The Scottish Government have this week launched the scheme that parents who are expecting a baby will receive a ‘Baby Box’. The Baby Box is filled with essential items that mums and dads need to make sure babies have the best possible start in life.

Local MP Mhairi Black has praised the national rollout of the scheme, she said “this is a really positive step by the Scottish Government we are enabling every child the right start in life and I am thrilled that the scheme will be rolling out to expectant parents in Renfrewshire”.

The scheme is designed by health professionals, based on a similar project in Finland. The box aims to send a message that no child should be left behind especially in the first six months of child development. Mhairi Black MP said “The Baby Box sends out an incredibly strong message that we should all have a good start in life, no matter what your background is. Expecting parents can now register for the Box through their midwives and I would encourage them to do so”.

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MHAIRI BLACK MP CALLS FOR NEW WORK AND PENSIONS MINISTER TO FIX THE WASPI ISSUE

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“I cannot believe we are still here, still debating this issue”, Mhairi Black said in a Westminster Hall debate on the State Pension age for women.

Mhairi Black, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, has called on the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to address the issue of unfair state pension changes, which have disproportionately hit women born in the 1950s.

Successive Government’s since 1995 have increased the age at which women become eligible for state pension but never notified the women affected about the changes. This has left many in a position of financial hardship as they have not had adequate time to amend their financial planning for retirement.

Commenting after the debate Mhairi Black said:

“The Government’s current position is untenable, and the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions needs to look again at this issue. Given the Tories’ slim majority, and the fact that twenty of their MPs signed a pledge during the election campaign to support the WASPI women, they need to move quickly and bring forward plans to sort this out.

“Hundreds of women have written to me over the past two years sharing the desperate struggle they face because the Government refuses to fix this problem. Given that the Government just found £1 billion down the back of the couch to keep themselves in power, I would think they are able to find the money to ease the hardship of these women, including over 3,800 women in Renfrewshire.

“I cannot believe that we are still debating this issue. The women affected are guilty of nothing other than being born in the fifties and being women. This policy hurts women and only women so there is a clear irony in claiming that this has been done in the name of equality.

“I noted with interest that the Minister has committed to helping any individual who is suffering because of these issues so I ask that any WASPI woman in my constituency who are suffering hardship because of the changes to state pension age to get in touch with my office and I will make sure your information is sent to him.”

The results of the 2017 UK General Election for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South have been declared.

Photographs below taken by Ricky Kelly.

Gavin Newlands, Scottish National Party (SNP), has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North.

Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party (SNP), has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

In Paisley and Renfrewshire North, 46,666 votes were cast, a 69.2 per cent turnout. In Paisley and Renfrewshire South, there were 41,771 votes cast, a 68.1 per cent turnout.

Returning officer Sandra Black, chief executive of Renfrewshire Council, announced the results in the early hours of Friday morning at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley.

The election count involved 280 staff, counting the contents of 160 ballot boxes alongside postal votes.

Full results:

 

Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency

John Robert Boyd, Scottish Liberal Democrats – 1,476 votes

David John Gardiner, Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 12,842 votes

Gavin Andrew Stuart Newlands, Scottish National Party – 17,455 votes

Alison Suzanne Watt Taylor, Scottish Labour Party – 14,842 votes

 

Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency

Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party – 16,964 votes

Alison Jean Dowling, Scottish Labour Party – 14,423 votes

Paul Mack, Independent – 876 votes

Eileen McCartin, Scottish Liberal Democrats – 1,327 votes

Amy Louise Thomson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 8,122 votes

The candidates standing in the UK general election on 8 June for the Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituencies, have been declared.

 

Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency

John Robert Boyd, Scottish Liberal Democrats

David John Gardiner, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Gavin Andrew Stuart Newlands, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Alison Suzanne Watt Taylor, Scottish Labour Party

 

Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency

Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Alison Jean Dowling, Scottish Labour Party

Paul Mack, Independent

Eileen McCartin, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Amy Louise Thomson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Below are comments from Mhairi Black on the proposed closure of Yorkshire Building Society on Paisley High Street.

Mhairi Black MP said:

“In the wake of Clydesdale Bank announcing closures of branches across Renfrewshire it is extremely disappointing to hear that Yorkshire Building Society are planning to close their only branch in Renfrewshire. This change means all Yorkshire Building Society customers will have to travel to Glasgow to access branch facilities.

“I know some local organisations bank with Yorkshire Building Society, and travelling into Glasgow to access branch services will make it significantly more difficult for them to conduct their business.

“It is also deeply that upsetting that yet more people in Renfrewshire are facing job losses, and my thoughts are with all of those who are now facing this awful uncertainty.

