As well as representing her constituents on the wide range of issues that they raise with her on a daily basis, Clare has also identified key priority areas that she is working on:
Helms Action Group
The Green Deal was a scheme operated by the UK Government to incentivise people to insulate their homes and install green technologies such as solar panels. This scheme was marketed by a local company HELMS, who targeted many ordinary people with potentially misleading information about the scheme, before the business went into liquidation. Many people in the constituency – and in particular Blantyre – have had solar panels installed in their homes that are now actually costing them money and have had insulation work done that is not up to standard. Clare is representing people who have been mis-sold works based on this scheme so that they can be compensated.
On the back of this campaign, Clare established a Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament – the CPG on Consumer Protection for Home Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – which brings together stakeholders, for example, Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau, Citizens Advice Scotland and the HELMS Action Group Central Scotland, in order to work towards a solution for those affected.
Many constituents have contacted Clare regarding poor broadband provision across her constituency. The speeds some residents are receiving mean they are often unable to stream TV and movies; video-call family and friends; or even work from home.
At a time when everyone has been spending more time at home due to lockdown restrictions, we are more reliant than ever on high-quality internet provision.
Telecommunications – which includes broadband provision – is wholly reserved to Westminster. However, the Scottish Government has recognised the importance of broadband to Scotland and, rather than waiting, are leading the investment to increase digital connectivity.
As part of this, the Scottish Government’s £600 million R100 programme will make superfast broadband available to every home and business across the country by the end of 2021. Scotland still has the only Government in the UK to have guaranteed 100 per cent access to superfast broadband. Work has already started on delivering the central and south of Scotland parts of that programme.
Until then, Clare is continuing to push all relevant bodies – in particular Openreach – to ensure superfast broadband will become accessible to affected constituents as quickly as possible.
Halfway and Newton schools and nurseries
Housing developments in the constituency – while welcome – have put increasing pressure on the provision of schools and nurseries in the area, and on transport links to the existing schools.
It is essential that the areas of Halfway and Newton have adequate provision for primary and secondary schools, as well as early learning and childcare facilities, so Clare will continue to work on this with the local council.
The Scottish Government is working to introduce 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare, with the aim of bringing this into force as quickly as possible. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, plans suffered a setback and the construction of some facilities still require to be completed.
Over recent years, Clare has worked closely with Blantyre Community Council opposing plans to build a waste-to-energy recovery plant at Whitehill, which is on the town’s border with Hamilton. The local community has strongly-held views on the subject, and they have run a great campaign in ensuring their voices are held.
Since Clare’s election, she has been involved in and run a number of successful campaigns:
- Alongside many community activists and other SNP elected representatives, Clare helped save the Cambuslang Job Centre from closure.
- Clare obtained external funding to help introduce autism-friendly swimming sessions in Lifestyle Eastfield, Rutherglen.
- With local organisations and volunteers, helped secure the future of a Jobs Club in Rutherglen.
- Supporting local residents who were actively campaigning for better broadband in Newton Farm, ensured Openreach upgraded specific broadband cabinets.
- With Cllr Janine Calikes, campaigned to save the Post Office in Rutherglen.
Minister for Mental Health:
Clare is the Scottish Government’s Minister for Mental Health. As such, she cannot take part in debates that do not fall within her remit, nor can she table or sign parliamentary motions.
To contact Clare in her role as Minister for Mental Health, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Minister for Mental Health, The Scottish Government, St. Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG.