Yeah, Tam Smith SNP PPC for Linlithgow and Falkirk East is back at his Rory Bremner act, this time taking on all three without crediting any.
Today he is saying:
"Scotland's banking workers deserves more than a direct line to the breadline. These reforms must not jeapordise jobs in this industry. [Kerr see here]
"As an SNP MP for this area, jobs in Linlithgow & East Falkirk, and in the city of Edinburgh [said about Glasgow North East here*], which have a direct impact on this consitueency[sic], will be my top priority and I will speak up strongly and loudly against any threat to them.
"Since Tuesday's announcement voters on the doorsteps in Bo'ness, where I am campaigning on behalf of Ann Ritchie in the local by-election have been telling me that frontline workers should not pay the price for the problems their bosses caused.
"It is clear the best way to secure a strong future for jobs in West Lothian and Falkirk district in financial services is to send an SNP MP to Westminster to speak up for this constituency and to speak up for our jobs.
"The UK Government is the main owner of these banks and any sell off that puts this constituency's jobs or Scotland's economy at risk is unacceptable." [Compare those two paragraphs with John Mason's words here]
Tam Smith continued [apparently]:
"We must have competition in our banking sector but the potential loss of local branches and uncertainty of ordinary workers in financial services is worrying for many. [Make that Mason]
Retail workers in our banks are already facing up to job losses. A vote for the SNP will tell the UK Government that West Lothian and Falkirk District's workers will not pay for Labour's broken economy." [Make that Hosie]
Let me make it perfectly clear, many people who live in Linlithgow and East Falkirk are affected by banking jobs. Some of those that get on and off the bus with me in Edinburgh Park work in some of the banking offices situated there. Lloyds have been instructed to off load Intelligence Finance which could affect the jobs of 300 people employed at Kirkton Campus in Livingston. The 3,700 frontline bank jobs that are being cut by RBS to take 14% off their staff wage bill will undoubtedly affect others.
However, the SNP had at the initial outbreak of the banking crisis pledged money from a fictious Scottish Bank in some future independent Scotland to deal with this situation. The amount they offered was £50m which now seems small fry compared to what was needed. All the while Vince Cable had been warning that the futures of our banks was not sustainable from years before, though like John the Baptist he was ignored and his pleas almost thrown out into the wilderness.
Sadly we have got to a stage where the overstretched banks may need to offload staff to survive and protect the jobs of the majority. Other industries have also gone through that sort of situation over recent months. Not all have had the benefit of a Government injection of money to see them through so the job losses have happened earlier. Rather that merely speaking 'up strongly and loudly against any threat' of job losses, Linlithgow and Falkirk East needs an MP that will look to the future, getting those who have already faced or will face the inevitable into a job. It means encouraging jobs to come to the region, using the skills that our people have got, and a lot of recent redundancies in the area have been in skilled positions.
According to the West Lothian Courier West Lothian and Falkirk are currently ranked equal 10 out of all the Local Authorities in Scotland when it comes to unemployment. At 4.4% it is 0.4% higher than the Scottish average and 0.2% higher than the UK average. There has currently been a slip to 900 vacancies listed at local job centres, but there are 4,651 people claiming Job Seekers Allowance, that is 5 people for every job that is going.
We need to hear of real action to real jobs into the area. We need to utilise the workforce's that have been or are about to lose jobs from some of the firms locally that have been laying them of. People with IT, production and financial skills are here in our area desperate to get back into work. We need to seek out those green shoots when they do appear and persuade companies as they recover that investment here gives them a skilled and dedicated workforce. Skills in some of the sectors that have been hit are transferable to other sectors, there is more to a financial job that just what it says on the time managers, IT workers, accountants, data analysts etc are also amongst those that will be losing their works. But all will have transferable skills.
So rather than a short-sighted narrow view of Smith-Hosie-Mason-Kerr we need to get others to think outside the box, see what is available, see what they can offer. Just like many of us who graduated in the early 90s had to do we had to be imaginative it what we did next, throwing off our narrow pre-conceived ideas of where we were heading.
*Sadly again on the De Havilland subscription site, but check out the key phrases on google.