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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

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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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Mhairi Condemns Six Week Wait for Universal Credit

The Scottish third sector has called for a halt to the full rollout of Universal Credit which is due to take place in October 2017. 25 Scottish charities and organisations have banded together to ask that the UK government puts the full rollout of the benefit on hold as it is flawed in its current state. Claimants have to wait 6 weeks from the claim beginning until they receive their first payment of the benefit.
Citizens Advice Scotland have condemned the 6 week wait for the benefit. Research by the organisation has shown that in areas piloting Universal Credit there has been an increase in crisis grants being issued, food bank usage has risen and we have also seen a 15% rise in people affected by rent arrears.
SNP MP Mhairi Black has condemned the six week waiting period and has written to the UK Minister for employment with her concerns.
Miss Black said
“I have written to the UK Minister for employment echoing the concerns of these charities and organisations. The Conservative Government are not living in reality if they cannot understand how much the 6 week waiting period is affecting communities. They are targeting society’s most vulnerable and encouraging benefit claimants to end up in debt and arrears to essentially pay rent and buy food for their families.
“Although the Scottish government have assured claimants that their rent can be paid directly to landlords it is important to remember that they have no power to reduce the waiting time for Universal Credit.
“I have met with countless charities and organisations over the past few months and the 6 week wait for Universal credit is a topic that comes up frequently as an issue. The UK Government have put no thought or consideration into people’s well being during the waiting period.
“I do not expect an empathetic reply from the DWP, however, I will continue to show my disdain for the 6 week waiting period until reasonable action is taken.”
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Mhairi Black MP to Host Energy Surgery

Local MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black will be hosting Home Energy Scotland in her constituency office on 15th September. This will be an opportunity for local people to drop in and get advice on how they could save money by reducing their energy bills. Home Energy Scotland can provide individual energy advice, including telling you about any discounts or options available to help with your energy bills.
Mhairi Black MP said:
“Home Energy Scotland is a free energy advice service funded by the Scottish Government. The purpose of the drop in is to help remove constituents from fuel poverty and the service they provide is there to actively help people get their energy bills down.
“As well as giving advice on lowering energy bills it is a chance to learn how to reduce your carbon footprint and play your part in helping the environment. If you want to find out more please come along to the surgery, all are welcome”
Two energy consultants will be available in Mhairi Black MP’s constituency office at 9 Wellmeadow Street, Paisley from 10am – 4pm on Friday 15th September to provide local people with energy advice. You can drop in on the day or if you would like to pre book an appointment you can call Mhairi’s office on 0141 571 4370.
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Disability Committee Criticise Tory Austerity Cuts

mhari black
The UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities met with UK government officials over a two day period recently. The chair of the committee has slammed the welfare cuts to disabled people as a “human catastrophe”.
The austerity measures that have been implemented by the UK government since 2010 have had an impact on welfare benefits and since 2010 many people in receipt of disability benefits such as PIP, ESA and DLA have seen the standard of living they experience fall drastically. The committee have previously criticised the UK government for targeting disabled people with schemes such as the bedroom tax, the work programme and the benefit cap.
mhari black
Local MP Mhairi Black has praised the comments of the committee and said “this is yet another example that the austerity agenda the tories are inflicting on disabled people does not work”
“They target society’s most vulnerable with cut after cut while spending ridiculous amounts of money on things such as trident and repairing palaces, common sense would tell you that reducing disabled people’s standard of living is the wrong way for the UK treasury to balance the books”
“disabled people need support and the UK conservative government have proved they are incapable of providing it”
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Local MP urges Parents to Register for The Baby Box

The Scottish Government have this week launched the scheme that parents who are expecting a baby will receive a ‘Baby Box’. The Baby Box is filled with essential items that mums and dads need to make sure babies have the best possible start in life.

Local MP Mhairi Black has praised the national rollout of the scheme, she said “this is a really positive step by the Scottish Government we are enabling every child the right start in life and I am thrilled that the scheme will be rolling out to expectant parents in Renfrewshire”.

The scheme is designed by health professionals, based on a similar project in Finland. The box aims to send a message that no child should be left behind especially in the first six months of child development. Mhairi Black MP said “The Baby Box sends out an incredibly strong message that we should all have a good start in life, no matter what your background is. Expecting parents can now register for the Box through their midwives and I would encourage them to do so”.

