Blog: TTIP

I have had many constituents contact me with their concerns regarding the current TTIP negotiations for a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and USA. I know that this is an issue that concerns many voters across the constituency and it is one of the reasons that I organised a public meeting about it at the end of last year. I share many of your concerns about the way in which these negotiations have been conducted and the scale of the impact on our key public services both now and in the future.

Until parliament was dissolved at the end of March, I was a member of the Business Innovation and Skills Committee, which recently produced a major report on a number of key issues in the current negotiations, including protection of our NHS and public services and the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses. The Committee also criticised the UK Government of its lack of public engagement and its over reliance on estimated benefits – you can read the full report at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmbis/804/80402.htm and my analysis at https://www.politicshome.com/economy-and-work/articles/opinion/house-commons/ann-mckechin-mp-it%E2%80%99s-time-government-talk-british

I believe, as does the TUC, there are ways the agreement could bring significant benefits to Britain, including removing trade barriers between our two most important markets, boosting growth and creating jobs. It is crucial, however, that the benefits of TTIP filter down to employees, small businesses and consumers, that the deal is open and accountable and that it does not water down current labour, consumer, environmental and food safety standards.

I also believe we should only support a deal that fully protects public services – in particular the NHS. Our NHS and public services need to be more, not less, integrated and I am concerned at the worrying fragmentation of health services that is taking place under this Tory led Government. That is why I believe the Government should commit, as the Labour Party has made clear, to exempt the NHS and our public services from any final deal.

I know particular concern has also been expressed about the proposed inclusion of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in TTIP. I am not convinced that the proposed ISDS mechanism is either necessary or desirable in its current form and believe there needs to be greater transparency on this. The European Commission’s public consultation on ISDS was welcome and it is right that the European Commission has decided to temporarily suspend negotiations on ISDS until the final stages of the negotiations. I hope the Government will use this opportunity to call for far greater transparency and ensure that the interests of voters are fully protected.

Britain can be better – The Labour Party Manifesto 2015

Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. This is a plan to reward hard work, share prosperity and build a better Britain.

s build a better Britain 2015Today, Ed Miliband launched the Labour Party Manifesto 2015.

You can choose the issues which matter most to you at labour.org.uk/manifesto or download the full document below.

Britain can be better
The Labour Party Manifesto 2015

Blog: Living Wage

More and more people locally are talking to me about the problems of low pay. That’s why I hosted a Living Wage public event in Hillhead Library recently where I was joined my Labour colleague, Glasgow City Council Leader, Gordon Matheson, and Richard Leonard from the GMB union. In November, Gordon Matheson announced that the Glasgow Living Wage would increase to £7.85 per hour from April 2015, a move which will benefit thousands of workers across the city.

I believe everyone deserves a fair days’ pay for a fair days work. Over recent months I have been surveying young people and urging local employers to consider joining the Living Wage scheme. I was delighted to hear that following my approach Partick Housing Association intends to join shortly. I am currently in discussion with a number of other local employers including the University of Glasgow and hope more will join over the coming weeks and months.

A better plan, A fairer Scotland

Scottish Labour has a plan that will make a real difference to you and your family.

Today, Scottish Labour Leader, Jim Murphy, launched our 10 point pledge card promises to you and your family.

A plan for Scotland

  1. 1,000 more nurses for our NHS, funded by a mansion tax
  2. More powers for the Scottish Parliament including the final say on benefits
  3. Guarantee a job and training for all young people
  4. £1,600 for 18 and 19 year olds who don’t have an apprenticeship and don’t go to college or university, to invest in themselves or start a business
  5. Raise the minimum wage to at least £8 an hour
  6. Guarantee the Barnett Formula to deliver billions of pounds more for our schools, hospitals and pensions
  7. Increase the bursaries for the poorest students by £1,000
  8. No tuition fees for Scottish students
  9. Ban exploitative zero hour contracts
  10. End the need for food-banks with £175m to tackle the causes of poverty

Only Labour is big enough and strong enough to defeat the Tories

Are you with us?

YES, Let’s do it

Blog: NHS Bill

Hundreds of constituents wrote to me in November 2014 in support of a House of Commons Private Members Bill, the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill which was promoted by my Labour colleague, Clive Efford M.P.

Most of its provisions apply to England and seek to restrict the outsourcing of parts of the NHS to private companies. However, I know that many people here in Glasgow care deeply about the future of the NHS throughout the UK and they also welcomed the provisions in the Bill to restrict all health services including those in Scotland from TTIP (see earlier article: Ann McKechin MP blog: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).

I was delighted to support this Bill which secured its Second Reading despite the objections of the Coalition Government.