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Work to transform the future of Paisley’s much-loved town hall is due to restart – with construction workers due on site at the start of August.

The project will create 21st-century facilities inside the striking Victorian landmark while delivering improvements essential to keep the town hall at the heart of life in the town – and is taking place as part of a wider investment in Paisley’s historic venues by Renfrewshire Council.

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No work has taken place on the town hall in recent months due to the coronavirus lockdown – however with restrictions on construction sites being relaxed, workers can now safely go on site in line with national guidance.

The contract for the advance construction works on the town has been awarded to Morrison Construction and is expected to run until December.

The main construction works are expected to start next year, and while the exact impact of lockdown on the original timescale is still unclear, the project is expected to be complete before the end of 2022.

Other planned investments still being delivered in the town centre by the council include the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the area’s unique and globally-significant story and collections, on which construction is due to start in the new year.

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And construction work is due to resume soon on the site of the new Learning and Cultural Hub on Paisley High Street, which will be the town’s new home of library services.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, which operates the town hall, said: “We are pleased work is able to resume on Paisley Town Hall, which is another positive sign as the area’s economy starts to re-emerge from lockdown.

“Although the council faces a very challenging financial outlook, the town hall, museum and learning and cultural hub projects are all well under way – with years of work having already taken place on each – and we intend to see those projects through.

“In the town hall’s case, the work being planned includes investment in 21st-century facilities which will help drive new footfall to the area in the years ahead, as well as essential replacement of outdated infrastructure without which the building would not have a long-term future.

“The completed buildings will be crucial to Renfrewshire’s long-term economic prospects – our vision for Paisley town centre remains one in which we promote its unique cultural and heritage offer to bring people here.

“And while coronavirus has disrupted that work we hope our continued investment in the town hall and other venues will help the area’s economic recovery from lockdown and give confidence to our local businesses.”

The investment in the town hall is aimed at bringing new activity and vibrancy to the town while ensuring the building has a long-term future. It is planned to include:

– a complete and essential replacement of the old and outdated electrical and mechanical systems;

– the preservation of the unique architectural features within this A-listed Victorian gem;

– an expanded capacity in the main hall allowing bigger and better events and driving more footfall to the town centre, boosting the local economy;

– unused spaces brought back into use and entirely new rooms and facilities created including a new café-bar with views over the river, increasing the range of events the building can host;

– a much-improved audience experience including improved staging, lighting and seating with better views, and improved access making it easier for everyone to move around the building.

methodists

Get a discount with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

From 3 to 31 August, get a 50% discount when you eat in at restaurants that are registered with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme opens on 3 August 2020.

Use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme at a participating establishment:

  • to get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner)
  • every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August
  • as many times as you like

You do not need a voucher to use this scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts. There is no minimum spend.

You cannot claim discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.

The discount will be automatically available to you at participating establishments. Establishments will then claim a reimbursement from the government for the discount they’ve given you.

Participating establishments may include:

  • restaurants, cafés, bars or pubs
  • work and school canteens
  • food halls

All diners in a group of any size can use the discount.

Find a restaurant

Click here

paisley arts institute

25 July – 6 September 2020

Launch Event SAT 25 July 4pm on www.paisleyartinstitute.org (All welcome)

This year, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the much-anticipated Paisley Art Institute Open Annual Exhibition, the 132nd edition no less, will take the form of an online presentation for the first time in our history.  The 132nd PAI Annual Online goes live on www.paisleyartinstitute.org on Saturday 25 July and continues online until Saturday 6 September 2020.

paisley arts institute

These unparalleled circumstances offer Paisley Art Institute a pivotal opportunity to embrace something of the scale and excitement of presenting one of Scotland’s longest running annual exhibitions in a gallery setting whilst reimagining what artists and visitors might experience of the PAI Annual in an online environment.