“I am currently arranging a meeting with Yorkshire Building Society to see if there is anything that can be done to avoid this closure going forward.”

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WOMEN BORN IN THE 1950s UNFAIRLY HIT BY CHANGES TO PENSION AGE

The Scottish National Party has today highlighted the gross pensions inequality for women born in the 1950s and has urged the UK Government to “listen to the will of the people” and help the 2.6 million women who have been affected by rapid increases to the state pension age.

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MPs have debated the issue in Parliament numerous times, including a Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign petition that attracted almost 200,000 signatures and a Backbench Business Debate which called on the UK Government to introduce transitional measures for the women impacted by the changes.  The SNP’s debate motion passed with overwhelming cross-party support and no opposition from the Government benches.

Today, SNP MPs led an Opposition Day Debate to keep up the pressure on the UK Government and ensure that the WASPI women receive the pensions they are due. The SNP led motion was defeated with 234 MPs for and 293 against.

Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South said:

“This UK Government has treated the women impacted by changes to the state pension age with utter contempt – women born in the 1950s have had their retirement plans completely shattered and as if this wasn’t bad enough their democratic voice and the will of this Parliament is being ignored by this Tory Government.

“The UK Government must listen to the will of the people and act immediately to introduce transitional measures for the WASPI women.

“Debate after debate in the House of Commons has demonstrated the strength of public opinion on this matter and women across the country are struggling to make ends meet because they have been denied the pension they are due.

“The SNP’s independently-researched report shows that relaxing the rapid increases to the state pension age for women born in the 1950s back to the timetable set out in the 1995 Act would – at £8 billion – be significantly more affordable than the Tories’ claim that it would cost £30 billion.

“Instead of forking out for upgrades to the Palace of Westminster and billions on nuclear weapons, the Tories need to get their priorities right and deliver fairness for the millions of struggling women across the UK

“The UK Government should use the surplus in the National Insurance Fund to provide immediate relief to these women who have been badly let down are and due their pensions.”

 

Mr Speaker, Rt Hon John Bercow MP and Patron of the Patchwork Foundation announced the winners of the MP of the Year Awards 2016 sponsored by KPMG at Speakers House on 2nd November 2016, for those MPs who have represented and work well with underrepresented, deprived and minority communities across the country.

Patchwork - MP of the Year at Speakers House Photos: Alastair Fyfe. fyfephoto.com email: alastair@fyfephoto.com

Left to Right – John Pienaar (Patchwork Patron), Mr Speaker (Patchwork Patron), Mhairi Black MP, Siddiq Musa (KPMG Partner) & Sir Martyn Lewis (Patchwork Patron) Photos: Alastair Fyfe. fyfephoto.com

Mhairi Black MP said: “I am delighted that the Patchwork Foundation have given me this honour. Given what the Patchwork Foundation stands for – highlighting and celebrating engagement with underrepresented communities – it is a particularly wonderful award to receive. The fact that this award was nominated by the public is very heart-warming, and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all who nominated me.”

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Leader and MSP said: “The Patchwork Foundation is a fantastic organisation that plays an important role in promoting the involvement of underrepresented groups and minority communities in politics. Their Parliamentary Awards recognise and encourage the endeavours of individual MPs across the parties who are making efforts to get people from all walks of life engaged in politics. The SNP is committed to equality and to ensuring representation and inclusion for all communities, so I am proud that not one but three SNP MPs have been recognised for their contribution at this year’s event.  As the youngest MP in Parliament Mhairi Black has been an inspiration to many but particularly to young people and LGBTI people. Who can forget her maiden speech or the relentless work she has done raising the concerns of the WASPI women, speaking out for LGBTI equality, and challenging policies that would worsen poverty and disadvantage. She should be proud to be recognised as the Overall Newcomer MP of the Year. Congratulations to all those who have won or been nominated for an award – and to Patchwork for the excellent work they do.”

 

Siddiq Musa, KPMG Partner said: “We are delighted to sponsor these Patchwork Awards for the third year encouraging under represented communities to connect with the political process and celebrating those MPs from across the political divide who have really made a difference to inclusion.  The work done by their volunteers and the time they commit will hopefully inspire young people in all communities to fulfil their true potential.  How organisations work with, and within, their local communities is a critical part of inspiring young people.  That’s why KPMG pioneered a School Leaver Programme, a Business Support Academy and also launched our 360 degree apprenticeship programme.  We have committed ourselves to target ranges spanning across the four areas of gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.  Everyone has the right to feel safe from discrimination and bring their whole self to work, into Parliament or civic life so that they can fulfil their own potential and make a difference to business, our communities and to people’s lives and opportunities.”

 

Mhairi Black MP