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Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has extended a warm welcome to all Freshers who have started their courses at either the University of the West of Scotland or at West College Scotland.

As classes begin, Gavin Newlands MP is also reminding those students to remember to sign up to the electoral register to make sure that they are entitled to vote.


While youth turnout was at its highest in this year’s General Election since 1992, and the gap between the number of older voters and younger voters decreased, young people are still noticeably less likely to vote and millions are still missing from the electoral register.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MSP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:
“I extend a warm welcome to all those students who have moved to study in Paisley. Renfrewshire is a fantastic place to live and I hope you enjoy your stay here whilst you are studying.


“Many of the students will be moving away from home for the first time and they should remember to register to allow them to vote. Registering to vote online takes a couple of minutes and it is important that the thousands of freshers who may have moved address to begin their studies this year make sure they are registered to vote.

“Decisions are being taken every day that will affect young people, not least on Brexit-related issues, jobs or indeed tuition fees.

“In Scotland, the SNP has legislated to grant 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote, however at Westminster, the Tories are reluctant to extend the franchise to them, despite the SNP’s repeated calls to allow 16 and 17 year olds to have a say in general elections.

“My advice to anyone given the opportunity to register to vote, is to take it with both hands.”

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Paisley 2021 bid backed by all local party leaders

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has received a show of cross-party support – having been backed by all five party leaders on Renfrewshire Council.

The final bid document is due to be submitted to the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the month – and elected members are set to consider it when the council meets on September 28.

Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish bidder on the shortlist for the 2021 competition, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage offer to make it a key visitor destination within Scotland, and transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area.

And support crosses party lines – with council leader Iain Nicolson (SNP), Labour’s Eddie Devine, James MacLaren of the Conservatives, Lib Dem Eileen McCartin and independent Andy Doig all gathering outside Paisley Abbey to give their backing, joined by children from Williamsburgh Primary.

The bid has already enjoyed public support from national political figures including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Secretary David Mundell and outgoing Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

Councillor Nicolson – who also chairs the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board said: “The potential benefits of a successful bid are absolutely massive – for example, the activity before, during and after our planned UK City of Culture year is predicted to create 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.

“When dealing with something of that scale it is important we as elected members put our party differences aside and do all we can to make it happen – so I am delighted to be joined by my fellow councillors today to show our collective support for the bid.”

Councillor Devine said: “Over the past two years, the Paisley 2021 bid has energised people throughout the town and given them a reason to believe in Paisley again – Buddies have driven the campaign to date and they deserve this title and all the benefits it will bring them.”

Councillor MacLaren added: “We have already seen from previous winners Derry-Londonderry and Hull how winning this title can boost local business and drive investment in infrastructure and industry. I am happy to get behind anything which could do the same for Paisley and Renfrewshire.”

Councillor McCartin said: “Paisley was once the centre of the world’s textile industry and the legacy of that is still around us in wonderful buildings such as our town hall and Sma’ Shot Cottages. That story should be told to as many people as possible and I back anything which will help do that.”

And Councillor Doig added: “Renfrewshire has some great heritage attractions and huge potential as a visitor destination – and a successful Paisley 2021 bid will bring huge numbers of people to the area, giving all our towns and villages a chance to benefit.”

The winner of the competition is due to be announced in December. For more info, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

The Scottish Government has given its financial backing to Scotland’s bid if Paisley is named UK City of Culture 2021.


Commenting Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay, who also serves as Cabinet Secretary for Finance, said:


“The Scottish Government is backing Paisley’s bid, and I am delighted to play my role and add my support as local MSP and Finance Secretary.


“Winning UK City of Culture will benefit all of Renfrewshire, and as the only bid from Scotland shortlisted – the eyes of the country are on Paisley and Renfrewshire.


“It has been a fantastic, positive and energised campaign which is all about people, and great credit must go to everyone involved.”

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Gavin Newlands MP calls for more support for bereaved parents

Mr Newlands spoke in a debate on bereavement leave, calling for at two weeks – as an absolute minimum – of statutory paid leave to be awarded to parents who lose a child. Currently there is no statutory leave awarded to parents who experience the death of a child.

The Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North also called on the UK Government to reassess their ‘simplification’ of the Bereavement Support Payment as it’s failing to support those on low incomes.


Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:


“I cannot begin to imagine the unimaginable pain that a parent must experience when they lose a child.


“Shockingly, parents who lose a child are not provided with any statutory leave from their jobs. I welcome the plans that are in place to introduce a statutory requirement for paid leave in the event of a death of the child and hope that we can try to deliver the very best level of support to parents that have lost a child.


“The UK Government must also address issues surrounding the new Bereavement Payment Support system for low income families as this new system has resulted in 75% of claimants being worse off than under the previous system.


“We must provide all support necessary to parents who lose a child and to do so in a way that doesn’t require the parent to navigate a complicated administrative process.”

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Scottish politicians unite around Paisley 2021

Paisley 2021

Scotland’s Westminster politicians have come together to back Paisley’s bid to be named the UK City of Culture in 2021.

Paisley 2021

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, brought together politicians from all political parties to highlight the cross-party support for Paisley securing the title of the UK’s City of Culture.


Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:


“Paisley’s bid to be named as the UK City of Culture is now Scotland’s bid and all of the country’s Westminster-based politicians are right behind the campaign to bring this title to Paisley.


“It’s not often that all of Scotland’s main political parties will agree on an issue, but the Paisley 2021 community-led campaign is a special cause that has united us.


“There isn’t a town in the UK that has had a bigger cultural impact on the world than Paisley. The Paisley pattern is famous the world over and the town’s famous performance heritage includes modern day music and acting stars like Paulo Nutini, Gerard Butler and David Tennant.


“Paisley is a town not without its challenges but we’re ready to help seize this opportunity to transform our town for the better, helping to improve the lives of all our citizens. Paisley’s case to be named the UK’s City of Culture is as strong as it gets, and I am delighted that all Scots politicians are united in backing Paisley’s bid to be named as the UK’s City of Culture.”


Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “As the only Scottish place to make the shortlist, Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is now very much Scotland’s bid.


“If Paisley wins the title we will host a year-long programme of world-class cultural events, with the best part of a million visitors expected over the year – and there is a recognition the economic, social and cultural benefits of that would be felt throughout Scotland.


“We are thrilled Gavin Newlands was able to pull together such a great show of cross-party political support from MPs – one of the wonderful things about the bid is the way it has brought people together, and we thank everybody for their backing.”

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Gavin Newlands MP welcomes nuisance call action plan

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed a £50,000 fund announced by the SNP Scottish Government to install call-blocking technology for those most at risk from nuisance calls.

The fund is one element of a national Nuisance Calls Action Plan, launched to raise awareness and empower people to protect themselves from scam callers.


The plan will also develop a strategy for tackling scams in general, update the Business Pledge with a commitment to support vulnerable customers and develop best practice for organisations involved with the Scottish Government schemes to adhere to.


Gavin Newlands MP said:


“The SNP Government’s Action Plan contains a range of measures to raise awareness of nuisance calls, making it easier for people to identify them and take action to protect themselves. This Scottish Government fund that allows call-blocking technology to be installed  for those most at risk is one such measure.


“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to tackle the problem of nuisance calls but unfortunately, the power to regulate in this area lies with the UK Government. My SNP colleague Patricia Gibson MP, who has campaigned in Westminster on stopping nuisance calls, has written to the Secretary of State for Culture to call for them to make good their promises to act and add ‘belt and braces’ by allowing people to automatically opt out of unwanted calls.


“The UK Government previously agreed to legislate to make directors personally responsible for their company’s actions, should it be involved in making nuisance calls. For too long, fines or sanctions have been easily avoided by companies dissolving and resurfacing using a new moniker. The UK Government agreed that company directors would be held to account and could face personal fines of up to £500,000, should it be proven that their company acted unlawfully.


