander also failed to to vote following the party’s debate in Westminster on the policy. Of the Labour MPs who failed to show up, ten represent Scottish constituencies.

The SNP hit out at the no-show from the Labour MPs, with SNP work and pensions spokeswoman Dr Eilidh Whiteford saying that they needed to explain their absences, adding: “We could have been talking about how the bedroom tax has been scrapped but instead the question on the minds of many Scots is: Where were they? “Some may have very good reasons for missing the vote but there can be no excuse for a quarter of Scotland’s Labour MPs not turning up for a vote to scrap the bedroom tax that could have been won.”

he Labour motion to scrap the policy was defeated by 252 votes to 226. The spokesman said the party were ‘disappointed’ that the government had used their majority to ‘re-affirm their support for the hated bedroom tax’.

* Labour has lost it’s soul it cannot even be bothered to vote against the Bedroom Tax . A No vote will therefore have catastrophic consequences for the poor and disabled. What is the solution more food banks, more pay day loan co’s, more money advice services, more appeals, more charity aid.

* Those who vote Labour in Scotland are being badly let down by the MPs they send to Westminster. Unfortunately their loyalty is to the party and themselves not their constituents. The best way to deal with these people is by voting for Independence and making them all redundant! Perhaps then we can have a new start with a real Scottish Labour Party.

* Maybe now, Labour Voters will realise that the party they voted for are nothing more than opportunists, who are interested in only what You can do for them. Disgraceful behaviour from a party that hang their hat on supporting the people. Say anything, do nothing, Labour, the me party.



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March 2014: 32 Scottish Labour MP’s who voted for the £119.5 billion Tory welfare cap with 520 in favour and 22 against.

13 Labour backbenchers and 6 SNP MPs opposed the motion along with 6 SNP MPs who said they were ‘shocked’ at Labour MPs decision to back the Tories so it wouldn’t make them look soft when it came to welfare issues. Ed Balls said it was the right thing to do while he whined that the welfare cap was originally his parties idea to begin with. He said: “We on this side of the House support capping social security spending, a policy the Leader of the Opposition advocated last year.”

SNP’s Eilidh Whiteford MP said: “The SNP voted against the welfare cap today because it piles yet more pain onto our poorest pensioners, carers, disabled people and low-income families. This cap is just a crude, blunt, instrument. It is shocking that so many Scottish Labour MPs have backed the Tories.”

“Labour supported the proposal because we believe social security spending needs to be kept under control by getting people back to work and tackling low pay. It’s about time the SNP came clean with their plans for social security in an independent Scotland.”

Save the Children warns the Welfare cap will push 345,000 children into poverty in just four years. Will Higham, the charity’s director of UK poverty, said: “Parties need to explain how they will work to improve wages and welfare to ensure that work pays. Otherwise, the vote will become a straitjacket, binding future governments from taking action to stem a rising tide of child poverty.”

Diane Abbott, one of the Labour rebels, said: “This is not a game, this is about people’s lives… [They] are not to be a matter of short-term political positioning.”

The 32 Scottish Labour MPs who voted for the Tory welfare cap:

Margaret Curran, Tom Greatrex, Ian Murray, Willie Bain, Gordon Banks, Tom Clarke, Anne Begg, Alistair Darling, Ian Davidson, Thomas Docherty, Frank Doran, Gemma Doyle, Sheila Gilmore, David Hamilton, Tom Harris, Jimmy Hood, Cathy Jamieson, Mark Lazarowicz, Greg McClymont, Anne McGuire, Anne McKechin, Iain McKenzie, Grahame Morris, Jim Murphy, Pamela Nash, Sandra Osborne, John Robertson, Frank Roy, Lindsay Roy, Anas Sarwar.






April 2014: Clydebank MP Gemma Doyle slammed for backing Tories

Gemma Doyle MP has been accused of betraying Clydebank’s poor after she backed a Tory plan to slash benefits. The Labour MP has come under fire for siding with the Conservatives in a crucial Commons vote last week. Critics fear more hard-up Clydebank families will be plunged deeper into poverty as a result of a plan to limit what working families, pensioners, and those on disability benefits can receive from the government.

