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PAISLEY PIRATES-UPDATE

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates’ head coach Ian Turley reflected on another successful weekend before looking forward to the prospect of perhaps their toughest home match of the season on Sunday, when they take on the in-form Dundee Comets (face off 6.00pm).

paisley pirates

“We put together another hard working display against the Thunder, and we got the rewards which the hard work has produced so far this year,” he commented. “Sure, most folk were expecting us to win comfortably, and we did, but Adam and I like to think that with that expectation is one which says that the Paisley Pirates are and will continue to be a hard working side, and we both believe that when you work hard you will get the benefit of that effort in the form of good results.”

 

“Once again, the goals are coming from all areas of the team, and not just one or two players, so that makes us a difficult proposition for most teams as marking one or two identified “danger men” is not going to work, as we’ve got plenty of other guys able to chip in for the team effort.”

 

He went on, “I know that we’ve had a lot of big home wins this year, and that can be less than invigorating if you’re a home supporter wanting to see your team win, but not necessarily by the kind of scores we’ve been chalking up so far. Well, I think I can promise fans that our next game, against Dundee Comets this Sunday, will be the veritable Christmas Cracker. Our encounters against them have always been amongst the most entertaining fixtures of the season, and I would certainly be saying to supporters that if they pick and choose their home games, this is one that they don’t dare miss! The Comets are one of the form teams this season, like they usually are, and they’ll be fancying turning us over in our home rink.”

 

“I’ll simply remind everyone that the Comets stopped us from picking up the treble last year, as while we won the SNL, they beat us in the final of both the Scottish Cup and the playoffs, when they were coached by no less than Adam Walker.”

 

“We’re advising supporters to give themselves more time than usual to get to the Arena, as apart from the fact we’re expecting a big crowd, it’s also the penultimate Sunday before Christmas, so parking may be a little more of an adventure than usual.”

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This Saturday at the Piazza Shopping Centre

This Saturday at the Piazza Shopping Centre we have an afternoon full of musical entertainment, first up is The Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir followed by performances by Heriot Primary, St Peter’s Primary and St Charles Primary in our Christmas Choir Concert.

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Renfrew High pupils book in for advent calendar with a difference

PUPILS at Renfrew High School have been opening an advent calendar with a difference in the run-up to Christmas.


Instead of a chocolate treat, youngsters from S1 to S3 are getting the chance to win a brand new book as a present every day of Advent, right up to Christmas Eve. The winners are chosen in a prize draw.

The unusual Festive initiative is part of a programme of events encouraging pupils to read more, after Renfrew High was one of only six schools, in Scotland chosen to take part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge for secondary schools.


Funding for the Advent books has come from the Scottish Book Trust, together with a discounted price from Waterstones bookstore, at intu Braehead.

Already pupils have had visits by authors, two youngsters travelled to the Scottish Book Trust headquarters, in Edinburgh to discuss the initiative and other pupils were guests on BBC Radio Scotland talking about books and reading.

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge programme at Renfrew High is being led by Renfrewshire Leisure librarian, Robin Dunlop, in conjunction with staff at the school.


Other schools taking part in the secondary reading challenge are St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High, East Kilbride; Bannockburn High; Arbroath Academy; Clydebank High and Sgoil Lionacleit, on Benbecula.
Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The concept of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge is to raise awareness and provide a reading for pleasure culture among teenagers.
“Along with staff at Renfrew High, Robin is doing a fantastic job in creating a new interest in reading among the pupils there.

“And giving out a book every day of Advent is certainly a gift of reading, which hopefully the pupils will continue to do as they make their way to adulthood.”

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Intu Braehead mall opens to midnight – just in time for Christmas

The clock’s ticking towards Christmas Day, but intu Braehead is making sure shoppers have plenty time to buy the presents they want to give family and friends.


The shopping mall is open until midnight every day from Monday, December 18 to Saturday, December 23.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “We want to take the pressure off shoppers and make Christmas shopping a bit more relaxed and enjoyable.

“Our longer opening hours are always popular with our shoppers, especially with people doing a day’s work and then having to make sure all the right Christmas gifts are bought and nobody misses out.

“Our midnight opening is ideal for people with busy lives and people can even keep up with their favourite soaps on TV in the early evening before nipping out to intu Braehead to do some Christmas shopping.

“And everybody loves being able to drive into one of our free car parks and get to the shops within minutes.”