We had an overwhelming response to our open call for submissions. From an open call, we received 628 entries. Just over 60% of artworks submitted were from Open Entrants. Undeterred by showing work in a virtual rather than physical setting, exhibiting artists invite us to consider themes that have been felt universally in 2020: human connection, a love of nature, the turbulent times we live in to name but a few.  Artists showing work come from across Scotland and further afield. The Annual Online will display work by artists at all stages of their careers including submissions from highly regarded artists who are Paisley Art Institute Diplomates including, Charles JamiesonJames CosgroveRobert Murray and Gail Murray, who have embraced the opportunity to show work on this virtual platform.  

With its rich tradition and history as one of Scotland’s longest running exhibitions, ‘porting’ the PAI Annual online has been a fascinating challenge which presented us too with a unique opportunity to reflect on the cultural heritage of Paisley.  In the 1820s the Jacquard loom was being used to propel Paisley as a leading light in Scotland’s textiles industry.  The intricate punch card input method used laid the foundations of computer technology and ‘coding’ in particular – the building blocks of creating our online presentation.

We are delighted to have worked with Berlin-based Paisley Buddie Andrew Hopkins as our Digital Collaborator who has designed a bespoke series of virtual viewing rooms.  It has been important for Andrew to amplify the creative energy of his hometown, especially during lockdown when he is physically cut off from Scotland.  

A specially convened Selection Committee of PAI Artists Members chose work specifically with the online context in their sights.  Eòghann MacColla, Convenor of the Paisley Art Institute Exhibitions Hanging Committee said “It was a real pleasure for the selection team to review the works we received via the artists call out.  The quality of submissions has been so impressive and encompasses a wide range of techniques.  The process of selecting works for an online exhibition has been a fascinating challenge and a unique one. We are sure the range of work on display will bring some much-needed vibrancy, colour, and joy in 2020.  We hope the 132nd Paisley Art Institute Annual Online will also offer an opportunity to reflect on our collective experience of this pandemic through several pieces which deal very directly with the lockdown theme.  It has been humbling to see how a number of artists exhibiting in the 132nd PAI Annual Online have directly taken their experience of lockdown and used this time to make a personal creative response, exploring themes of personal wellbeing and our universal need for connection.

As you would expect a range of Paisley based artists are included in the 132nd PAI Annual Online, including:

  • Alexander Ramsay with his piece ‘Lockdown Fever’ – Alex was recognised with an award for his work during the 2019 PAI Open Annual exhibition
  • Caroline Gormley, PAI Vice President is exhibiting this year as is artist Sandy Guy who, with Caroline, is co-founder of the ‘Made in Paisley’ Studio and Gallery.
  • We are delighted to include examples of work by an up and coming generation of Paisley based artists such as Angela Pieraccini, who has lovely circular geometric works included. 
  • Paisley based painter and PAI Artist Committee Member, Moe Rocksmoore, presents her signature atmospheric skyscapes in this year’s Annual Online. 

Our universal experience of living through the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has unsurprisingly generated some highly creative responses.  Themes of self-care, wellbeing, isolation and connection and the familiar symbols of face coverings and rainbows all appear in the exhibition.  Participating artist, Wendy Greig, is a fulltime anaesthetic nurse in the NHS who paints and draws in her evenings and weekends. Describing her art practice as ‘a lifeline during the current crisis’. Her works are in soft pastel, portraits. 

 

Other examples of ‘crisis responsive’ artworks in the Annual Online include:

 

  • Ilona Dynowski Red run an almost apocalyptic street scene. 
  • Lynn Howarth’s portrait of a frontline worker wearing a mask
  • Boo Paterson ‘COVID Old Glory’ our poster image for the PAI exhibition in 2020. 
  • Former PAI Vice President Al Strachan and his colourful collages relating to being housebound and Zoom
  • John Andrew’s Lockdown work, ‘Joan in a mask’. John discovered his passion for visual art ‘later in life’.  He has natural talent and flair for painting and drawing and is returning to exhibit with PAI after first doing so in 2019.

 

This year for the first time ever, the Paisley Art Institute website will host an online shop, where much of the artwork on display will be available to purchase during the duration of the exhibition.

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An innovative package of support to help Renfrewshire businesses recover from the effects of lockdown has been given the green light by councillors.

