gavin newlands post office

SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands, reiterated his calls for the UK government and national banks to take action to support the sustainability of Community and Sub-Post Offices during a House of Commons debate last night.

During the debate, Newlands highlighted the rising importance of Post Offices to small towns and rural communities and renewed SNP calls for the UK government to act to protect their future.

gavin newlands post office

As bank branch numbers continue to fall, local Post Offices have become increasingly important to local communities – particularly to the elderly and those with additional support needs because of the face-to-face banking services that they provide. This is on top of the role they play in services regarding post, advice, pensions, benefit administration, and community spaces.

The debate took place as UK Finance, trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector, re-negotiates the current deal with Post Office Ltd, where financial remuneration for sub-postmasters from banks to carry out services falls short.

Ahead of the debate, Newlands visited Post Offices in Ferguslie, Renfrew, Bargarran, Kirklandneuk, Inchinnan, and Bridge of Weir. He raised many of their concerns during his lengthy speech.

Commenting after the debate, Gavin Newlands MP said:

“It is now imperative that the UK government steps in and acts to ensure that the Post Office, a publicly owned body, gets a fair deal from banks.

“The local Post Office plays a huge role in public life – it is both a symbol of the community and a lifeline on everything from pensions and benefits to vital day-to-day banking services.

“In many small and rural towns in Scotland, the local Post Office is the last place where a face-to-face service is available, making it essential for the elderly and those with additional support needs.

“Sub-postmasters have continually raised concerns that they are not receiving adequate financial remuneration for services they provide to major banks turning over huge profits, resulting in many post offices operating at a loss.

“Sub-postmasters are also often paid less than the minimum wage when you take into account the hours they work, so not surprisingly many are considering leaving our local high streets.”

“The public owns the Post Office Ltd and the UK Government steward it on our behalf, it is therefore their responsibility to ensure the Post Office has a sustainable future for all of our communities.”

gavin newlands mp

LOCAL MP SUPPORTS BEN & JERRY’S ASYLUM SEEKER WORK CAMPAIGN

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, is backing the Lift the Ban Coalition campaign to restore the right to work for people seeking asylum who have been waiting for a decision on their asylum claim for over six months, unconstrained by the Shortage Occupation List which details many professions that are desperately needed in the UK.

gavin newlands mp

The Lift the Ban Coalition is made up of over 170 organisations, including faith groups, businesses, trade unions and NGOs from across the UK.

One of these coalition members is Ben & Jerry’s, who campaign on a range of social issues at a local, national and international level, and are vocal supporters of restoring the right to work for asylum seekers.

MPs have been receiving unexpected deliveries from Ben and Jerry’s. In support of Lift the Ban’s campaign they have sent out ice creams tubs with nonsensical flavours to MPs. Ice cream of these silly flavours, like the current policy preventing people seeking asylum from working, doesn’t make sense.

The campaign hopes that these nonsense pints will help this issue get the attention it deserves.

Gavin Newlands received a tub of ‘Sprout of your Rind’. Backing the campaign he said:

“We in the Scottish National Party have been arguing for a long time that the UK Tory Government’s inhumane current rules that ban people seeking asylum from working don’t make sense – just like this Ben & Jerry’s Sprout of your Rind ice cream flavour!

“I’m proud to support the campaign to #LiftTheBan. It makes sense and it’s humane!”

gavin newlands mp

LABOUR MUST EXPLICITLY BACK NEW REFERENDUM TO PUT DECISION TO PEOPLE

 

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has said Tory MPs have “betrayed Scotland” by voting to keep the threat of a devastating No-Deal Brexit on the table – despite knowing it could cost 100,000 jobs in Scotland and cause a recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

gavin newlands mp

With just 30 days left until the UK is due to crash out of the EU, all thirteen Tory MPs with Scottish constituencies voted against the SNP amendment to rule out a No-Deal Brexit, which received cross-party support from Labour, Lib Dem, Independent, Plaid Cymru, and Green MPs. The amendment was defeated narrowly by 288 to 324.