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Derek Mackay – Most taxpayers to pay less than rest of UK

Additional revenues raised to protect NHS and other services.

More than two thirds of income taxpayers will pay less tax next year on their current income, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has confirmed as he published proposals to reform income tax in Scotland.

The Draft Budget 2018-19 proposes a progressive income tax policy which protects low earning taxpayers through the introduction of a new Starter Rate of tax.

The Cabinet Secretary also confirmed plans to introduce a new Intermediate Rate of tax of 21% and plans to increase the Higher and Top Rate of tax, to 41% and 46%.

As a result of these changes, and the increase in the personal allowance, all taxpayers earning up to £33,000 will be protected from any increase in tax rates. Those earning more than £33,000 will pay only a proportionate amount more.

A majority of taxpayers (55%) in Scotland will pay marginally less in 2018-19 than they would in the rest of the UK.

Setting out the Draft Budget for 2018-19, Mr Mackay said:

“The Scottish Government has faced continued austerity from the UK Government. Over a ten year period, Scotland’s block grant will have been cut by £2.6 billion in real terms and the independent Fraser of Allander Institute has confirmed that we face a £500 million real terms reduction in spending on day-to-day services over the next two years.

“In order to mitigate UK budget cuts, protect our NHS and other public services, support our economy and tackle inequality in our society, we have decided to reform income tax in Scotland.

“In line with the four tests set out in our discussion paper, our reforms will ensure that the vast majority of taxpayers are protected, that income tax becomes more progressive, that revenues are generated for investment in public services and that – coupled with our spending choices – there will be a positive impact on the economy.

“By raising an additional £164 million of revenues to support our investment plans we can deliver on our commitment to the NHS in full, with £400 million of extra spending on health without having to reduce spending on police and fire services, social care or education.

“Our new, fairer, income tax policy will protect the 70% of taxpayers who earn less than £33,000 a year and ensure they pay less tax next year for any given income whilst asking those earning more than £33,000 to pay a proportionate amount more to support our public services.

“Our plans also ensure that over half of taxpayers will pay slightly less in Scotland next year than they would in the rest of the UK, protecting low incomes and supporting the economy.

“These measures combined with our investment in the NHS, the economy, infrastructure, education and essential public services ensure that in the year ahead Scotland will be the fairest taxed part of the UK, providing the best deal for taxpayers.”

The reforms follow engagement with the public, business organisations and Civic Scotland around the Scottish Government’s discussion paper ‘The Role of Income Tax in Scotland’s Budget’.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission has forecast that these changes will generate £164 million of additional revenues in 2018-19 and that following the Scottish Government’s decision in 2017-18 to freeze the higher rate threshold, forecast revenues will be £366 million above the block grant adjustment.

The additional revenues come at a time when the UK Government is cutting £200 million in real terms from Scotland’s budget for day-to-day spending in the coming year and will help to support a draft budget package which provides £400 million of increased investment in the health service without having to impose cuts on other public services such as social care, police, fire or education.

Income tax proposals for 2018-19 are:

  • A new Starter Rate of 19% will be introduced for those earning between £11,850 and £13,850
  • A Basic Rate of income tax at 20% for those earning over £13,850
  • A new Intermediate Rate of 21% for those earning over £24,000 – however as a result of the new Starter Rate taxpayers earning less than £33,000 will pay no more in tax for given incomes
  • A Higher Rate of 41% on incomes over £44,273 to £150,000
  • A Top Rate of 46% on incomes over £150,000

In addition, the Draft Budget confirms that for Residential Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) the Scottish Government will set a new zero rate threshold for first time buyers of £175,000 – taking 80% of first time buyers out of tax altogether. The residential and non-residential rates and bands for LBTT will remain unchanged.

Mr Mackay continued:

“As part of our support for housing we are not just investing £3 billion over this parliament to increase the supply of affordable housing, but we will provide more support to help people to own their first home. These changes to LBTT mean 80% of First Time buyers will pay no tax at all on the purchase of their first home.”

Background

Scottish Income Tax proposed rates and bands 2018-19

Scottish income tax rates Scottish Bands
A Starter Rate of 19% Over £11,850 – £13,850
The Scottish Basic Rate of 20% Over £13,850 – £24,000
An Intermediate Rate of 21% Over £24,000 – £44,273
A Higher Rate of 41% Over £44,273 – £150,000
A Top Rate of 46% Above £150,000

The Scottish Fiscal Commission estimate the policy above will raise an additional £164 million, taking forecast income tax revenues in 2018-19 to £12,115 million.