And the £1.3m funding boost agreed today by members of Renfrewshire Council’s Emergencies Board has also been welcomed by some of the area’s key economic leaders.

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The proposals were developed as a result of an in-depth survey which saw staff from the council and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce speak to more than 500 businesses – around 10% of Renfrewshire’s total – about the issues coronavirus has caused for them.

The council then used the results of that to develop a new package of short-term funding which will now be open for local firms to apply for from mid-August. It includes:

– £500k for zero-interest business restart loans of up to £5,000 to help small-and-medium-sized business with short-term cashflow;

– £400k for grants of up to £10,000 to help sustain businesses and plan for growth in the medium term;

– £250k for grants of up to £2,500 to help businesses adapt their premises to allow for physical distancing;

– £150k to help fund expert advice to businesses in crisis and self-employed people over training and access to funding;

The money is coming from within existing council budgets for business support and is expected to be the first stage of a longer-term economic recovery plan.

And the package of support has been backed by members of the Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel.

Bob Grant, chief executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The survey exercise in partnership with Renfrewshire Council has been the largest ever of the business community in Renfrewshire and we warmly welcome the innovative package of funding as a direct response to the key issues highlighted.

“In addition to these measures Renfrewshire Chamber will fund two initiatives launching at the end of July: Development of a peer-to-peer business mentoring service and a unique Transform training program which will help companies to innovate, re-design and develop new strategies to mitigate the impacts of Covid and identify future opportunities.”

Grant Edmondson, Hillington Park commercial director for Frasers Property UK – the majority owner of Scotland’s biggest business park, home to around 500 organisations – also welcomed the news.

He said: “We are happy to see the majority of Hillington Park businesses are now back open and operating, albeit significantly below capacity.

“We’re aware however many are concerned about the speed of pick-up in demand for their products and services over the next few months, with impact on cashflow as government support tapers off.

“The new business support package being announced by Renfrewshire Council is therefore extremely welcome at this point and we would encourage local businesses to get in touch with the council and apply for the support when applications open.”

Lydia Brown, Community Development Manager for intu Braehead said: “Businesses have been going through unprecedented times recently and only now, as lockdown restrictions are easing, do they have the opportunity to start the process of economic recovery.

“Many businesses still need support to help them kick-start their revival and this assistance from Renfrewshire Council can play a vital role in this.

“If any businesses – large or small – can benefit from this extra funding they should certainly apply to find out if they qualify for the assistance.

“The people running businesses in Renfrewshire are very creative and resilient and thankfully, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve no doubt we will get there and the Renfrewshire economy will come back as strong as ever.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson added: “I am pleased this package of business support was backed by councillors today. We have prioritised this investment as we are determined to do all we can to support the local economy and protect local jobs through what will be a tough period ahead.

“We wanted to make sure the support we are offering was based on what businesses need – and the extensive work we and the Chamber did to establish what that was has been hugely valuable to us in terms of understanding the challenges facing our businesses.”

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Renfrewshire Council will not be progressing with the remainder of its events programme this year, as part of ongoing measures to help to manage the coronavirus pandemic and minimise the risk of local outbreaks.

The decision, which was confirmed at the Council’s Emergencies Board, means that the Paisley fireworks and Christmas lights switch-on events in Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone will not be going ahead in 2020.

Paisley Xmas Lights 16.11.19-3639

Currently a ban on mass gatherings is in place across Scotland and when lifted it is expected that restrictions will remain in place for some time, including physical distancing measures and advice to avoid crowded places. The decision not to run the winter programme, which attracts tens of thousands annually, also takes into account the lengthy planning time required to safely organise major events.

Christmas Lights will still be displayed across Renfrewshire and work is ongoing with local organisations to plan activities that will safely attract footfall and visitors to Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew over the festive period, including boosting the council’s Spend Local campaign to encourage people to shop local and support local traders and high streets.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “I know this will be disappointing news for everyone who supports and attends our popular winter programme and we are sorry that these events cannot go ahead this year. I hope everyone will understand that we must put public health first and will do everything we can to be back in 2021.

