mhairi black
The SNP has said the Tory government must urgently get a grip of its “appalling record of failure and mismanagement” on social security – after it emerged 180,000 disabled, sick and terminally ill people lost an average of £5,000 each in a £1.5billion Tory benefits error.
mhairi black
The UK government was today forced to admit that it must now pay out more than £1.5billion after mistaken calculations left tens of thousands of people without the money they were entitled to when they were moved onto the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
 Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black called on the UK government to make the backdated payments as soon as possible, and give support to those affected, while using the Budget to deliver a long-overdue boost to incomes after a decade of failed Tory austerity.
Commenting Mhairi Black MP said:
“The Tory government must urgently get a grip on its appalling record of failure and mismanagement on social security, which has left millions of people poorer and worse off.
“It is frankly disgraceful that a staggering 180,000 disabled, sick and terminally ill people have been left without the financial support they desperately need – as a result of a £1.5billion UK government blunder, that has cost people an average of £5,000 each in lost income.
“These payments must be made as soon as possible, and those affected must be given the support they need. It is simply not good enough that people in crisis situations have been left without money to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads due to Tory mistakes.
“After a decade of failed Tory austerity, incomes have fallen while poverty and inequality have risen. The Chancellor must use the Budget to deliver a major and long-overdue boost to incomes and reverse the decline in living standards that the UK government has caused.”
gavin newlands


The MP has joined calls for a reversal to the cuts following the UK Government’s Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, refused to say whether she would seek additional funding at the next Budget.

gavin newlands

The call follows mounting pressure on the UK Government to halt and change universal Credit- with former Tory leaders Iain Duncan Smith and John Major criticising the shambolic rollout. Reports from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Policy in Practice estimate millions of households will be more than £50 a week worse off under Universal Credit.

Commenting following yesterday’s debate in Westminster, Newlands said:

“The UK Government must use the upcoming Budget to end these cuts and stop this shambolic rollout that has pushed many families into desperation and poverty.

“This policy is simply unfit for purpose; its rollout is a mistake that has cost millions of families hundreds and even thousands of pounds. It quite obviously needs a complete overhaul- as even Tory party grandees have suggested.

“The Tories must bring back work allowance, end the benefit freeze, scrap the abhorrent two-child cap, reduce sanctions, and fix payment delays and errors.

“As always, the UK Government arrogantly ploughs ahead with its devastating policies. They should instead listen to their own previous leaders, listen to the evidence, halt the roll-out and change this now.”

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Who are your local heroes?

Renfrewshire’s inspiring local heroes are set to be rewarded as nominations for the Provost’s Community Awards open for 2019.

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Extraordinary employees, superlative sportspeople and compassionate carers are being sought as the awards recognise the people who make Renfrewshire a better place to live, work and visit.

There are five categories available to nominate in, including a revamped award for employees to recognise those stars in the workplace, and these are:

  • Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)
  • Community Group (sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre)
  • Sporting Achievement (sponsored by ACRE Industrial)
  • Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire)
  • Carers Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Arts and Culture award (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council)

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “As the Provost, I meet hundreds of inspiring people and groups every year and it never ceases to amaze me that there is so much fantastic work going on throughout Renfrewshire.

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

“These awards are an opportunity to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the area who go the extra mile without looking for a reward and give them the recognition that they deserve.

“I can’t wait to read the nominations so don’t miss out on the chance to nominate and start sending them in now.”

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

The deadline for entries to all categories is Wednesday 12 December.

The Provost will be joined by the award sponsors and other local elected members to choose the winners who will be invited, along with their nominator, to the awards ceremony on Friday 15 March 2019 and the Lynnhurst Hotel in Johnstone.

For more information, and to submit your nomination, visit, email or call 0141 618 7102.

st vincents hospice

A team of 14 staff and supporters from SPAR took on the daunting challenge of Zipsliding at high speed across the River Clyde for St. Vincent’s Hospice, bringing an impressive end to their fundraising efforts over the last several months, as they raised a staggering £6,500.

st vincents hospice

SPAR Scotland, owned and operated by CJ Lang and Son, the largest independent retailing and distribution company in Scotland, are a proud Pearl Sponsor of St. Vincent’s Hospice as part of their 30th Anniversary year.

