News from West Scotland MSP Katy Clark


West Scotland MSP Katy Clark has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to use tomorrow’s Autumn’s Budget to unveil a new package of targeted financial support for the under pressure hospitality and tourism sector.

In a letter to Sunak, Clark highlighted the hospitality staffing crisis that has engulfed the hospitality and tourism sector in Ayrshire and Arran and intensified during the pandemic.

A relief package and a VAT rate cut are among the demands made by Clark to get businesses back on their feet and to encourage wage growth and greater interest in the sector.

Clark commented: “Many parts of the economy in West Scotland rely on hospitality and tourism, but the sector has been smothered by sky high VAT rates, staffing shortages and both perceived and real low pay and long hours.

“The Chancellor should use the budget to revitalise this vital part of the economy: lay out a package of financial support for businesses, cut VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors and increase the minimum wage.

“It is also vital the Scottish Government use the powers it has by lowering business rates and supporting the industry to address the skills shortages.

“Economic recovery in regions like the West Scotland will not be possible without urgent and targeted interventions. The future of these industries depend on them.”


Scottish Labour MSP Katy Clark has used a parliamentary motion to call on the Scottish Government to lay out a strategy for rolling out specialist domestic abuse courts across the country.

Recent statistics show that Scotland is moving backwards, not forwards, in tackling domestic abuse, Clark said.
Last month, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) published figures that showed the number of charges related to domestic abuse last year was the highest since 2015-16.

There were 33,425 charges reported in 2020-21, an increase of 9% on the year before.
Of these, 5,155 charges with a domestic abuse identifier were reported in the North Strathclyde sheriffdom, which includes Dumbarton, Greenock and Paisley.

There was an 11% increase in charges reported by the Procurator Fiscal Office at Greenock on the year before, and a 10% increase at Paisley.

Furthermore, new figures for 2018-19 released earlier this week showed domestic abuse reconviction rates increased on the previous year, and are now notably higher than in 2009-10.

Clark said: “Unfortunately, the stats suggest we’re moving backwards, not forwards, when it comes to tackling domestic abuse.
“Specialist courts are key if we want to effectively prevent and prosecute domestic abuse. Women’s aid charities have been clear in their support for them.

“Domestic abuse cases can put victims at emotional or physical risk. This means we need processes that minimise these risks and take into account the often complex circumstances victims face, including at the sentencing stage.

“We also need to analyse and evaluate the outcomes of existing specialist domestic abuse courts in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with a view to rolling them out across the country.”


Katy Clark MSP has called on the Scottish Government to introduce a £70 winter fuel supplement after new figures revealed it would help up to 23,086 people in North Ayrshire.

Low-income pensioners and struggling families face a cost of living crisis after the energy price cap rose by £139 last week – the largest increase in history.

The rate of Winter Fuel Payment has been frozen since 2011. Campaign groups have warned the energy price rise and sky-high energy prices will lead to preventable deaths.

This comes as the furlough is brought to an end and the Universal Credit uplift is scrapped, prompting fears of a cost of living crisis stretching household budgets past breaking point.

The Scottish Parliament has the power to take action to expand Winter Fuel Payments and alleviate fuel poverty, which affects an estimated 600,000 people across Scotland, but the SNP has delayed the devolution of the benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions for up to 4 years.

Clark commented: “We have a moral responsibility to lift Scots out of poverty. However, this Winter many more Scots face falling below the poverty line as energy prices spiral out of control.

“The Scottish Government has the power to ensure payments reflect the pressures on fuel poor households, but it has delayed taking action so far.

“No-one should have to face a choice between heating and eating this winter. That’s why the Scottish Government must give people struggling with fuel poverty £70 now to help them through the winter months.”

“In North Ayrshire, this would help up to 23,086 people. The winter months are fast approaching and we have a cost of living crisis escalating by the day – there is no time to waste.”