“Scottish Government guidance currently prevents mass gatherings from taking place and since we announced the cancellation of our summer and autumn programme, major events and festivals across the country have continued to be cancelled. Even if the restrictions due to coronavirus were relaxed, physical distancing measures are likely to remain in place for some time to ensure we do not experience local outbreaks and a further lockdown.

“Our major events take months of extensive planning and organising – and with uncertainty over how and when they can return, we have to take this difficult, but prudent decision now.

“We are proud of the social and economic impacts the events programme contributes to our communities – and we will continue to focus on delivering a fantastic events programme in 2021, working closely with national bodies and following public health advice.”

The Council is continuing to work closely with businesses across Renfrewshire to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and support reopening, with the announcement of a £1.3m package of support to help local businesses get back on their feet.

Renfrewshire Council advises everyone to stay safe and continue to follow the national guidance on coronavirus set out by the Scottish Government.

For the latest local updates, visit our ‘Information, help and guidance on Coronavirus’ webpage here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

chivas

A Paisley site of strategic importance for Renfrewshire’s long-term economic and community development is to be brought into public ownership.

Renfrewshire Council has agreed terms to conclude its purchase of the bulk of the 24-acre site at Renfrew Road from Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers. It is anticipated ownership of the site will transfer to the Council later this year.

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Bringing the site into public ownership will allow the Council to explore a range of possible development opportunities, including new transport links, economic and community uses, supporting the region’s economic recovery from the impact of Coronavirus.

Situated to the north of the town centre, the sizeable site sits between West College Scotland’s Paisley campus and Abbotsinch Retail Park, with the White Cart river to the west.

The Council is exploring options for an economic development corridor along the White Cart, improving connections from Paisley town centre to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland under development next to Glasgow Airport.

The Chivas Brothers land has been identified as a possible site for a new Paisley Grammar School, with a public consultation to take place at a future date.

The remainder of the site is being purchased by Scottish Leather Group, which is converting the North Hall into a new car seat upholstery facility as the UK’s largest leather manufacturer expands its Renfrewshire operations, bringing with it a further 100 high-skilled jobs.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the local, national and global economies and we must be ready and able to tackle the social and economic harm now and in the months ahead.

“We have awarded more than £25million in government grants to businesses to provide immediate support and have consulted with more than 500 businesses and enterprise and education leaders as we develop a roadmap for Renfrewshire’s economic recovery, with a central focus on retaining and creating jobs.

“I am pleased that, following detailed negotiations with Chivas Brothers over the last two years, we have been able to conclude a contract for the future purchase of this site. Securing its public ownership will enable us to consider a range of development opportunities which support long-term growth of the local economy and bring benefits to the surrounding communities.

“The Chivas Brothers site provided many local jobs over the years and I am pleased that while one chapter is closing, this purchase will ensure the site continues to play a vital role in the region’s future for many years to come.”

Iain McFadyen, CEO of Scottish Leather Group said: “We are extremely pleased to have secured the North Hall part of the Chivas Brothers site which will allow us to expand our operations in Renfrewshire. The site will initially employ 100 people cutting leather for premium automotive interiors.”

Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “We are delighted to have confirmed the sale of our Paisley site to Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Leather Group. Together they bring significant opportunity to the local area, with the latter creating 100 new high-skilled jobs.

“The site has played an important role in the local community for many years, so we’re pleased this sale will allow it to continue to leave a positive economic and cultural legacy in Paisley.”

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Renfrewshire Council has unveiled plans for a £1.3m package of support designed to help local businesses get back on their feet after the coronavirus lockdown.

The proposals – including crisis loans, grants and advice services – were based on the results of a detailed survey of local firms run by the council and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.

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The council and chamber between them spoke to more than 500 companies – around 10% of Renfrewshire’s businesses – by phone and email to understand the issues they are facing and what would help them emerge from lockdown.

