A pioneering employment programme in Renfrewshire has created 1000 new jobs in 1000 days and transformed the career prospects of a generation of young people. Now council chiefs believe it is realistic to aim for a target of eradicating long-term youth unemployment in the area.

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Renfrewshire’s youth employment figures have increased substantially over the last three years, taking Renfrewshire from 27th place out of 32 local authorities to 4th place with a record 68.3% of young people in work (June 2015 figures).

Renfrewshire was once a jobs blackspot for people aged 18-24. Just three years ago, over 10% of that age group was unemployed. Now that figure is 1.9% – below the national average.

Renfrewshire Council’s £10.5million Invest in Renfrewshire programme has completely turned that situation around.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “1000 days ago, Renfrewshire was dealing with the impact of recession and the legacy of above-average levels of youth unemployment.

“We started from the position that youth unemployment, even in very difficult economic circumstances, didn’t have to be inevitable and was not acceptable in terms of the damage it caused to individuals and communities.

“Accordingly, we almost doubled the funding for Invest in Renfrewshire and sharpened the focus on its core strengths – working in partnership with local business to grow the local economy and so dramatically increase the training and jobs available to young people.

“It has been very encouraging to see local businesses grow and, in return, provide employment experience, work coaching, traineeships, modern apprenticeships and internships.”

All this means that young people like Sarah Hamilton, Colin McKenzie and Megan Milligan, who are all part of the local success story, can look forward to building careers and futures in Renfrewshire.

Megan Milligan was an Invest in Renfrewshire Graduate Intern. She now works with the ‘I Am Me’ campaign to end disability hate crime. She said; “I always tell people about the programme. An internship can lead to a career and use your hard-earned degree.”

Colin McKenzie is part of Project SEARCH, a work experience programme for young people with learning disabilities. He has worked at Linwood Recycling Centre and in Renfrewshire House. He said, “This has helped me learn new skills and also meet new people.”

Sarah Hamilton is now a Modern Apprentice. She has also taken part in The Recruit employability programme. She said: “The Recruit really built my confidence and motivation and helped get me ready for the world of work. Now, I’m an apprentice with a career ahead of me. Invest has made a massive difference to what I can offer an employer and what I expect of myself.”

Gormac Coachworks is one of nearly 900 businesses who have joined the Invest in Renfrewshire partnership and employ young apprentices. Owner, Graham McIntyre, said; “Invest in Renfrewshire has helped us to grow as a business but we also benefit from knowing that we are helping to build careers for local young people.”

Councillor Macmillan is asking the businesses community to help put an end to youth unemployment; “I urge local businesses to invest in Renfrewshire’s future by creating opportunities for our young people and helping their own enterprises to grow.”

A new flood prevention scheme that will protect more than 300 homes and businesses in North Renfrew is now up and running.

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The £10m North Renfrew Flood Prevention Scheme comprises a 3m high embankment and a new underground pumping station at the Mill Burn at Fingal Road.

The embankment, which runs westward for 1km from Ferry Road, provides a barrier against direct flooding from the Clyde. The pumping station will ensure that tidal surges on the Clyde do not cause the Mill Burn to overflow and flood local properties.

The new scheme will see an end to periodic flooding which has required sandbagging of many homes and businesses in the area at least once a year. The combination of tidal surges and overflow from the burn has created flooding problems in the north end of Renfrew since the area was reclaimed from the river 300 years ago.

The investment will provide locals with protection against extreme once-in-200-years flooding events.

Speaking at the completion of the works, Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment policy Board, said:

“This new scheme will provide a high level of protection for homes and businesses in the north of Renfrew for the next 200 years.

“It will mean an end to residents’ worries and the considerable resources that have to be spent on sandbagging and clearing up the streets when flooding occurs.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said:

“As well as protecting families and homes, we hope that this new scheme will encourage businesses to invest in the local area.

“Along with the economic regeneration that will come with the planned Renfrew-Yoker bridge, Renfrew’s status as Scotland’s first town centre Simplified Planning Zone and the Airport Investment Zone, this scheme will boost business confidence in the town.”