Speaking after the vote, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said time is running out to prevent a disastrous bad-deal or no-deal Brexit – and called on Labour to “unequivocally and explicitly back a new referendum” to put the decision back to the people.

Analysis has shown that any form of Brexit will be damaging for Scotland’s economy. A report by the Scottish Government’s top economic adviser, published last week, revealed that a no-deal Brexit could result in a recession worse than 2008 – causing Scotland’s GDP to fall by up to 7%, and leading to unemployment rising by around 100,000.

Speaking after the vote, Gavin Newlands said:

“This week MPs had the opportunity to finally protect Scotland’s interests by agreeing to take No-Deal off the table, but Westminster voted against this- including thirteen Scottish Tory MPs

“We now face the real danger of crashing out of the EU, with a devastating hard Tory Brexit that could cost 100,000 Scottish jobs and cause a recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

“Time is running out to prevent a bad-deal or no-deal Brexit. Either outcome would be deeply damaging for Scotland – destroying jobs, and inflicting lasting harm on our economy, public services and people’s living standards.

“It is shameful that all thirteen Tory MPs with Scottish constituencies betrayed Scotland by voting against taking No-Deal off the table, against the clear interests of their own voters who will be left poorer as a result.

“It is now time for Labour to join the SNP in unequivocally backing a new referendum, with Remain in the European Union on the ballot paper.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit and we should not be dragged out of the EU against our will. Whatever happens now, it is crystal clear that the only Scotland can protect its intersts is with independence.”

gavin newlands

GAVIN NEWLANDS: EXTRA LEAVE NEEDED FOR PARENTS OF SICK AND PREMATURE BABIES

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called for fathers of babies born sick or premature to be given extra paid paternity leave. This follows the recent publication of a report by the charity Bliss, the UKs leading charity for babies born premature or sick.

The survey found that 66% of dads had to return to work while their child was still receiving specialist neonatal care. It also showed that 36% of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit.

Bliss also say that half of all parents would have liked to take more parental leave but couldn’t afford to take any longer off work and 24 per cent of dads said they were concerned for their job if they asked for more time off.

Newlands has joined calls led by his SNP Colleague Glasgow East David Linden MP, for fathers of sick or premature children to be given extra paternity leave.

gavin newlands

Commenting on the study, Newlands said:

MP JOINS CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL PATERNITY LEAVE

GAVIN NEWLANDS: EXTRA LEAVE NEEDED FOR PARENTS OF SICK AND PREMATURE BABIES

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called for fathers of babies born sick or premature to be given extra paid paternity leave. This follows the recent publication of a report by the charity Bliss, the UKs leading charity for babies born premature or sick.

The survey found that 66% of dads had to return to work while their child was still receiving specialist neonatal care. It also showed that 36% of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit.

Bliss also say that half of all parents would have liked to take more parental leave but couldn’t afford to take any longer off work and 24 per cent of dads said they were concerned for their job if they asked for more time off.

Newlands has joined calls, led by his SNP Colleague Glasgow East David Linden MP, for fathers of sick or premature children to be given extra paternity leave.

Commenting on the study, Newlands said:

“Our first daughter, Emma, was born over 6 weeks premature following an emergency caesarean, this in itself, is a time of extreme stress given the concern over the health of my wife Lynn and the baby. Everything went well and Emma was given fantastic care in the Special Care Baby Unit at the Southern General and we took 3lb Emma home 2 weeks after her birth.

“We were lucky, not only because the premature birth, in the end, had no material impact on the health and development of our daughter, but that I was allowed to spend that time in the hospital with Lynn and Emma. I had returned to work the day after the birth as Lynn wanted me to use my paternity to help at home when she and the baby were allowed home, but I was lucky as my boss and his wife had gone through a tough pregnancy themselves and was very empathetic.

