MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black has warned that the Renfrewshire food bank are predicting a huge 30% increase in local people in Renfrewshire needing access to the service. This increase is due to the full rollout of Universal Credit that will be implemented in Renfrewshire in September.
The Trussell Trust’s predicted rise in people needing assistance from the food bank is due to similar rises in service users in other areas across the UK that have seen Universal Credit being rolled out in full.
Mhairi Black MP visited the Renfrewshire Foodbank on Lady Lane in Paisley recently. Volunteers and staff in the foodbank echoed these warnings to Mhairi.
Mhairi Black MP said:
“I had the chance to go and visit the volunteers at the Renfrewshire Foodbank last week. The rollout of Universal Credit across Renfrewshire is approaching and the food bank are predicting that we will see a massive 30% increase in residents needing help.
“The delays and errors that have been seen in other areas across Scotland will be inevitable in Renfrewshire unless the UK Government goes back to the drawing board regarding this particular benefit. Various reports, audits and experts have called for a halt in Universal Credit until it is properly fixed and this has been entirely ignored by this Tory government.
“The reality is that people are being left destitute and vulnerable due to this benefit and that is why we are seeing an increase in food bank usage across areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out. Renfrewshire will be no different so it is vital, now more than ever, that we support the food bank.
“The Renfrewshire Foodbank is already busy all year round due to mismanaged disability assessments, unfair sanctions, benefit delays, DWP administrative errors and many other issues that constituents visit my office looking for assistance with every single day.
“The Conservatives are not living in the real world and cannot relate with the fact that food poverty is increasing across Scotland due to idealistically driven Tory austerity.
“This will be a really busy time for the food bank and if you need support from the foodbank or you would like to help or volunteer, you can call them on 0300 102 2500 or email info@renfrewshire.foodbank.org.uk “

Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black has become the latest Scottish MP to join a growing body of UK political leaders adding their support to the global movement for fossil fuel divestment.

Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South has joined over 160 cross-party politicians to sign the Divest Parliament pledge, calling for the MPs Pension Fund to move its £733 million of assets away from fossil fuels owing to concerns about climate change.

Mhairi Black MP said: Scotland is leading the way in formalizing a low carbon economy. We have already seen the Scottish Government reach ambitious climate change goals and renewable energy targets, it is important that we continue down this progressive path as climate change is one of the biggest threats to the planet as we know it.

Black’s pledge comes as constituents across the UK are urging their local MPs to show they care about climate change by calling on their pension fund to align its investments with the UK’s climate change commitments.

According to Colum Scriven, local Renfrewshire resident and director of fair trade charity, Rainbow Turtle:

“I applaud Mhairi Black’s stand on calling for her pension to be moved away from fossil fuel investments. As a supporter of fair trade in Renfrewshire, I also believe in preserving the future of our planet’s environment by moving away from fossil fuels to more sustainable methods of energy production.”

The last Annual Report for UK Parliament MPs Pension Fund revealed 5 out of the top 20 investments were in fossil fuel companies such as BP, Shell and Total. The investments are a stark contrast to the UK government’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep global warming well below 2oC.

Campaigners and climate scientists argue that keeping this commitment would mean leaving most known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. If fossil fuel companies cannot use their reserves, they become stranded assets, so there is also major financial risk for continued investment in fossil fuel companies, considering international efforts to tackle climate change.

The Scottish Government is demonstrating its commitment to tackling climate change with its recent ban on fracking in Scotland and its plans for a 90% reduction in emissions by 2050 in its landmark Climate Change Bill.

Supported by the ‘Divest Parliament’ campaign, UK citizens have been writing to and organising meetings with their MPs to raise awareness of the issue.

For more information: Contact Sally Clark at divestparliamentscotland@gmail.com | 0775 1967 222

