Gavin Newlands MP

The Scottish Government’s Educational Maintenance Allowance has been hailed as a “huge success” after figures showed Renfrewshire households have received over £12 million since the scheme’s launch.

New statistics released this week by the Scottish Government show 875 students in Renfrewshire benefited from the allowance in academic year 2020/21.

Gavin Newlands MP

That added up to a £725,000 windfall for young people across the county.

Across Scotland over 25,000 awards were made for the year, totalling over £22 million.

Since 2007 the EMA scheme has paid out over £356 million in payments to young people and their families, with Renfrewshire households receiving £12.5 million in that time.

A similar scheme in England was cancelled in 2010 by the then Tory – LibDem government, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have continued with the allowance, which pays £30 a week to eligible students aged 16 to 19 years old.

The figures were welcomed by Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands.

Gavin said:

“These latest figures from the Scottish Government show the direct financial help students across Renfrewshire and Scotland are receiving through the academic year.

“At a time when the cost of living crisis is hitting households harder than ever, the EMA provides crucial support to allow young people to stay in education and fulfil their full potential.

“The EMA is Scotland has been a huge success, in contrast to the actions of the Government down south who scrapped their equivalent over a decade ago.

“I would urge anyone in full time education who think they might qualify for the allowance to speak to their school or college after the holidays and make sure they’re getting the financial support they’re entitled to.”

More information on the Educational Maintenance Allowance is available at: www.mygov.scot/ema.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, attended a Parliamentary event on 6 July 2022, hosted by Stuart McDonald MP and the UK’s leading charity for premature and sick babies, Bliss, to pledge his support for the introduction of the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament last month by SNP MP Stuart McDonald, and the second reading of the Bill is next Friday.  Stuart, who topped this year’s Private Members Bill Ballot chose to bring forward the important legislation, said, “No parent should have to choose between being with their premature or sick baby in neonatal care and having to go back to work to earn a living.

“With the cost-of-living soaring, it is more important than ever that we secure an urgent change in the law so that parents of babies in neonatal care get the paid leave and support they need at an incredibly challenging time.”

The lack of extra maternity and paternity leave entitlement when a baby is born premature or sick means that many parents have to return to work while their babies are in hospital. With only two weeks of paternity leave available, many fathers and non-birthing parents return to work long before their babies are well enough to go home.

Gavin Newlands MP said:

‘’I am very proud to support the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill.  Nearly 16 years ago, my wife and I were faced with this extremely stressful situation when our oldest was born by emergency caesarean over 6 weeks premature.  If this becomes law, tens of thousands of families with a baby in neonatal care will benefit from extra leave and pay at the time they need it most, including families across Paisley and Renfrewshire North”

Recent Bliss research found that 1 in 4 families surveyed had to borrow money or increase their debt due to their baby’s neonatal stay. As household and living costs are rising, the pressure on families with a sick baby in hospital is increasing, making it even more important that MPs pledge their support now.

Bliss Chief Executive, Caroline Lee-Davey said: “We are thrilled that Stuart has introduced the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill as his Private Members Bill. The current law doesn’t work for families, but it also doesn’t work for employers who find it hard to support their staff when their worlds are turned upside down by neonatal care.

gavin newlands mp

The UK Government were slammed as “chancers” as it emerged that the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer’s wife is registered with HMRC as a non-dom, potentially saving her family millions in tax bills over recent years.

It emerged on Wednesday that Akshata Murthy, married to Rishi Sunak for 13 years, has used the non-dom scheme, which allows income from overseas to stay outwith the UK tax system, for a number of years after registering with HMRC – a department her husband is responsible for.

Ms Murthy is believed to be personally worth around £400m and is the daughter of a billionaire computer tycoon.

News of the tax avoidance scheme broke on the same day that National Insurance deductions were raised by 10% for any worker earning over £9,880 a year.

The MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands, said the revelations “stink to high heaven.”

He added:

“The revelations of the millionaire UK Chancellor and his family enjoying non-dom, tax avoiding status, are appalling and show how morality and integrity are dirty words to this Government 

“There’s no suggestion so far that the Chancellor’s wife broke the rules, or indeed, the law, but given he is the Minister responsible for the UK’s tax system and for HMRC this entire episode, like so many linked to the Tory Government, stinks to high heaven. 

“He needs to be clear and outline exactly how much he and his family have benefitted from avoiding paying tax in the UK, as well as which overseas governments are receiving tax payments on this income. 

