Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has met with a local energy efficiency agency to find out more about the latest work they’re doing to help people in Renfrewshire who are living in fuel poverty.

Local Energy Action Plan (LEAP) operate across Renfrewshire and offer a range of services to local people to help them reduce their energy use and also to help lift them out of fuel poverty.

The Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North also spoke to them about the hundreds of households in the constituency who were mis-sold energy efficiency measures by the discredited HELMS.

HELMS have now gone into liquidation. They were an approved Green Deal installer, with the Green Deal programme being the flagship policy of the UK Government.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“It was great to catch up with Scott from LEAP today to find out more about their latest work across Renfrewshire to help households reduce their energy use.

“LEAP plays an important role in helping to lift people out of fuel poverty, and they’re one of the reasons why the fuel poverty rating in Renfrewshire is lower than the national average.

“I also appreciated speaking to LEAP about HELMS’ mis-selling, this is an issue which I have been working on over the past couple of months. Hundreds of people from across Renfrewshire have been thrown into debt due to the scandalous behaviour of HELMS. HELMS may now be out of business, but they were an accredited Green Deal company, and as such, the UK Government has a responsibility for helping those in Renfrewshire who were exploited by this discredited company.

“However, in the meantime, LEAP can offer a range of excellent energy advice to households across Renfrewshire. They have a solid track record of being able to help people and I would encourage all local constituents to get in touch with them to find out how you can reduce your energy use and help save on your fuel bills.

Scott Duncan, Project Manager from LEAP, said:

“It was great to be able to catch-up with Gavin Newlands MP to highlight the important work that we’re doing in the area. Our staff and volunteers work hard to help lift people out of fuel poverty and to assist households to minimise their energy use. We work in a number of the towns and villages in Renfrewshire and happy to provide a range of energy advice to local households.”

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed new statistics which show that a record number of students from Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas have successfully gained a place at university.

The UCAS figures show the number of prospective students from the 20% most deprived areas – SIMD 20 – successfully getting a place at a UK university has risen by 5% to a new record level for all ages and by 9% for 18 year olds, taking the increase for 18 year olds to 21% since 2016. This comes alongside UCAS reporting a 3.1% fall in the total number of 18-year-olds in the overall population of Scotland.

This year the total number of Scottish students getting a place at a Scottish university has also hit a new record high of 28,970, up 4%.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“University should be an option for everyone regardless of their background or their circumstances. We still have a road to travel to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of accessing a university education. However, these figures show that Scotland is making good progress on widening access with the number of students from Scotland’s most deprived areas accepted into university increasing to a record high for the third year in a row.

“Universities could learn a lot on this from our local university, the University of the West of Scotland, which is leading the sector in recruiting students from some of the most deprived backgrounds.

“We still have work to do on this, but progress is being made and we’re on the right track. Good luck to all those new students who are about to start their studies in September.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has urged all those school pupils receiving their exam results today to contact the Exam Result Helpline if they’re requiring further information and help.

Pupils throughout Renfrewshire and Scotland will receive their results on Tuesday 7th August and the Exam Helpline can provide pupils, parents and carers with advice on clearing, resits, apprenticeships, college and university and what their next steps may be.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Congratulations to all those school pupils receiving their exam results today. School pupils throughout Renfrewshire work hard during the school year to reach this moment and I hope they get the results that they’re hoping for.

“Whether the exam results that pupils receive are better than expected or not, help is available from Skills Development Scotland. Pupils, parents and carers can call the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000 from Tuesday 7th of August for advice on a wide range of issues, including finding out what their next steps may be.”

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has congratulated all the UWS students who graduated recently, including his wife, Lynn.

Gavin Newlands attended the UWS Graduation Ceremony on Wednesday 4th July in the Paisley Abbey to support his wife, Lynn, who graduated with a first class honours degree in Human Management.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Congratulations to all the student who graduated from UWS. It’s a fantastic achievement to have reached this stage and I hope all the student and their families had a memorable day in the Paisley Abbey.

“Graduation days are always special occasions for the student, but they’re probably more memorable for the wider family who are in attendance to celebrate this special occasion. I know this as I am incredibly proud of my wife Lynn who joined her fellow students in graduating.