Ambitious proposals have been launched for a £15million regional sports village that will drive the ongoing transformation of Ferguslie Park in Paisley.

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Renfrewshire Council, University of the West of Scotland (UWS), and St Mirren FC are in discussion to take forward the development which would feature a combination of facilities supporting elite sports programmes and community participation.

At the same time, the council is developing a proposal to develop a new landscaped town park on the site of the nearby St James’ playing fields.

Renfrewshire Council has already committed £7.5million of capital funding towards the joint cost of both proposals and believes that the projects could transform the North West area of Paisley.

Initial design proposals for the sports village will be developed over the coming months with local residents being given the chance to shape the design.

At this stage, the facilities being considered include pitches for football, hockey and rugby; a cycling track; an indoor sports facility; and a new sports physiotherapy centre.

It is hoped that the venue could be in place by 2020.

Representatives of the partner organisations involved joined local children at the Paisley 2021 stadium, home of St Mirren FC, to officially launch the plan.

Renfrewshire Council Depute Leader, Councillor Mike Holmes said: “We all know that Ferguslie has faced significant challenges over the years. I am proud of the positive changes that we are now seeing.

“This exciting proposal continues the wide-ranging efforts that are delivering meaningful change to people’s lives in this community.

“Renfrewshire Council has prioritised supporting people by investing in education, employment and regeneration.

“There have been lots of positive developments in Ferguslie in recent years, such as the success of the council’s Families First programme which is making sure all children in Ferguslie can get the best start in life.

“Building a 21st century regional sports venue will help to ensure that all our people and all our communities – including Ferguslie Park – can share in the regeneration of Renfrewshire.

“The Sports Village will be another step in unlocking the potential of Ferguslie Park. It will make the most of Ferguslie’s outstanding location though rail links and the close proximity to the motorway system – to establish what we hope will become a regional centre of sporting excellence and an inspiration to Ferguslie’s greatest assets – its people.

“Together with new builds for St Fergus’ Primary School and Mossvale St James and the redevelopment of the playing fields at St James into a new town park, we can regenerate a significant area of the north-west of Paisley just as momentum is building for the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland (UWS), said: “The University, which is at the heart of education, culture and business development in Paisley, has high strategic ambitions for all of its campuses.

“At UWS we are committed to delivering an outstanding student experience – both academically and in extracurricular activity such as sport. We are delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Council and St Mirren FC to explore the feasibility of a collectively owned and run sports village in Paisley.”

St Mirren FC will be another partner and St Mirren Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Paisley and will not only benefit elite athletes, but will help to develop home grown talent as we work to realise the potential in all local young people.

“St Mirren is extremely proud to be a part of this important step forward in Paisley’s growth during an extremely exciting time for Paisley, as the town continues with its efforts to become UK City of Culture 2021.

Residents will be involved and help shape the development of the sports village.

Renfrewshire is set to become one of Scotland’s digital trailblazers after the council approved a £1m investment in public wifi in its three largest towns.

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The innovative move was given the seal of approval today as part of the council budget and will deliver a two-pronged drive to achieve major economic and social benefits.

Plans to roll wifi out to Paisley, Johnston, and Renfrew town centres are currently being developed in partnership with University of the West of Scotland, West College Scotland, Paisley First and the Chamber of Commerce. Work is expected to start by the end of summer.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “This bold and transformational step will offer residents, visitors, businesses, and students free, unlimited, wireless internet access in Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew town centres. We have a vision for a digital Renfrewshire and our investment will return major social and economic benefits.

“Renfrewshire deserves to be one of Scotland’s most connected areas and this will help to revitalise our three largest town centres, encourage shoppers and visitors to spend more time there – giving businesses a much needed boost.

“Paisley is already a well-established student town with thriving university and college campuses, and this investment will let us build on that by making sure students here can stay connected to online learning across the town centre.

“As Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace, we will be looking to attract new trade and visitors to the town, and its important we can offer them 21st century facilities when they are here.

“For Johnstone and Renfrew this news follows the major investment in town halls in recent years and will boost the continued regeneration of both towns.

