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Mhairi Black Praises Charitable Efforts by Local TSB

Local MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Mhairi Black recently met with charity workers and employees at the local TSB on Paisley High Street. Mhairi was invited along to hear about the contribution the business makes to the local area, by supporting local charities.
The Paisley TSB recently raised £885 for local charity Brightest Star. The charity was founded in memory of Jack Kennedy who passed away suddenly due to a virus at the age of five. Brightest Star was set up by Jack’s mum Arlene to give support to parents suffering from bereavement. Brightest Star want to raise awareness of the lack of support available for grieving families, particularly for those impacted by sudden childhood deaths. Part of this support includes lifesaving first aid training and a special ambulance that can be used by families when children need to be transferred between hospitals.
Mhairi Black MP said
“It was good of the local TSB branch in Paisley to invite me along and show me the effort they are putting towards supporting local charities and causes.
“Brightest Star is a fantastic cause and I am happy to support this service in any way that I can.
“It is commendable that the charity is raising awareness and providing support for grieving parents and families in what will surely be an extremely difficult time.”
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Mhairi Black MP Blames Austerity for Increased Food Bank Usage

The latest figures from Renfrewshire Food Bank show that between 1st April and 30th September 2017, 4190 emergency food supplies were distributed in Renfrewshire.

This is a sharp rise from the 3038 food parcels that local people were given in during the same period in 2016. These figures show an increase of over 1000 families and people in Renfrewshire having to rely on the Food Bank. Of the 4190 supplies given out 1152 of these were for children. The Trussell Trust have indicated that the main reasons people are relying on Food Banks is down to continued issues with benefit payments, the roll out of Universal Credit, low wages and insecure jobs.

Local Renfrewshire MP Mhairi Black blames the continuing rise in Food Bank usage and poverty levels increasing on the UK government’s austerity measures.

Mhairi Black MP said –

“These latest figures from the Trussell Trust highlight how the Tory austerity agenda is nothing more than an attack on society’s most vulnerable people.

“Poverty levels are reaching record highs, food banks are running out of supplies and the UK government continue to make welfare cuts, austerity has failed.

“The UK Government are steamrolling ahead with the full roll out of Universal Credit and this is going to mean more people will be reliant on food banks all over Scotland”

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Mhairi Black Welcomes Investment in Childcare

Mhairi Black MP
The Scottish Government have reaffirmed their commitment to invest £840 million into childcare by 2021 – 2022. The Scottish Government currently spend on average £420 million a year but this commitment will see spending on childcare in Scotland doubled. This will be in line with the increase in childcare hours that parents will be entitled to, which is almost doubling from 16 to 30 hours from August 2020.
Mhairi Black MP
This move will see parents save around £350 per child, per month for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. The Scottish Government will begin talks with local authorities this autumn, to agree a multi-year funding package to implement this investment. Local MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black has praised this move by the scottish Government.
Mhairi Black MP said
“This is a welcome investment from the Scottish Government. Parents are struggling to make ends meet and the £350 saving they will be able to make will help to ease financial problems they may experience in securing childcare.
“Every child deserves the best start in life. High quality care and learning are essential in the early years of child development.”
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MHAIRI BLACK MP WELCOMES CHARITY’S SOCIAL SECURITY ADVICE SERVICE FOR DEAF CONSTITUENTS

Mhairi Black MP is urging deaf people in Paisley and Renfrewshire South who have queries about benefits decisions to use a charity’s specialist welfare rights advocacy service.

The service, which is run by the charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, can provide people who are Deaf or have hearing loss – including British Sign Language (BSL) users – with information, advice and, where possible, formal representation to challenge benefits decisions.

 

Mhairi Black MP said: “Information about welfare and social security can often be difficult to understand and navigating the systems to ensure you get the support you are entitled to can put many people off applying.

 

“I’m pleased to see Action on Hearing Loss Scotland providing this service and encourage deaf or hard of hearing people in Paisley and Renfrewshire South to use the charity’s support if you have queries, claims or want to make an appeal about social security benefits.”

 

Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “Our welfare rights advocacy service can provide details and advice about a range of benefits including Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

 

“If you are Deaf or have hearing loss and need some help to understand what processes to follow to apply for support you may be entitled to, or are confused about letters you have received regarding your benefits, we would be delighted to help you make sense of it all.”

 

For information about Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s social security advice service, call telephone: 0141 341 5346, textphone: 0141 341 5350, email: SocialSecurity@hearingloss.org.uk or visit www.hearingloss.org.uk/SocialSecurity.  British Sign Language users can contact via the ContactSCOTLAND-BSL service.

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Mhairi Black Welcomes Fair Start Scotland Investment

The Scottish Government have pledged to invest £96 million to help people find and stay in work through the Fair Start Scotland programme which will launch in April 2018. Nine areas in Scotland will benefit from the scheme, including Renfrewshire, which will receive a share of the investment, which aims to help 38,000 people into work.

The Fair Start Scotland is a voluntary programme which differs from similar schemes implemented by the UK Government previously, removing the threat of cruel and infective benefit sanctions. The service will also be tailored to an individual’s needs and will help those taking part find relative employment that is sustainable. Additional support will be available for those with disabilities that wish to take part in the scheme.

Local MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black has welcomed the investment, saying:

“Employment support provided by the government should be seen as an opportunity to find work and not as a redundant task surrounding filling out forms as has been the norm with similar programmes we have seen from the DWP.”

“Making this service voluntary is a vital step forward as people will not be forced to take part under the threat of their money being sanctioned, which have been proven not to work, or save the tax payer any money.”

“The UK “workfare” schemes have been compared to modern day slavery for some benefit claimants and introducing an individual approach for each person looking for employment that is tailored to their skills is common sense from the Scottish Government.”

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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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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”