“We are in the middle of the biggest cost of living crisis since the 1970s, and million of households across our country are having to make hard choices about their day to day lives, thanks in part to the inaction of the Chancellor and his collection of cronies and chancers.

 “Perhaps if he spent a bit more time thinking about the needs of ordinary people and a bit less time defending his tax avoiding wife’s behaviour, we might all see the benefit.

In my view, which I’m sure will be shared by millions of people right across the country, his position as Chancellor, in light of these revelations, is untenable.  Moreover, given what the Government are expecting the rest of us to swallow at the moment, I would question whether he should be a member of this Government at all.”

Parents in Renfrewshire are being urged to apply for Scottish Child Payment on the first anniversary of its roll out.

The payment of £10 per week, unique to Scotland, began in February 2021 as a direct measure to tackle poverty. It provides regular, additional financial support to parents and carers to help with the costs of caring for a child.

Since launch, the families of around 106,000 children across Scotland – including nearly 4,000 successful applications in Renfrewshire – have benefited from £520 a year with payments due to double to £20 per week from April this year.

By the end of this year – subject to data being made available by the DWP – the payment will extend to include all eligible children under the age of 16.

The Scottish Child Payment is part of a package of support from the Scottish Government targeted at low income households that came to nearly £2 billion in 2019-20, including nearly £700 million specifically aimed at children.

Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands, urged families who might be eligible to get their claim in sooner rather than later.

Gavin said:

“The Scottish Child Payment is a key plank in the Scottish Government’s strategy to help tackle child poverty, and its doubling to £20 a week from April will bring even greater benefits to thousands of households across Renfrewshire.

“But that support is only available if people apply for it.  Anyone who thinks they might qualify should visit mygov.scot/scottish-child-payment or call 0800 182 2222 to speak to Social Security Scotland and find out if they are eligible.

“With other schemes like the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods running as well, there’s a range of direct financial help for families across Renfrewshire and Scotland.

“From April, our Scottish Child Payment will double to £20 a week – four times the amount anti-poverty campaigners originally asked for. Together with our Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments, this will provide a package of financial support worth £8,400 by the time an eligible family’s first child turns 6.

“If you think a friend or family member might qualify, please encourage them to find out more and to help to ensure that everyone eligible gets the support they are entitled too.

“While Westminster may be sitting on their hands when it comes to the cost of living crisis, the Scottish Government are committed, within the limited powers they have, to direct help to children in poverty and try to tackle child poverty at its root.”

gavin newlands mp

DRIVING BOSSES TOLD TO GET A GRIP ON LORRY SHORTAGE 

Transport chiefs have been told to “get a grip” of the lorry drivers’ crisis, as the shortage of drivers now threatens Christmas.

Renfrewshire MP Gavin Newlands, the SNP’s Westminster Transport Spokesperson, challenged the Government at Transport Questions on Thursday.

gavin newlands mp 

Recent weeks have seen pubs run low on beer, while high street stores like Halfords and Dunelm have reported issues with their supply chains as fears grow the lorry driver crisis could impact Christmas. 

Long-term industry problems, such as driver recruitment and training, have been compounded by the effects of Brexit, which has seen thousands of drivers leave the industry and the cost of transport shoot up as red tape mounts up. 

And despite months of industry groups warning the Government of the driver crisis, it took until yesterday for changes to be made to the testing process to speed up driver testing and licensing.

Gavin said:

“It’s now over nine months since the challenges facing the haulage industry were made crystal clear as border checks caused by Brexit cost Scotland’s industries millions of pounds. 

“I and many others called on the Transport Secretary and the UK Government to get a grip then, yet here we are in the run-up to Christmas and our shops are becoming emptier by the day.

“Industry has been crying out for the Government to take this issue seriously, yet it’s only this week they’ve made some minor changes to the testing process.  That simply isn’t enough to resolve this growing crisis.

“At every step of the way the Government have pretended that Brexit would have no negative effects on our economy, that only sunlit uplands awaited.

“Perhaps if they’d been honest with voters and admitted ditching the EU would mean food shortages and delays in medical supplies reaching this country, Scotland would not have been dragged against its will out of the EU, and the problems caused by Brexit wouldn’t exist.”

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. 

rolls-royce

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 

rolls-royce

Commenting on the job losses announced at the Rolls-Royce base at Inchinnan, the SNP MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire North Gavin Newlands said:

“The workforce at the Rolls-Royce Inchinnan base have been integral – both in the UK and abroad – to the success of the firm over many years. The job losses announced today is devastating news which will hit workers, their families and the wider community during these difficult times.