Taking place on Saturday 15th September, Team Spar joined a host of other supporters from around the community, and was made up of a wide variety of individuals, with some looking to remember a loved one, some aiming to conquer a fear of heights and others just looking for an adrenaline rush.

Commenting on the event, Fundraising Manager at St. Vincent’s Hospice, Carol-Anne Lamont, said: “The support from everyone at SPAR has been absolutely incredible and we cannot thank them, and all of the supporters who took part, for everything they have done for us. They have been fundraising for us consistently over the last several months, and had already donated an exceptional amount, before adding more than £4,000 to their total with the Zipslide.

“In spite of some winds which threatened to make the day a bit scarier than any of us had been expecting, it was a fantastic event, with everyone doing us proud as they sailed over the Clyde. Every single penny raised from this event makes a real difference to families from all walks of our community, allowing us to provide care and support for people during some of the most difficult times of their lives.”

St. Vincent’s Hospice is a specialist provider of palliative and Hospice care for individuals and families affected by life-limiting conditions from all across Renfrewshire. They also provide bereavement counselling and support for children and young people who have experienced the loss or illness of a loved one.

Area Manager for Spar, David Cunningham, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to assist St. Vincent’s Hospice in the fundraising that allows them to continue to deliver the valuable care and support they provide within the community. All our staff had a fantastic time on the day and were delighted it helped contribute to such a worthy cause!”

If you would like to become involved and support St. Vincent’s Hospice, please visit: or email

Switching on the Christmas lights is a dream come true, and this year it will be a reality for three lucky school pupils!

Aleena Albin from St Peter’s Primary School was one of the lucky winners last year, and helped Provost Lorraine Cameron switch on the Paisley Christmas lights.

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron, is once again inviting children of primary school age to design a Christmas card for 2018. Three winners will be selected with each winner having the chance to push the button to light up either Paisley, Johnstone or Renfrew.

The winning designs will also be printed as Provost Cameron’s official Christmas cards and sent out all over the world.

Provost Cameron said: “Thousands of people come to watch the Christmas lights being switched on and I need someone to help me with this really important job. I loved seeing your designs last year and I can’t wait to see what Renfrewshire can create this year.”

Entries must be received by Monday 29 October and can be handed into primary schools or posted to Christmas Card Competition, Member Services, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1WD.

The countdown is on to Paisley’s hugely popular Halloween Festival on Saturday, 27 October.


Inspired by the town’s dark and deathly 17th-century witch history, the event returns bigger and better than ever.

A 700-strong cast of young people are at the heart of the ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.


The performances include a breath-taking aerial show starring a 50-strong cast taking to the skies with Scotland’s leading aerial dance company, All or Nothing.

Catch The Flying Witches performance of jaw-dropping stunts with performers swinging 120ft above the crowds in Abbey Close from 7pm – 9.30pm.

A Mardi Gras style 500-strong parade will begin at the bottom of New Street at 6pm, before winding its way onto Causeyside Street, climbing up St Mirren Brae, travelling down Gauze Street and ending on Cotton Street.

Complete with macabre characters and gruesome parade floats including a giant animatronic ‘Witch & Cauldron’, arrive early to secure a front row position.

The Beltane Fire Society will entertain the crowds with a vivid display of fire, drumming, and acrobatics, while Mr Wilson’s Second Liners band will give the New Orleans brass blowing genre a modern twist with cover versions of dance favourites between 7pm-10pm. The street theatre also features the mesmerising Spark! LED drummers.

Paisley Town Hall will host two ticketed costumed balls on Friday 26th – one for over 18s and one for ‘unders’ – with a competition for best costume. DJ Gerry Lyons will provide the haunting soundtrack as the 18th century Victorian venue is transformed into a haunted ballroom for the evening.