But that didn’t stop Ms Doyle supporting the controversial move and triggering a swathe of condemnation from poverty campaigners including former West Dunbartonshire Council leader Danny McCafferty, who is committed to highlighting the need to help those who are struggling to survive in the current climate. He told the Post: “It’s been well documented over the year. For a local MP to vote with a Tory government is unbelievable — I’m absolutely disgusted. She forgets who voted her into power and why she was voted into power.” “it also piles yet more pain onto our poorest pensioners, carers, disabled people and low income families.

The cap will include spending on the vast majority of benefits, including pension credits, severe disablement allowance, incapacity benefits, child benefit, both maternity and paternity pay, universal credit and housing benefit.



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January 2015: Gemma Doyle MP cites North Korea as reason for £100bn trident renewal

Gemma Doyle MP has told how she fears for the safety of Scotland without a nuclear deterrent. The Labour politician, a shadow defence minister, insists she does believe in worldwide nuclear disarmament but last week voted against a proposal to scrap Trident’s renewal in 2016. This prompted a scathing attack from Clydebank SNP MSP Gil Paterson due to the “obscene” cost of the nuclear programme.

MP Doyle defended her position and reiterated that she wants to see a world free of nuclear weapons. She said: “No one believes for a second that the UK getting rid of our nuclear deterrent would make North Korea or Iran give up their nuclear programmes and it would be foolhardy to leave Scots unprotected in such a dangerous world.”

The House of Commons voted against proposals to scrap the renewal of the UK’s nuclear weapon system by a huge margin of 364 to 35. While the SNP, Plaid Cymru and single Green MP spoke out against continuing with Trident, most Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians voted for a new nuclear weapon system for the UK.

The programme, which will see new nuclear weapons based at Faslane, is estimated to cost around £100 billion over its three decade life span.

Gil Paterson MSP said: “Gemma Doyle voting with the Tories is becoming normal practice, but at a time when poverty and food bank use has reached record levels, I find it incredible that she — as the Shadow Minister for Defence — could condone such expenditure on a weapon that could never be used.

“Trident also stops the exploitation of the massive oil reserves that are in the Clyde basin which would transform the western seaboard of Scotland and totally re-energise Clydebank. “Voting to spend this obscene amount of money when it could be used to create jobs, new schools, better housing and raise the standard of living for disadvantaged people defies belief.



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She is clearly caught up in the clutches of the “Henry Jackson Society” and BAE. Voted for Trident just in case Iran or North Korea attacked. Now that is beyond stupid.

Two Ayrshire Labour MPs, including Carrick MP, Sandra Osborne, voted with the SNP at Westminster against new nuclear missiles on the Clyde.

SNP politician Angus MacNeill slated Labour. “They had no problem trooping behind the Tories to vote on £30 billion more austerity cuts – which will hurt communities and families across Scotland for years to come with a policy that is simply not working. That Scottish Labour MPs support wasting another £100bn on weapons of mass destruction while foodbank use is rocketing, and more and more children are being pushed into poverty, is simply indefensible – and with their refusal to debate it’s clear that they know it too. The debate was an opportunity for MPs of all parties to oppose the moral and economic obscenity of Trident renewal.”

Brian Donohoe, Central Ayrshire MP intervened stating: “I just can’t believe what he has just said. I honestly just don’t believe, when there are submarines coming from Russia going up the Clyde right now, he’s trying to tell us that we don’t need a deterrent, that we shouldn’t have a deterrent.

An incredulous-looking Mr MacNeill responded: “It wouldn’t be the first time the honourable gentleman has struggled to comprehend matters but it’s very alarming he tells us Russian submarines are going up the Clyde. My goodness, I thought we had a deterrent. Clearly his nuclear policies are failing because they will be docking in Greenock or Port Glasgow any minute now by the sounds of things.”

Mr Donohoe was heavily criticised and lampooned on social media. A parody picture even circulated depicting him in the James Bond classic From Russia with Love. ”




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February 2015: Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Gemma Doyle voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the HFEA, which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.





February 2015: West Dunbartonshire MP Gemma Doyle attended a defence trade banquet hosted by BAE Systems

Around 40 MPs including Doyle were on the guest list for a £250-a-head gathering at the Hilton hotel on Park Lane organised by trade organisation ADS, according to information provided by activist group Campaign Against Arms Trade (Caat). Doyle attended as a guest of BAE Systems and was joined by other Scottish Labour MPs such as Margaret Curran and Brian Donohoe.