Following the Scottish Government’s decision in 2017-18 to freeze the higher rate threshold of income tax and the introduction of reformed income tax proposals for 2018-19, income tax policy in Scotland contributes to forecast revenues £366 million above the block grant adjustment to support public spending and investment in the economy in 2018-19.

Land and Building Transaction Tax proposed rates and bands for residential and non-residential property transactions, 2018-19

Residential transactions  Non-residential transactions Non-residential leases
Purchase price LBTT Rate Purchase price LBTT Rate Net present value of rent payable LBTT Rate
Up to £145,000 0% Up to £150,000 0% Up to £150,000 0%
£145,001 2% £150,001 to £350,000 3% Over £150,000 1%
to £250,000
£250,001 5% Over £350,000 4.50%    
to £325,000
£325,001 10%        
to £750,000
Over £750,000 12%        

The Scottish Fiscal Commission forecast changes to LBTT will cost £6 million with total forecast LBTT revenues for 2018-19 of £588 million.

https://news.gov.scot/news/most-taxpayers-to-pay-less-than-rest-of-uk

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Gavin Newlands MP joins Mars UK to celebrate the season of sustainability

Gavin Newlands MP pledged to walk more often in 2018 at a Mars UK event showcasing the role of sustainable business and the urgent need for businesses to help tackle key threats to the planet.

Mars reception hosted by Henry Bellingham for Lexington Communications Nov. 23, 2017 at the Houses of Parliament in London
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Mr Newlands joined guests representing various sustainability charities at the reception, which kicked off the festive season in style with plenty of delicious Mars goodies.  The key theme of the event was Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan and the company’s global efforts to create a #generationofchange

Guests were invited to make their own sustainability pledge on a Christmas tree bauble and hang it on a Christmas tree to highlight their commitment.  Mr Newland pledged:‘I will walk to work more often (and walk kids to school!)’

Those who did so were also entered into a prize draw to win a donation to a charity in their constituency and a Mars Christmas hamper for their office. The draw was won by Gordon Marsden MP (Lab, Blackpool South).

The reception was arranged following the launch of Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan in September. The plan sets out the company’s ambition to grow in ways that are good for people, good for the planet, and good for the business. As part of this Mars is investing $1 billion over the next few years to tackle urgent challenges facing global society, including climate change, poverty, and scarce resources. The plan centres around three interconnected ambitions:

»      Healthy Planet: To reduce environmental impacts in line with what science says is necessary to keep the planet healthy – focusing on climate action, water stewardship and land management. Targets include reducing GHG emissions across Mars’ value chain by 27% by 2025 and 67% by 2050.

»      Thriving People: To meaningfully improve the working lives of one million people – focusing on increasing income, respecting human rights and unlocking opportunities for women. Earlier this year Mars Food announced that all basmati rice sold under UNCLE BEN’S® or SEEDS OF CHANGE® is now sourced from farmers who are working towards the Sustainable Rice Platform’s standard for sustainable rice – a first in the global rice industry.

»      Nourishing Wellbeing: To advance science, innovation and marketing in ways that help billions of people and their pets lead healthier, happier lives. In a sign of Mars’ commitment to this Mars Petcare has been working in its local town, Melton Mowbray, all year on projects to transform the lives of residents by bringing pets and people together. Last month, Melton Mowbray was named the UK’s most welcoming town for dogs in a public vote

David Manzini, Market Transition Lead, Mars Chocolate UK and Wrigley UK said: “It was fantastic to welcome Mr Newlands and so many other guests to our festive parliamentary reception. This was a great opportunity to highlight the role that responsible businesses can play in driving change on key global threats to the environment and human wellbeing. At Mars UK we are committed to sustainable growth in a way that is good for people, planet and performance. Our Sustainable in a Generation Plan represents the next stage in the company’s mission to tackle urgent global threats.”

 

Gavin Newlands MP said, “I was pleased to join Mars to celebrate the start of the festive period and make a personal commitment as part of the wider#generationofchange campaign. Each of us has a part to play in ensuring a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.”

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The legacy of Paisley’s 2021 UK City of Culture bid endures with Culture, Heritage and Events Fund

The legacy of Paisley’s 2021 bid for UK City of Culture continues with public applications invited from community projects for funding from Renfrewshire Council’s flagship cultural grants programme.