“Throughout the period since the proposed job losses were first announced, the Scottish Government has made clear many times that it is keen to sit down with Rolls-Royce and support the operation at Inchinnan in whatever way it can. That remains the case and it is vital that the firm engages meaningfully and in good faith to protect jobs and people’s livelihoods.

“Even at this late stage, there is still time for management to have substantive discussions with unions and the wider workforce about what action is needed to weather the current economic storm.

“There is no denying the unprecedented challenges the aviation and aerospace industry finds itself in during this health pandemic. However, those challenges are best met by a collective effort by management, workers and unions to map out a future that secures employment and potential long-term growth once we are through the worst of the current crisis.

“It is also extremely disappointing that since the start of the difficulties facing the workforce, not a single UK government minister has contacted me to discuss the future of the plant.

“I urge the UK government to roll up its sleeves and join in efforts to work out a strategy that encourages high-skill, high-value jobs to be safeguarded rather than allowing them to be slashed.”

Tom Arthur, MSP for Renfrewshire South, added:

““Many of my constituents work at the Inchinnan site, and I have written to the Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills urging the government to do all that it can to support employees at the site.

“The workers at Rolls Royce are highly skilled and we must work to retain their talent and skills sets as the Scottish economy moves forward following this pandemic.  My office is ready to help any workers affected by this news.

“It is imperative that the Scottish and UK Governments engage with employees to ensure that they are redeployed and repurposed so that we retain their enormous talent and skill.”

rolls-royce

Calls have been made for urgent clarity on job losses at Rolls-Royce – and a promise to sit round the table with workers and unions to plot a way forward.  

 The company announced plans for 9,000 redundancies worldwide but have left UK workers – including those at the Inchinnan plant – in the dark about where and when the axe might fall.  

The Renfrewshire site employs hundreds directly and hundreds more in supply chains and local businesses, and any reduction in jobs would be a blow to the Renfrewshire economy.  

But so far management have refused to consult with unions and workers about the plans, which could result in job losses at sites across the UK.  

MP Gavin Newlands, whose constituency covers the plant, will continue to engage with the company and the unions as he has done on a regular basis in recent weeks, and called for management to rethink again on their plans. 

 

Gavin said: 

“The workforce at Inchinnan deserve better than the rumour and conjecture that have swirled around since the management’s announcement of job losses. 

“Unions across Rolls-Royce have consistently offered to work alongside the company to find a way through the current situation, and it’s completely unacceptable those offers have been ignored by management. 

“I also understand that the company have failed to make full use of the various government support schemes in place to help business through the Coronavirus pandemic which makes their announcement of job losses in the near future completely bewildering. Situations like this are exactly why these schemes were set up.  

“Moreover, the fact that it is always the UK workforce that bears the brunt of any Rolls Royce “restructuring” is a little galling when the company holds its hand out for UK Government R&D funding. It’s also more than galling that the company seems to be attempting a British Airways style raid on the terms and conditions of those loyal workers lucky enough to survive the cuts. 

“The Inchinnan plant has a well-deserved reputation for high-quality, highly efficient output exported around the world and it would be crazy for Rolls-Royce to throw that global reputation for excellence away.  

“For years the workforce at Inchinnan have shown loyalty to the company, and that loyalty must be repaid by management – at the very least they deserve clarity on Rolls-Royce’s plans and real, meaningful engagement on what the future holds.” 

Glasgow Airport exterior

Government ministers have been urged to step in to save local jobs – before it’s too late. 

The call came after UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, could not confirm which aviation companies or how many had made use of special support promised by the Chancellor over two months. 

With Glasgow Airport and Rolls-Royce both major employers in Renfrewshire, any loss of jobs at either would have major implications for the local economy. 

British Airways have already announced 12,000 proposed job losses, representing over one third of their total staff, with Chief Executive Willie Walsh appearing before the Transport Select Committee last week to face a grilling from MPs. 

MP Gavin Newlands, whose Paisley and Renfrewshire North seat includes the airport, and who sits on the Committee, hit out at the UK Government for their lack of action to help employees and employers. 

 

Gavin said: 

“Two months ago the Chancellor promised a bespoke support scheme for the aviation sector, and two months later we are still waiting for detail. 

“Vague answers about letters received just aren’t good enough – tens if not hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country are on the line and people’s livelihoods are too important to simply make vague promises.  We already know BA want to axe 12,000 jobs, including 130 at their Edinburgh base, and there can be no doubt that hundreds of jobs in Renfrewshire are under threat if BA go ahead with their plans.  