“Internet access is also widely regarded as the ‘fourth utility’ – a basic right and absolute necessity to allow people to fully take part in everyday life – and we know the most vulnerable are often the most digitally excluded, so this move will let us take our fight against poverty into the digital era.”

This move will build on the already established free public wifi in Renfrewshire’s local libraries.

The council has been nominated for two Digital Leaders 100 for 2016 awards in the categories: ‘Digital Leader of the Year’ and ‘Digital Inclusion and Skills Initiative of the Year’ for its work to drive forward digital participation in Renfrewshire.

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This was the key message from Council Leader Mark Macmillan as Renfrewshire Council agreed a £381 million budget for 2016-17. The council will also invest £149m in capital projects over the next three-years.

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New proposals included a multi-million pound plan to transform the north-west area of Paisley and significant investment to support Renfrewshire’s most vulnerable groups.

The council’s budget, which was set today, outlined proposals for a new landscaped town park – with outdoors events space, on the site of the current St James’ playing fields.

The Council will also take forward a landmark proposal to deliver a £15 million regional sports village in Ferguslie with state-of-the-art facilities for local people and elite athletes. The project will be developed in partnership with The University of the West of Scotland (UWS), and St Mirren FC, with the council pledging £7.5m towards the joint costs of both Paisley north-west projects.

Detailed proposals will be developed in the coming months to enable people to have their say on the opportunities which will be available and to help shape what will be delivered.

£8.7million will be directed to support the new Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership with resources earmarked to secure the Living Wage for employees of non-council social care providers in Renfrewshire. As part of this, £974,000 will go towards measures to reduce the charges which senior citizens and adults pay for non-residential care.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “People in Renfrewshire will know that this has been a very challenging budget to prepare.

“Local government in general and Renfrewshire in particular, has seen major cuts in funding from the Scottish Government.

“However, we have remained true to our priorities of giving people more opportunities by investing in education, helping families, supporting jobs and investment, and continuing the regeneration of Renfrewshire.

“We have protected spending in education, including maintaining teacher numbers. Frontline services have been sustained, and we have prioritised social work services which protect our youngest, our oldest, and our most vulnerable.

“Our ambition for Renfrewshire remains unchanged and there is a lot to look forward to. The £1.13billion Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal will deliver jobs, investment and infrastructure improvements.

“And Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 is spearheading a major events and cultural programme which will transform the town and deliver long lasting social and economic benefits across all of Renfrewshire.

“This budget helps to deliver those priorities”.

Other highlights for 2016/17 include a £1million investment in public Wi-Fi and digital access to help to deliver Renfrewshire’s digital vision, connect communities and deliver social and economic benefits for residents, students, visitors and businesses in Johnstone, Renfrew and Paisley town centres. Plans are currently being developed in partnership with UWS, West College Scotland, Paisley First and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce. Work is expected to begin by the end of the summer.

The council’s commitment to boosting parks and green spaces will also be supported by an investment of £2.25m. Most of that will go to Robertson Park, Renfrew, and Barshaw Park, Paisley, where the council is working with local community groups to revitalise both parks.

Councillor Macmillan added: “Overall, we deliver a balanced budget in extremely difficult circumstances which protects the council’s priorities and our community’s values. “That has been achieved by careful financial management over a period of years and without making any compulsory redundancies.

“It is a budget that will help to deliver the future we all want for Renfrewshire.”

The council tax charges for Renfrewshire will remain unchanged for 2016-17

Band 2016/17

A 776.46

B 905.87

C 1,035.28

D 1,164.69

E 1,423.51

F 1,682.33

G 1,941.15

H 2,329.38

The bills issued to householders will also include a separate charge set by Scottish water.

The local community, and parents and carers with children at Bargarran Primary School and St John Bosco’s Primary School and Nursery, are being invited to have their say on plans for a new shared campus school and nursery.

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The information event takes place on Tuesday 8 March from 2pm until 8pm at Erskine Library in Bridgewater Place.

The new building will be constructed on the site of the existing schools which will be demolished. Preparatory work on the site is due to start this summer with the new £14.5million shared campus school and nursery expected to open in 2018.