The Culture, Heritage and Events (CHE) Fund is available for organisations looking to stage a cultural event.

One of the key legacies of the town’s bid, it has so far supported 80 projects to the tune of more than £630,000.

Paisley was the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition alongside Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea and Coventry, which took the title.

The CHE fund aims to raise cultural ambition, enhance participation and unlock creative potential in Renfrewshire.

Application deadlines have just been approved by Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board for the next four rounds of funding.

New applications for 2018/19 will be considered at three levels, from £1,000 and under, from £1,000 to £10,000 and over £10,000.

The first round should be submitted by February 12th 2018, with a decision by 24 April.

A further three rounds will follow, on May 10th, October 10th and December 10th.

The initial fund amount of £500,000 was doubled to £1 million in February this year, with the first five rounds of funding attracting a total of 242 applications from businesses, communities and cultural organisations across Renfrewshire and Scotland.

There have been total funding requests of around £3 million.

Voluntary or community organisations, schools, colleges and universities, independent artists and makers, artist’s collectives, cultural organisations and networks and business, including creative industries, can all apply.

Projects to have received funding so far include teenage animator  Morgan Spence’s Lego video about Paisley and a collaboration between local group Right2Dance and the internationally renowned  Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company .

The projects should contribute to regeneration and can show imaginative use of the townscape or buildings and enhance the annual cultural calendar.

Strengthening cultural capacity –and showcasing the talent of Renfrewshire are among the other objectives.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Convenor of the Leadership Board, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “The UK City of Culture contest may have come to a close but the CHE Fund continues as one of the key legacies of Paisley’s bid.

“Renfrewshire has a great creative scene and the 2021 bid shone a spotlight on that and let people see what was out there, and the CHE Fund will keep allowing that to happen.”

The fund can support a range of activities, such as training and cultural learning opportunities, new and one-off events or enhancements to existing festivals and bodies of work.

For more information on the CHE Fund, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk.

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Paisley UK City of Culture bid helps Renfrewshire to 25% visitor increase

New figures show visitors to Renfrewshire rose by 25% in 2016 – with the news hailed as proof Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid boosted the town.

Paisley missed out on the cultural title last week after a two-year campaign – but the stats, contained within a new masterplan aimed at turning the area into one of Scotland’s key tourist destinations – show the positive impact the bid had.

The sharp rise – with 1.7m visitors last year – means Renfrewshire increased its visitors at a faster rate than other areas with the Glasgow region.

The new Renfrewshire Visitor Plan aims to build on that, setting a series of actions aimed at bringing an extra 590,000 day visitors to Renfrewshire by 2020.

The report – rubber-stamped by members of Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board – includes the following key achievements:

– a new destination brand and website will be launched in early 2018, having been developed in consultation with local people and leaders across Renfrewshire;

– Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 campaign took awareness of what the area has to offer to new levels – with a media reach of 277 million people, including visits by foreign journalists;

– more than 1.1m people attended events or festivals in Renfrewshire over the past five years, with numbers growing by 25% and 23% in 2016 and 2017. This year saw a third of attendees from outwith Renfrewshire, a 93% satisfaction rate, and £1.3m pumped into the local economy;

– new partnerships have been developed with regional and national agencies and detailed work has taken place to better understand the area’s target market;

And key actions listed to help take the area’s visitor economy forward over the next three years include:

– expanding the area’s events programme, with Renfrewshire already due to host the British Pipe Band Championships each year until 2021, and the Royal National Mod in 2021 or 2022, growing existing events such as the Halloween festival and The Spree, and bidding for new events;

– targeting Renfrewshire’s unique cultural and heritage assets to potential visitors, and working with partners to make sure Renfrewshire’s offer is included in national campaigns;

– supporting a growth in new accommodation, working with transport agencies to make it easier to get here and get around, and working with partners to share data, knowledge and training;

Councillor Iain Nicolson, chair of Renfrewshire Council Leadership Board said: “Our disappointment at missing out on the UK City of Culture 2021 title was eased by the knowledge the area is in a stronger position for having bid.

“The new Renfrewshire Visitor Plan shows work to build a new visitor economy is already well under way and gives a clear plan for how the public and private sectors can work together to build on that.

“There’s no question Paisley and Renfrewshire have had their challenges in recent years – but we can address that by promoting the things that set us apart to bring new footfall into our town centres.

“The Paisley 2021 bid was part of a wider plan to do that – the area’s profile has perhaps never been better or higher and awareness of our unique cultural and heritage assets has moved to new levels.

