Gavin Newlands MP

NEWLANDS: THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION MUST BE PROTECTED WHEREVER THAT MAY BE.

 

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, joined calls from MPs of all major parties for a fair and democratic process to bring an end to the Catalan crisis.

Gavin Newlands MP

This follows the start of the trial of many pro-independence Catalan politicians and activists, some of whom have been remanded in prison for over a year on trumped up charges of rebellion and sedition. The 12 defendants include the President of the Catalan Parliament (equivalent to the House of Commons’ Speaker), and two civil society leaders.

Newlands has established himself as a strong supporter of the Catalan right to determine their own future and has spoken out against state repression of democracy across the world. Newlands has also drawn the public eye towards the links between Paisley and Renfrewshire North and Catalonia, including the connections to the small village of Borgonya where the local team plays in St Mirren style stripes due to their common history with the Coats group.

Speaking up for the 12 accused, Newlands said:

“I am proud to join MPs from across parties to stand in solidarity with the Catalan political prisoners who this week begun their trial on medieval charges of rebellion and sedition.

“Catalan pro-independence parties went into an election with a promise that they would hold a referendum on their independence, this gave them an undeniable mandate. The Spanish Government cannot continue to ignore these democratic calls forever.

“Regardless of your opinion on Catalan Independence, one thing is certain, namely that as enshrined in article 1 of the UN Charter, the right of Self-Determination must be protected all over the world. It is an international norm that must be respected and championed by everyone who claims to believe in democracy.

“The Spanish Government must agree to a fair and robust democratic process to bring this crisis to an end.”

gavin newlands mp

NEWLANDS: TORY GOVERNMENT MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY TO HELP VICTIMISED CONSUMERS

 

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, met with Claire Perry, UK Government Minister for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, to discuss the ongoing Green Deal scandal which has left thousands out of pocket due to the dishonest sales practices undertaken by the disgraced company HELMS. Newlands’ constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire North has more households affected than any other constituency in the UK.

gavin newlands mp

HELMS actions were enabled by the UK Government, who have been accused of ‘trying to look Green’ rather than implementing effective energy-saving policies with adequate consumer protections. Many have been disappointed by the Green Deal – which looked good on paper as it promised to provide more energy efficient homes resulting in cheaper bills and lower carbon footprints. However, in reality it has driven many into dire financial straits due to skyrocketing energy bills and debt tied to the property rather than the individual.

Newlands has raised this issue with the UK Government on many occasions, including with the Prime Minister.

Newlands met with the Minister of State Claire Perry MP, alongside George Arbuckle from Trading Standards Scotland, Marcus Wilson from Citizens Advice Scotland, and Victoria Wilson and David Rendell from the Green Deal Finance Company. The meeting was secured by the Renfrewshire MP to facilitate a discussion with all parties involved in dealing with the aftermath of the HELMS Scandal in order to explain the complexities involved to the Government. This included raising the issues that many of his constituents have had with the complaints process, whilst raising the various inadequacies and loopholes within the scheme that allowed disgraced former Managing Director of HELMS, Robert Skillen to abuse the system.

The Minister has committed to look at the provision of support for those going through the complaints handling process and has also committed to liaising with the Green Deal Finance Company to speed up the resolution of cases.

“Hundreds  of my constituents have been left out of pocket thanks to this poorly designed and woefully implemented policy, so it is encouraging that the Minister finally met with me after raising this issue for quite some time.

“Be in no doubt that HELMS are responsible for this situation but no one expects to be scammed when they sign paperwork with a UK Government symbol, this is why Claire Perry and the Tory Government have a duty to resolve this scandal.

“I hope that this meeting allowed all parties involved to gain a better understanding of what many of my constituents in Paisley and Renfrewshire North have been going through, and I hope that the Minister will now act accordingly to finally bring cases to a satisfactory conclusion by ensuring that they are appropriately compensated.

BrexitSpeech gavin

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed the news that the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have backed a tailored immigration policy for Scotland.