“I am extremely proud of Lynn’s success and she has worked incredibly hard to graduate with a first class honours degree. Not only is she a full-time mother, who has to put up with me being in London for most of the week, but she also works part-time as well. She’s put in the effort and the whole family is proud of her.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said:

“I was pleased to welcome MP Gavin Newlands to our ceremony at Paisley Abbey on Wednesday 4 July to celebrate the achievements of all our graduates, but in particular his wife Lynne, who I know he is incredibly proud of.”

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, visited a street scene set up in the UK Parliament last week by the charity Guide Dogs to learn more about the challenges that people with sight loss face when walking the streets.

At the event, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North dodged a pavement parked car, stumbled across a variety of street clutter, and visited a “shared space” area lacking safety features such as kerbs and pedestrian crossings. They heard from guide dog owners that dealing with these obstacles can leave them scared and reluctant to go out.

According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97% of blind and partially sighted people have encountered obstacles on the pavement. The most common obstacles were cars parked on the pavement: 9 out of 10 have had problems with pavement parking. Pavement parked cars force pedestrians into the road to face oncoming traffic. This is particularly dangerous for people with vision impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people.

In separate research by YouGov for Guide Dogs, two out of three drivers (65%) admitted having parked on the pavement and nearly half (46%) were confused by the law on pavement parking.

Guide Dogs is campaigning for a law to make pavement parking an offence, except on streets where local authorities agree that it is safe for pedestrians. This is already the case in London, but elsewhere across the UK, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement parking.

The Transport (Scotland) Bill, recently published by the Scottish Government, includes provisions on pavement parking.

Gavin Newlands MP commented:

“No one should be forced to risk themselves in traffic because of obstructions on the pavement. I have heard from my constituents how cars parking on the pavements and other obstructions affect people from all backgrounds, particularly disabled people, the elderly and those with prams.

“I welcome the plans to introduce a law in Scottish parliament which will hopefully end the problem of pavement parking. We should all be able to walk the streets without being obstructed by cars parked on pavements.”

Niall Foley, Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented:

“Too often, our streets can be cluttered with dangerous obstacles for blind and partially sighted people.

“The worst offenders are cars parked on the pavement. If you have a vision impairment, pavement parked cars aren’t just a nuisance, they can force you to step out into the road and put you in real danger.

“In most parts of the UK, the law on pavement parking is unclear and difficult to enforce. We want pavement parking to be the exception so pedestrians can rely on their path being clear. When drivers themselves don’t know the rules, that is a strong sign the law needs to change.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle this serious problem, and are pleased to see the publication of the Transport Bill which includes restrictions on pavement parking.”

Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands, is backing a life-saving appeal from Cancer Research UK for more NHS cancer staff.

He attended a special event in Westminster last week (Wednesday 6 June) to launch the charity’s new campaign – ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer’.

It encourages everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS by calling on the UK Government to tackle the chronic shortage of staff who diagnose and treat the disease.

For 70 years the NHS has been at the forefront of fighting cancer, but with a growing and ageing population cancer services are struggling to cope with the increased number of diagnoses.

This means more staff are urgently needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments, yet already 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled.

In the UK, cancer survival rates are still lagging behind the best in Europe and in Scotland many cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

To help save more lives, Cancer Research UK is now urging the UK Government to commit to training and employing more NHS staff to diagnose and treat cancer earlier.

Gavin Newlands MP said: “More people are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks to the fantastic work of the NHS staff who turn breakthroughs in research into vital tests and treatments.

“But as the health service reaches its 70th birthday, it’s facing unprecedented challenges.

“Every year, 6800 people are diagnosed with cancer in Paisley and Renfrewshire North. With this number set to rise, it’s vital that we have an NHS which is fit to deliver world-class care for all cancer patients now and in the future.

“That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer, so that everyone has the best possible chance of surviving this devastating disease.”

To speed up and improve cancer diagnosis and treatment investment is needed in key professions, including radiographers and radiologists who carry out and interpret scans such as MRIs, endoscopists who look inside the body by inserting a tiny camera and pathologists who look for abnormal cells, as well as oncologists (cancer specialists), nurses and surgeons.

Shaun Walsh, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re grateful to Gavin Newlands MP for his support. It’s up to all of us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against the disease.