Today saw Impact Arts launch their grand opening of the MYRAID photo exhibition in the Wynd Centre in Paisley. This exhibition, in association with the Scottish Governments Year of Young People, displays photos taken by young people aged between 16-19 years old.
Ten Impact Arts trainees on the Advanced Creative Pathways programme in Renfrewshire have been studying different techniques in photography for the past eight weeks and have created an eclectic exhibition including light-drawing, portraiture, landscapes, still life and more. The work has been inspired by the things that matter to them most – be it a local forest, a family member, or a collection of treasured items.
The Advanced Creative Pathways programme is funded by Invest in Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Council and the European Social Fund. The aim of the six month programme is to give young people a start in community arts while taking their first steps towards a future in the creative industries.
Impact Arts is a community arts charity working across the Scottish central belt opening up access to creative arts activities to children, young people and older people – with the majority of this work taking place in areas of deprivation.
Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP, Mhairi Black, attended the launch of the exhibition, she said:
“Today saw Impact Arts put on an excellent exhibition in the Wynd Centre. The artwork on display was thought provoking and really creative, the event was well attended. The exhibition was sponsored by the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People and it was inspirational to see our own young talented people from Renfrewshire get the recognition that they deserve for their work. Well done to everyone that took part.”
Local SNP councillor Emma Rodden added:
“All too often, young people are disregarded and overlooked due to pre-formed judgements and negative connotations. It is refreshing that in Scotland’s Year of Young People we have exhibitions like this which prove our young people to be diverse in their attitudes and forward thinking in their outlook.
“The talent on show today was outstanding and I am proud to support Impact Arts and the individuals who exhibited in their endeavours.”

Projects to mark the anniversary of the women in the UK first receiving the vote will receive £500,000 from the Centenary Fund. The Fund will support a variety of projects including those looking to improve women’s political representation and participation in public life.

As part of the Centenary Fund, up to £170,000 will be made available for local and community-based projects to apply to the Scottish Government’s Vote Centenary Small Grant Scheme.

Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, welcomed the announcement.

Commenting, she said:

“We have come a long way since some women secured the right to vote 100 hundred years ago, yet much still needs to be done to eradicate gender inequality and create a fairer, safer and more equal society.

“The Vote Centenary Small Grant Scheme is now open for applications.  We are asking local communities to think of creative ways in which they can mark the centenary and I would encourage those that can to apply to the scheme as soon as possible.

The Representation of the People Act (1918) was a vital step forward for gender equality, and the centenary of the act is an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come, thanks to the extreme bravery and sacrifice of the women who fought – and in some cases died – for equality.

“We all know that there is lots more to do to tackle issues specific to women, we still have absurd inequalities that plague our society such as the gender pay gap, the rape clause, violence against women, maternity discrimination and the tampon tax.

“This funding from the Scottish Government will ensure we pay tribute to the women who fought so hard for the rights that women have today, as well as playing an important part in encouraging the next generation of women leaders.”

MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black has given her full support to Renfrewshire Council’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign. The SNP MP, recently joined the Corseford Community Clean Up in their most recent litter pick, along side local Councillor for the area Andy Steel and Convenor of the Infastructure Land and Environment Board Councillor Cathy McEwan, to help tidy up the streets of Corseford.
Mhairi Black MP said
“It was a pleasure to join the Corseford Community Clean Up. I have been impressed by the Team Up to Clean Up campaign so far, it is refreshing to see local people gathering to make sure their area is looking tidy.
“Well done to all the local people in Corseford and across Renfrewshire who are engaging with the campaign and making Renfrewshire a cleaner place to live.”
Cllr Andy Steel added
“The clean ups in Corseford show Team Up to Clean Up in action – locals are taking a real pride in where they live, and by involving young people we will hopefully see a behavioural change in years to come that will benefit our environment.
“It has been fantastic to see the effort and community spirit that local people have put into the Corseford clean ups. The group have done an excellent job for the area.
“The SNP budget recently doubled the funding for the Team Up to Clean Up campaign so while it is fantastic to see the effort being put in by local communities, this investment will also allow Renfrewshire Council to step up their environmental efforts.”
The SNP administration’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign has been hugely successful so far, with Renfrewshire Council increasing their environmental efforts while the voluntary side of the campaign moves from strength to strength. Over 50 community clean ups have already taken place within Renfrewshire since the campaign started and the dedicated Facebook group continues to grow, with more people getting involved and interacting with each other. You can get involved by contacting Team Up to Clean Up on 0300 300 1375 or by emailing wardens.es@renfrewshire.gov.uk

This week MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Saturday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘The power of words’.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Mhairi Black MP commented:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from across Renfrewshire and Scotland to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Mhairi Black MP for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”

Mhairi Black MP has thrown her support behind a nationwide food collection to help people who find themselves in need this Christmas.