There’s deceit in the air on the Friday evening in local Italian restaurant Zambretto, with a murder mystery evening.

On Saturday, hair-raising horror films for all ages will be screened in venues throughout the town, while on the Live Stage at County Square there will be Halloween themed performances from local musical talent and dance groups between 12 noon and 5pm.

Abbey Close will be transformed into a dramatic Halloween playground with a series of lighting, and sound installations featuring special effects, fire and live performances between 6pm-10pm.

Paisley Town Hall plays host to family fun and Halloween Activities including face painting, glitter tattoos, soft play, arts and crafts and kids disco from 12 noon until 10pm

Popcorn Horror will also be hosting a series of free Halloween workshops in Paisley Abbey – no need to book your space, simply turn up and enjoy

Food and drink stalls will also be available to keep your hungry horrors happy.

A series of Discovery Family Short films from all over the world will be screened between 12pm – 1pm, while Halloween favourite The Addams family and Coraline will be in the big screen, all at the Town Hall.

In the evening, a screening of horror film ‘It ’will entertain those aged 15 and over – free spaces are limited so please book ahead.

Drop in and carve your Halloween pumpkins in to a piece of art with the help of the team from Dom Art at Paisley Abbey from 1pm-7pm and visit the Storytelling Yurt to hear Terrifying Tales between 1pm – 7pm.

This year’s Paisley Halloween Festival is also in the running to win the “UK’s Spookiest Halloween Event 2018” award as one of the final 10 competitors on the holiday rentals site

Voting ends at midnight on 30 October and votes can be cast here:

Young people are at the heart of the Festival’s development and a 20-strong Youth Panel has been working alongside Renfrewshire Council’s Events Team to design and deliver the festival programme. In addition, 180 young people will take part in a new creative learning programme with the opportunity to participate in all aspects of festival delivery from performance to live event management and technical production. For more information, please go to

classic car rally

‘Classics at Castle Semple’ Car show will return to the shores of Lochwinnoch for its 8th year this Sunday, 21st October 2018, with proceeds going towards supporting St. Vincent’s Hospice.

classic car rally

An essential for any car lover and a fun day out for the whole family, the event will run from 11am until 3pm, with special attractions, extremely rare models and prizes to be won.

Chosen charity for the event, St. Vincent’s Hospice, is a specialist provider of palliative and hospice care for people and families affected by life limiting conditions from all across Renfrewshire.

Event Organiser and Visitor Centre Assistant at Castle Semple, Jane Fawcett, said: “This year sees 50 years since the Ford Escort first came onto the market, and we will have a few fine examples of this classic, alongside some American stars, stunning Triumphs, Morris’, Austins and even the much loved Beardmore Taxi.”

“Special attractions on the day will include a Vauxhall Wyvern, Alfa Alfetta, Citroen Traction and the extremely rare 1946 Fordson Van. The cars will be competing for the prizes of Best in Show, sponsored by Power Doors, and Judges Choice, sponsored by Clyde Muirshiel. With everything to play for, everyone get polishing and we will see you on Sunday.”

mhairi black

To coincide with National Hate Crime Awareness Week, is urging young people across Scotland to be fearless in speaking up about hate crime 100% anonymously.

Many young people too readily consider incidents of hate crime as ‘part of life’ or accept it as a form of bullying, often not realising that what they are witnessing or experiencing is a crime.

‘Hate crimes’ are those motivated by hostility towards a particular group based on race, religion, transgender/gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. Victims may be subjected to physical assaults or suffer damage to their property. They may also experience the threat of an attack or verbal abuse.

Hate crime is thought to be massively under-reported, which is why we are urging young people to stand up to hate by passing on to our charity their knowledge or suspicions.

Scotland has no place for hate.

SNP Spokesperson for Youth Affairs Mhairi Black MP said:

“I would like to emphasise that anyone who is a victim of, or witness to, a hate crime should challenge it. Young people can be subject to threats and attacks whether physical or verbal and are providing a safe and anonymous way for our young people to report hate crimes.