The new Bargarran/St John Bosco shared campus is part of Renfrewshire Council’s drive to improve local schools and promote learning and achievement by giving children the best possible environment.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, said, “We are investing £53million not just in school buildings but in the future of our children and young people.

“In January work started on the £4million refurbishment of the existing Mossvale Primary School and Nursery and St James’ Primary School shared campus. And next week sees work start on the new £5million St Fergus’ Primary School.

“The ‘Renfrewshire Way’ is to involve the people who will use our facilities in their design so that the end result meets their needs. I would to invite as many parents and carers as possible to attend the information event and have an input into this fantastic new school.”

More information is available from Joe Verrecchia, Project Manager, on 0141 618 6164. The community will have a further opportunity to comment on the proposals when the council submits a formal planning application.

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Renfrewshire Council is set for a £14m investment in housing and regeneration in 2016/2017.

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The local authority’s housing budget was agreed at a council meeting on 25 February and includes funding for new build housing, regeneration in several areas of Renfrewshire and the continuation of an extensive programme of housing improvements.

Work will begin this year on the construction of 100 new build council homes as part of an ambition to deliver 1,000 new affordable homes in Renfrewshire by 2020 working in partnership with local housing associations.

Renfrewshire Council is set for a £14m investment in housing and regeneration in 2016/2017.

The local authority’s housing budget was agreed at a council meeting on 25 February and includes funding for new build housing, regeneration in several areas of Renfrewshire and the continuation of an extensive programme of housing improvements.

Work will begin this year on the construction of 100 new build council homes as part of an ambition to deliver 1,000 new affordable homes in Renfrewshire by 2020 working in partnership with local housing associations.

In total, over £14m will be spent in 2016/2017 as part of a £52m three-year investment programme.

Up to 300 properties will benefit from new kitchens, bathrooms and rewiring, and another 250 will benefit from heating upgrades.

A rent increase of only 2%, which is lower than the 3.5% agreed for 2015/2016, has also been proposed following consultation with tenants.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “In these difficult financial times, we want to do what we can to help our tenants, so we kept the rent raise this year to only 2%.

“The UK Government’s welfare reforms are causing severe financial difficulties for families and we anticipate that the new Universal Credit will cause further challenges for our tenants so we have set aside funding for additional support measures to help alleviate the pressure on households.”

“Regenerating our communities is one of this council’s key priorities and we have plans to build 224 new council homes including 24 in the Seedhill Road area of Paisley, and 100 each in Dargarvel Village in Bishopton and in Johnstone.

“These are areas where the shortage of affordable social housing often forces people into expensive private lets. The work starting this year on the Seedhill and Dargarvel developments will provide a full mix of housing options, from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom family homes.

“Last year, we completed our £138m programme to bring all our housing stock up to the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. The challenge now is to continue investing in our housing stock to ensure it continues to meet the standard, and the aspirations of our tenants, so over £9m of this budget is earmarked for new kitchens and bathrooms, rewiring, heating upgrades and external improvements in up to 300 properties.”

The programme also proposes investing £9.9m over the next three years to support the regeneration of the West End of Paisley and the Tannahill area of Ferguslie Park.

Housing services are paid for entirely by council tenants in a housing revenue account separate from the council’s budget for services.

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Paisley residents are invited to an event to celebrate the end of the £3.5m project which has transformed the Causeyside Street area over the past seven years.

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The Townscape Heritage Initiative/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, aimed at restoring some of the town centre’s unique architecture, is now coming to an end.

The project – funded by the council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland – has helped repair historic buildings and improve the area.

And those achievements will be celebrated at a public event in Paisley Arts Centre – one of the buildings to benefit – between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 27 February.

Attractions include models of local buildings built out of Lego, short films showcasing the history of the town’s built heritage, and an exhibition of architectural artwork.

Since the project started in 2009, it has achieved the following:
– public realm work in the Causeyside area, with new paving and landscaping;
– extensive repairs to buildings in Causeyside St and Forbes Place
– work to repair and revamp the B-listed Paisley Arts Centre;
– a grant scheme to part-fund shopfront improvements;
– traditional building skills activities including a course delivered by West College Scotland;

There was also an extensive activity and training plan including training for yellow badge tourist guides, and conservation workshops for school pupils.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “As we move forward with the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 it is crucial we keep the town’s rich and unique architecture looking at its best.