“Without increased investment in NHS staff, we could see the death toll from cancer rising. But by acting right now and investing in the early diagnostic workforce, we could help prevent a crisis in the future and save many more lives.

“Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer. It’s our ambition for this to be 3 in 4 by 2034. That’s why we hope MPs, patients and the public get behind this vitally important campaign to help make our cancer services among the best in the world.”

To take action visit cruk.org/shouldertoshoulder or join the conversation on twitter #ShouldertoShoulder.

Scottish Orienteering have joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport.

The Group, which comprises Members of both Houses of Parliament and from all major parties, exists to discuss and advance issues of importance to Scottish sport by complementing the work of the Scottish government and all Scottish governing bodies.

Organisations with an interest in Scottish sport are welcome to join the Group, take part in its conversations, and challenge issues that face sport across Scotland.

Scottish Orienteering is the association for orienteering in Scotland, a constituent association of the British Orienteering Federation, and receives support from sportscotland. It becomes the second national governing body to join the Group.

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport Chair and Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands MP, said “I am pleased to welcome Scottish Orienteering to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport.

“The Group exists to support Scottish sport at all levels, and I look forward to working with Scottish Orienteering, to raise and challenge issues, and promote the good work that they and other sports across Scotland do.”

Scottish Orienteering President, Roger Scrutton, added “Scottish Orienteering are delighted to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport.

“Orienteering is an exciting and challenging sport that can be enjoyed by all, and we hope that by raising public awareness of sporting options, through greater media coverage for minority sports, we can increase participation and deliver improved health and social benefits to the Scottish population.”

SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands, has pledged his backing for Carers Week which begins next Monday, by committing to support local carers across Renfrewshire.

Gavin Newlands MP has signed up to the Carers Week pledge to take carer friendly action – highlighting the tireless work of the 6.5 million unpaid carers across the UK and offering them any support they need. There are an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers across Scotland – with 44,000 of them under the age of 18.

The Scottish Government has taken decisive action to support unpaid carers – investing over £135 million in a range of programmes and initiatives to support carers and young carers, as well as passing a new Carers Act, which has come into force this year, which extends the rights of carers and ensures better support.

Mr Newlands also hosts a Carers’ surgery in Renfrewshire Carers Centre on the last Friday of every month.

Commenting, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands, said:

“I am always delighted to have the opportunity to support the wonderful work that carers do in our communities in Renfrewshire and across society.

“Across Scotland, there’s an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers, with tens of thousands of them being under the age of 18. It is our duty to support them in whatever way we can.

“The Scottish Government has been leading the way in providing this support for unpaid carers – investing over £135 million, as well as passing the new Carers Act in 2016, which came into force this year.

“And through the new Social Security Agency, the Scottish Government plans to increase Carers Allowance to the level of Job Seeker’s Allowance, giving carers that little bit extra support that can go a long way.

“Carers Week gives us all the chance to show our support and appreciation for the work carers do in our local communities – and I am committed to playing a positive role in this inspiring annual event.”

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, met with Renfrew YMCA to discuss the vital work they do in the local community and the role they play in supporting young people with mental health issues.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is centred around stress and the fact that two thirds of individuals experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes. In addition, mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 people children and young people.

Renfrew YMCA run activities to promote a healthy lifestyle by organising awareness sessions on a range of subjects including mental health. They provide a safe environment for young people to discuss issues in an open and honest manner. They also work with young people to break down barriers in the community and build positive relationships with other community members, supporting them to reach their full potential.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Mental Health problems affect around 1 in 10 of our children and young people and it’s clear that we all need to devote greater attention on this issue to help people who are experiencing poor mental health. It is alarming that 70% of children and young people who have experienced mental health problems have not had the appropriate early intervention. It is therefore extremely important that those affected have the correct support available as emotional wellbeing is just as important as physical health.

“Organisations such as Renfrew YMCA can play an important part in helping those young people who suffer from poor mental health. They regularly engage with young people and are in a fantastic position to positively help those young people who have mental health problems. The Renfrew YMCA already support young people through physical activity, involvement in community activities or offering a safe space. All these activities are key in helping to improve a person’s mental health”

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