“Sadly, The Tory Government has reneged on these promises and kicked them into the long grass. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are still plagued by nuisance calls every day. Such calls often target the elderly and the vulnerable and have the potential to be very harmful.”


Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, added:


“Scots continue to receive more nuisance calls than the rest of the UK, and the SNP Government’s Action Plan will deliver positive changes to ensure people are no longer bombarded by these unwelcome calls, while we await action from the UK Government.


“Which? has long campaigned against this everyday menace that can intimidate and discourage people from answering their phones. We’re delighted to help people tackle these unwanted calls.”


Members of the public can pledge to support the Which? Nuisance calls campaign at: https://campaigns.which.co.uk/nuisance-calls-scotland/

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Shopping mall and rugby club scrum together to back Paisley City of Culture bid

MEMBER of Parliament and Paisley Rugby Club president, Gavin Newlands got stripped for action yesterday after intu Braehead agreed to sponsor the club’s new shirts.


And he praised bosses at the shopping and leisure destination for supporting the Paisley City of Culture 2021 bid by allowing their campaign logo to be displayed on the front of the rugby tops.


The team will wear the specially-designed Paisley 2021 strips – paid for by the £1000 sponsorship from intu Braehead – at home and all around the country as they compete in Division Two of the West Regional League and various cup competitions.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North said:
“We certainly scored a winner when intu Braehead agreed to sponsor our new rugby tops and then allowed the Paisley 2021 campaign logo to be printed on the front.

“As a long-standing sporting organisation in the town, the rugby club is a strong supporter of the bid for Paisley to become City of Culture in 2021.

“I know intu Braehead also backs the bid and has been involved in various aspects of the campaign.
“There’s nothing better than teamwork and with the rugby club and intu Braehead coming together to promote the Paisley 2021 campaign, I’m sure we’ll make a few conversions to the cause along the way!”

General manager of intu Braehead, Gary Turnbull said: “intu Braehead and Paisley Rugby Club have come together to back Paisley’s bid to become City of Culture in 2021.
“We’ve previously supported the Paisley 2021 campaign, but we thought the idea of the campaign logo being on the front of the rugby team’s shirts was another good way of getting a positive message about the town out there.

“We’re happy that we’ve been able to make that happen with our sponsorship deal.”
Paisley 2021 bid director, Jean Cameron, said: “intu Braehead and Paisley Rugby Club have been great supporters of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and it is fantastic that they have decided to take this support a step further by using the Paisley 2021 logo on their rugby shirts.

“The area boasts some great sports teams and clubs like Paisley Rugby Club and hopefully the new branded strip will help bring results on the field and in the town.”

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Gavin Newlands MP visits You First Advocacy

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has commended the work of You First Advocacy after visiting them to find out more about their work.

Earlier this week, Mr Newlands visited the You First Advocacy offices in Paisley to meet with their manager, Dennis McGinnigal. You First Advocacy is a charity based in Paisley offering independent advocacy services to people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health conditions, long term health conditions and older people. They support people with a wide range of issues and can help represent their clients at important meetings for example in hospitals, social work offices, Court, Housing Department, Benefits Offices and more.

Gavin Newlands commented: “It was very useful to meet with You First Advocacy to discuss their work in more detail. I’m familiar with them after collaborating with them on several occasions to help constituents, but it was helpful to hear Dennis’ views on the main challenges they are currently facing.

“You First Advocacy are currently seeing a high number of people affected by the Tory government’s welfare reform agenda and who have had a cut in their benefits. I share their concerns about the mishandled introduction of Universal Credit and what impact this may have on people’s finances.

“I’m grateful for Dennis for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with me to discuss the importance of advocacy service for vulnerable people. You First Advocacy provide a crucial service to people in Renfrewshire and I look forward to continuing to work with them going forward.”

Dennis McGinnigal, Manager of You First Advocacy said: “I think everyone could do with an advocate at some point. It does make a difference when accessing services, social justice and empowering individuals in our community. The vulnerable people we support are among those most at risk of being marginalised.”

