Q & A with Sarah Boyack MSP
Coming up right here at 4.30pm today (Monday 8th Dec):
a LIVE question and answer session with Sarah Boyack MSP!
Still time to submit your questions – use the comment box below (we’ll store the question not publish it as a comment), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet us at @LabourHame with hashtag #LHaskSarah.
Q and A with Sarah starting in a few minutes.
Hi Sarah! Thanks for joining us this afternoon!
Looking forward to seeing what questions have been submitted.
Great! Our first question is from Allana:
What would be your priorities if you were elected leader?
Pull together a plan for Building Towards the 2015 General Election with our elected representatives and trade union supporters, including setting out our core values and principles and campaign priorities.
Abdul asks: Is there a need for a social media advisor in the Scottish Labour Party?
Yes, in the time since I’ve become an MSP the potential of communicating with our supporters and communities has significantly increased. Social media is a huge part of that. It make communicating much more direct than before and is a two way process. In the modern world, social media is as important as traditional media and we need professional support to make the most of it.
A longer one now which came in from Pamela:
Good afternoon Sarah,
I’m concerned about environmental justice which also intersects with social justice because it affects the poorest in terms of fuel poverty and air pollution in inner cities and health. I feel that in Ed Miliband we have a UK leader who takes climate change seriously and I’m looking to vote for a Scottish leader who does the same.
1. Your plan to insulate homes seems to tackle several problems at once (unemployment, fuel poverty as well as reducing energy use/waste for the environment). What else do you think we can do?
2. You received a nomination from the Co-operative Party. What areas do you think would benefit from the use of co-operative models of working?
Thanks for answering questions here today, though I suppose many have already cast their ballot already. I haven’t yet but I think you’ll be getting my vote.
Thanks Pamela, I wanted to highlight the importance of environmental justice in my leadership campaign by giving it the same status as social and economic justice – all three are needed if we are to tackle inequality and climate change. We need to address a range of public policy issues, transport, greening our economy, land use and agriculture, energy production and efficiency. I spoke about the issue a few weeks ago to Environmental campaign groups and blogged about it here : http://www.sarahboyack4leader.com/sarah-on-social-economic-and-environmental-justice/ part 2 on coops to follow.
I joined the Cooperative Party because I think it’s important to enable communities and workers to have a stake in the companies and services that they rely on provide. The coop model has seen huge benefits for communities in relation to heat and power schemes where the profits are invested in the local community. Then there’s financial cooperation. In Edinburgh the Capital Credit Union has linked up with employers and churches to make access to financial products and services more affordable. I think Councils can also play a role in supporting and establishing local cooperatives and we need to make better use of Cooperative Development Scotland to support the expansion of the cooperative movement. Here’s my recent blog on the issue http://www.sarahboyack4leader.com/a-commitment-to-co-operative-values/
Thanks Sarah, lots to read there!
Time for a couple more I hope!
Chas asks: Do you support the transfer of powers from an increasingly centralised Scottish Parliament to the 32 Local Authorities and, if so, which powers?
Chas, this is something I’ve been working on since I became Labour’s Shadow Cabinet member for Local Government and Planning. In our Devolution Commission report published earlier this year we recommended that Skills Development Scotland be devolved from the Scottish level to local authorities and for the Work Programme to be devolved from the UK Government so that councils could support employability and training which meets local and regional needs better. We also supported the devolution of housing benefit to local authorities so that they could use that resource to meet local housing needs better. I’ve also supported the suggestion by Edinburgh that councils should be able to use a tourism levy to support local investment – this is something done in many European countries and could enable investment in local priorities for example culture. I also think councils should be devolving power to local communities and think every council should have a local scheme of devolution. One size doesn’t fit all. See my blog for more ideas http://www.sarahboyack4leader.com/sorting-out-local-funding-for-our-schools-and-care-services/
Great. Thanks for these comprehensive answers Sarah.
Our final question is a nice simple one 🙂 from Kayleigh:
Can we retain all our seats in the general election? How do we do it?
Yes, Kayleigh, that should be our aim. I think we need to focus on what difference a Labour Government would make to people’s lives. Ed Miliband is right to focus on the cost of living crisis. So we need to highlight action on new housing and controls on renting to make it affordable, ending zero hours contracts and action on the living wage, jobs and training for young people, and a freeze on energy bills. We need to make sure people know we are committed to implement these promises. We’d also invest in the NHS something which we’d benefit from in Scotland too. We’d pay for them through fairer taxation and through extra investment for example from the Bankers Bonus Tax and the Mansion Tax. I’d also like to see us winning extra seats too and know we have excellent candidates across the country.
Thank you very much Sarah for taking time out to join us this afternoon. Really appreciated! Best of luck for the rest of the campaign.
Thanks Duncan enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone for submitting questions. If anyone wants to check out my views they can go to my website at http://www.sarahboyack4leader.com/campaign-blog/ and see my 100 Ideas for a
New Scotland, Sarah
This session will now be archived here. Thanks for joining us today.