“We must work together to stamp out hate crimes by challenging racism, homophobia, sexism and religious prejudice. Sometimes people cannot find the courage to tackle this behaviour however the anonymous service being provided by will help to combat this.”

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, said:

“We know that young people can sometimes be reluctant to speak out about crime that they are aware of or have witnessed. plays a vital role in providing young people with a safe and totally anonymous way to do that.”

“I would encourage all young people to challenge prejudice and report hate crime should they witness or experience it.  We all must work together to make our communities more resilient, safer places to live.”

Lyndsay McDade, Scotland’s Youth Projects Officer for the charity Crimestoppers, said:

“When faced with the knowledge or suspicion about hate crime happening around them, young people often struggle with the dilemma of what to do. They can be frightened to speak up for fear of stigma or reprisal. gives young people a way to stand up to hate and be empowered to be fearless.”

“In 30 years, as a charity, we have always kept our guarantee that everyone who contacts us stays 100% anonymous. We never ask for personal details including your name. We can’t trace your email or IP address. Once you tap ‘submit’ you’re done. No one will ever know you contacted us.

“To target someone based on race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability is abhorrent and has a devastating impact on victims and our society.

“Scotland is full of diverse communities, vibrant cultures, rich talents and resilience – hate has no place in our country.”

If you have any information about hate crime, please report it to Fearless through the Anonymous Online Form at

Hate Crime Scotland landing page –


YOUNGSTERS can get into the spirit of Halloween with some fun events during the school holiday this week.

A Witch’s Garden has been set up in Soar at intu Braehead with all sorts of spellbinding fun for children. They can play around a witch’s hut, a cauldron that can be used for making spells and spot black cats hiding in the garden.


There’s also some sorcery going on with arts and crafts, face painting and broomstick racing for youngsters.

The free Witch’s Garden event is on every day until Sunday, October 21 with a face painter there on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 16 and 17 and Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21. And the broomstick races also take place this Saturday and Sunday.

A free Halloween Forest play area has been set up in the central atrium of the intu Braehead shopping centre, until Thursday, October 18. Youngsters can have a spooky adventure with giant mushrooms, pumpkins among the trees and a face painter on hand on Monday, October 15.

David Lyon, marketing manager for intu Braehead said: “There’s lots of fun for all the family in our Witch’s Garden and Halloween Forest.

“It’s a great way for everyone to get ready for Halloween. And since there is no charge for a ticket, you could say it’s a real free-ky Halloween event!”

Paisley pirates

Irresistible force meets immovable object this Sunday evening at Braehead Arena as Paisley Pirates play their first match on home ice against North Ayrshire Wild in the Stuart Robertson Cup, following two away wins at Kilmarnock and Solway. Both clubs are unbeaten in the competition so far, and with only the top team from each group qualifying for the two legged final, a tight match is expected in a contest which faces off at 5.00pm, the new regular start time for Pirates’ Sunday home matches.

The home side has a more cosmopolitan look to it this season, as in addition to having most of last year’s side back on the bench, Pirates have also signed Austrian Felix Huber and Finnish forward Sami Harju. Both sides have former players from their opponents in their ranks, so the fixture is sure to have its usual degree of needle as the teams go for the bragging rights associated with local derbies such as this one.

Head of Off Ice Operations Jackie Turley commented, “We’ve been waiting a long time for our first match at home and I know our fans are keenly awaiting this Sunday to come round, particularly to get a look at our continental players who are allowed to play now after a change in the rules. It will be the first time for a number of years that players from other countries will have been seen in a Pirates jersey, so we know that this will raise interest locally. The Wild have made a good start to their season as well so we expect there will be a fair old atmosphere if their support turns out in numbers.”

She went on,” We’ve attracted a few more companies to the club as sponsors this year and we’ve also introduced an opportunity for fans to get involved by giving them the opportunity to sponsor the match puck for the first time. This week it is long time supporter Bill Elliot from Houston, and we hope other supporters will take the opportunity to support the club financially without breaking the bank in the process. Anyone interested can speak to me at any game or email the club at for more details.”