“Meanwhile road haulage and logistics firms are weeks from bankruptcy, while the coach industry is on its knees – both key sectors for the economic recovery we all need to see happen once the current crisis is over. 

“Transport is a fundamental building block of our national and international economy, and the lack of answers or a clear plan from the UK Government is deeply worrying.  Leaving our transport future up to Willie Walsh to plan is a recipe for disaster.” 

BrexitSpeech gavin

Gavin Newlands MP has said the UK government must introduce urgent health measures for people travelling to the UK – including health checks and quarantine measures at the border. 
 
The Renfrewshire MP has written to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raising concerns about the UK Government’s failure to act, which has meant hundreds of thousands of people have entered the UK without appropriate checks and measures in the months since the pandemic began. 

 
The SNP Shadow Transport Secretary said the Government must finally bring the UK into line with other countries, where tighter measures are being placed on travel in response to coronavirus. 

Fellow SNP MP Joanna Cherry, Shadow Home Secretary, followed suit in writing to the Home Secretary asking for similar action to stop coronavirus at the border and halt the virus in its tracks. 
 
Gavin said: 
 
“The UK government must urgently introduce coronavirus health checks and quarantine measures at the border for people travelling to the UK. 
 
“It is deeply concerning that UK Government has failed to act – and is still allowing thousands of people to enter the UK without appropriate checks and measures in place. 
 
“Other countries in Europe and across the world have already introduced these measures – leaving the UK as an outlier. The UK government has been far too slow to act and must now step up to prevent an increased risk of transmission. 
 

“It’s crazy that people can travel from coronavirus hotspots like Italy and Spain into Scotland and UK with no checks, no quarantine, and no action from the border or transport authorities. 

“It’s also putting the staff who remain working at airports at greater risk of contracting the virus and hindering efforts to stop the spread of this disease. 

“For people to have confidence in the UK government’s approach, it is crucial they put these long-overdue measures in place and set out how this will form part of a considered exit strategy.” 

gavin newlands

Charities across Renfrewshire are being encouraged to apply for emergency funding to help cope with the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The £50 million Wellbeing Fund is part of a £350 million package announced by the Scottish Government to support those most affected by the pandemic and enable a swift response according to local need. 

Of this, £10 million has been allocated for immediate priorities and £7 million committed to support around 2000 charities through small grants.  

This leaves £33 million of the Wellbeing Fund now open to bids from third sector organisations, with the application process run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

Over 500 charities are registered in Renfrewshire with many more headquartered elsewhere but providing services across the county.

The huge impact of coronavirus is being felt by charities with normal donations from the public dropping sharply, combined with a rise in demand for their services as the country battles through the current situation.

Organisations are being urged to visit scvo.org.uk and register their interest soon.

 

Gavin said: 

“Charities are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with donations down and a sharp increase in the demands on their services, so this news from the Scottish Government is particularly welcome. 

“Our third sector is working incredibly hard to help individuals and communities who need help the most, and this new fund is aimed at making sure local groups can carry on the tremendous work already going on in towns and villages across Renfrewshire and beyond. 

“Every charity, big or small, can apply for funding and I urge every local group who needs financial support to continue helping communities across Renfrewshire to make sure their application is in as soon as possible. 

“If your local group needs a helping hand through this unprecedented time, visit the SCVO website and start the process today.” 

BrexitSpeech gavin

Renfrewshire MP Gavin Newlands has hit out over the narrow scope of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme announced on Wednesday.

While many initially welcomed yesterday’s announcement that the scheme would be extended to those employed by 19th March, it is now clear from the detail that the UK government’s strict criteria on Real Time Information (RTI) submissions will prevent many businesses and employees from benefiting at all.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP has called on the Chancellor to make meaningful changes so anyone with a contract of employment by 19th March is covered.  The SNP is also calling for the Chancellor to reconsider his refusal to introduce a comprehensive financial package, including a guaranteed minimum income, to ensure no one is left behind.

Gavin said:

“It’s now clear from the detail that this announcement is not what it seemed. Thousands of businesses and workers will continue to lose out – unless the UK government makes meaningful changes to fix the serious gaps in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“SNP MPs have been contacted by many businesses and employees who say the narrow criteria being imposed has dashed their hopes of help. Frankly, that’s not good enough. Further changes are now required so that anyone with a contract of employment by 19th March gets the support they need.

“From the start of this crisis, I’ve urged the UK government to introduce a comprehensive financial package to ensure no one is left behind. It’s vital the Chancellor now fixes the gaps in these schemes, and looks again at introducing a guaranteed minimum income and strengthened welfare protections – so everyone gets the help they need.”