From Thursday, November 30 to Saturday, December 2, more than 2,600 Tesco stores across the UK are taking part in the annual Food Collection, which encourages shoppers to donate long-life foods to help charity The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network to give food and support to people who might otherwise go hungry this Christmas.

Mhairi visited the Tesco store in Paisley to support the appeal, which last year collected 3.6 million meals for people in need. All the donations collected in Renfrewshire over the weekend will be donated to the Renfrewshire food bank.

More than 43 million meals have been donated to the food charities by generous Tesco customers since the scheme began, and the supermarket is hoping that shoppers will be just as generous this year.

Mhairi Black MP said

“At this time of year it’s good to think of others, and I would encourage shoppers to take part in this year’s Food Collection as it will make a real difference to people in need of food this Christmas.

“People should not have to rely on food banks however this is the reality that we live in. People will go hungry this winter and any support provided will help immensely. Well done to everyone involved in this year’s collection.”

Samantha Stapley, Operations Manager for The Trussell Trust said: “Trussell Trust foodbanks across the country will be doing all they can to provide emergency support so people don’t go hungry – but to make sure we’re prepared for what could be our busiest December yet, our network needs your support.

“During every Food Collection we’ve been humbled by the staggering generosity of Tesco customers, store colleagues and volunteers, and as we look to the start of the tenth collection, we would love to have your support once again. Your generosity will help stop hunger this Christmas.”

Local MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Mhairi Black recently met with charity workers and employees at the local TSB on Paisley High Street. Mhairi was invited along to hear about the contribution the business makes to the local area, by supporting local charities.
The Paisley TSB recently raised £885 for local charity Brightest Star. The charity was founded in memory of Jack Kennedy who passed away suddenly due to a virus at the age of five. Brightest Star was set up by Jack’s mum Arlene to give support to parents suffering from bereavement. Brightest Star want to raise awareness of the lack of support available for grieving families, particularly for those impacted by sudden childhood deaths. Part of this support includes lifesaving first aid training and a special ambulance that can be used by families when children need to be transferred between hospitals.
Mhairi Black MP said
“It was good of the local TSB branch in Paisley to invite me along and show me the effort they are putting towards supporting local charities and causes.
“Brightest Star is a fantastic cause and I am happy to support this service in any way that I can.
“It is commendable that the charity is raising awareness and providing support for grieving parents and families in what will surely be an extremely difficult time.”

The latest figures from Renfrewshire Food Bank show that between 1st April and 30th September 2017, 4190 emergency food supplies were distributed in Renfrewshire.

This is a sharp rise from the 3038 food parcels that local people were given in during the same period in 2016. These figures show an increase of over 1000 families and people in Renfrewshire having to rely on the Food Bank. Of the 4190 supplies given out 1152 of these were for children. The Trussell Trust have indicated that the main reasons people are relying on Food Banks is down to continued issues with benefit payments, the roll out of Universal Credit, low wages and insecure jobs.

Local Renfrewshire MP Mhairi Black blames the continuing rise in Food Bank usage and poverty levels increasing on the UK government’s austerity measures.

Mhairi Black MP said –

“These latest figures from the Trussell Trust highlight how the Tory austerity agenda is nothing more than an attack on society’s most vulnerable people.

“Poverty levels are reaching record highs, food banks are running out of supplies and the UK government continue to make welfare cuts, austerity has failed.

“The UK Government are steamrolling ahead with the full roll out of Universal Credit and this is going to mean more people will be reliant on food banks all over Scotland”

Mhairi Black MP
The Scottish Government have reaffirmed their commitment to invest £840 million into childcare by 2021 – 2022. The Scottish Government currently spend on average £420 million a year but this commitment will see spending on childcare in Scotland doubled. This will be in line with the increase in childcare hours that parents will be entitled to, which is almost doubling from 16 to 30 hours from August 2020.
Mhairi Black MP
This move will see parents save around £350 per child, per month for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. The Scottish Government will begin talks with local authorities this autumn, to agree a multi-year funding package to implement this investment. Local MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black has praised this move by the scottish Government.
Mhairi Black MP said
“This is a welcome investment from the Scottish Government. Parents are struggling to make ends meet and the £350 saving they will be able to make will help to ease financial problems they may experience in securing childcare.
“Every child deserves the best start in life. High quality care and learning are essential in the early years of child development.”