“This programme has been years in the making but has ensured a chunk of that built heritage is preserved for future generations to use and enjoy.

“At the same time it has made the area around Causeyside Street a more attractive place to be for residents, visitors, shoppers and business owners.

“I would encourage anybody who has an interest in this project to pop into the arts centre on Saturday to help mark its completion.

“Our thanks go to everybody who worked on the scheme and to our friends at the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland for their support.”

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Our investment in Paisley was a mark of our faith in the town and its people to turn its fortunes around.

“Thanks to funding raised through the National Lottery, it has been wonderful to see buildings transformed and an exciting new sense of belief and pride emerge. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

The council has now lodged detailed plans for what it hopes will be a Townscape Heritage Scheme phase 2 elsewhere in the town centre.

More than £2m of Heritage Lottery money was last year earmarked for the project and if final approval is given, work would take place between now and 2021 to restore buildings in the areas around the High Street and Shuttle Street.

Taking place alongside that would be a programme of activity designed to complement the UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

 

Approved by the Leadership Board, the move will allow the council to strengthen links between classroom learning and the world of work, and reduce the impact of poverty and inequality on young people’s opportunities.

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Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council Leader, said: “We have made significant strides in our efforts to create work and training opportunities for 18 – 24 year olds with Renfrewshire now the fourth highest council in Scotland for youth employment. Youth unemployment has fallen further and faster in Renfrewshire than anywhere in Scotland

“That is fantastic progress which we will absolutely build on. Our effort to close the achievement gap is one of our top priorities and underpins our aspirations to achieve full youth employment and tackle poverty.

“This investment will deliver work to strengthen links between schools, further education and local employers for young people from low income backgrounds. It will also let us develop work experience opportunities, boost vocational skills, work with employers to build skills in young learners and create more opportunities for recruitment directly from education.”

The funding forms part of a wider employability action plan funded by the council’s £6m Tackling Poverty fund, and has been drawn up by the council, West College Scotland, University of the West of Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, and Engage Renfrewshire.

The £117,000 will deliver:

  • £43,000 to West College Scotland to support the Parents in Partnership programme, provide taster sessions and employability and personal development courses for young people with additional needs.
  • £28,000 to University of West of Scotland to provide taster sessions for S2 to S4 pupils and a module called ‘step up’ for S5 and S6 pupils. Step up will be delivered in May 2016 to let pupils experience university and its opportunities. Parents will also be part of the programme.
  • £22,000 to Princes Trust to deliver the Achieve and Future Starts Programme that works with schools to ensure pupils employment, training or further education in place before leaving school.
  • £18,000 to the Chamber of Commerce for a Skills Ambassador Programme which would provide group business mentoring in every secondary school – targeting the most vulnerable young people.
  • £6,000 to Engage Renfrewshire to offer supported work experience and volunteer opportunities within the voluntary sector to young people with additional support needs.

The drive for a fair and prosperous future for Renfrewshire is gathering momentum. Councillors are getting ready to vote on submitting an application for the council to become an accredited Living Wage Employer and record numbers of local businesses have attended a seminar on the benefits of accreditation.

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Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said, “We want to build a prosperous, progressive future where people can thrive in employment and businesses can grow as a result of having a loyal and committed workforce. The Living Wage is part of that successful picture.”

The Living Wage is a voluntary hourly rate set independently, updated annually and calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It affords people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their family. This year, it is set at £8.25 an hour.

However, there are around 16,000 jobs in Renfrewshire that pay below the Living Wage. So, for many people, work is not a guaranteed route to a sustainable standard of living. Renfrewshire’s independent Tackling Poverty Commission recommended that the number of jobs paying less than a Living Wage be halved to improve lives throughout the area.

The council is encouraging other Renfrewshire employers to join it in seeking accreditation and its campaign is gathering strength. More than 60 local businesses took part in a seminar on Wednesday and discussed how the Living Wage can benefit them, their employees and Renfrewshire’s communities.