And members of the council’s Emergencies Board will this week be asked to approve proposals for several new funds targeting short-term support to the local economy. They include:

– £500k for zero-interest business restart loans of up to £5,000 to help small-and-medium-sized business with short-term cashflow;

– £400k for grants of up to £10,000 to help sustain businesses and plan for growth in the medium term;

– £250k for grants of up to £2,500 to help businesses adapt their premises to allow for physical distancing;

– £150k to help fund expert advice to businesses in crisis and self-employed people over training and access to funding;

The money is coming from within existing council budgets for business support and is expected to be the first stage of a longer-term economic recovery plan being developed by the council in partnership with the local business sector through the Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel.

If the proposals are approved when the board meets on Friday, council officers would put in place and promote a process for firms to apply for the support from mid-August.

The measures are being announced in the same week as Scotland’s non-essential shops, bars and restaurants are allowed to reopen – and as the council launches its Renfrewshire Spend Local campaign, encouraging residents to support local traders.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We understand the devastating impact of coronavirus on our local businesses and that some very challenging months lie ahead for them while the country emerges from lockdown.

“We and the Chamber have spent the past few months having in-depth conversations with hundreds of our businesses to develop a detailed understanding of what the council could do to help.

“What they told us is that cashflow and reduced sales were the biggest issues, along with adapting to physical distancing and new regulations – and the package of measures we are now putting forward were designed around that.

“Although there is a very challenging financial outlook for the council too, we have prioritised this investment because we are determined to do all we can to help keep as many local businesses as possible trading and to help keep people in jobs.

“And while we hope this package of support will – if approved – make a difference, we are at the same time calling on all residents to do what they can to help support local businesses. Money spent in the local area will support your local community, so please Spend Local if you can.”

Renfrewshire Council has already distributed more than £26m of financial support to local business through various Scottish Government funds designed to mitigate the effect of coronavirus.

More information on the range of business support on offer from the council can be found at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-business and www.investinrenfrewshire.com, while more info on Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce can be found at www.renfrewshirechamber.com

MFG Intu Braehead reopens 2020

SHOPPERS got some retail therapy at intu Braehead yesterday after months of lockdown.

Visitors headed to the mall an hour before the official opening time of 10am as non-essential stores reopened for the first time since March 24 following lockdown restrictions being eased.

MFG Intu Braehead reopens 2020

People coming to the mall followed the new measures and procedures introduced by intu Braehead to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The plan drawn up to keep everyone who visits or works there safe included social distancing and hygiene procedures and more support to help stores safely reopen.

It included a raft of other measures with floor stickers indicating a one-way system for visitors making their way through the centre and staff training to ensure visitors stay socially distanced.

Visitors were also required to wear face coverings in line with Scottish government instructions.

Peter Beagley, regional centre director for intu Braehead said: “We were pleased to see that everyone supported the measures we had put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

One of the first through the doors at intu Braehead were Anna Gorska, 35; her seven-year-old daughter Maja and friend Marzena Marcinczyk, 33, from Govan, in Glasgow.

Anna said: “We’ve really missed coming shopping at intu Braehead. We prefer to come to the shopping centre so we can see exactly what we are buying.

“We’re all going back to Poland later this month for a visit and we came early today in case there were any queues as we’re buying clothes for our holiday.”

People said they felt comfortable being in the centre with the health and safety measures put in place at the mall.

Audrey Stewart, from Bishopton said: “I definitely feel quite safe being in the centre with all the different procedures that’s been introduced and everything is well sign-posted.

“You just have to be a bit more observant when you’re walking around and everyone seems to be following what they’re being asked to do.”

Alan Reid, from Irvine, Ayrshire said: “With all the measures put in place I feel quite comfortable being here. The layout looks pretty good to me.”

Peter Beagley added: “It’s a great feeling being able to welcome people back to the centre and there has obviously been a big jump in footfall with most of our non-essential stores re-opening.

“We had remained partially open during lockdown for essential stores to stay open, but today now feels like we’re getting back to some kind of normality.

“We’ve made sure the centre is re-opening in line with the government’s guidelines and we’re doing everything we can to make sure intu Braehead is a safe place to visit and to work.