While at the London dinner, woman gatecrashed the stage and made a speech to the high profile guests which included journalists and representatives from Europe’s biggest arms companies. The woman said: “I’m here today because 1 million people in this country use a food bank, and arms dealers get to have a £246 dinner… the point of this evening is to keep military spending at a high level.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable was the most high-profile attendee, and gave a speech at the event.

When asked by the Reporter about the dinner, Doyle said: “I am a firm supporter of manufacturing and engineering jobs in Scotland and this includes jobs at the shipyards on the Clyde. I engage with local employers like BAE Systems regularly and discussed the Type 26 contract with them this week. I want to see this contract placed as soon as possible to sustain local jobs.”

Comment: Gemma Doyle, Labour Party Shadow Defence Minister enjoy’s strong links to the ultra right wing USA financed “Henry Jackson Society” as does her husband’s friend Jim Murphy. Any liaisons involving Gemma Doyle, BAE and the aforementioned Society should be judged against their track record.






29 April 2015: Child poverty rife among working families -The impact of the welfare cap and other austerity measures supported by gemma Doyle

Two thirds of impoverished children in Dumbarton and the Vale live in working households. Figures provided by the End Child Poverty Campaign state that a total of 2,492 children are living in poverty — despite coming from a working family. The 2013 stats — the most up to date figures available — show the rate of child poverty is, however, much lower among non-working households. This has been attributed to government benefits.

According to the End Child Poverty Campaign, in West Dunbartonshire 1,347 children in poverty come from households where neither parent is employed. Statistics have confirmed that for the first time in the UK, more working households are living in poverty than non-working ones.

Meanwhile representatives of Lomond foodbank say they are busier than ever and are in desperate need of donations. Kirsty Tivers, from Lomond foodbank, told the Reporter: “We often find when people manage to get a job, the benefits stop before the wages come in. We have many people here who have a job but are waiting six weeks for wages, and they have to pay for travel to their job.”

Relative poverty is defined by the Scottish Government as those living on a household income below 60 per cent of the UK median income. In 2012/13 that was £13,800.

Kirsty says poverty is much more rife in the area than people believe: “We very often have young families with children. I had a young single mum in last week who had no nappies or formula for her five-month-old, so we had to ask for specific donations for her. I made her up a bag of food for herself but she wouldn’t take it. She took for the baby but she had too much pride to take for herself. “She’s recently moved into a council flat that doesn’t have an oven or a fridge yet so she can only use a microwave, which uses more electricity.

“We’ve been quiet over the Easter holidays because a lot of people said they’d be embarrassed to bring their children here, to let their children know that their parents use a foodbank.” Kirsty said she increasingly worries about the amount of pensioners she feeds on a weekly basis. She added: “Our main problem is pensioners paying for funerals for loved ones and they can’t afford to feed themselves. They’re deemed as having too much money for a state funeral and it’s leaving them without money for food.

“One woman who came to us is retired, she worked her whole life from aged 15, now she’s 70, and when she came to us she hadn’t eaten in three days. In the winter she chose heat over food. We were able to give her a snack to get her along the road with her food. She uses her kettle to heat up soup instead of the cooker. It’s ridiculous people can be treated this way.”





The Scottish Government recently revealed more than half a million Scots are living in severe or extreme poverty, with an annual income of less than £11,500 per annum. Of those 510,000 people, 330,000 were working adults, 100,000 were children and 80,000 pensioners.

Martin Rooney, leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The overarching challenge for West Dunbartonshire is the stubborn levels of poverty and deprivation that remain. “I believe inequality can be addressed and together we can create a better society and tackle child poverty in our area. I would like to see more investment in building social housing, supporting jobs and apprentices, as well as improving our housing stock. I want to see greater increases in the minimum wage and an extension of the living wage. I want our young people to stay on at school and get the best educational qualifications and skills to help them to succeed in a competitive jobs market.”

For anyone who wishes to donate, Lomond foodbank has a donation trolley in Balloch Coop or Iceland in Alexandria. You can also drop in with donations to St Mungo’s Church Hall, Alexandria from 10am on Tuesday. Items like nappies, tinned meat, pasta sauces and tinned pies are all desperately needed.