The FSB are expected to warn the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee tomorrow (Tuesday) that the proposed immigration system by the Tory government will fail to meet the needs of Scotland’s business community, as well as asking the UK government to re-think its damaging immigration proposals in the White Paper. The FSB will also make the case for an immigration policy specific to Scotland.

BrexitSpeech gavin

The intervention by the FSB confirms that Scotland’s immigration needs differ from the UK as a whole and, as such, require a tailored policy that will accommodate the distinct demographic and skill shortage needs of Scottish businesses.

Businesses and employers have warned that Tory plans would make the recruitment of workers at all skill levels significantly more difficult, harming Scotland’s economy and communities.

Commenting, Gavin Newlands MP, said:

“Brexit, the rise in reported incidents of hate crime, and isolationist immigration policy have had a negative impact on Scotland’s economy, on our jobs, and on our businesses.

“The UK Government should listen to the many business groups and organisations who are crying out for Scotland to have power over its own immigration policies.

“Decisions like scrapping the post-study work visa, against the overwhelming support of the Scottish public, is just one of many example of how Westminster immigration policy ignores Scotland’s clear demands and requirements.

“It is now absolutely clear that immigration powers must be fully devolved to the Scottish Government, so that we can build an inclusive immigration policy which meets Scotland’s distinct needs.”

gavin

VIOLENT CRIME IN SCOTLAND AT 44 YEAR LOW THANKS TO SNP GOVERNMENT

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has said the Scottish Tories are either “ridiculously confused or hypocritical” after attacking SNP justice reforms in the same week that such measures were hailed by the UK government as “smart justice”.

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The Scottish Government is extending a presumption against short prison sentences as alternatives to custody, such as Community Payback Orders, have been proven more effective at reducing reoffending.

UK Justice Secretary David Gauke described effective alternatives to custody as “not soft justice but ‘smart’ justice” – while at the same time the UK party promoted a petition accusing the SNP of “soft touch justice” for taking the same approach. This comes at the same time as leading Scottish Tories have criticised SNP’s justice policies.

The UK government has previously admitted that there is “conclusive evidence” that the Scottish Government’s approach reduces reoffending.

UK Government Justice Minister, Rory Stewart, said last year: “We have a lot to learn from Scotland, specifically on community sentences, and indeed we will be looking at what more we can do to emphasise that a custodial sentence in the short term should be a final resort.”

Gavin Newlands MP, who sits on the Westminster Justice Committee and is a member of the SNP Justice and Home Affairs team, met with Karyn McCluskey, the previous Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit which has been credited with the leading the unprecedented success of policing  in Scotland. Newlands commented:

“Thanks to the SNP Scottish Government, violent crime is now at a 44-year low.

“Scottish Tory MSPs keep attacking the SNP’s approach to justice to try and score points, however, the approach is clearly working.

“Meanwhile, in England Tory Ministers in the UK Government admit the SNP’s approach is ‘smart justice’, it is rank hypocrisy of the Tories to praise the SNP in Westminster then attack them in the Scottish Parliament.

“Short sentences help no one and often make situations worse. Pushing offenders through this revolving door is no credible approach to justice. Instead, Community Payback works far better in stopping reoffending and getting people back to a normal life.

“The UK Government as enthusiastically backed this effective approach so it is ridiculous that Scottish Tories feel the need to criticise this astounding progress.”

gavin newlands mp santander

GAVIN NEWLANDS PUSHES MUNDELL TO INTERVENE ON SANTANDER CLOSURES

SCOTTISH SECRETARY URGED TO GET ROUND CROSS-PARTY TABLE

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has urged Scotland’s Secretary of State to make clear what steps the UK government will take to halt the earmarked closure of 15 Scottish branches of Santander.

gavin newlands mp santander

 

The bank announced plans to close 15 branches in Scotland, which will have a devastating impact on staff, customers and local firms. Branches earmarked for closure include the Renfrew Branch.