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Gavin Newlands MP visits Renfrewshire Foodbank

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has met with the Renfrewshire Foodbank to find out about the current levels of demand for this lifeline service.

Gavin Newlands MP with Elizabeth Alexander, Ewan Gurr and Laura Ferguson

Mr Newlands met with Elizabeth Alexander, Project Manager of the Renfrewshire Foodbank, as well as Trusell Trust staff members, Ewan Gurr and Laura Ferguson, and was shocked to learn that the Renfrewshire Foodbank is the sixth busiest in Scotland.

Mr Newlands constituency office at 6 Porterfield, Renfrew serves as a drop-off point for the local foodbank centre, allowing people to drop-in donations.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“I have always has a strong relationship with the Renfrewshire Foodbank due to the fact that my office serves as a drop-off point for those wanting to make a donation to the local centre, and it was good to catch-up to discuss the underlying reasons for foodbank use.

“It is deeply disappointing to learn that the Renfrewshire Foodbank is the sixth busiest in Scotland, and it’s evident that the Tories Welfare Reform agenda is the root and cause of this problem.

“The staff and volunteers at the Renfrewshire Foodbank deserve fantastic credit for their commitment to help others. As the local MP, I will continue to support the Renfrewshire Foodbank at every opportunity, but I will also continue to challenge the Tories’ cuts to welfare which is forcing more families, including many who have a parent in-work, to have to rely on foodbanks.

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Gavin Newlands MP meets with anti-bullying charity

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has encouraged parents to reach out for support if they fear their children are being bullied.

Gavin Newlands MP with Katie Rafferty. Director at respectme

Earlier this week, Mr Newlands met with Katie Rafferty, Director of respectme – Scotland’s anti-bullying service – to learn more about the work that they’re doing to address bullying, including finding out what support they offer to children and parents.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“The schools went back this week and I am only too aware of the fears that parents have that their child may be bullied.

“No one should have to tolerate bullying or other forms of harassment and it’s important that we have a consistent approach to this type of harmful behaviour.

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Katie Rafferty from respectme to learn about the wide range of support and help that they provide to help create a society where children can live free from bullying and harassment. It’s important to note that if you realise that your child is , unfortunately, eing targeted by bullying then there is a range of support out there for kids and parents.

“This is an issue which I plan to campaign on in the months ahead and I look forward to working with pupils, parents, teachers and others in helping to create a society free of bullying.”

Katie Rafferty, Director at respectme said:

“Bullying behaviour can leave parents feeling anxious, out of their depth, and unsure of what to do or how to help their child. It’s important to remember that adults can make a huge difference in children’s lives by helping them regain their voice, realise their rights and choose for themselves how they want to respond to bullying behaviour.

“For more information on how you can help address bullying, visit www.respectme.org.uk.”

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Gavin Newlands MP wishes Judo star well at Special Olympics

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has passed on his best wishes to Judo star, Harry Lovett, as he travels down to compete in the Special Olympics, in Sheffield.

Harry had a stroke before he was born and is now registered blind, has a hearing impairment, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. He also has a rare genetic disorder called Joubert syndrome.

Harry – from Linwood – first got involved in Judo during his time studying at the Royal School for Visually Impaired and Blind Children.

After this month’s games, Harry is looking forward to studying at West College Scotland where he plans on studying craft and photography.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Harry is a real star, who despite facing difficulties in life, has never allowed them to hold him back from pursuing his dreams.

“It was great to catch-up with Harry to learn about his preparations for the Special Olympics and to personally wish him all the best as he looks to represent Renfrewshire and Scotland in the Judo Championships.

“It’s clear from speaking with Harry that his high school years were crucial in helping him to develop as an aspiring judoist with his coaches performing a phenomenal job in helping him become the athlete that he is.

“From speaking with Harry’s mum, Fiona, it’s clear that Harry is a team player who is valued by his fellow athletes and competitors.

“I am positive the whole of Renfrewshire will be cheering Harry on later this week as he takes to the mat to compete in the Special Olympics. Good luck to Harry and also to all those other athletes who are competing in the Special Olympics.”