“It will be a different experience than usual for everyone who visits us, but it’s pleasing to see everyone following the guidelines we’ve put in place. Both our visitors and our staff are working together to keep each other safe and I would thank everyone for doing that.”

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Families and local residents in Renfrewshire are being urged to visit the Paisley.is website and steal back summer with great days out and activities available right on your doorstep.

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The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in changes to the way we live our daily lives in recent months – but as restrictions begin to ease, Renfrewshire’s destination brand Paisley.is aims to help locals get the most out of their summer holidays.

The Paisley.is website is a one-stop shop to see the best things to do across Renfrewshire, including spectacular outdoor spaces and undiscovered gems that can be enjoyed safely, in line with Scottish Government guidance.

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Visitors to the website will also be able to find a bucket list of fascinating blogs and local information, maps, activities and colourful ideas that children, families and local people can tick off over the summer months.

All the activities aim to help people keep fit and feel good while staying safe, learn new things about our area and provide things to do on a rainy day when you may not be able to enjoy the great outdoors.

Find out how you can steal back summer by visiting www.paisley.is/discover/steal-back-summer-with-paisley-is/.

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The last few months have been very difficult for everyone as we all deal with the impact of Covid19 on our daily lives. As measures begin to ease and we continue to follow the Scottish Government’s Route Map out of the crisis, it is important that we continue to do all we can to support our local residents, businesses and attractions over the summer months.

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“The summer holidays offer a glimmer of normality – and as we start to go out more often and see more of our friends and family, the Paisley.is website will help children and families to make the most of their summer safely by signposting to safe activities and places available in Renfrewshire.

“The website highlights everything that makes Renfrewshire a fantastic place to live and explore, showcasing all of our spectacular open spaces and hidden gems.

“We urge everyone to stay safe and stay local and find out how to have the best possible summer at www.Paisley.is.”

The Paisley.is destination brand and website was launched in March 2018, to showcase everything that makes Paisley and Renfrewshire a great place to live, invest and visit.

For more information, visit www.Paisley.is

rolls-royce

Rolls-Royce at Inchinnan won’t be getting help to save hundreds of jobs – that’s the message from the UK Government. 

Following calls from local MP Gavin Newlands for urgent intervention to save jobs at the site, the UK Minister for Business and Industry refused to act, saying, “our focus is on securing the medium and long-term future of the sector.” 

The response raised fears that the UK Government has given up on saving the 700 jobs under threat at Inchinnan and is staying quiet as work is moved overseas. 

Since Rolls-Royce’s announcement of job losses in May, unions and workers have made clear that they want to work with management to save jobs and save production at the site, which employs around 1,500 people in total.  

But company bosses have refused to discuss plans to reduce costs without reducing jobs, and the UK Government’s refusal to intervene  

Newlands hit back at the Minister, slamming the inaction so far and calling for help that could save the jobs, even at this late stage. 

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Gavin said: 

“To say I am disappointed with the UK Government’s response would be putting it mildly – it is a disgrace.  700 workers at Inchinnan and their families are facing huge financial hardship and uncertainty and instead of promising action, we are left yet again with platitudes and empty gestures.  

“In a 700-word letter the Minister mentions Inchinnan just once – that is indicative of a Government that has already written Inchinnan off and appears to have acted as part of the Rolls-Royce PR team from the beginning.  

“He says they are interested in securing the medium and long-term future.  So am I.  But without a short-term future there will be no future at Rolls-Royce for the staff who face losing their jobs. Let’s face it, Rolls-Royce have been off-shoring jobs for many years now with nary a word from its Government cheerleaders. 

“We are hearing a great deal from Boris Johnson and company about rebuilding the economy, but they seem content to let what has already been built crumble and leave our economy here in Renfrewshire to ruin.  

“Rolls-Royce Inchinnan is world-class site with a world-leading workforce and there is still time for the UK Government to step up and recognise that fact with support and action to keep these jobs at Inchinnan and build a long-term future for all who rely on the plant for their livelihoods