David Faith from the Living Wage Campaign, who spoke at the seminar said, “I’m very impressed with the turnout from Renfrewshire’s business community. This is the largest event of this kind that I’ve seen. Some businesses have signed up to the accreditation process immediately and I look forward to working with others over the next few months. Of course, I’ll also be delighted to hear from any other organisations who want to join the campaign.”

Other speakers at the seminar included: Alison Dowling from the Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union and Bob Grant from the Chamber of Commerce, both of whom are already Accredited Living Wage Employers, and Fiona Hughes, the council’s Procurement Manager.

The council is Renfrewshire’s largest employer and Councillor Macmillan sees its accreditation as an important step towards creating a Living Wage economy. He said, “The council and business community share many aims: growth, success, a first class committed workforce and the wish to be associated with sound and progressive social values. The Living Wage will help to achieve these aims and to improve the lives of employees, their families and the wider community.”

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Renfrewshire Council is set to propose a £14m investment in housing and regeneration in 2016/2017.

A report to a meeting of Renfrewshire Council on Thursday 25 February will recommend new build housing and regeneration in several areas of Renfrewshire and the continuation of an extensive programme of housing improvements.

Work will begin this year on the construction of 100 new build council homes as part of an ambition to deliver 1,000 new affordable homes in Renfrewshire by 2020 working in partnership with local housing associations.

In total, over £14m will be spent in 2016/2017 as part of a £52m three-year investment programme.

Up to 300 properties will benefit from new kitchens, bathrooms and rewiring, and another 250 will benefit from heating upgrades.

A rent increase of only 2%, which is lower than the 3.5% agreed for 2015/2016, has also been proposed following consultation with tenants.

Cllr Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “In these difficult financial times, we want to do what we can to help our tenants, so we are proposing to reduce the rent raise this year to only 2%.

“The UK Government’s welfare reforms are causing severe financial difficulties for families and we anticipate that the new Universal Credit will cause further challenges for our tenants so we have set aside funding for additional support measures to help alleviate the pressure on households.”

“Regenerating our communities is one of this council’s key priorities and we have plans to build 224 new council homes including 24 in the Seedhill Road area of Paisley, and 100 each in Dargarvel Village in Bishopton and in Johnstone.

“These are areas where the shortage of affordable social housing often forces people into expensive private lets. The work starting this year on the Seedhill and Dargarvel developments will provide a full mix of housing options, from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom family homes.

“Last year, we completed our £138m programme to bring all our housing stock up to the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. The challenge now is to continue investing in our housing stock to ensure it continues to meet the standard, and the aspirations of our tenants, so over £9m of this budget is earmarked for new kitchens and bathrooms, rewiring, heating upgrades and external improvements in up to 300 properties.

The programme also proposes investing £9.9m over the next three years to support the regeneration of the West End of Paisley and the Tannahill area of Ferguslie Park.

Housing services are paid for entirely by council tenants in a housing revenue account separate from the council’s budget for services.

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Renfrewshire Council Leader, Mark Macmillan, has warned that the Scottish Government’s decision to put on hold funding for a vital youth employment programme will ‘jeopardise the future of many young people in Renfrewshire.’

Councillor Macmillan has written to Roseanna Cunningham Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, to demand an end to the uncertainty of the future of Scottish Employer Recruitment Incentive Funding.

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Local Authorities were notified on 1 December that the Scottish Government was pausing funding and would update council in the New Year.Renfrewshire, along with other Scottish councils, has heard nothing further and Councillor Macmillan says it is now time to end the ‘dangerous uncertainty’ that the decision is causing.

Councillor Macmillan said; “The Scottish Government chose to end a long-standing funding commitment with just three day’s notice.

“Renfrewshire Council has stepped into honour existing commitments to employers and young people. We shouldn’t have to do that indefinitely and we can’t plan to help young people on that basis.

“Renfrewshire Council has demonstrated that, with the right commitment and the right policies, we can reach a level approaching full youth employment.

“Thanks to the commitment and cooperation of our young people, businesses and the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme, JSA unemployment in Renfrewshire has been reduced from 10.5% to 1.9% in three years.”