Commenting, Newlands said:

“The closure of 15 Santander branches across our country is another kick in the teeth to our high streets and local communities, I urge the bank to halt these closures and begin a proper consultation with their staff and the communities that depend on them.

“Bank branches, including the Santander in Renfrew, provide vital services that are useful to many in our community, especially those with additional needs and the elderly due to the face-to-face nature of the service. This ultimately means that the important local employment they offer can be valuable for local communities.

“David Mundell needs to get his act together, step-up, and engage with other parties to define what needs to be done by the UK Government in order to halt these closures.

MP Gavin Newlands

LOCAL MP CONRATULATES LEADING SMALL BUSINNES ON ROCCO SUCCESS

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, met with FE Live to discuss their business, which provide full audio and event solutions for Concerts and Festivals, Touring, Conferences, Corporate, Sporting Events, and Theatre and Entertainment.

The Renfrew based team won two ROCCO Awards in 2018, awarded by the Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce. They took home Outstanding Business of the Year Under 5 People and two of their staff, Andrew McMillan and Ryan McIlravey won Young Business Person of the Year.

MP Gavin Newlands

Newlands discussed their recent success, their business model, and how the company may be affected by Brexit.

Newlands lodged an Early Day Motion to give recognition to their success as an SME. Commenting on his visit, Newlands said:

“It was great to meet the team at FE Live, and I am proud to have their operation within my constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire North. FE Live are just one example of Renfrewshire’s diverse economy, which has SME’s in every field as well as leading international companies like Terumo Aortic and Glasgow Airport. I wish them all the best in continuing to provide their leading service across Scotland and beyond”

Ryan Mcilravey, Managing Director from FE Live commented on the visit and recognition received:

“It’s always nice to be recognised for the things you’ve worked hard for but I think our success really just comes from a desire to see our customers receiving the best end product that we can possibly provide. Our mantra has always been to invest in the best equipment and the best people so that we can provide a superior service for the end client. Receiving recognition from the local Chamber of Commerce and in the House of Commons I suppose is testament to the success of that mantra! We’re excited about what’s coming next however with our recent investment yet again in the latest technology from d&b audiotechnik and the year ahead is already looking very busy. Our customer base is so diverse from small scale corporate events to huge arena shows – this diversity arguably presents our biggest challenge.

“It’s one that we love to meet head on though as we provide the best service that we possibly can for all of our customers.”

Gavin Newlands MP

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, and member of the House of Commons Justice Committee, has welcomed official figures that show that Scotland’s progressive approach to justice is paying off, with communities benefiting from around 7 million hours of work by people serving Community Payback Orders.

In Scotland, the use of custodial sentences under 3 months has fallen over the last decade, and re-conviction rates are at a 19 year low. Since their introduction in 2011, community sentences have been shown to work in preventing re-offending.

The Tories in Scotland have launched narrow-minded attacks on the replacement of short prison sentences with community sentences, calling the approach “soft touch” – in spite of clear evidence that it is the right approach. Their hypocrisy was exposed when Tory Minister Rory Stewart stated that “not overusing short prison sentences inappropriately is a good lesson from Scotland from which we wish to learn.”

Gavin Newlands MP

Commenting, Newlands said:

“It is clear that the SNP’s approach to justice is working. Scotland is now a safer place than it was a decade ago thanks to policies which make a real difference to our communities. Short term prison sentences often simply lead to reoffending and can ruin entire lives and tear apart families.

“Tories like Minister Rory Stewart are keen to learn the lessons of the SNP Scottish Government on justice, so why are Tories in Scotland not willing to do the same?

“These recent statistics prove that the Scottish approach is working and that we can have a justice system that rehabilitates, cuts the numbers of re-offences down, and helps victims.”

Gavin Newlands MP

NEWLANDS SPEAKS OUT FOR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT IN IMMIGRATION BILL DEBATE

On Monday night, Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, opposed the UK Governments divisive Immigration Bill which seeks to bring an end to Freedom of Movement in the UK and for British citizens.