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“I cannot believe we are still here, still debating this issue”, Mhairi Black said in a Westminster Hall debate on the State Pension age for women.

Mhairi Black, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, has called on the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to address the issue of unfair state pension changes, which have disproportionately hit women born in the 1950s.

Successive Government’s since 1995 have increased the age at which women become eligible for state pension but never notified the women affected about the changes. This has left many in a position of financial hardship as they have not had adequate time to amend their financial planning for retirement.

Commenting after the debate Mhairi Black said:

“The Government’s current position is untenable, and the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions needs to look again at this issue. Given the Tories’ slim majority, and the fact that twenty of their MPs signed a pledge during the election campaign to support the WASPI women, they need to move quickly and bring forward plans to sort this out.

“Hundreds of women have written to me over the past two years sharing the desperate struggle they face because the Government refuses to fix this problem. Given that the Government just found £1 billion down the back of the couch to keep themselves in power, I would think they are able to find the money to ease the hardship of these women, including over 3,800 women in Renfrewshire.

“I cannot believe that we are still debating this issue. The women affected are guilty of nothing other than being born in the fifties and being women. This policy hurts women and only women so there is a clear irony in claiming that this has been done in the name of equality.

“I noted with interest that the Minister has committed to helping any individual who is suffering because of these issues so I ask that any WASPI woman in my constituency who are suffering hardship because of the changes to state pension age to get in touch with my office and I will make sure your information is sent to him.”

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UK General Election 2017 Renfrewshire results declared

The results of the 2017 UK General Election for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South have been declared.

Photographs below taken by Ricky Kelly.

Gavin Newlands, Scottish National Party (SNP), has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North.

Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party (SNP), has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

In Paisley and Renfrewshire North, 46,666 votes were cast, a 69.2 per cent turnout. In Paisley and Renfrewshire South, there were 41,771 votes cast, a 68.1 per cent turnout.

Returning officer Sandra Black, chief executive of Renfrewshire Council, announced the results in the early hours of Friday morning at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley.

The election count involved 280 staff, counting the contents of 160 ballot boxes alongside postal votes.

Full results:


Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency

John Robert Boyd, Scottish Liberal Democrats – 1,476 votes

David John Gardiner, Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 12,842 votes

Gavin Andrew Stuart Newlands, Scottish National Party – 17,455 votes

Alison Suzanne Watt Taylor, Scottish Labour Party – 14,842 votes


Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency

Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party – 16,964 votes

Alison Jean Dowling, Scottish Labour Party – 14,423 votes

Paul Mack, Independent – 876 votes

Eileen McCartin, Scottish Liberal Democrats – 1,327 votes

Amy Louise Thomson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 8,122 votes

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UK Parliamentary Election candidates for the Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituencies

The candidates standing in the UK general election on 8 June for the Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituencies, have been declared.


Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency

John Robert Boyd, Scottish Liberal Democrats

David John Gardiner, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Gavin Andrew Stuart Newlands, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Alison Suzanne Watt Taylor, Scottish Labour Party


Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency

Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Alison Jean Dowling, Scottish Labour Party

Paul Mack, Independent

Eileen McCartin, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Amy Louise Thomson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

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Mhairi Black Comments on Proposed Closure of Yorkshire Building Society Paisley High Street

Below are comments from Mhairi Black on the proposed closure of Yorkshire Building Society on Paisley High Street.

Mhairi Black MP said:

“In the wake of Clydesdale Bank announcing closures of branches across Renfrewshire it is extremely disappointing to hear that Yorkshire Building Society are planning to close their only branch in Renfrewshire. This change means all Yorkshire Building Society customers will have to travel to Glasgow to access branch facilities.

“I know some local organisations bank with Yorkshire Building Society, and travelling into Glasgow to access branch services will make it significantly more difficult for them to conduct their business.

“It is also deeply that upsetting that yet more people in Renfrewshire are facing job losses, and my thoughts are with all of those who are now facing this awful uncertainty.

“I am currently arranging a meeting with Yorkshire Building Society to see if there is anything that can be done to avoid this closure going forward.”