6 Oct 2010

Paisley Daily Express - 6 October 2010

Vitamin D

I wrote recently in the Paisley Daily Express that Nicola Sturgeon had warned about the problems caused by vitamin D deficiency. She said that a significant proportion of the UK population has low vitamin D levels. She publicised information from NHS Health Scotland that those at risk will be advised to increase their vitamin D intake. Is it not absurd that she has now said that this will not be available on prescription? Surely if she recognizes that there is a significant health issue then she should make sure that vitamin D is available on prescription? I will be writing to Nicola Sturgeon to ask her to address this unfairness.

Housing Benefit

There is no doubt that some people abuse the housing benefit system. I support action being taken against rogue landlords and claimants and claimants who are milking the system. We can always find examples of the abuse of any benefit. But the reality is that there are many poorer families who rely on Housing Benefit to help them stay in their homes. It is a shame to see the Liberal Democrats at Westminster and locally in Renfrewshire becoming cheerleaders for cuts in Housing Benefit. The respected housing organisation the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, has concluded that the UK Government's reforms will unfairly hit the incomes of those who can least afford it. I am backing my Labour colleagues on Renfrewshire Council who are trying to persuade the Liberal Democrats to think again.

SNP alcohol confusion

The disarray of the SNP's alcohol strategy continues. They were recently defeated in the Scottish Parliament when they tried to make moderate sensible drinkers pay more to boost the profits of the large supermarkets like Tesco. The latest nonsense brought forward by Alex Salmond and his Ministers was a plan to allow licensing boards to vary the age at which young people could buy alcohol. They would have given boards the power to say that in Johnstone you had to be 21 to buy alcohol but in Elderslie it would be ok at 18 or vice versa. Similarly it could have led to a 21 age limit in Glenburn but an 18 age limit in Foxbar. You can imagine the problems this would have caused. Thankfully all the other parties united to throw out this nonsense. And why is Nicola Sturgeon refusing to take action against caffeinated alcohol drinks like Buckfast which are causing so much damage?