“The area was once the centre of a global industry and the legacy of that is still around us in our buildings and museum collections – while the outlying areas of Renfrewshire offer a wide range of historical gems and great outdoor days out.

“For Renfrewshire to have already recorded a 25% increase in both visitors and event attendees in 2016 shows the extent to which the bid has already delivered results.

“That work was always going to continue regardless of the outcome of the 2021 bid – we now have a great platform on which to build.”

Paisley’s work has also been endorsed the head of Scotland’s tourism authority, with Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland adding: “While it is disappointing Paisley has not been named the 2021 UK City of Culture there is still much to be positive about.

“The bid has transformed Paisley’s reputation, and now Scotland, the UK and the world are all becoming more aware of its fantastic cultural offering.

“2017 saw the town host world-class events like The Spree and Weave Festival, while we can look forward to The Royal National Mòd and the British Pipe Band Championships next year.

“I’d like to say a massive well done to everyone involved for their hard work and dedication to showcase the town’s wonderful cultural offering.

“This is just the beginning of Paisley’s transformation and I look forward to the town’s continued development and all the wonderful events and activities that will come with it.”

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SNP Funding Boosts Teacher Numbers Across Paisley

MSP Praises Education Commitment In Face Of Tory, Labour And Lib Dem Opposition

SNP Government education funding has boosted teacher numbers across Renfrewshire – part of an increase of 543 teachers across Scotland – as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to education, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam has said.

Teacher numbers in Renfrewshire have risen from 1,633 to 1,656 – while the number across Scotland has increased substantially to 51,513 – 543 more than last year, with 666 full-time equivalent teachers being funded through the Attainment Scotland Fund, money that the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems voted against.

There has also been an improvement in the pupil teacher ratio across Scotland, while skills in reading, writing, listening, talking and numeracy are strong – with the proportion of S3 pupils achieving Curriculum for Excellence Third Level or better being between 88% and 91% for each skillset.

Commenting, George said:

“These figures prove that the SNP Government’s approach is working for schools across Paisley and throughout Scotland.

“Despite Tory, Labour and Lib Dem opposition, the SNP is delivering funding aimed at increasing teacher numbers and cutting the attainment gap – and this is already bearing fruit.

“We now have 23 more teachers in Renfrewshire than we did this time last year, and an additional 543 across Scotland. With this record of delivery, it is no surprise that pupils are performing strongly across reading, writing, listening, talking and numeracy.

“The SNP has made closing the attainment gap a key priority of this parliament – and these latest statistics show that our efforts are making progress on this, with 666 full-time equivalent teachers across Scotland being funded by the Attainment Scotland Fund.

“It is important that we don’t get complacent and keep working to improve education in Scotland – but given the clear progress that has been made, it would be good to see the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems dropping their political opposition and getting behind our positive efforts to support our young people across Paisley.”

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Renfrewshire pupils are on song at Paisley Abbey

The sound of music flowed through Paisley Abbey as pupils from across Renfrewshire performed in the annual schools Christmas concert.

Aspiring musicians from a variety of Renfrewshire schools utilised the stunning acoustics of the historic venue to showcase their talents and musicianship to the local community.

The performance began with the violins and cellos of the Renfrewshire Schools String Ensemble’s as they performed ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’.

This was followed by a moving performance of Africca and Tron Legacy by the assorted battery of the Schools Percussion Ensemble, which incorporated an array of instruments including timpani, drums, marimba, tubular bells and more.

The Senior Concert band then played a range of Gershwin Classics, as well as music from Shrek, leaving the Abbey reverberating with the sounds of trumpets, saxophones and flutes.

Culture and tradition then enveloped the Abbey as the Feis Phaislig Choir opened the second half with a selection of Gaelic songs.

The Senior Ceilidh Band had the audience tapping along as they concluded the concert with a fantastic rendition of ‘Let Ramensky Go’, featuring Sorcha Alcorn Stewart on vocals.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “We have a wealth of aspiring musicians in Renfrewshire and it’s fantastic to see our pupils bring their talents together to put on such an extraordinary performance.

“It is vital that we encourage our young people to express themselves musically which is why we committed to offering free music tuition to our school pupils, allowing them the opportunity to find their talent from an early age.

“We want our pupils to aim high and achieve their dreams and what better inspiration than performing in the same venue as our home-grown success story Paolo Nutini did so recently.”