“He told me that my place was at my wife and daughter’s side and sent me straight to the hospital on additional leave. I am, to this day, extremely grateful to him for allowing me to do that. But this is the rub, it shouldn’t be down to luck, or a benevolent boss. It should be in statute that anyone in that situation should not feel compelled to leave their sick and premature baby at a very vulnerable stage to return to work – the UK Government must make provision for additional leave in these circumstances.

I have worked with Bliss in the past myself and I strongly support the work that David and his NeoNatal All Party Group are doing on this. It’s an idea whose time has come.”

waspi

MAJOR DEMONSTRATION TO TAKE PLACE AGAINST STATE PENSION INEQUALITY

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has given his backing to an upcoming protest by the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) Campaign.

The WASPI Campaign is pushing for fair transitional state pension arrangements for all women born in the 1950s who have been affected by changes to state pension legislation.

waspi

The 1995 Conservative Government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s SPA (State Pension Age) to 65, the same as men’s. WASPI agrees with equalisation, but does not agree with the unfair way the changes were implemented – with little or no personal notice (1995/2011 Pension Acts), faster than promised (2011 Pension Act), and no time to make alternative plans.

Retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences. The campaign started with ordinary women who in 2015 got together via Facebook and decided to fight this injustice.

This translates into a ‘bridging’ pension to provide an income until State Pension Age, not means-tested, and with recompense for losses for those women who have already reached their SPA. There are no specific age groups within the period mentioned above that are favoured above others.

The WASPI demonstration is taking place on Saturday (23rd February) at 12:30pm from outside Festival Park, Govan Road and will process to the Mary Barbour Statue at Govan Cross.

Newlands is calling on all women who have been affected and anyone who wishes to show solidarity to attend the demonstration, commenting, the MP said:

“The UK Government has failed this generation of women and must now improve transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6th April 1951 who have been adversely affected by the acceleration of the increase to the state pension age.

“The SNP is clear that we support equalisation, but this has been utterly mismanaged by the UK Government. They need to admit that there are options available to them and offer proper transitional protection.

“Not informing women properly and then accelerating these changes with little notice is totally unacceptable. The women impacted by this deserve proper transitional protection and need it now. The Tories should recognise the momentum behind this campaign and provide justice for these women.”

Gavin Newlands MP

JEREMY CORBYN AND RICHARD LEONARD MUST EXPEL RENFREWSHIRE COUNCILLOR

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called on Renfrewshire Councillor and former MP who lost his seat in 2015, Jim Sheridan, to immediately resign his position. This follows misogynistic language used on Facebook that compares the Scottish Government’s provision of local government finance to rape. Newlands has pointed out that these comments are insulting to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. If Sheridan does not resign himself, Newlands has called on Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard to kick him out of the party.

Gavin Newlands MP

Controversially, Sheridan was re-admitted to the Labour party following anti-Semitic comments that have been describes as ‘hurtful’ by the Jewish community. His re-admission was less than a month ago, and comes as Labour is embroiled in an anti-Semitism scandal which has resulted in MPs leaving Labour.

Newlands has campaigned against sexual assault and rape as part of his support for the White Ribbon Campaign against Gender-Based Violence. The MP  After learning of Councillor Sheridan’s post, Newlands condemned his comments:

“Councillor Jim Sheridan’s latest outburst is quite frankly disgusting and beneath contempt. It is an Inexcusable statement from anyone, let alone an elected local representative and former MP.

Councillor Sheridan’s re admittance to the Labour Party following his shameful comments about the Jewish community was in my opinion, an outrageous decision. An opinion which is shared with many members in his own Renfrewshire labour council group and many high profile members of the Labour Party across the UK.

Councillor Sheridan is entitled to his own views on local government finance, but to reference rape in describing a council budget is callous degrading and deeply misogynistic.

This language is diminishing of the suffering of survivors and victims of gender-based violence and is indefensible!

If Councillor Jim Sheridan had any decency he would resign as a Councillor but failing this, Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard should show leadership and kick him out of the party for go

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”.

gavin

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.”