Gavin Newlands MP

Freedom of Movement allows every British citizen, including every Scottish person, to work and travel freely across the EU’s 27 countries.

During his speech, Newlands told the stories of many who had reached out to tell him about his positive experiences of Freedom of Movement:

“My constituent Emma Hendrie, a 21-year-old student, studied for a semester abroad at Ghent University, Belgium as an exchange student in 2018. Once her fellow students got past her apparently strong Paisley accent, she became friends with people there from Europe and beyond.

Alison Ruthven Hughes lived in the Netherlands on two different occasions, which was a great experience for her children, who got the chance to meet other children from all over the world. Alison says that she is Scottish and European.

Mark Harold emigrated to Lithuania in 2005 to work on music projects and he stayed for many years. Mark was eventually elected by the City Council- he cites the raver community as the source of his popularity- and he is now the Night Mayor Vilnius and is the only known Non- Citizen to have sworn on the Lithuanian Constitution.

Sandra and Steve Murray wrote to me to tell me their story of making a new home in a small village on the French/Spanish border. Her village is populated by Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Belgian, English, Irish, Swedish and people from many other nations. Their daughter now lives in Barcelona and they regularly cross the Pyrenees to visit regularly. They wrote that in their village, ‘everyone is much more aware of what we have in common, rather than what separates us.’ And that ‘they only wish that the UK would adopt the Scottish view that we all want the same things – peace, equality and opportunity.

Others also told me how much EU Citizens in Scotland have enriched their lives:

Stewart Everett wrote to me and said that he didn’t study abroad but thought his university experience in Glasgow was made better by the European students being here as he would often be the only Scottish person at a party, he counts many interesting conversations and said that he learnt much about the world and how Scotland relates to it.

And David Kidd said that just because he may not have used freedom of movement himself that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel the benefit of it through others.”

gavin-video-chamber

THE DEBATE FOLLOWS PAISLEY’S BID TO BE CITY OF CULTURE 2021

 

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, brought up Renfrewshire’s unrivalled contribution to the world in a debate in Westminster Hall.

The debate was focused on proposals to create a ‘Town of Culture’ award to accompany the prestigious ‘City of Culture’ award, after Paisley was the only town to be successful in receiving the opportunity to bid for 2021.

In the 2021 competition, Paisley competed it with cities many times its size, and the bid alone has left a great legacy for the town. Newlands also mentioned Renfrew’s historic past in his speech and hopes that in if the award is established, he hopes town across Renfrew will make bids.

santander

BANKS CAN’T EXPECT POST OFFICES TO PICK UP SLACK

Notice has just been given that Santander will close their doors to the town of Renfrew on 18th July 2019.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has hit out at Santander’s decision to close 140 branches, including the branch in Renfrew.

santander

Santander announced this morning that they would be closing many branches across the UK, with very little explanation, including the Renfrew branch, and are unlikely to have considered how easy the access to other nearby branches are- with the nearest being Paisley High Street and Glasgow Argyle Street.

Part of their explanation for the closure was that local Post Offices now provide many basic banking services. However, this is often financially draining for them as it requires important resources to be used and employee time.

After learning of the planned closures Newlands commented:

“I was deeply concerned to learn of the imminent closure of the Renfrew Santander branch as 1 of 140 closures across the UK. This is certainly a disappointing situation for Santander customers in Renfrew and the surrounding area, but will be a body blow to the branch employees themselves.

Despite moves towards online and telephone banking, people, particularly the elderly, still need access to physical bank branches. In writing to Santander to express my dismay at the closure I have asked if they have taken this fully into account before deciding to close the branch.

In their explanation, Santander cited that Post Offices now provide many basic banking services. However, carrying out these services puts a serious financial strain on Post Offices as the paltry fees they receive for their work doesn’t cover the actual cost of providing the service. We cannot expect our local Post Offices to pick up the slack for large banks that up sticks and close their branches. I strongly urge Santander to reconsider this closure.”